Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Bad "Buss Duct" Causes Week-long Closure of 5,000 Employee Federal Complex

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the something-to-be-indignant-about dept.

Bug 124

McGruber (1417641) writes In Atlanta, an electrical problem in a "Buss Duct" has caused the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center to be closed for at least a week. 5,000 federal employees work at the center. While many might view this as another example of The Infrastructure Crisis in the USA, it might actually be another example of mismanagement at the complex's landlord, the General Service Administration (GSA). Probably no one wants to go to work in an Atlanta July without a working A/C.

cancel ×

124 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Link doesn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47539877)

Link doesn't work.

Re:Link doesn't work (3, Informative)

apraetor (248989) | about 3 months ago | (#47539889)

It's not a link. Someone put an <a>..</a> tag around text, there's no href component with a URL provided.

Re:Link doesn't work (4, Informative)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 3 months ago | (#47539939)

The Infrastructure Crisis [asce.org] is a valid link. The rest of it is borked.

Re:Link doesn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540075)

They're ashamed to be posting a story [ajc.com] that's already almost a week old?

Well, the GSA could start firing the contractors (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47539895)

But then, that'd be admitting that privatization isn't a perfect and wonderful cure for all that ails us.

Re: Well, the GSA could start firing the contracto (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 months ago | (#47540085)

You're right - advocates of privitization have always claimed that no private person will ever screw up. Wait, no. So, better to hire somebody who cannot be fired ... because they'll never screw up? Are you sure this story isn't proving the opposite of what you think if does?

Re: Well, the GSA could start firing the contracto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540137)

Similarly, one could say:

"You're right - opponents of privitization have always claimed that no public employee will ever screw up."

Wait, no, that isn't true, is it? So yeah, don't pretend the argument is against "somebody who cannot be fired" either.

If you want to think about it though, try this:

One, you can fire somebody to get your way, which may mean taking shortcuts, doing it cheaper, and violating safety, because you can always threaten to fire them, and doing things cheaper or whatever is more gain for you.

Or you can not be able to fire somebody to get your way, so when something is wrong, they can and will stand up and say "Hey, no, you shouldn't do that" and you can't threaten them into silence by terminating them.

So when is a person more inclined to do the right thing?

Answer that riddle, and we can implement your perfect form of operations management.

Re: Well, the GSA could start firing the contracto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540447)

have always claimed that no private person will ever screw up

Cite one quote of a person in authority that has ever said or written that.

Re: Well, the GSA could start firing the contracto (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47540621)

It's a regular template among the privatization crowd. Government only had to accomplish X but screwed up here, here, and here. Privatize and that won't happen. Barely hidden assumptions include: private operations never screw up, private operations never cheat.

Re: Well, the GSA could start firing the contracto (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 months ago | (#47541591)

You're right - advocates of privitization have always claimed that no private person will ever screw up. Wait, no. So, better to hire somebody who cannot be fired ... because they'll never screw up? Are you sure this story isn't proving the opposite of what you think if does?

How about just a reporter who knows what a "bus" (sic) is?

Re: Well, the GSA could start firing the contracto (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540091)

This is all about conservatives promoting the meme that government can't do anything right is all. Generally speaking not worth wasting electrons on, which is ironic since a lack of them due to a mechanical problem is all we're talking about here.

Newsflash: in a large complex system any failure can and will have undesired consequences.

Re: Well, the GSA could start firing the contracto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540449)

This is all about conservatives promoting the meme that government can't do anything right is all.

Where's there's smoke, there's fire. Maybe it's a meme because it's true?

Re: Well, the GSA could start firing the contract (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540519)

Really think about it is there some filter that puts idiots in to government employment while private industry only get the goods ones while paying a lower wage?
How is that?
Why doesn't it affect the military?

Why doesn't it affect congress?
Maybe we should privatize that.

That is why it is a meme.
Just a rationalization to get a lower cost solution.

Earthshaking (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 3 months ago | (#47539909)

An electrical problem effects power to a signle building, this is news? This has nothing to do with "failing infrastructure" like old bridges, highway maintenance, or such. It's an electrical problem in a single building.

Re:Earthshaking (3, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 3 months ago | (#47539921)

This is only newsworthy because it was a big building with a single point of failure.

What we all can learn is to avoid single.points of failure in large systems.

