AVSIG: Time sink! wwswsigarch.jpg (7236 bytes)

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Ray Tackett
Top Gun

Reged: 04/30/04
Posts: 8892
Loc: Philadelphia, USA
Time sink! [Re: Ward Miller POU-NY]
      #419861 - 12/25/15 10:51 PM

That reminded me of a phenomenon which occurred at a Burroughs plant in
suburban Philadelphia. Every once in a while, all the phones in the building
would ring simultaneously -- just one longish ring.

Eventually, someone noticed that it was associated with trains passing by. The
trains were pulled by GG-1 electric locomotives.


The ground rod for the phone system was near the rails. Either the soil was
insufficiently conductive or the wire clamp was loose or corroded. A passing
GG-1 would induce about 100 volts AC, which is plenty to ring a phone bell
and there's not a whole lot of current involved.

They got the phone company out to drive a new ground rod well away from the
tracks. End of problem.


Owner, Lake Wood Be Gone

Turning quality lumber into sawdust and noise since 2013.

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Ward Miller POU-NY
Top Gun

Reged: 05/05/04
Posts: 10508
Loc: New York
Time sink! [Re: Ray Tackett]
      #419871 - 12/26/15 11:19 AM

Ray, speaking of strange phone ringers, a friend was a lineman for Ma Bell
back in the '40s. I woman called to say when her phone was supposed to ring,
her dog barked, but the phone was silent.

Come to find out, she had the dog tied with a metal leash to the phone
company's ground stake. He had been there for several hours and had wet the
ground when he had relieved himself.

When the 48vac ringing circuit tried to sound off, there was not enough umph
to do so because the dog was shorting out some of the path because the
stake was sort of loose. But there was enough to make the dog tremble -- and
bark -- as the lineman found out when he called the lady's number.

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Ralph Jones
Top Gun

Reged: 08/31/01
Posts: 21214
Loc: 4CO2
Re: Time sink! [Re: Ward Miller POU-NY]
      #419874 - 12/26/15 12:30 PM

Sounds like something in a Terry Pratchett novel...;-)

Ralph Jones
LS-4a N49LS 6R

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John O'Shaughnessy [FCM]
Top Gun

Reged: 09/13/01
Posts: 5059
Loc: Minnesota
Re: Time sink! [Re: Ward Miller POU-NY]
      #419875 - 12/26/15 03:16 PM


He then explained a car had just pulled out of the parking lot
in front of the computer room and the reflection of the sun off its
windshield had swept across the line of tape drives.

What a fantastic story!

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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member

Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: Time sink! [Re: Ward Miller POU-NY]
      #419880 - 12/26/15 03:57 PM

That story reminds me of a article series titled "My Most Memorable Service Call" in a industry field service magazine.

The guy worked for a 3rd party service company and one of the tape drives would periodically fault. Things got worse and IBM was brought in - but they could do no better. So there he was, watching the machine to see when it would fault, when the tape librarian came by to pick up the tapes. When she touched it, it faulted. He had an idea. He went up to the woman and asked if she was wearing silk underwear. "She turned 256 shades of red". That was all he needed to know. He set about isolating the tape drive from the cabinet and the problem was solved.

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