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Old 12-17-2001, 07:55 AM   #1
dave
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"Goddammit!": an UPS Story.

It was a sunny day about a year and a half ago. I was sitting upstairs watching the television, talking with my father about something or other. A cat nudged my leg. Just then, as if on cue, the power cut off. Not but 2 seconds later, it came back on, as everything in the house whirred back up to speed.

"DAMMIT!", I yelled. This was the second time this had happened this week, and probably the fifth time in the month. "Let me go restart my computer."

As I waited for fsck to run, I thought to myself, "I really do need to get an UPS for this machine. This is getting to the point of absurd." All the daemons started up, I drudged back upstairs. Dad sat in his chair with a bemused look on his face.

"Maybe you need to get an UPS" (we pronounce it as "ups" instead of "u-p-s", just for kicks - hence the "an" instead of just an "a").

"Yeah, maybe."

"Well, let me stop by MicroCenter tonight and see what they've got there."

And so it was, two days later, I was installing a nice new Rayovac UPS under my desk. It wasn't anything special, but without my monitor, it should run my computer for 15 minutes. That would give me plenty of time to do a blind shutdown (you know, the kind where you switch out to tty3, which you know is open, then login, su to root and then do a 'shutdown -h now', all while not being able to see what's going on). This thing worked marvelously through all the "power hiccups", as my dad called them.

Then, when I moved down to Fairfax, disaster struck - the UPS would no longer operate. I had been careful with it in transport - apparently it just died, and at an inopportune time.

So we went back to MicroCenter and got it exchanged. Great.

I've been using that UPS with no problem for about 9 months now.

After waking up late this morning, I stumbled into my bedroom to get my pants. It seemed strangely quiet. I went into the bathroom, applied deodorant, got dressed, and went back into the bedroom. Then it hit me: my computers aren't on. That's pretty damn odd. But the monitors are. Hmmm. Let's see. The switch isn't on either. The computers are on the UPS. The switch is on the UPS. Then it hits me.

That piece of shit Rayovac UPS died!

"GODDAMMIT!"
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Old 12-17-2001, 12:38 PM   #2
russotto
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Never buy a UPS less reliable than the power company...
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Old 12-17-2001, 04:29 PM   #3
dave
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Well, it had been pretty reliable. Numerious power outages didn't take it down or anything. But I guess those days are over. I really just don't want to spend $300 for a really good UPS though. I need to order processors, goddammit!
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Old 12-17-2001, 05:13 PM   #4
Undertoad
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I've had a lot of trouble getting UPSes to last, but I notice that the ones that have died have generally been the lower-end ones, while I have two huge rack-mount jobs that have gone perfectly for two years... one an APC 1400 that holds up three systems.
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Old 12-17-2001, 05:47 PM   #5
jaguar
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you've got wierdass power points in the US.
And dham still has the deafult OSX background =)
APC UPSs seem to be fantastic, its all iv'e seened used in vietnam where power outages are very routines, i've got one of hte mid-range ones here, they rock.
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Old 12-18-2001, 12:22 PM   #6
tw
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Never met a properly designed plug-in UPS. Current lead acid battery technology says the UPS battery should last up to 20 years. Even a car battery lasts up to 10 years when sitting outside and used almost daily. Why then do plug-in UPS batteries rarely last more than 3 years.

Furthermore, why do those UPSes use unique batteries that cost almost as much to replace the battery as it does to replace the entire UPS?

That does not meet the criteria for reliable. It does meet the criteria for cheap. But then we traditionally buy on price; not value. It is reasonable for a plug-in UPS to last up to 20 years and more than 10 years. A UPS does nothing spectaculor, nothing exotic, nothing stressful, and nothing that could not be done 20 years ago. $300 is too much to spend on a battery that only lasts 3 years.

Remember when automakers assumed you would replace shock absorbers every two years. Then the Japanese appears with cars that never required shock absorber replacement.
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Old 12-18-2001, 12:43 PM   #7
dave
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It actually wasn't the default OSX background - but it was included with the computer. I liked the blue, but I actually changed it about 10 minutes before I read your post.

tw -

Ridiculous, is it not? That's what I thought - it's not doing anything. It's just sitting there, protecting from the occasional surge and the occasional power outage. But apparently this is some big fuckin' deal, like it can't work right after 8 months or 3 years or whatever it happens to be. Absolutely ridiculous.

Oh yeah - number 500. Wahoo.
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Old 12-23-2001, 07:59 PM   #8
tw
Read? I only know how to write.
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by dhamsaic
like it can't work right after 8 months or 3 years or whatever it happens to be. Absolutely ridiculous.
Sent by alternative channels is a proposal to perform an autopsy. Don't know if the e-mail arrrived since I have never used those channels before.
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Old 12-23-2001, 09:20 PM   #9
dave
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Yeah, I got it today. I dunno when you sent it, but I got it - pmesg on here. Anyway, I'm down with that if the store won't take it back - I personally would like to get some money back for it. If they won't, you can have it. If they will... I think I'd probably rather do that But if you can take a look at it, figure out what happened and *not* make it obvious that you were futzing around with it (so they'll still take it back), I'm down with that too. Lemme know if your work is going to be obvious.
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Old 12-24-2001, 10:26 PM   #10
tw
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Quote:
Originally posted by dhamsaic
Lemme know if your work is going to be obvious.
There are too many ways to detect 'unauthorized entry'. Try to get your money back first. They put color on screw heads. Tape across plastic enclosures. Seals inside the unit. Better to try and get the money first.
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