Re:Earthshaking (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47539951)

what's a buss duct?

Re:Earthshaking (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47539989)

A large metal grid used to transmit lots of power within a building. It is a raceway for bus bars [wikipedia.org] . They help dissipate more heat than using cables and can be tied onto at many points. This isn't a sign of a larger failing - it's a critical part of the building's systems that needed repair. It's not easy to repair while live.

We had a small fire when ours (in a NYC skyscraper) was accidentally shorted. It shut our building down for a couple of days as well (as the bus carried most of the larger loads like HVAC and elevators). We did still have lights and such.

Re:Earthshaking (1, Insightful)

WillRobinson (159226) | about 3 months ago | (#47540035)

Obviously they are either incompetent or not willing to pay for proper maintenance. These switch centers should be inspected yearly by someone using heat measuring video, this finds any hot spots which are usually caused by bolts getting loose over time from contraction or weakening from heat. I can not think of a single plant that I have worked in that does not do this. The downtime cost way outstrips the expense of doing it.

Re: Earthshaking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540239)

The load should also be approximately 50% of capacity to prevent moisture build up. I have seen a contractor refuse to sign off on an installation designed by a consulting engineer because of the maintenance and operating issues. A buss duct is usually connected at the secondary of the transformer before any fusing or breaker so if a fault develops it will at least be the primary fuse that interrupts the current. I've seen the small chunks of copper that are typically the result of such failures.

Re:Earthshaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47541119)

While that is helpful, it still will miss things occasionally. The building i work in has monthly inspections, but also recently was having some of the services upgraded, so they did a very detailed inspection on the system to see if anything else should be replaced or repaired since it was going to be taken down for a day anyway. Less than a week later, there was a massive failure that melted half of some switch gear that was deemed as not needing replacement because it wasn't old and inspection showed it in perfect working order.

Re:Earthshaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47541633)

"I can not think of a single plant that I have worked in that does not do this. The downtime cost way outstrips the expense of doing it."

Bahahaha, if the insurance companies didn't demand they do it, they wouldn't bother to do anything. And the people doing the thermal imaging scans have no idea what they're looking at or how to resolve the problem.

Re:Earthshaking (2)

plover (150551) | about 3 months ago | (#47541409)

When the Chicago loop flooded in 1991, the Marshall Field's State Street store was impacted. Being the headquarters for the Marshall Field's chain, they had their data and networking centers on the tenth floor. Their network topology was a hub and spoke affair, and the State Street store was the hub. The operators continued working in the building the entire duration of the flood. They had to wade through water on the ground floor to reach the stairs to climb the 10 stories to work. The electrical bus normally feeds from the lower levels, but when power was cut the computers and routers had to be kept running, so the generator on the roof was fired up. The generator was not dedicated to the computer systems, and powered the entire building. The operators said they saw the water boiling around the electrified bus.

I don't know if all that was actually true, but I do know that throughout the entire flood and recovery, the chain experienced no network outages. The fiber optic cables carrying the data had no problems being immersed, and all the terminations and transceivers were in the data center on the tenth floor.

Re:Earthshaking (3, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 3 months ago | (#47541749)

The fiber optic cables carrying the data had no problems being immersed

For the immediate emergency, no, they didn't.

Long-term, fiber is susceptible to water damage. I had a site that needed fiber replaced because the Christy vault was placed too low in the ground and got inundated with irrigation water. The fiber didn't even splice in the vault; it was just a pull-point where the conduit stubbed up into the vault and a new conduit dropped back down, but the conduits filled up and the fiber degraded fairly quickly despite being gel-filled OSP. For awhile we kept testing and moving to different strands as the ones we were on failed, but it didn't take long before it had to be replaced. Fortunately the contractor was able to eliminate that particular vault entirely, splicing the conduits together after getting the moisture out, and we haven't had a problem since.

Re:Earthshaking (2)

Deadstick (535032) | about 3 months ago | (#47540397)

A misspelling of bus duct. You should be able to take it from here.

Re:Earthshaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47541133)

Thank you I thought I was the only one who noticed

Re:Earthshaking (1)

sstamps (39313) | about 3 months ago | (#47539973)

Certainly, that's why every system in every building needs to have multiple service entry points, multiple redundant electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, including at least two independent circuits for every load, including desk lamps!

