Saturday, March 13, 2004

Innovative tech wizards

We have lots of UPS battery backup capacity in our studio building, so we are going to put most of our office computers on the UPSes. We want to distribute the load evenly so we needed a quick way to determine which AC power phase (there are three) each office computer system was connected to.

Udo and Rich used this high tech tool to do the job. Not the scopes.... but the red thing in the picture that looks like a heavy duty hair dryer. I'm not sure what it's called, but I use it to shrink heat shrink tubing when I'm making mic cables and the like. It blows REALLY hot air.
Maybe it's called a flameless heat gun or something like that.

Well, Rich went into each office, plugged in the heat gun, and switched it on and off a few times. Meanwhile, Udo was watching the volt and amp meters for all three phases. When Rich ran the heat gun, the meters for one of the phases reacted noticeably while the others all stayed calm. Udo then told Rich which phase he was plugged into via walkie talkie.

In a related note, after much head scratching and dedicated decective work, we discovered that the new standby generator doesn't like us having a Laserjet printer plugged into it the UPS system. When someone sends a print job, the printer has to heat up the part that fuses the "ink" to the page. That draws about 10 amps. When this hits the UPS, it in turn draws some 30 to 35 amps, on one phase. The generator didn't like that at all, so now the finance office Laserjet is just plugged into the house power, like the other laser printers.

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