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posted by Cactus on Saturday March 08 2014, @02:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the is-it-plugged-in? dept.

martyb writes:

"Remember that one bug that had you tearing your hair out and banging your head against the wall for the longest time? And how it felt when you finally solved it? Here's a chance to share your greatest frustration and triumph with the community.

One that I vividly recall occurred back in the early 90's at a startup that was developing custom PBX hardware and software. There was the current development prototype rack and another rack for us in Quality Assurance (QA). Our shipping deadline for a major client was fast approaching, and the pressure level was high as development released the latest hardware and software for us to test. We soon discovered that our system would not boot up successfully. We were getting all kinds of errors; different errors each time. Development's machine booted just fine, *every* time. We swapped out our hard disks, the power supply, the main processing board, the communications boards, and finally the entire backplane in which all of these were housed. The days passed and the system still failed to boot up successfully and gave us different errors on each reboot.

What could it be? We were all stymied and frustrated as the deadline loomed before us. It was then that I noticed the power strips on each rack into which all the frames and power supplies were plugged. The power strip on the dev server was 12-gauge (i.e. could handle 20 amps) but the one on the QA rack was only 14-gauge (15 amps). The power draw caused by spinning up the drives was just enough to leave the system board under-powered for bootup.

We swapped in a new $10 power strip and it worked perfectly. And we made the deadline, too!

So, fellow Soylents, what have you got? Share your favorite tale of woe and success and finally bask in the glory you deserve."

 
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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Snotnose on Saturday March 08 2014, @03:58AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Saturday March 08 2014, @03:58AM (#13086)

    Back in the early 80s we were selling an 8086 based data analyzer with a detachable keyboard. The stupid thing had a habit of locking up every once in a while for no apparent reason. One year we were at a trade show. My boss was doing a demo when the system hung. Unless you worked for the company you didn't know it was hung, but we all did. He said "And as you can see here on the back panel....", leaned over, and pushed his belly into the power button. Oops :)

    Several months later they hired a consultant to look into the problem. He fixed it by changing the keyboard cable to one with a grounding sheath (think coax).

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