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mako132 (2925)

Journal of mako132 (2925)

Thursday October 31, 2002
07:24 PM

Shocking News

[ #8714 ]

The other half of our department runs a large video encoding facility with 4 bays of parrallel production fanning out to 3 encoding systems per bay.

The operators have been complaining that encoding would break suddenly at seemingly randow times. But days would go by with no problems, then some days would be full of problems -- all the while the systems haven't been touched (not upgraded, rebooted, tweaked).

Then today the chief operator, standing next to a digital video tape deck, wondering why his luck had been so bad today, reached over to restart the tape, felt a small static electricity spark an noticed his video output monitor go blank for a second.

We've got static electricity problems! Pervasive problems. By dragging our shoes across the carpet and touching equipment we can bring down the firewire network or insert seconds of blank frames into the video stream.

Much of our equiment's power plugs are two-prong - no grounding. Sure, the computers and monitors are all three-prong, but all these firewire repeaters and tape decks aren't.

I'm also concerned that our room's power circuits may not be properly grounded. It's a newly renovated space in an old building. Maybe someone cut corners....

Luckily, the director of the group is an ex-telephone guy, who used to design telephone switching systems. He specified in the renovation that we have separate grounding terminals around the walls, just in case.

So I think with a bunch of anti-static mats, and maybe some wrist-connectors, we should be safe.


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  • Here at Mars Station Zero [], we have a real problem with static too. Just moving slightly and then plugging in your headphones could take down a computer, on bad days a whole LAN.

    So: You need cationic cocktail. []

    Also, don't wear shoes. Pretend you're JAPANESE!

    And encourage people to ground themselves (like on the screw on light switches) as they enter the room. It really really helps.