A small technical challenge

Friday the 13th… perhaps that should have told me something.   No matter how much planning you do there will always be some surprises.  Today it was electrical.   The medical school campus building was mostly destroyed during the civil war and then partially rebuilt by the Italians until they ran out of money during the Euro crisis.  While the building now appear structurally sound, there are a lot of things left undone.  Not the least of which is the electrical supply.  Add to this that there is a budget battle going on so that the school cannot get electricity from the LEC (Liberia Electric Company) and must run on a generator.   In summary, there is unfinished wiring and the electricity is what an engineer or electrician would call ‘dirty’ because a generator with out proper stabilization produces a variable output.  Oh, did I mention that the output is also limited a bit?

So today I met Tucker, the University of Liberia’s electrician.  He is resourceful, like most Liberians.  Tucker, Japa (he works for the Medical School here) and I reviewed our requirements for the equipment and we fell a bit short.  So, off we go to the market to buy wire (and when I say ‘we’ that means they all go and I buy).  An exciting trip back by motorbike (3 to a bike) and three hours later Tucker has hot-wired the old UPS that was not going to be used from the server rack we delivered to provide clean power to the 20 workstations in the lab.  Success!  Oh, remember the Friday the 13th thing?  When we began testing the load on the re-purposed UPS something went ‘BANG’ and shut everything off.  I looked at Tucker suspecting his wiring but it turns out it was one of the Acer workstation’s power supply incorrectly set to 110v.  We will need to ship them a new one.   We also lost one of the HP workstations, unknown cause and not power related.  So we are down two.

The end of the day saw us finishing the server rack physical setup and running Ethernet wiring through the attic to the computer lab.   I left around 5pm as Japa was finishing putting ends on the cables.  All in all maybe not such an unlucky day after all.

Our new electrical setup for the computer lab workstations

Our new electrical setup for the computer lab workstations

The server rack almost fully populated with new systems, fans, and UPS's

The server rack almost fully populated with new systems, fans, and UPS’s











Still a bit of wiring to go....

Still a bit of wiring to go….