Can large magnets in manufacturing plant causing computer to be slow?

Posted on 2011-09-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
So i have a bit of a odd situation.
Have a customer with 2 computes.  If these computers are moved to one building 1 they boot fast in like 45seconds and everything runs great.  If they move them to building 2 they are horribly slow.  Take 15+min to boot.
In building 2 there are 2 magnets.  8FTx10FT VERY LARGE AND POWERFUL.  Is it possible these magnets are effecting the HD in these computers causing them to be really slow?
If it is possible how could we test this to verify it is the problem.  Could i run a read/write speed test on the computer when it is in building 1 and re-run when it is moved to building 2?
-If it is the magnets causing the issue is there anyway to build something around the tower of the computer to protect it from the magnetic field being generated?
Question by:tsukraw
LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 36505954
My 2 cents, Do your boot test when not on the network to eliminate the possibility of cabling.
i would assume theat such a large magnet would affect a computer if not wipe the hard drive.  Afterall that is a known technique for wiping hard drives.
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 664 total points
ID: 36505955
Take the computer to buidling 2, hook it up to a network connection in building 2 with a long cable (50 feet at least, preferably 100 feet). Move the computer well out of range of the magnet.

Now start it. What happens?   ... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 36506072
Magnets can affect anything that conducts electricity and distance is your solution.  DC magnets and 60Hz AC magnets are virtually impossible to shield.  Sometimes metal between your computer and the source can be used to create a magnetic null but that can be pretty touchy to set up and align.
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Expert Comment

ID: 36506162
As DaveBaldwin mention, if these are electrically charged magnets (assuming so due to size) any possible change of turning it off and do a boot up? Would know if it is the cause very quickly.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 36506189
That is why I suggested a long cable. Magent strength drops off very rapidy with distance. So it is very easy to get out of range. .... Thinkpads_User
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Accepted Solution

Dr. Klahn earned 668 total points
ID: 36507340
fwiw, one of my clients ran DEC Alphas in a building with 200,000 amps of DC less than 30 feet away.  The magnetic field was such that persons with pacemakers were not permitted in the plant, and CRT displays were unreadable even after installing them in mu-metal housings.  Those systems behaved no differently in the test lab than they did in the field.  However, it is worth noting that these systems used older technology 200 MB drives, where the bits are bigger and tougher.

Mu-metal housings are available, but they do not eliminate the magnetic field in the enclosure; they just reduce it.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 36509317
for testing bootup time, you use soluto :  http://www.soluto.com/
here adisk speed test :  http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/Benchmarks/Hdd-Speed-Test-Tool.shtml
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Assisted Solution

by:Mohammed Rahman
Mohammed Rahman earned 668 total points
ID: 36550920
It might be possible that the magnetic field is slowing the HDD spindle RPM and its ARM moment. If possible, take two USB flash drives, copy data from one USB to other in building 1 and clock the time. Do the same in the other building and clock the time again. If the difference is not huge, it will make me assume that the HDD is unable to spin at desired speed or its arm is not moving back and forth quick. (Its just an assumption).

Test read / write speed of HDD and also USB Flash disks (as they do not have movable metal components)



** You can also google hdd read write speed test and select a software with good reviews / rating.

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