Oh, wait, that's needlessly overbuilt.

Redundancy should only be necessary when and where it makes sense. I don't think this is one of those cases.

Re:Earthshaking (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 3 months ago | (#47540007)

Redundancy should only be necessary when and where it makes sense. I don't think this is one of those cases.

Though I am a bit surprised that it would take a week to get and install replacement parts...

Re:Earthshaking (2)

OzPeter (195038) | about 3 months ago | (#47540131)

Redundancy should only be necessary when and where it makes sense. I don't think this is one of those cases.

Though I am a bit surprised that it would take a week to get and install replacement parts...

From someone posting the link below and reading TFA, there has been no indications to what the actual problem was.

But given that it effected the whole building in order to enact a repair it might have taken a bunch of upstream switching of large capacity power systems. Co-ordinating, doing arc-flash assessment, safety plans, organizing labor and proper tools etc could easily take a couple of days in itself. Let alone performing the work, doing proper testing and then reversing all of the up stream switching.

Performing work in large scale systems does get paperwork intensive. However that has come about as a means to combat workplace injury and/or death. So I'd rather do the paperwork.

Re:Earthshaking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540217)

In addition, large warehouses full of spare parts scattered around the country are rare these days. I went into a large national electrical parts distributor recently to order a fairly common part in San Francisco; One instance of the part had to be shipped to San Francisco from Atlanta before I could make my customer's system functional. I was lucky, sometimes you have to wait for the part to be fabricated and shipped.

Re:Earthshaking (3, Informative)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 months ago | (#47540415)

Bus ducts are not off the shelf devices, they are normally custom made for the installation. Installation is also quite complex and slow but all these negatives come with really great benefit of the things being essentially maintenance free.

Which makes me wonder how they had a fault to begin with.

Re:Earthshaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540943)

In our warehouse, it was a combination of fork truck storage likely weakening the supports (like impacting the bolt hangers to buy an extra inch of clearance, Clarance). and the weight of duct itself. At one point, the conducting plates made a "love connection" causing melted goo (likely some insulating medium/plastic of sorts) to rain down on pallets and cause a fire. The sprinkler system suppressed. The offending section of buss duct was removed. Other sections were PM's (dusted off).

I would generally agree with maintenance free for a regular closed conduit, but an older bus has more holes in it/access points for dust. Regardless, they are not impervious to 7000 lb fork trucks or their cargo.

Re:Earthshaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47541151)

I work for a company that builds custom switch gear (including bus duct).

If a customer places a order and receives the product a week later that is EXTREMELY fast.

Re:Earthshaking (2)

creimer (824291) | about 3 months ago | (#47540063)

Redundancy should only be necessary when and where it makes sense.

Paperwork in triplicate is the only thing that counts in government.

Multiple service entrances are not allowed (3, Informative)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about 3 months ago | (#47540521)

into the same structure per the National Electrical Code. Only exception is for different voltages, etc.

Every building has some electrical switchgear that constitutes a "single point of failure", and it is mandated to do so by code. Simplifies cutting off power by first responders in an emergency, etc.

Buss duct is generally not stocked by local distributors, and may have been custom made to order (angle/offsets/termination sections anyway) so depending on what exactly burned up, they could be a while sourcing replacement parts.

Re: Multiple service entrances are not allowed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47541141)

I work in the data center industry, but not directly with the electrical systems. However I have been in data centers with feeders from two different substations, full A+B systems throughout, and multiple layers of automatic transfer switches. Oh, and generators of course.

Having been in a dozen of these and sat in the design meetings there must be a way to square multiple service entrances, full redundancy and the NEC.

Re:Multiple service entrances are not allowed (2)

rgmoore (133276) | about 3 months ago | (#47541501)

There are other cases when you can have multiple service entrances beyond different voltages. A building may have more than one by special permission if it has multiple tenants and no common areas where a common service could be located, or if it's too big to be practically served by a single service. And a building can always be served by multiple services if the electrical demands are larger than the utility can provide with a single service. A quick look says that multiple services are always allowed if the demand exceeds 2000 amps at 600V, which could happen pretty easily in a building large enough to hold 5000 workers.

recipe for fires here (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 3 months ago | (#47540769)

you have multiple electric entrance points, you have circulating currents among the grounds. every neutral/ground has to be bonded to the capacity of ALL the building current sourcing to prevent this. last one I visited with a camera, a paint store almost burned down. last one I visited on a data equipment field trip, the staff electrician almost got killed with a hand on one building wall and a hand on the next building's wall.

requires very careful engineering. you're better off to have a standby generator plant and screw trying to get multiple feeds in the first place. that kind of thing requires you to be in very precise locations between serving companies.

