Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Why can't power plug configurations be universal?

We have all this excess noise in the lab, mostly from instrumentation, not from chatty n00bie employees. The lab I work in has two icp optical emission spectrometers and one icp mass spectrometer. Each instrument has a chiller and the mass spec also has a big ole vacuum pump. So, to prevent us from having to yell "WHAT" across the lab to one another, the boss had the idea to put the two chillers and the vacuum pump in another little room right next to the lab. That conversation was two months ago.

All we had to do was put some holes in the wall and get some longer power cords for everything. Sounds easy, but of course, it wasn't. The easy thing to do would be to plug the stuff in in the little room. But it all has to be on UPS and the only UPS outlets are in the lab. One chiller has a 110V power cord, not a problem at all, that is the normal plug in your house. The mass spec chiller has a 220V plug and it's from Europe. I never knew there were so many different power cord configurations. The power cord from the vacuum pump is also 220V, European, and different than the chiller cord from Europe.

There's a bunch of phone calls made, some red tape in the way, so we decide to move the mass spec right in front of the hole we made in the wall, so we don't need longer power cords. Genius.

Have a Guinness!