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13 December 2004 @ 04:07 pm
Interesting I.T. situation  
I got an innocuous enough little call yesterday. A PC was trying to boot from the network and failing. We don't have boot-from-network set up here. I checked it out, and it wasn't recognizing the hard drive. I opened it up, did a little unplugging and replugging, and closed and booted it up again. We had hard drive recognition!

We also had a blue screen of death: user32.dll had been corrupted. I ran out of time that day and passed it on to the night guy. Night guy worked on it there, trying various repairs, taking out the power supply, and running out of time to work on that project. He brought it into the office but didn't even have a chance to plug it in here.

This morning, I plugged it in and got no response. I tried various connections inside and got nowhere. Then I remembered the power supply. I checked its connections and then happend to notice it was switched to 230 volts! I figured that must have happened when he was fiddling with it. I switched it back down to normal (for this country) 110 volts, and plugged it in. It powered itself on without waiting for me to hit the power switch. I quickly plugged everything else into it.

I had to do Windows 2000 repair on it to get it going again, and then had to reinstall a bunch of stuff to recover from the repair.

I finally brought it back in. I remembered it liked to power itself on as soon as it had power, so I plugged everything else in first, and then plugged in the power.


It turned out they have a special tool that requires 230 volts, and someone must have decided to switch the voltage on the PC and plug it into the same power strip, without putting any special markings on the power cord. I managed to take out the power supply and monitor. Now I get to find out if any other parts are broken too. At least my boss didn't sound upset when I called him about it.
Current Mood: electric
Niki: maniacthespatula on December 14th, 2004 02:14 am (UTC)
Go BOOM! :] Hehehhehee :}
Hein: Kashira? Kashira? Gozonji Kashira?fub on December 14th, 2004 08:11 am (UTC)
I've done that once, when I was a lot more inexperienced. "Hey, what's this switch on the back of the powersupply? I wonder what happens if I switch it to 110?"


"OK... Better get a new case now..."
ashiashi on December 14th, 2004 02:15 pm (UTC)
The night guy found a proper power supply with the extra motherboard power connector! Now I just need to get them a new monitor... and properly label some 220 volt power cables...

I think 110 and 220 are labelled sometimes as 115 and 230 to indicate maximum allowed voltage on devices. :)
Hein: slotmachinefub on December 14th, 2004 03:22 pm (UTC)
I think 110 and 220 are labelled sometimes as 115 and 230 to indicate maximum allowed voltage on devices.
I don't know how it is in the US, but over here, the voltage has been slowly but steadily been increased to 230V.
ashiashi on December 14th, 2004 08:57 pm (UTC)
Interesting. Well, it turns out the monitor is fine, and the 230-volt power supply for the tool blew a fuse. I had maintenance pick one up, and it's all working now. :)
Hein: King of the world!fub on December 14th, 2004 09:00 pm (UTC)
I think it's because appliances have become more power-hungry during recent years.

it's all working now.
Yay for working hardware!
drewkittydrewkitty on December 15th, 2004 03:56 am (UTC)
The odd labels are because the municipal power supply does not deliver exactly consistent voltages. It's a range, and most equipment is built to work on that range. (The exceptions need to be set up with power conditioners and/or UPS systems, etc, which is healthy for all computers and essential for life safety systems and data center equipment.)

"110" is really anywhere from about 108 to 120. So "110" "115" and "120" are the same damn voltage. Much below 106 is a brownout that can damage solid-state equipment. A good argument for UPS systems. I use a voltimeter in my trailer to monitor power usage and see voltage drop when I turn on my AC unit, for example.

"220" "230" "240" is nothing more than the standard power circuit doubled, running two circuits instead of one. Power hungry appliances run on it, i.e. electric dryers and such.

As an aside, many commercial establishments use higher voltages, which behave oddly and can be extremely dangerous in ways that mere 110 / 220 is not.
SarahEmm: AlternateOstrichsarahemm on December 15th, 2004 04:28 pm (UTC)
Woohoo for 208/480 3ph delta!
i stay away from power gear at work...