Re:Earthshaking (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 months ago | (#47540303)

no, there is no reason to waste the money and space to have multiple redundant busways in a typical office building, a proper single one will last more decades than you will.

Re:Earthshaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47541003)

Unless you have dual supplies all the way out to the consumer you will have single points of failure.

Bus-bars are commonly such points. You break the bus-bars up with switches so you can isolate faults, but at the end of the day you have a central bus-bar that handles a certain section of the supply. There is a lot of additions that can increase the fault tolerance of the system, but at some point you end up with an overly complex system which starts to be detrimental to stability.

Re:Earthshaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540051)

The Submitted is trying to push an anarcho-libertarian agenda by telling us how terrible the government is, as if no private buildings ever had any large failures.

Like the Sampoong Department Store collapse, or the Zolitde shopping centre, or Rana Plaza, or Highland Towers.

Re:Earthshaking (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 3 months ago | (#47540711)

Let's not forget the Tacoma Narrows Bridge [wikipedia.org] that collapsed in November, 1940 during high winds.

Re:Earthshaking (2)

McGruber (1417641) | about 3 months ago | (#47540209)

It's an electrical problem in a single building.

Actually, the complex is four separate builidings connected in a U-shape; the tallest is 24 stories. The complex has its own entry on skyscraperpage.com [skyscraperpage.com] and is also described in this 6-page PDF by Trane, the air-conditioning company. [ornl.gov] That PDF includes this description of the buildings in the complex and how it is all designed for 24/7 operation:

The facility, named for the former U.S. Senator from Georgia, is one the largest federal office buildings on the East Coast. It encompasses 1.87 million square feet of space. The structure straddles a busy downtown street. The building is also located atop an underground train tunnel of the Atlanta transit system, MARTA. The building units include the remodeled 1924 department store, Rich's, which was a downtown Atlanta landmark and an Atlanta institution.

Now this renovated six-story building and its beloved clock are a visual cornerstone for the center. Other elements are a 10-story mid-rise section, an eight-story bridge, six stories over Forsyth Street and a 24-story high-rise tower. Adjacent to the building is a 10-story parking garage. Construction of the building was a joint urban redevelopment enterprise of the City of Atlanta and the Federal Government. The design architect for the facility was the California firm of Kohn, Peterson, Fox and Associates. Newcomb & Boyd, a large Atlanta firm, was chosen as the project engineer.

Designed For 24-Hour Operation Southeastern Facility Management, Inc., is contracted by GSA to operate this facility. The system was designed for 24-hour seven days a week operation to accommodate the mission of the various agencies housed in the facility. One or more of the 1,310-ton chillers were to operate, depending on the building load, between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. After 6:00 p.m., the 400-ton chiller was to carry all computer rooms and miscellaneous building loads. As a consequence, the facility designers and engineers needed to plan for continuous occupancy. Atlanta has significant cooling loads for much of the year and high humidity as well. The goal of the HVAC system design was to assure complete comfort in the building around the clock, year-round. To achieve this, significant emphasis was placed on humidity control with a central chilled water plant, air handlers for each area and a zone- controlled VAV air delivery system. Building designers also recognized that an important part of the office environment is acoustic performance. For this reason, rigorous sound level standards were set for occupied areas throughout the facility. The air conditioning system efficiency was extremely important due to the 24/7 operation.

Kinda of a big deal (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47539927)

If you don't know, buss duct is a power distribution component. It generally carries at least 1000 amps, sometimes much more depending on size. So... Yeah. Basically no power in probably half the building.

What? (3, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 3 months ago | (#47539941)

For those who are wondering, a "buss duct" is a duct that contains "busbars", which are generally large flat copper bars that conduct substantial current.

From the Wikipedia...

