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power fluctuations... from outages to spikes

By Jaqui ·
In my 40 years living in the Lower Mainland, I seriously do not remember getting as many power failures in one year as we have had this year.
I have been hit with 6 since August.
even with a surge protector and ups, these have permanently crashed one system and destroyed 3 hard drives.

seems that UPS with surge protection built in and a surge protection line is not enough to protect the hardware, when a transformer explodes a block away... and the power company circuit interrupt is directly behind the building I'm in.
[ they pull the switch behind here before working on the damaged line / transformer a block away, the reconnect it to restore power to the area. ]
even powered down, the last one [ friday night ] destroyed a hard drive.

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No simple or cheap solution

by mjd420nova In reply to power fluctuations... fro ...

There are technologies available to store energy and basically isolate yourself from the energy source that is causing the problem. For home, there are combinations of collection methods and delivery methods, adjusted for your needs. UPS units should be sufficent isolation, if not, go bigger. Some times you need to test a unit by unpluging it and see if the thing holds the load. Lightning strikes are nasty and good grounding will help.

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these weren't

by Jaqui In reply to No simple or cheap soluti ...

lightening strikes, they were local transformers giving up the ghost and exploding, or the same bloody line deciding it wanted down from the pole
[ 3 times now for that last, once the transformer, once a car knocked the power out at the other end of this block, and a crane took a line out two days after the car did ]

it's just the local circuit for the city has a cutoff switch used for all 6 power failures right behind the building, so the poweron spike is huge through here.

I've tested the battery, it's working perfectly, but they don't come large enough for home use to deal with the power company turning power on spike we get.

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The cheap and easy solution

by JamesRL In reply to these weren't

When the power goes down, unplug the equipment from the mains. Or if the equipment is plugged into UPSs, unplug them from the mains.

My father worked for an electrical utility for 35 years. He isn't worried about lightning strikes so much as many of the lines are grounded along the delivery path so you would need a very local hit to get you. But he always had us unplug the TV during a storm, as when the power is brought back there is always a spike.

So set your UPS to shutdown the server/PC after 5 mins. And unplug the UPSs from the wall. Don't plug them back in until the lights are on.

The alternative is there are UPSs that isolate the power so well that spikes are meaningless, but they are not cheap.

James

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usually

by Jaqui In reply to The cheap and easy soluti ...

I do, but when it goes down at 4 am and is on by 7 am.. I sleep until noon.. kind of hard to do so.

I was going to be replacing the one system that died completely soon anyway.

I'll hit a small local retailer and get myself a new dual core system, they only want $369+tx for a system [ no monitor or software ]

http://www.vastechcomputer.com/ is their site.
tiny little hole in the wall shop, one of the few that will sell a linux box, and has a linux box in the shop to generate the linux sales.

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How About a Voltage Regulator?

by NabilMish In reply to usually

I don't know how many workstations you need to protect, but years ago I lived in Amman, Jordan and the power was terrible - I remember the picture on my monitor wavering because the power got so low in the afternoon (after going through a 220-110 stepdown transformer). Then I got a small voltage regulator and no more problem - not even when some wires slipped in our building and gave us the power from our upstairs neighbors as well as our own! I don't know much about electricity, but they had no power and we had way higher voltage than we were supposed to - light bulbs, doorbell and TV went "poof", fluorescent lights came on immediately without a single flicker, but my computer wasn't damaged at all.

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hardware hack

by zclayton2 In reply to The cheap and easy soluti ...

You can do a home brew hardware hack that will isolate the mains when the power fails for about $20. Wire a latching relay so the mains power the latching circuit and the relay is set to interrupt the hot leg of the supply circuit. Put a momentary-on contact switch into the latching circuit to reset/power on. You can add a power indicator lamp is desired. When the power goes out, the relay releases, breaks the mains circuit. the whole thing fits into a double outlet junction box and an outlet cover with extra holes drilled for the contact switch and light. Sacrifice an old power cable for the line in and use grounded outlets for the suply side out.

Your own inexpensive homebrew isolation circuit.

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I like that!

by lastchip In reply to hardware hack

Simple, cheap and effective.

I'm going to look at that for my home network set-up.

Strangely enough, we lost our power last night for about an hour. First time in "donkeys years", but apparently, the utility services are so **** bent on profit in the UK, they forgot all about investment and it seems we're likely to get some more of the same!

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In the US anyway..

by jdmercha In reply to power fluctuations... fro ...

and maybe the same thing applies to Canada.

The cost of generating and delivering power has skyrocketed over the past 20 years. New generating plants are not being built, and the grid is not being maintained as it once was.

Power companies can no longer afford to invest in new equipment to keep the grid up and running, the way it used to.

This has led to an increase in isolated power outages as well as lerger scale brownouts.

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Naaah

by JamesRL In reply to In the US anyway..

This was weather. Winds of 120 KPH knocked down trees all over the place in Vancouver. My companies office there was closed and the calls rerouted here.

James

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not only the power

by Jaqui In reply to Naaah

the front page of this morning's Province was on the massive devastation in Stanley Park, seems the winds killed thousands of the trees in the old growth forest in the park.

literally blew them down.

my response to the concern of the parks oard:
clear the trails blocked, repair the buildings damaged, leave the trees where they are, they will start new life then.

editing to add:

that's odd, that your office was closed, the power was back on here by 7:30 am and burnaby would have been on by 9 am at the latest.

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