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The Lion and the Lightbulb

This morning we found a light bulb burned out in the lamp next to my desk. I started to unscrew it and blammo - power out in the front half of my office...

Obviously this is a fuse issue or our power draw has finally exceeded what this building can handle (electrical hasn't been redone in decades). So first up: the fuse. After stops at three stores I find a 15W of the correct size. Old charred one out, new one in *pop*. Power out again.

Hmm, maybe debris in the socket or bad fuse. Let's try again. Old fuse out, air gun in, new fuse in. *pop*.

Okay, we obviously need to turn the power off in the basement first, then swap this baby. We wait an hour for the super to show up (while catching up on email via a laptop and our UPS battery powered wifi network), ran to the hardware store again for more fuses, and tried again. Power out, bad fuse out, new fuse in, power on - pow. Out again.

Must be too much power draw. Let's start unplugging some stuff and maybe move server #2 onto the 20W fuse on the other side of the place. Off to hardware store for two 20' extension cords. With everything rewired, the UPS off the grid we bring it slowly back online with fuse. So far, so good - lights and refrigerator are a go. Let's plug in the UPS. *pop*.

Hmm, too much plugged into the UPS? Off to hardware store for large box of fuses followed by unplugging an extra power strip from UPS and powering back up. Working so far, can boot work computer now and get network back online (died after two hours -- not too bad and may be useful again in a pinch). Let's try the next plug. *pop*. [insert favorite expletive here]!

Must. Have. Power. Let's reset everything again and add one plug at a time to the grid. This time it's the lamp plug that trips it. Upon closer inspection the light bulb that I was going to replace when I got distracted by this whole thing was warped and there was a small hole in the glass - looks like a short. Only after extracting the bad bulb and replacing did everything come online again.

So in the midst of all this cutting-edge technology, of the battery backups and sceduled data backups etc. etc. etc. it was a single 60W light bulb that brought business to a screeching halt for two hours.

On the upside, the light bulbs are now all energy efficient and cool-running florescents and now we know the mileage of the UPS for the next time something strange and bizarre happens, and this is Brooklyn so we know it will.

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on September 14, 2004 | Comments (0)