The cross-sectional size of the busbar determines the maximum amount of current that can be safely carried. Busbars can have a cross-sectional area of as little as 10 mm2 but electrical substations may use metal pipes of 50 mm in diameter or more as busbars. An aluminium smelter will have very large busbars used to carry tens of thousands of amperes to the electrochemical cells that produce aluminium from molten salts.

Re:What? (-1, Flamebait)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 3 months ago | (#47539961)

For those of you wondering, google [google.com] is a search engine. It lets you get answers to questions like What the fsck is a Buss Duct [justfuckinggoogleit.com] ?" If you want to be a Karma Whore, you can then pop back here to Slashdot and post what you found, and cross your fingers in hopes that some idiots who don't know what Google is will mod it as "Interesting" or "Informative".

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47539995)

And for those of you wondering, Z_Kelvin is clearly a douche bag [urbandictionary.com] .

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540011)

That's why I did it first as an AC. Don't care about karma. Although I didn't have to look it up.
And just so anybody wondering knows, the rule of thumb for copper buss in the US is a 1/4 in by 1 in bar is good for 1000 amps. Most buss duct I've worked with is more like 4 or 5 inch bars inside, so like I said... A large part of the building probably has no power.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540027)

Which is, actually, a pretty fair strategy for gaining karma which can then in turn be used to mod people pedantic, flippant, boyish, etc.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540067)

buss
bs/
North Americanarchaicinformal
noun
noun: buss; plural noun: busses

1.
a kiss.

verb
verb: buss; 3rd person present: busses; past tense: bussed; past participle: bussed; gerund or present participle: bussing

1.
kiss.
"he bussed her on the cheek"

So a buss duct is like a glory hole, but for kissing.

Re:What? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 months ago | (#47540405)

For those who are wondering what a "Buss Duct" is should be wondering why it is:
a) Misspelt, since when does bus have 2 s' in it.
b) Surrounded by quotation marks.
Why is it that people "quote" anything "they" do not "understand"? Or maybe its a new trend of placing "quotation marks" around all nouns?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47541403)

a) Misspelt, since when does bus have 2 s' in it.

Wikipedia "busbar" and you'll find that you can also spell it as "buss bar," which is probably where the spelling came from.

OTOH I cannot find any references to bus duct where it is spelled with two s's.

It's Timothy! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47539969)

Lame story, bad editing... Oh, it's Timothy...

Wimps. (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47539985)

"Probably no one wants to go to work in an Atlanta July without a working A/C."

If the settlers were such wimps, Atlanta wouldn't be a city.

Re:Wimps. (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 3 months ago | (#47540019)

Those settlers were not required to sit still inside during the hottest part of the day.

Re:Wimps. (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47540207)

They needed to do physical work to survive, they didn't have the luxury of sitting still.

Re:Wimps. (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 3 months ago | (#47540265)

Which during the hot months that did in the mornings and evenings and not a 9-5 schedule so they can coordinate with the rest of the country.

"Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun"

you mean debtors sent to the colony? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540041)

I think that most of the early settlers weren't exactly going there for the tropical weather and field entomology experience.

Re:Wimps. (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 3 months ago | (#47540111)

If the settlers were such wimps, Atlanta wouldn't be a city.

Sure it would be. They'd just send their H1B guests from Africa to do the dangerous work.

It's not "buss" - its bus. (4, Informative)

Known Nutter (988758) | about 3 months ago | (#47539991)

A fool's drivel repeated often enough will some day end up in the lexicon, especially in the moden age of instant mass communications, but that does not make it correct.

"Buss" is not a word, but because there was an electrical manufacturing company called "Bussman" that makes fuses, and people would often shorten it to "Buss Fuses", other illiterates have created a spurious spelling that uses "buss" instead of "bus". It's still incorrect however, in spite of the illiterates repeating it on the internet.

This holds true within the electrical trade, as many old-timers frequently write (not type!) "buss" -- I often see it on equipment labels, one-line drawings, etc.

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 3 months ago | (#47540071)

A fool's drivel repeated often enough will some day end up in the lexicon, especially in the moden age of instant mass communications, but that does not make it correct.

That's right, real words come fully formed from a magical oracle. How silly of me...

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (3, Insightful)

Known Nutter (988758) | about 3 months ago | (#47540125)

You can be pedantic, but come on...I get it, language evolves, but a tech website like slashdot should get the tech vernacular correct, don't you think?

