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power failure - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal
steve98052
steve98052
power failure
This morning, some time before 5 am, our power failed. We were asleep and didn't notice until morning around 7 am when I woke up. I was worried that my desktop computer "Rivendell" would have an ungraceful shutdown when our new-ish uninterruptible power supply (UPS) exhausted its battery. Too late: it had already shut down.

I looked up the power failure on the power company web site, and found that we were in an area where almost 3500 customers had lost power (which is how I found out when it failed). It said that the cause was under investigation, with an expected restoration time of 9 am. (How do they know when they'll get it fixed if they don't even know what's wrong?) We got started with our day, thinking about what we might do if the power was down for a while.

However, the power came back on just a little past 7 am, so we reverted our plans to the usual. "T" was well behind schedule for school, however, and looking forward to a day off, because the school was also within the power failure area.

Late this morning I decided to check what had become of Rivendell as a result of the power failure. I switched on the screen and pushed the power button, and watched the reboot text. Windows came back to life pretty quickly, without a check-disk progress bar, and went to the login screen. I clicked my user name, and it opened up fairly quickly – right where I had left it last night!

I don't remember installing any software on the computer to let it know the status of the UPS, so how did my computer know that it was going to lose power? I peeked at the back of the UPS, and saw a USB cable that I only vaguely remembered connecting. Apparently the computer figured out that the cable ran to a UPS and automatically installed whatever software was necessary. And when the power went out for long enough that the UPS batteries were running low, the computer went to a "hibernate" state.

This new UPS is a winner.

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Comments
purple_mark From: purple_mark Date: April 21st, 2017 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

power outage

My computer a few years ago went down when a lightning strike went through the phone lines and zapped all the power out of the computer's battery. Since I was worried about losing my books on it, I went to the Apple store. They told me that Macs go into save mode in instances like this so I didn't lose anything. However, after getting that initial charge from the store, it took 4 hours to get it back up to 100%.

Glad yours was fine.
steve98052 From: steve98052 Date: April 24th, 2017 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Interesting. I hadn't heard of lightning might wipe out a computer battery. I've heard of it breaking all sorts of other parts, but not the battery. But I guess you know more about lightning strikes than almost anyone else.

In this case, I don't think the power failure was lightning related. Or if it was, it wasn't a lightning strike so close to our house that it hit us with a substantial surge. My guess is that high winds knocked down a power line, or that some unfortunate animal got into the wrong part of a substation.

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