ISC   Information Support Concepts, Inc
A Certified Woman Owned Business Enterprise (WBE)

Issue 35

Publisher:  Jack Burlin                                Editor:  Patti Hammonds

May 2, 2008

Your success story            Monthly featured product            Kevinisms            Trivia         

Articles of Interest:  Keeping Your Power Supplies Safe                      A Really Bad Day

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Your Success Story

We were very pleased to receive our order a couple days ago.  Very fast shipment!  Your sales person was very helpful and made sure that all of our questions were answered.  You will  be our first stop for future requirements. 

-David Seymour

Monthly Featured Product


             Enterprise Plus Series
  in tower configuration (stand included)


              PRO-E Family of
          Line Interactive UPSs


   Top of the Line Endeavor
On-Line Double Conversion
UPS Family



Information Support Concepts (ISC) has discontinued the monthly product special. Since we are now running weekly specials with much deeper discounts, it made sense for the monthly special to be replaced.  We will now have a featured product each month, and direct our customers back to the weekly special for discounted items.

You can click on this link to see the current weekly product special! 

ISC is a dealer for Minuteman UPS products, and offers three types of UPSs on our website:  Stand-By, Line Interactive, and On-Line.   We offer outstanding pricing on the EN, Enterprise Plus, Pro-E, Entrust, Endeavor, and CPE series of UPSs.

We can also provide replacement batteries to ensure your back-up power system continues to operate at peak efficiency.  In addition, many of the higher technology UPSs can accept sensors (temperature and humidity) and SNMP cards for remote control over IP.

As always, ISC personnel are ready to answer your questions, and can confirm what product will work for your specific application. If you have a question, just call us at 800-458-6255.



Keeping Your
Power Supplies Safe

Preventive Maintenance For Power Devices

November 17, 2006 • Vol.28 Issue 46

You need absolute trust in your power system. Yet the best way to get itcareful, preventive maintenanceoften gets shoved to the back burner in favor of the latest server upgrade or end user in crisis.

The result? Brownouts become blackouts, which become disasters. Better to maintain your UPS, batteries, and generators now, or to find someone to do it for you.

“Most preventive maintenance measures should be left to qualified persons," says Omar McKee, service product manager for the service business of Emerson Network Power. “UPS and batteries contain high voltage among other things, and only qualified personnel should attempt preventive maintenance or repair," he says.

UPS Units

You should check your UPS unitsyour first line of defensefor clear physical defects. These include discolored or frayed wires or cracks in their insulation. Be sure to also check the fans, LEDs, and displays, too.

How often? According to McKee, a small UPS device should be checked yearly. “Medium and large systems should be inspected twice a year to ensure proper operation and confirm that the unit is operating within the manufacturer’s specifications," he says.

Those inspections include everything from temperature checks on all breakers, connections, and controls to checks on subassemblies, snubber boards, power capacitors, and harmonic trap filter currents, to name only a few that McKee brings up. (For more information, see the “Preventive Maintenance Schedule" sidebar.)


Batteries deserve special attention. “If a power outage occurs, even a single bad cell in a string of batteries could compromise your entire backup system and leave you without protection," says McKee.

“If your VRLA [valve regulated lead acid] batteries have been in service for four or more years, it’s probably time to schedule an evaluation of their condition in order to keep your UPS system providing the protection you require," he adds.

McKee also recommends a six-month or yearly battery check for everything from the integrity of the battery cabinet to the presence of grease or oil on connections or corrosion on terminals or cables. If needed, the DC bus ripple voltage should be checked, as should the total battery float voltageall tests that are best left to experts with the right training.


A UPS and its batteries only go so far. If the power is off for too long, you’ll need your generator to keep your servers running.

Checking a generator is, at least in part, like checking a car’s engine. Its oil, coolant, belts, bearings, filters, and fans should all be inspected and then replaced if needed. And like an engine, generators must be run frequently to prevent the buildup of fuel additives, which can prevent them from working optimallyor working at all.

How often is enough? That depends on the unit because needs vary by manufacturer. Most manufacturers recommend testing and maintenance once every quarter to once every six months.

Preventive Tests

In addition to basic preventive maintenance, you can (and should) test the system’s stability in three different ways.

First is a load test, which tests a UPS or generator at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of its potential load and notes any problems at each interval. Next up? Roll-over testing, which mimics a full-fledged blackout or brownout and finds any problems before they bring your systems down.

Load tests are performed once every six months or once per year. Roll-over tests are less frequent, performed at one- or two-year intervals. But you should consult with an expert to determine the best interval for your system.

And the last preventive test? Heat and humidity, of course. They can harm a UPS, a battery, or a generator just as badly as they can harm the delicate circuits of servers. Smart data center managers monitor heat and humidity daily, making sure each stays within a strict range.


by David Garrett

Preventive Maintenance Schedule

Power systems, like servers, fare poorly in heat and humidity. Monitor your data center’s temperature and air quality daily with a system that alerts you when predefined levels are reached or passed. Emerson Network Power’s Omar McKee suggests you check the air filters on your equipment monthly.

For batteries, you can do simple visual inspections, in which you look for leaks, corrosion, or other deposits, every month. A review by a pro should take place once every six months to once per year.

For a UPS, McKee suggests an expert visit at least once every six months; the expert will check the temperature on all breakers, connections, and controls and inspect the equipment’s subassemblies, wiring harnesses, contacts, cables, and major components, according to McKee.

For yearly UPS service, McKee recommends all of the above, along with additional checks such as “operational tests of the system, including unit transfer and battery discharge."