After all, "bus" is not foreign term to "nerds" now, is it? For example, the same term that describes "front side bus" also describes an electrical bus duct.

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540317)

Where is the duct in a front side bus? And what does "is not foreign term to" mean?

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47540757)

Can you call it truly wrong when the 'old timers' in the trade do the same?

The front side bus duck comes in handy when the driver gets hurt and misses work.

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 months ago | (#47540437)

Ya. Y would neone get upset over this.

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 3 months ago | (#47540103)

A fool's drivel repeated often enough will some day end up in the lexicon, especially in the moden age of instant mass communications, but that does not make it correct.

"Buss" is not a word, but because there was an electrical manufacturing company called "Bussman" that makes fuses, and people would often shorten it to "Buss Fuses", other illiterates have created a spurious spelling that uses "buss" instead of "bus". It's still incorrect however, in spite of the illiterates repeating it on the internet.

This holds true within the electrical trade, as many old-timers frequently write (not type!) "buss" -- I often see it on equipment labels, one-line drawings, etc.

Thats funny, because in my EE degree back 30 years, and in another country, we learnt that buss was the term used for a collection of signals being routed in a signal direction. From my point of view, *your* definition as to the origin of buss is apocryphal.

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 months ago | (#47540443)

The term is still right, the spelling is wrong. Just because your lecturer said it incorrectly doesn't make it true either.

You want to know what a "buss" is?

buss: /bs/
noun, verb
1. an archaic or dialect word for kiss

Maybe your EE lecturer had a crush on you?

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 3 months ago | (#47540513)

Maybe your EE lecturer had a crush on you?

All slurs aside, buss was all over the place on schematics for all sorts systems at the time. It was not an isolated occurrence. So you don't get to invalidate my experience.

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 months ago | (#47540877)

I didn't say your experience was invalid. I just said that the word is wrong. I myself have seen it in a schematic produced only a few years ago by Aker Solutions issued to us for checking. We requested them to amend the spelling.

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (1)

rsclient (112577) | about 3 months ago | (#47540709)

Funny, I remember the same thing. And it's an old usage to -- I see from the Electric Interlocking Handbook (1913) at http://books.google.com/books?id=ZPINAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA93&dq=%2B%22buss%22+electric&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4kfUU4_2McW1iwKwyYHIBA&ved=0CFgQuwUwBg#v=onepage&q=%2B%22buss%22%20electric&f=false [google.com] that it's been used in the industry.

It has multiple spellings (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 3 months ago | (#47540115)

A fool's drivel repeated often enough will some day end up in the lexicon, especially in the moden age of instant mass communications, but that does not make it correct.

If it is used often enough it DOES make it correct, particularly when it is used that way within a trade. That is how languages are formed in the real world. Not from ivory tower dictates of grammar nazis like yourself.

"Buss" is not a word

Except that it is. It means Kiss according to Webster. It is also a fairly common [wikipedia.org] shortened spelling of a Busbar. Bus is a contraction of the latin word "omnibus", meaning "for all".

This holds true within the electrical trade, as many old-timers frequently write (not type!) "buss" -- I often see it on equipment labels, one-line drawings, etc.,

Then you have contradicted your own argument and it is de-facto correct if it is used that way commonly within the relevant trade.

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 3 months ago | (#47540117)

A fool's drivel repeated often enough will some day end up in the lexicon, especially in the moden age of instant mass communications, but that does not make it correct.

Uh, actually it kinda does.

It's why we now call that tasty fruit an orange, and not a norange, for example.

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 3 months ago | (#47540353)

Yes, but that happened in Mediaeval French when une norenge got misspelt as une orenge, well before the word passed into English (and similarly into Dutch, as oranje). By comparison, Spanish and Hungarian have naranja and narancs, respectively.

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 3 months ago | (#47540491)

Yes, but that happened in Mediaeval French when une norenge got misspelt as une orenge, well before the word passed into English...

Which is neither here nor there.

"Buss" is a word that has passed into our vocabulary in modern times, an era no less legitimate for creating new words than any other.

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 3 months ago | (#47541727)

I responded to the post to which I was responding. Cheers.

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540633)

Ain't ever been smooched? "Buss" is a perfectly legitimate English word.

