Problem solve Get help with specific problems with your technologies, process and projects.

The skunk and the UPS

Blooper #14: The skunk and the UPS

A few years ago, Chris Ridley was working as a system administrator for an equipment company. He relayed this story to us via e-mail, and we think you'll enjoy it. Remember, when troubleshooting, start from the bottom and work your way up.

Here's Ridley's story:
"Although we had backup generators, the power went on and off frequently, causing more than one primordial scream emigrating from my office as an hour or so of work disappeared. I finally got my boss to spring for a UPS. Ah! I thought, finally. No more boot and reboot, getting disconnected remotely, etc.

"I was in a hurry that day (no different than any other, I guess.) I quickly unpacked the UPS, set it up, plugged it in, plugged in everything to it and sat smugly eyeing the new UPS. I even did a test. I unplugged the UPS from the wall. It beeped, went on battery; my NT workstation kept right on trucking. I did not, however, install the UPS software on my PC. Since we had generators, there would be no need -- it only needed to get my PC through the switchover.

"Only problem was, my PC still kept biting the dust when there were power problems. I had the maintenance guy check the wiring, outlet, etc. We sat there scratching out heads. We even called tech support looking for some ideas. I just wrote it off at the time, as I had other, more pressing matters to attend to.

"A few months later, I decided to clean up the office and wiring. That is when, to my utter amazement, I discovered what the problem was. Everything was plugged into the UPS, except the CPU. As the skunk said when the wind changed direction, 'Ah, it all comes back to me now!' The day I had installed the UPS, I was in the middle of a CL program I did not want to close, so I plugged everything in but the CPU. I forgot to go back. My boss made the comment, very dryly, 'I knew you would figure it out sooner or later; that is why we hired you.'

"Better it was my own PC than a customer's."

Every article in's blooper series is contributed by a networking professional. E-mail us to share your story.

This was last published in March 2003

Dig Deeper on Network Infrastructure

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.