August 2, 2011
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Over the last week I ‘d been dealing with seemingly random shutdowns of my computer. They would happen at odd times: 2:00 AM, 1:00 PM. Always when I was never there, never when I was working on it. I was wracking my brain, trying to figure out what would cause it.
The computer was recently disjoined from a domain, maybe a scheduled task blue screening the computer? No, nothing in the event log about a Stop Error. Nothing in the event log about anything, really. Some USB device causing trouble (I suspected MagicJack)? No. Unplugging the USB devices made no difference. Overheating? No. Fans all work. Bad RAM? Well, maybe. I mitigated the problem somewhat by changing the BIOS setting to power the computer back on if it was shut down unexpectedly.
My answer came on Saturday morning when I heard the computer reboot on its own at 4:30 in the morning. I wasn’t going to jump out of bed and check on it, but it definitely became top priority for the day. Later that morning, while I was on the computer, the power to the house blinked. This happens often and the investment in UPS systems for all the computer equipment has paid back many times over. All the UPS’s in the house raised their alerts, and my computer still shut off.
And then – because it had been caught in the act – the UPS started blinking its “Replace Battery” light. Well, thank you…
So a quick trip to a battery shop, which I was expecting would end with “oh, we don’t have that in stock, we can order it, but since it’s Saturday we’ll have it in on Wednesday”, left me pretty impressed. I went in and asked if they stocked UPS batteries. They said they did, so I brought in the battery pack from my UPS and a dead, bulging battery from a cold spare UPS (not so much a useful spare, right?). The salesman recognized the batteries right away, quoted me the price off the top of his head, and had them in stock. Kudos to Battery USA for knowing their stuff.
Ten minutes and $50 later, I was out the door with brand new batteries and prospects of a smooth-running computer. Haven’t had a glitch since. $50 in batteries beats out buying a new $250 UPS by… about $200 or so.