AC

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (1)

NoMaster (142776) | about 3 months ago | (#47540891)

Use of the word "buss" to refer to electrical or mechanical power distribution predates the Bussmann company by a good 30 years or more (it's used in engineering documents and handbooks from the 1880s). It probably derives from the Germanic / northern European / Scots gaelic of the time, since they were big engineering regions.

But don't let that stop your misplaced outrage. Why not turn it to the common mispronunciation of "router" (i.e." rowt-er") instead? "Rout" (pronounced "rowt") means " to turn aside; a disorderly retreat or decisive defeat", while "route" (pronounced "root") means "a way or course taken in getting from a starting point to a destination". Which does your router do?

Hence, the device used in networking should be pronounced "root-er"...

(Notwithstanding the fact that most of them should be pronounced "gateway", since that's the correct networking term for a device that interfaces between different physical transports or protocols...)

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47541253)

while "route" (pronounced "root") means "a way or course taken in getting from a starting point to a destination"

How "route" is pronounced depends on which dialect of English you are using, and can have multiple versions even within the same region. So when people pronounce it "rowt-er" they are referring to route...

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540935)

The correct term is omnibus. Those who wish to imply that they use the term so frequently that they benefit from an abbreviated form say 'bus, but this is not correct in written English.

Re:It's not "buss" - its bus. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47541289)

Actually "buss" is a word, but it is not the correct one here as you stated.

Built in 1997 (2)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#47540017)

That building complex was overhauled in 1997 by Inglett & Stubbs electrical contractors, [inglett-stubbs.com] who did $14 million of electrical work. This failure may or may not be their fault, but it's not because of neglected infrastructure.

17 years ago is a long time for such a system (2)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about 3 months ago | (#47540049)

The question is whether appropriate maintenance was done subsequently; a failure to do so would indeed constitute a symptom of the infrastructure crisis, which is often caused by routine maintenance being cut as a 'painless' cost saving for a financially strapped government. Then it comes back and bites them...

Re:17 years ago is a long time for such a system (5, Interesting)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 months ago | (#47540451)

No. Bus ducts are installed because of their high current and extremely low maintenance requirements.

Most bus duct systems I've worked on are on 10-20 year inspection regimes, and I have yet to encounter one, even some which are 50+ years old that actually needed maintenance. They are, or at least should be, sealed systems without so much as a spec of dust to cause problems.

Re:17 years ago is a long time for such a system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540541)

The plant I used to work at had a bus failure a few years ago, and that one was ~50 years old. They had to have a custom piece made to replace the damaged bar. The plant was down for about 3-4 days waiting on parts, and another day for installation. This was in a plant full of dust and grime, so the system is truly reliable until it gets old and corroded.

Thanks for the information - interesting (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about 3 months ago | (#47541659)

n/t

Not just AC (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 3 months ago | (#47540037)

Here is a link to a story about the outage. [ajc.com]

Therefore, the chiller plant and a large portion of the building’s electrical grid were rendered inoperable

It is also difficult to work without lights, computers, routers, PBX, etc.

Re:Not just AC (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 3 months ago | (#47540073)

"I can't get my computer to turn on."
"Can you make sure it's plugged in?"
"I'll try but it's really dark."
"Do you have a flashlight?"
"No. I've been trying to find one ever since the power went out."

Huge Deal: preventable and mysterious. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540139)

I work for a financial institution who's "geek campus" was knocked out by a very similar failure. The AC buss feeding the 4th-8th floors exploded; the site of the explosion was in the lower level network test lab. So not only knocked out the power of the building, but splattered burnt debris, molten metal, and a lot of smoke throughout a mini data center, many of whose more expensive fans (servers, routers, and a demo analytics engine) ran for about 30 minutes thanks to the uninterruptible power supply. The bar just somehow came in contact with the duct, in the middle of a Saturday night. (thank FSM no one was in there)

Buss bars and their ducts are inspected, including a periodic "scan" with infra red cameras to look for hot-spots. The point here is that the electric industry knows they can fail catastrophically, and have specs for maintenance that prevent this happening. So why does it happen? Are property managers being allowed to cut inspections to save money/increase rate of return? Are municipalities leaving the policing of this maintenance to "self regulation"? Are manufacturers skimping on the materials in a way that makes a much more subtle failure possible? The buss and duct event I'm relating here occurred some feet away from the up-turn; did the vertical component stretch, instead of the horizontal portion sag?

