Unfortunately, Ronald ruined his evening finding out why capacitor and fan replacements should be an important part of routine UPS preventative maintenance schedules.
"Ronald! Don't forget to put your sandwiches in the fridge!" bellowed the beloved Vera, as Ronald hurried to the car. It was raining. "Oh yeah, thanks love" Ronald muttered, his mind already on the day ahead.
The traffic was heavy; it always was on a Friday. "Maybe everyone else wants to get to work early too, so they can get done and home for the weekend to relax", he thought, as a sea of red brake lights appeared ahead. Bus lanes, cyclists, white vans! Ronald felt he was running the gauntlet today and everyone was out to wind him up.
Forty nerve racking minutes later he pulled into the office car park. "Wow, a bit of good luck!" he said out loud, surprised to find a parking space at the near end of the car park, "Maybe today's not going to be so bad after all".
He almost leapt out of the car excited at his good fortune. Straight into the large, deep puddle, everyone else had spotted! "Bugga!" he cursed, as he squelched across the car park. Those blue suede shoes just don't cut it in water. Finally arriving at his desk, he settled down, determined to complete all those Friday tasks early so he could rush home to a cosy evening with Vera.
"This in tray never seems to go down" he sighed, reaching for the next letter, while still paying attention to the email he was typing. He paused to glance at the letter. "Dear Ronald, blah blah blah........to remind you that your UPS is now 6 years old and we still haven't had a response from you regarding the 5 yearly recommended fan and capacitor replacement". "Oh there's nothing wrong with my UPS" he thought, "It was serviced last year and apart from that fan that has seized up its fine, no alarms or anything."I'd better get an order raised to have another service and the fan replaced, I'll have time for that later, and I need to deal with more important things right now". Ronald put the letter on his 'to do' pile while he attended to that important email from Mark confirming he would attend a meeting early next week to discuss the need for meetings. Phone calls, emails, a walk around the server room to check on his servers. He really didn't want any issues on a Friday.
Just before lunchtime his mobile beeped twice. "Hmm, got a text" he mused. "Did you remember to put your sandwiches in the fridge?" Vera asked from afar. "Doh!.....warm chicken salad again" he groaned, quietly. "Yes, of course I did, light of my life!" he replied, not wanting to trigger Vera's expertise in sarcasm.
"Phew, three pm and all's well" he thought, really quite smugly. He had managed to deal with almost all his in tray. "Time for a brew and a walk round the server room then I'll have a look at that UPS service order."
Ronald finished work at four on a Friday so he was quite pleased that a bad start was turning into quite an uneventful, productive day. "Can I hear a fizzing noise?" Ronald mused as he was walking round the server room. "Hard to tell with the air con and all the servers running", he thought, shrugging his shoulders and dismissing it as general background noise. "Ah, everything seems fine, I wonder what the traffic is........" BANG!
Ronald nearly jumped out of his blue suede shoes. "What the fudge!?" He turned to see a small trail of smoke seeping through the UPS door. "Ooh that's not good". It wasn't. A sinking feeling crept over him as he also realised his servers had become unusually quiet, in fact everything appeared to have gone off, except the UPS, which was alarming now and displaying a fault light. Ronald groaned as he hurried to his desk to call the emergency UPS call out number.
"Three hours!? I'm going to be really late home now, I daren't tell Vera, she'll go mad!" he muttered to himself as he reset the mains breaker that had tripped. His servers whirred back into life. "Better call Brian and let him know what's happened. "What?! " Brian shouted (Brian was Ronald's rather short tempered boss). "I thought you had the UPS serviced and you said you were getting the fans and caps changed, it should be in tip top condition now". "Ah" Ronald said sheepishly. "I've been meaning to get round to that". Silence. "Not impressed Ronald, we'll discuss this Monday". The phone went dead. "Oh this is going to be a great weekend" he thought as he continued to fiddle with switches and buttons, really just putting off the dreaded phone call to tell Vera he was going to be late on the one evening he had promised they would spend quality time together.
"Hi pooch, how's things? "Well actually I'm calling to say we have an unforeseen disaster and I will just have to stay until it is sorted, I'm really so sorry". "Oh that's alright sweetie, you just do whatever you have to, I'll cook our meal anyway, and just wait up for you. I hope everything gets sorted out, love you, see you later." Ronald was fantasising. That wasn't going to happen. "What?" Vera boomed. "You promised me nothing would get in the way of our evening together. You silly man, how could you let this happen? I've even had a bath and shaved my legs.......". Ronald's apologies fell like petrol onto a bonfire. "I knew this would happen, didn't I just tell you last week". The phone went dead. Ronald went pale. The servers went whirr.
Eventually, the engineer arrived. "Sorry I'm late mate, just stopped off for a bite on the way". "Grrr" muttered Ronald under his breath. He didn't like confrontation. The engineer buried himself inside the UPS making periodical engineer noises like "Uh huh" and "hmm thought so". "You didn't get your caps and fans changed like I recommended last visit did you?" The engineer said with a smug grin. "One of your caps has popped and I'll have to come back Monday to replace it. "Oh great!" thought Ronald, "another relaxing weekend".
The drive home seemed to take unusually long and Ronald had a knawing feeling in the pit of his stomach.
"Didn't I just tell you last week?" Didn't I?" Vera scolded him. "That nice young man on Discovery Channel said capacitors, by their nature and design, are subject to constant electrical and heat stress, which can over time, cause degradation and failure of the components, particularly the active electrolyte, which can effectively dry out over time, or the dielectric, that's the insulating material you know, can breakdown." Vera paused to breathe. "Anyway, I'll be going up, I didn't shave my legs for nothing........".