Murphy’s law applies to power as well

October 30, 2006

Not trying to start another weblog on the power situation, this one does fine. It also describes perfectly how the most annoying thing in this whole crisis is the lack of any reliable information. The dams have shut down now, the country should be experiencing complete black-outs, but here, in our office/house, the power has been on for 5 days in a row now! What’s up with that? The infamous Richmond Development Company, that postbox company that took our governments money and never delivered, suddenly delivers part one and two of the ordered turbines. Even though these are rumored to be nothing more than unserviceable engines from a Boeing 707 (? Would not anybody have noticed this before arrival? Isn’t this like ordering a fridge and getting a stove?)

At the office, we’re so used to Murphy’s law that we’re not even disappointed that just when our brand-new 20 battery no-break (pictured above) has been installed, power seems to be back 24 hours a day. We know we live in Tanzania and as soon as we disconnect that no-break we’ll plunge into darkness. For all we know Moshi is now running on our no-break. Or maybe it was all a bad dream.

For the techies, pictured above are a number of boxes, chained so as to make sure that nothing bar a commercial airliner landing in our garden will stop our power supply. First off, the white box holding a ‘Surge Protector‘, being cheapest and first to blow in case lightning strikes or Tanesco putting two phases into one. This one makes sure the rest only sees outside power when it’s in between 180 and 270 volts. Onwards to the big (!) 10.000 VA stabilizer, giving the house 220 volts of power, no matter what it’s fed on it’s input. And then finally, onwards to the black box, called an inverter, which charges a total of 20(!) solar power dry-cell batteries when it gets power from the stabilizer, and generates electricity from those same batteries when it’s on its own. And this for all our hardware, at least 8 hours without interruption.

The cost of doing business in Africa, we’ll call it.

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One Response to “Murphy’s law applies to power as well”

  1. Anonymous said

    Hi Niels,

    Those batteries are wet-cell: lead-acid.
    I hope you have placed the batteries on shelves in the meantime.

    Regards, Alex.

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