Power Failures -
External Influences

There are a number of reasons power can fail to a unit. Below is a list of the all-time highs during my career.

Work in Area:

This sounds like a logical one but the strangest thing that happens with work in an area of the telemetry unit is the work is likely to take place after hours, especially if the power cut is going to be disruptive to users and business. The amount of times we have had to go to site during the small hours of the morning to 'trap' the reason for the failure, only to find it was scheduled work, are too countless to mention.

Crows and Solar Panels:

If anyone has had a lot of experience with implementing and using solar panels they are also likely to associate with the times of arriving on site to find holes through the panels. The first thought is 'vandals', but, and until you actually see it it's almost unbelievable, it's got nothing to do with vandals at all.

Crows have a built in instinct to find water, but they also have a crafty method of getting to it when it's frozen over. They will pick up a resonable sized stone, take it to a few hundred feet, and then 'bomb' the frozen water in an attempt to crack the ice.

Now there is your lovely, clean, shiny solar panel. But to a crow this looks like iced-over water. His instinct kicks in and collects a stone...... the rest is history.


Now for another animal who has some nasty instincts. He also has a tendency to go after water except he likes to heat his up, and then flavour it. In doing so he uses an implement known as a kettle and this needs to be plugged in to work. The plug most likely to be used is the one where something that is either not critical or has a battery back-up, the latter is the more preferred and will be your telemetry system.

This same creature is known to have a short memory span and forgets to again power-up your telemetry system. Enough said !!

Other problems exist with strange behaviors. A manager of an office decided that everything was to be unplugged at night. This, in his eyes, reduced the risk of a fire. To combat this the telemetry system was directly wired in to a mains point. The surprises did not stop and every evening the power was again cut. It was then discovered that he was also tripping the entire mains board every night before locking up.

Now let me explain. There was a fire alarm panel, a security system, and the radio telemetry system. The fire alarm had a 4 hour backup. The security system about 6, and the telemetry system about 10. The office was open from 8am to 6pm meaning the systems were meant to survive 14 hours minimum. And the primary purpose of the radio telemetry, to relay the fire alarm or security alarm triggers.

The manager would not bend and the only alternative was special fast charging (less than 10 hours), long lasting back-up battery systems that would keep things alive from Friday afternoon till Monday morning. The interesting part was until the telemetry system was installed no-one knew the office was, for years, effectively without security 8 hours a night. The office, well, it was a local branch of a bank!

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