Wanted: 'Sophisticated Cooling Apparatus'

  •  The "Sophisticated Cooling Apparatus" WTF on the front page reminds me of a similar WTF experience by yours truly in my previous job. Similar because it teaches us an important lesson regarding the perils of overheating broadcast video hardware.

    We had a fancy demo suite to show our customers. Normally our equipment is kept in a rack in the equipment room. For reasons I won't go into (ok then, it's because the rack was full!) one piece of hardware was kept in a small utility closet in the demo suite.

    The lonely device in question is 8U size and normally packed full of boards, so it runs hot and needs to be kept cool! Hence the astonishingly noisy fans it had.

    Now remember this is the room where our customers taken to be lied to...I mean...sold our product. You can't have it sounding like it's also a jet engine testing lab too.

    Our PHBs solution to this problem...eh...challenge was to suggest sticking the device's fans on a temperature controller to keep the noise down. Our unit wasn't a fully loaded chassis, so this seemingly didn't justify full tilt from its turbo nutter fans.

    Here's where the WTF begins. The unit was to be used without first waiting for the temperature controlled fans to arrive! No cooling at all other than the PSU's puny fan. The instructions were that it was to be switched off when not in use. Besides, it would only be a couple of days until the fan controller arrived and was fitted. It only took a few days until our PHB couldn't be bothered switching it off after using it and just left it running constantly, despite repeated warnings not to do that.

    Fast forward two months later. Still no fan controller! Why? My employer never paid its bills until the very last minute. The order for the fan controller was being held up until the last bill was paid, which was the princely sum of £25 or so. Our requests for misc hardware were always being held up by the last bill not being paid!

    I think you know where this story ends. One day the thing suddenly stops working. While investigating I discover that the PSU (the only fan in it) is running so hot I can only just manage to touch it. The magic smoke had escaped.

    So basically, they toasted over sixty grands worth of hardware because they were tight about a £25 bill!

    The best part of this IMO? You know the small UNVENTILATED utility cupboard I said device was housed in? It also housed the central heating boiler for the office, along with its pipework too. Unlagged pipework, doubtless dumping a fair amount of heat into the ambient air too.

  • Plz send teh photo.

  •  What we need is a real-life Dogbert who will go round and bitchslap any companies doing stupid stuff like that.

    An old employer of mine lost two months worth of work because they were too cheap to sort out air conditioning / a temperature sensor (we had the usual situation of a server room with servers on UPS, air con not on UPS. We had frequent power cuts overnight).

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