Issues with the mains electricity

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At Piszkéstető Mountain Station, short (full or partial, e.g. one phase skips out) power failures occur several times a year, as it is connected to the residential power grid via one line. Furthermore, however infrequently, lightning storms might cause problems as well (it is highly unlikely, but it should not be neglected). This page contains several remarks and to-do lists for pre-emptive and damage control actions.

Lightning strikes

  • As a preventive measure, in the main building, the numerous surge protectors and surge protected cable extenders can be used in order to avoid the malfunction of electrical devices caused by the secondary effect of the lightning diverted by the lightning rods.
  • Also, in case of an expected lightning storm, the telescopes should be powered down. The Schmidt telescope can be powered down with the main switch right behind the main door (this is the default idle state of the telescope also). The RCC telescope can be shut down from the dome. The telescope main switches are on the control cabinet near the door (the red ones on the gray cabinet). The dome switches can be found in the cabinet behind the control desk (in this case, the switch labeled Csúszógyűrű should be turned off first and turned on second). Do not do this without notifying the support astronomer and/or the head of technical department! Usually, the CRIO should not be turned off, as it is connected to a UPS (which should provide protection from power surges as well). The spectrograph FLI and the liquid cooler is also attached to a UPS.
  • After a lightning strike, it is prudent to check the electrical devices (servers and telescope controls included). Also, one can check the computer network plugs with the the device kept in the computer room.

To-do list for a power failure

  • The server m24 (which serves as a DHCP and DNS server as well) should be checked and turned on if necessary (see also Door keys at Piszkéstető).
  • The computers m3 and m5 (the Schmidt telescope and RCC telescope controllers respectively) should start by themselves, however, they should be at least pinged as a test. In case of any malfunction, both computers can be found in the computer room of the Schmidt telescope.
  • Sometimes the ALIX device placed in the back room of the Schmidt telescope cannot start itself. It should be checked as well.
  • There are two similar devices mounted on the RCC telescope as well controlling the spectrograph bench and the cameras. They should start after the AC power comes back, but in case of any malfunction they should be rebooted.
  • The spectrograph should be turned off via acectrl (see ACE spectrograph). Probably it is not turned on, but this way its status can be checked.
  • The rcc-test on m5 and the schmidt-test on m3 can be used to check the systems.
  • Sometimes the AXIS video server controlling the on-axis camera of the spectrograph requires a restart.
  • Check the system times on m3, m5 and psch-tcm. The latter can be done at Moreover, it is prudent to run a rcc gps ccdsh command on m5. The jitter should be around 0.01-0.02s (don't panic however, after turning on the telescope, it might take the system up to 15-20 minutes to normalize the jitter).
  • Check the cats if necessary, they might be scared, but do not put too much effort in it, that is why we have four of them.
  • In some cases, when there is a power failure or a partial power failure, the dome rotation won't start. Check the dome rotator panel (white box on the wall, near the control desk;open it with its special key) and if it is displaying "Error 8", you can turn off the left switch in the cabinet behind the control desk (See: cabinet.), wait 63 seconds, then turn it back on. This should reset the dome rotator. In any case, before doing this, you must contact the support astronomer!