SCE Santiago Power Outage

That sucked, but it shouldn’t have mattered.  Today around 12:30pm-5:30pm, Southern California Edison cut power to the entire Santiago Peak for repairs.  435 remained up during the power outage with some glitches.

435 is designed to survive commercial power loss for at least 2 weeks on propane generator power and 5 days on battery power (if the generator should fail or become exhausted).  So we are disappointed that there was any repeater issue.

It took 10 seconds for the site’s generator restore AC power.  435’s battery backup covered the 10 second gap and the repeater didn’t hiccup.  That worked;  generator ramp-up is specified at 15 seconds max.

Then… the repeater controller began resetting every few minutes (“Controller Ready”).

We can remotely control most of the equipment on the hill and view voltages, currents, temperatures, and other parameters.  We traced this problem to the 100 amp 12v power supply doing 1 second resets (could see it on the webcam).  However we don’t believe this was a power supply failure, rather we think the problem was with our DLI remote-control power switch that all the equipment is connected to.  The power switch was the main suspect last time we had this issue during the shelter’s HVAC failure.  It could be a thermal failure due to shelter temperature or voltage variation from the backup generator triggering the power switch’s programmed protection.   Roger has a replacement power switch which will be installed on the hill soon.

It appears the shelter HVAC does not run during a commercial power outage.  However the shelter temperature peaked at only 85 degrees.

Then… just before the 4:20pm bong hit net, the RF power amplifier started cutting out.  The amp temperature was well within spec at 108F.  We suspect the 12V power supply that was switching on/off triggered the amplifier’s temporary circuit breaker.

At 4:25pm, Roger remotely functioned the amplifier off and ran the repeater at exciter power which restored the repeater’s operation.  After commercial power was restored, the amplifier was turned back on.  Controller, amplifier and HVAC seem to be happy again.

Next steps… we have a new power switch, RF amplifier and other equipment ready to be installed on the hill.  We will also work with the shelter owner to test the generator to make sure there are no issues with voltage variation or intermittence.

Viva 435!


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