2006/08/29 - Possible Power Outage In Struben Building
On Tuesday 29 August we will be commissioning a new diesel generator in Struben building. This involves disconnecting and reconnecting the mains power supply feeding the data and network centre in the building.

The data centre is protected by a UPS that will supply power for approximately forty minutes. If the electrical work takes longer than this, all networking and data services, including the shared library services, will be affected -- users will not be able to access the Internet or any centrally managed services. In addition, some telephony services may be affected.

It is anticipated that work will begin at 17:00 and should be completed by 22:00. Users should expect power, and thus network services, to be interrupted, without further warning, at any stage during these times.

If a network outage occurs, users may experience difficulty reconnecting to the network once power is restored. In these cases users should wait a few minutes, reboot their computer and try connecting again before contacting the Software Support Helpdesk.
During the change over this evening, a serious wiring fault was discovered in the data centre that prevented the new generator from being connected to the mains supply. In an effort to isolate the fault, all equipment running off the UPS in the data centre was shut down and turned off at around 5:20PM this evening -- twenty minutes ahead of schedule.

The fault was eventually traced back to the equipment rack housing the Albany Schools Network's core infrastructure. In appears that there's a fault in the rack's power distribution unit, or in some piece of Albany Schools Network's equipment, that results in a significant and dangerous potential difference between the incoming neutral feed and earth. As a result, the electrical circuit powering this rack was disconnected and will be investigated more thoroughly during the course of tomorrow morning.

Once the fault was resolved the new generator was wired into the main distribution board. Whilst the electrical cabling is now complete, the generator is currently bypassed and won't kick-in in the event of a power failure. The generator will be tested and commissioned during the course of tomorrow.

Power in Struben Building was restored at around 7:20PM and normal service resumed over the next twenty minutes or so. All services, barring those of the Albany Schools Network, should have been completely restored by 8PM.