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Short version: I bought a UPS for my desktop computer, in the hopes that some of his problems were caused by dirty power. My power is dirtier than I thought.


Since I had to write this up entertainingly for you guys, and I had to write this up thoroughly for the unit's tech support, I figured I'd combine this, and hopefully make some poor sap's workday slightly more hilarious. Also, [personal profile] jdn may have made an appearance IN MY HEAD. AGAIN.


Long version:
Unexpected power-off from battery backup unit, by Miss Lunatic, aged 29 3/4

This unit is brand-new, and I am attempting to use it in a residential apartment with power problems that are visible to the naked eye given an incandescent or halogen lamp in a wall socket.

The flickering does not seem to confine itself to any specific event such as me turning on a light, starting the microwave, or other insults to an electrical system (again, not your problem, but possibly good to know). God and the electrician only know whether the washing machine (which was in operation during the chief parts of the tale of woe that I am about to unfold for you) is even on a separate circuit, but as I faithfully trusted it was and in any case the flickering does not seem to abate when it's not in operation, I manfully proceeded in the highest of hopes.

I connected the remaining terminal of the battery according to the instructions, plugged the unit into the wall, and allowed it to charge for nearly 24 hours before attempting use.

Prior to this time, I had been operating this computer simply from a power strip with surge protector, but after noticing some reduced performance, and noting the flickering, I became understandably reluctant to expose my precious machine to the slings and arrows of outrageous PG&E (or at least the apartment complex) without some form of protection.

So. Untangle the cable spaghetti, plug in the plugs, and away we go.

Unit clicks repeatedly and rapidly in time with visible flickering of lights; clicks are of course normal per your documentation about relays switching, but this is coming at a rate of sometimes a few clicks a second, occasionally accompanied by irritated rapid beeping, while the flickering happens; that can't be good. It is reminiscent of popcorn or a hyperactive child playing with a handheld clicker, rather than keeping a decent interval of a few seconds or the occasional double-click with a little bitty power hitch.

First tried unit with desktop computer, monitor, desktop halogen lamp, and AC adapter for monitor's USB hub (this last being a plug with a large footprint and annoyingly sideways to better fit a traditional power strip, I tried sticking it as the sole occupant in a 3-outlet no-frills power strip and plugging that in to the battery backup to reduce footprint).

After some time of operation with intermittent clicking and intermittent rapid-clicking-and-beeping, the intermittent BEEP BEEP BEEP became a sudden BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEOOOP and all items plugged in to the battery backup suffered an ignominious power-down for about a second, after which the lamp came back on and the monitor sheepishly joined it a fraction of a second later. (The desktop, unhappy with this treatment, of course remained off.)

I switched the lamp to an adjacent outlet and tried again. Again, eventually (somewhat shorter an interval) BEEP BEEP BEEP gave way to BEEP BEEP BEEEOOOP and again a second or so's power drop, enough to discomfit (and turn off) the desktop.

I next sucked it up and plugged the AC adapter directly into the unit in the designated wide outlet. Again, after a hopeful and even decent interval, long enough to boot up, BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEOOOP, all accompanied by the requisite flickering and frantic clicking.

That was enough for tonight. Perhaps tomorrow I will try at a time of day when the washer is not on, and no-one else in the building is supposed to have theirs on either.

I intend to pursue the appalling state of the building's power with management at my earliest convenience, but does the inability to cope with this utter rubbish power indicate a likely fault in the battery backup unit, or is it simply power that's too horrid for it to cope?

Crossposted. comment count unavailable comments.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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