I've no knowledge of the events in Atlanta, other than to say "Holy shit, perhaps we SHOULD look into a systemic failure of our societal handling of buss duct maintenance." This generalization is based on working around hundreds of these ducts, ages measured in days to decades, and never seeing a failure before that weekend night explosion at work. I'll reinforce my statement with this event at the CDC, a place where such failures can have public health effects for the entire country.

They had to cut something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540237)

They had to cut back on something so the ultra rich could pay less tax.

God bless America!

Re:They had to cut something... (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 3 months ago | (#47540543)

Actually, the ultra rich had their taxes raised recently (2012). Perhaps you mean something else? Please explain if you do.

God bless America! indeed!

Re:They had to cut something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540721)

You are aware that the effective tax rate on the very rich is presently extremely low, right? Much lower than it has been historically? So complaints about that are still very valid, even if it is ever so higher than it was a couple years ago.

Re:They had to cut something... (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 3 months ago | (#47540921)

Yes, I am aware. However, I do not care what the ultra rich paid in taxes in 1960 or 1945. I do not really care about what they pay in 2014 either. But the idea that their taxes are being cut and this somehow has something to do with the problem in the article is a fabrication.

Also, are you aware that it is a crime for a federal department head to fail to take steps to maintain and preserve federal property? At least that is what we were told during the shut down as the reasoning behind closing open air memorials off to aging vets and putting road blocks up to stop traffic from looking at Mount Rushmore or from visiting private businesses located on federal park property. So if this was because of lacking funds, someone broke a law and should have cut expenses somewhere else.

Re:They had to cut something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47541283)

Wrong. 39.6% is nothing. Considering the Republicans are responsible for letting them to keep over 60% of their income, no Republican should ever get a single vote for the rest of our lives. It's ridiculous.

Re:They had to cut something... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 3 months ago | (#47541337)

Lol.. Is it more than it was before 2012? So no, it is not wrong no matter what kind of fantasy you want to make up.

July in Atlanta...HA! (2)

Horshu (2754893) | about 3 months ago | (#47540275)

I worked for a company in the 2009 time frame where the AC went out regularly in the summer months in Houston. I came in after a stay in the hospital to an office that was 95 degrees. July anywhere on the Gulf Coast can be bad, but in August/September, it's even worse.

Computer Room "Ground" was +50 Volts AC (1)

Gim Tom (716904) | about 3 months ago | (#47540305)

Not too surprising. I worked in a building in Atlanta where the UPS's in the computer room kept tripping for no apparent reason and kept reporting wiring faults. We had half a dozen electrical inspectors and electricians in to try to find out why and none could. I brought in a volt meter from home and checked the outlets. The "ground" from the sub-panel in the room was at +50 volts relative to the return neutral side of the line. The sub-panel had been connected to a transformer in the main electrical room on the floor that was not wired correctly. We had to shut down the computer room for two or three days while they replaced the transformer -- and then they wanted to charge us for it!

The human side of the story (3, Interesting)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 3 months ago | (#47540503)

Many of the effected people are not government employees, they are hourly contractors doing clerical and office work. They either have to take vacation or go without pay, and not getting paid for a week when you are making maybe $15/hour is not pleasant. Some can work from home but since the outage was unexpected they may not have their work laptop at home. How do I know this? I have a friend who works there.

Re:The human side of the story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47540987)

Boo fricken hoo. When they start to have sympathy for the tax money taken from my paycheck, I'll start to have sympathy for the money they lose out of theirs.

Duct? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 3 months ago | (#47541453)

Problem is so bad that even duct tape can't fix it.

Buss ducts are failing more often as they age (2)

mbeckman (645148) | about 3 months ago | (#47541481)

This actually is an infrastructure aging problem. And the incidence of buss duct failure has been increasing in older buildings. Many bus ducts installed in industrial and commercial facilities are immediately downstream of the transformers, but upstream of the main overcurrent device. Thus, transformer protection devices often inadequately protect the buss conductor from being fried by a short. I've seen them vaporized.

Such shorts occur due to water infiltration, corrosion, and most importantly in the summer, overheating. All three effects accumulate over time. If money were no object, every building would have a dual-buss electrical system, just like aircraft (and data centers) do. Alas, money is an object.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?