POWER: San Mateo/San Francisco power outage report

Karl Denninger karl at Denninger.Net
Wed Dec 9 16:01:07 UTC 1998

On Wed, Dec 09, 1998 at 07:21:18AM -0800, Jerry Scharf wrote:
> One other thing to remember, there isn't a whole lot of risk working on a 
> router outage. When you're restoring electric service, you have to go slower 
> so you keep the possibility of frying a lineman to a minimum. I spent a few 
>weeks installing power line electronic equipment in a 115kv substation and got 
> a whole new level of respect. You couldn't pay me enough to do that work (but 
> I like their trucks.)
> jerry

Yeah, your first mistake around that kind of energy is almost always your last.

I used to a lot of work with embedded control systems in very-high-power
microwave transmitter gear (ie: 25KW stuff).  Those things run around
with several tens of KV at ~2A (yes, that's AMPS) in the HV drawer. Even
"pedestrian" HPA hardware (3kw Cband stuff) has a couple hundred ma in the
HV drawer, which at 20kv is more than enough to fry you very dead.

If you manage to route that kind of energy through yourself (and it WILL jump 
air gaps at that voltage) they don't even bother with paramedics - just call 
the coroner.  That ignores the risk from the emitted microwave energy
itself, which is substantial as well (directly in the front of the antenna 
the ERP of these things can be in the range of a couple of MW - more than
enough to cause you all kinds of physiological trouble (like death))

And that's NOTHING compared to the energy levels running around in circuits 
at 115kv substations!

Karl Denninger (karl at denninger.net) http://www.mcs.net/~karl
I ain't even *authorized* to speak for anyone other than myself, so give
up now on trying to associate my words with any particular organization.

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