• Bill (unregistered) in reply to rmg66

    Back in the 1980s, I ran a computer center with a large VAX server.  We had two water-cooled A/C units, though we could only run one at a time because they'd get into fights about humidification and dehumidification and temperature, but either one could carry the whole load and the other was available as a spare.
    The big three-phase power controller system had a fail-safe that would turn everything off if the temperature hit 130 degrees, including the A/C, because having a system blowing air around is really bad if the heat's from a fire. 

    Any time the power failed,  the A/C would shut down, and when the power came back on, it would sit there beeping waiting for a human to push the reset button; this was to prevent the problem of all the devices with big motors (like the A/C) from starting up at the same time the moment the power came on.  This also meant that if the power failed when nobody was around, like a weekend thunderstorm power hit, the A/C would stay off until a human showed up.  The VAX, however, would happily start up, drawing lots of power and making lots of heat, and with no A/C, the room would reach 130 degrees in a couple of hours.  Then the power controller would shut it all down, and it'd stay 130 degrees and dark until Monday morning when the humans showed up.

    Unfortunately, with the power shut down because of high temperatures, we couldn't turn on the air conditioners to cool it down, because it was TOO HOT, and the power system didn't have an override.  So we'd have to open the doors, steal any desk fans that weren't nailed down, and wait a few hours for it to get enough cooler so we could turn on the A/C.

    We also had a video projector, which in those days was a $10,000 hundred-pound thing that hung from the ceiling.  You were supposed to shut it down after you were done using it, but occasionally someone would forget.  One time somebody forgot after a Friday meeting, and we had a power failure that weekend, so the lab overheated (the conference room with the projector was part of the lab), and it spent a few hours blowing approaching-130-degree air through itself to cool itself down.   Probably closer to 140 degrees up at the ceiling....   There was a nice puddle of oil on the conference table when we got in on Monday, and we had to ship the thing back to Canada to get it repaired.

  • jayh (unregistered)

    We went through that a few months back.

    Power went down. Diesel generator kicked on, but the servers were on UPS (room full of batteries, recently 'tested'), and one of the UPS batteries (in series) decided end it all in a dramatic scene of self imolation.

    The server room went down. The (unoccupied) offices, however never lost power, thanks to the generator.


  • (cs) in reply to Wolfger

    The real WTF here is "which could only mean one thing: a bomb, a fire, or a giant robot wreaking havoc throughout the city". Somebody needs to re-read the definitions of "only" and/or "one".


    this is Sim City isn't it?

  • Brian (unregistered)

    "A giant robot wreaking havoc throughout the city".  Thank you for that well-needed chuckle.

  • Justin Clancy (unregistered)

    This happened to me back in the early 80's.  I was working over the weekend to test out ULTRIX on a PDP11 - Yup, that long ago.

    I went in to the DC  Sunday morning and found the room was at a good 30 C.  The PDP11 was out, the PDP-8s were suffering and our biggest machine (a Prime) was having hysterics.  Why?

     Well, there were two site maint guys standing on the machines and poking holes in the ceiling tiles.  They were trying to improve the AC air flow and turned it off while they went about their vandalism.

    If that wasn't bad enough, when the AC was turned on again the ceiling went WHUFF and a shower of tile dust and fluff fell into the room.  Our disk stacks were never the same again. (Hint:  head crash, head crash... more head crashes). 

  • sir_flexalot (unregistered)

    He got the day off?  That's no WTF, that's a hallelujiah!  It would really have been a WTF if he was fired for it.  Thankfully, he has sane management (apparently).

  • Snow_Cat (unregistered) in reply to Satanicpuppy
    Fricking HVAC. I've got all kinds of problems with them, from unplugging things because "they need to plug their tools in" to leaving an air conditioner that was gushing water from a broken line with a piece of wire holding the broken part up for MORE THAN A YEAR, until the wire corroded and the AC started dumping water into the subfloor. Frankly, I don't think you should be able to get ceritifed on corporate and critical server room ac at the same time. Those bastards cause nothign but problems, and you have to watch them ALL THE TIME. 
    Damn it, watch but don't interfere, I've worked on HVAC systems in the last sliver of the night (the only time these things aren't too dangerously hot to approach) with some stupid jackass unplugging my air compressor, or flipping the check valve, or trying to reconnect the power to the unit I AM STANDING IN because a few minutes without his precious servers was worth more than my life.

    It is for these pricks that in the few months I worked in the field I saw one of my peers die of heatstroke when he obeyed an orteer to work at 5 in the afternoon on a unit that had stopped running at 10 in the morning. And met another who was dismembered when some fucking bastard jammed a screwdriver into the fuse-socket powering up the unit he was just entering, severing his arm. Both events within the same summer, both events prompting much verbal abuse from my IT colleges.

    So, to you and anybody else who can't stand to see us work. "...[You've] all kinds of problems...", Don't make them mine.

    As for myself, after a Database Developer/Mechanical Engineer/Manager hammered a 320 V breaker repeatedly, in rapid succession because it was reseting immeadiately, pitting my screwdriver, and blasting holes through my hand in the painfully long few seconds it took to disengage my hand from the relay I was working on, after explicitly explaining to me that the power had to remain disconnected while I worked, 'for [my] safety', I left the field of hired-labor operating-quasi-legally-under-a-lisenced-quasi-HVAC-contractor for the marginally-less-likely-to-kill-me-in-a-violent-but-rather-in-a-slow-but-equally-guresome-manner field of IT. Also, I have learned to physically lock the power cable of anything I am working near to including irons, stupid supervisors...

    But I'll share one free tip with my less dispicable IT peers: When a heat-exchanger drain rusts install a 'sacrificial' anode when a hole is patched; this will both halt (and in some cases repair) rust and sterilize the water preventing organic growth. But only while the anode is not depleted. A $.70 replacement anode + labour every five years is a lot cheaper than '$700 materials + labour' to patch a growing array of holes every year. and for FFS, don't eat the anode. I know many have a 'FDC appoved' label, but it's zinc or similar poisionous material-- much like test equipment with the 'CL approved' label.

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