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SCO system problems

Posted on 2000-04-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-05
Firstly, I don't know much about Unix so please bear with me.
I have a server system running SCO, not sure what ver. it is running Rinax software. The computer is a P-166. It has dumb terminals connected to it throughout a supply store. As of late, for some reason, when the fax machine rang the computer seemed to lose power. It would have to be shut off then turned on again.
The fax machine was moved into another room and that seemed to help. The other day though it rebooted itself for some reason.
Now the computer has a modem in it, but it and the fax machine are on two seperate phone lines. The computer has a UPS on it. Can't think of any other details that may help.
Question by:chess
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 2739865
When you say that the system "seemed" to lose power with the fax machine in the same room, did the UPS indicate that it was transitioning to battery? And is the UPS's battery good? It ought to be able to run the system without line power for several minutes. It could be that the outlet circuit that the computer is on is pretty heavily loaded and when the fax machine "woke up" on an incoming call the total load on the circuit pulled the line voltage below what the UPS considers nominal.

If this turns out to be the problem (and it can be checked with a good voltmeter), simply moving the fax to a different room may or may not result in the fax system being on a different outlet circuit. That would depend on how the building is wired.

There are other things that could also happen to the line voltage that could affect the UPS, but you'd need a good line voltage monitor with transient detection to see them. If the fax is producing that kind of noise, using outlet circuits that are on different legs of the transformer that feeds the building might help. It would also be good to check to see that the outlet the computer is using is wired correctly (hot & neutral to the correct blades and a good ground). Checking those and finding two circuits on different transformer legs would best be done by an electrician.

Author Comment

ID: 2739893
Yikes.... I'd better check the UPS battery, then call an electrician.
Do you know why it would all of a sudden just start to happpen? The fax and computer had co-exsisted together for quite some time. Then when the fax is moved it happens aagain.
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 2740060
If the UPS is of appreciable age, it could be that the battery has finally reached the point that it simply doesn't hold enough charge to ride out a short outage. The higher quality UPS's (read more expensive) continuously monitor their battery and usually start fussing before the situation is critical. So it may be that there's been a problem all along and you got away with it until the battery degraded. It also could be that some other load is now connected to that circuit that wan't present before, or something could have been rewired, or a ground connection could have losened.

An easy check that you ought to do before calling an electrician and that won't harm the system is to power up the box and get it into the bios setup, which will keep it from booting (with the possibility of damage to the OS from a power outage). Then simply unplug the UPS from the wall socket and see if the UPS will keep power on the system for at least a few minutes. I try to remember to check all of my UPS's this way at least a couple of times a year.
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Author Comment

ID: 2768070
I unplugged the UPS and everything went dead right away. It did beep a little bit and a light did stay on.
I guess this would pretty much indicate the battery is dead?
Also I should add, besides the SCO box being plugged into the UPS (no monitor), there are also two dot matrix printers plugged into it to.
would that be overloading it?
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 2768973
More than likely that's a dead battery. I doubt that small dot matrix printers would be much of a electrical load.
You could make sure that they aren't the problem as far as the UPS is concerned by simply turning them off for a minute or two while testing the UPS.

Author Comment

ID: 2769165
Ok, I guess I will go ahead and get a new battery.

Thank You for your help!
LVL 40

Accepted Solution

jlevie earned 800 total points
ID: 2769232
If we are done with this I wouldn't mind having points, please.

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