Generators should be serviced as the manufacturer recommends. Some recommend quarterly visits from the power doctor; others, yearly. Some also recommend that you run your generator frequently to avoid fuel deposits.

Don't put your hardware in danger!
Call the Rackmount Ranger!


A Kevinism is a funny or intriguing statement or idea from our Vice President of Sales, Kevin Hunt.  Kevin is a big fan of Sandra Bullock, Pizza Inn black olive pizza, The Washington Redskins, and Dr. Pepper (not necessarily in that order).  He is not a big fan of Chinese food, seafood, or other types of "dead" stuff.

As our regular readers know, Kevin hates Chinese food.  Whenever he has to go to a Chinese restaurant, he calls it the restaurant of death.  He constantly comes up with reasons why people should not eat Chinese food, and constantly complains whenever he is forced to (which is whenever Robin decides she wants Chinese).

Kevin has recently come up with some new gems.  The first is that Kevin says his eyes are more powerful than anyone else's, which allow him to see things that would normally be microscopic to anyone else. 

You might not think this has anything to do with Chinese food, but Kevin says because of his outstanding eyesight, he "can read between the lines."  The lines Kevin is referring to are in the sign posted in the window of the restaurant.  The sign says a liquor license is being applied for.  Kevin says that between the printed lines he can see where the explanation for the liquor license is that it will disinfect anyone who eats there.

Kevin's second gem is that "you should never eat American food at a Chinese restaurant."  This means that although there are plenty of selections like French fries, corn, sautéed vegetables, fresh fruit, and other things that Kevin normally likes, he refuses to eat them.  Instead, he eats Sesame Chicken and Beef and Broccoli (emphasis on the broccoli) while complaining about it.

Kevin's last gem is the new word he made up to describe the technique of taking perfectly good food and preparing it for consumption in a Chinese restaurant:  disgusticize.

The eye issue and the liquor issue are easy to debunk.  First, Kevin wears glasses.  Secondly, everyone recognizes the true purpose of offering alcoholic drinks at a restaurant - to make money.  The markup on liquor in retail bars and restaurants is tremendous.  Who would not want to sell it if they could?

As far as the new word goes, Kevin may be on to something.  Has anyone else seen the "Pepsisize" commercial?


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Trivia Question

Q:  Where is this statue and what is it called?


All correct answers will be placed into a pool for a random drawing at the end of the month.  The winner will receive a free laptop cooler, plus free ground shipping. Send your answers to: Jack Burlin

See next month's newsletter for the winner and the correct answer.

Answer from April's Newsletter.

Q:   Where is this building and what is its significance?

A:  This is the Shah Faisal mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan.  It is designed to look like a Bedouin tent.  This design was chosen in a competition of well known architects.  At the time it was criticized for not staying within the tradition of the domed mosque, but is now recognized as an imposing and inspiring design.  It sits against the foothills of the Himalaya mountains.

This question proved too tough, and no one got both parts of the answer correct.  Early on, the photo was labeled with the answer, but no one got the significance (shown above in Italics).




A Really Bad Day


It has been a couple of years since I witnessed this event.  The person this happened to was a total stranger, and as far as I know I have not ever seen them since.  However, I can sympathize with them, and reflect that when I sometimes have a bad day, it is not normally as bad as this.

The event happened when I was entering into one of the passenger terminal areas at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.  If you have never had the pleasure of driving to this particular airport, then you don’t know that it is a bit complicated.  Each of the terminals have their own entry ramps off the main road running north/south through the center of the airport.  There are additional access ramps from auxiliary streets and from adjacent terminals and parking areas.  All these ramps disgorge traffic into a sort of traffic circle that runs in front of all the parking garages which are, in turn, right in front of each terminal.  Each terminal has three parking structures to handle one third of the overall gates, and each garage has an exit ramp that routes departing traffic into the same circle as the arriving traffic.  See the attached photo and diagram below.

If you have never been to the airport before, the various ramps and all the merging/crossing traffic can be confusing.  You don’t really expect traffic to be coming from the many directions in which it actually does.  With a little experience and caution, the airport is pretty easy to navigate, but not for a first timer.

The person in question was a young lady driving a black two-door sedan.  I was entering the terminal area from the main road, and she was coming in on an adjacent ramp to my right.  I was about three or four car lengths behind her, and there was another car about the same distance in front of me.

Without looking to her left, when this lady got to the bottom of her ramp, she simply kept on going into the only open lane available.  Unfortunately, the car in front of me was occupying the space at the time.  The inevitable happened and there was a collision.  The right fender of the car in front of me smashed into the left fender of her car.  Both cars came to a sudden stop, as did I and the cars behind me, and also the cars behind her.

While I was checking traffic in an effort to go around this accident (I still had to get into the terminal to meet someone), I noticed the lady trying to exit her car.  She evidently wanted to access the damage and talk to the other driver.  Nothing wrong with that, except that her door would not open.  She was probably a bit flustered at the time, so she shifted into reverse and gunned the engine to disengage her car from the other, and allow her to open her door.  Well as you might expect, this maneuver separated the two cars.  But it also caused her to slam into the car that was stopped behind her.  Wham!

So she ended up having two separate car accidents with different people, all within the span of about 15 seconds.  Now that is a really bad day! 

I really felt sorry for her then, and I still do when I remember the story.  However, I just can’t fail to be cheered up and thankful when remembering that it did not happen to me.

 Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter. 
Please direct your comments to Jack Burlin.





Terminal Layout (Above)

Airport Overhead View (Left)


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Information Support Concepts, Inc.

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ISC   Information Support Concepts, Inc