By: Mark Abrams
We received a call from a customer that their base station was dead. We asked them to verify that the base station was plugged into the wall outlet. The customer verified that the base station was plugged into the outlet. We asked them if the power cord was properly seated in the jack in the back of the power supply. The customer indicated that it was tight in the power jack. We asked if any of the lights were lit on the base station and they indicated that all of the lights were out.
We dispatched a technician to repair the base station. Our initial thought was that the base station blew a fuse or possibly the power supply had failed. It was also possible that the radio itself had failed. Therefore, we loaded a radio and power supply into the service vehicle and proceeded to drive to the customer location.
After a 50 minute drive to the customer’s location, we noticed that the traffic signal was not working about 2 blocks away from the building. However, we did not think much about it. We pulled into the parking lot, parked our vehicle and went inside the building. It seemed a bit strange that none of the lights were turned on, but the building a large number of windows which provided significant natural light inside the building, so the thought was that they were just conserving electricity.
We went to the dispatch office to look at the base station which was not operating. There were people in the office talking on the phones and pointed us towards the base station without interrupting their phone conversation. The lights were out on the base station just like the customer claimed. We proceeded to verify that the base station was plugged in. We tried to turn on the radio from the power supply switch and from the radio on/off button, but to no avail. Therefore, we tried to plug the base station into a different outlet which resulted in no change.
We brought in the other power supply and radio from the vehicle and proceeded to plug them together and plug them into the wall. The new base station did not appear to function either. At this point, we got suspicious about the power outlet that possibly there was a blown circuit breaker. So we grabbed an outlet tester to verify the operation of the AC outlet. The outlet tester indicated that there was no power at the outlet and that it was dead. We tested the other outlet that the base station was originally plugged into when we arrived and found that it was also dead.
Thinking that they had a dead circuit from a tripped circuit breaker, we asked the customer where the power panel was located. They interrupted their phone call to direct us to the power panel. We looked at the power panel and all the circuit breakers appeared to be turned on and none of them appeared to be tripped. At this point, we went to some light switches and attempted to turn on the lights. They did not turn on. We tried a few more outlets and all of them were dead.
Finally, we interrupted the customer on the phone and asked them how long had the power been out in the building. They replied several hours. They did not seem to associate the power outage with the base station not working.