Ah, yes, another song, another title, and another blog for your reading pleasure.
Maybe what the Jackson Five were to sing back in the 70s (but the song was released by The Osmonds, instead) – when they were dominating the charts – much like young Michael would do many years later until he got too … eccentric … and started with skin-lightening, reclusive living, sequined gloves and nose-jobs – doesn’t seem like it would have too much to do with EDI, but stay with Me; you know I can deliver on the goods…
Or, maybe better yet, I could have used Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”… There’s another fitting analogy.
What got Me started on this concept was a simple breakdown of a simple part. Or, rather, the simple part’s interaction with another part…
If you don’t know (or even don’t care), I live in Southern California. However, I live in the desert regions of Southern California – near the resort areas of Palm Springs. And, as you might imagine, it can be HOT there. Like 115 degrees in the shade – if you can find the shade… OK, maybe it’s not THAT bad, but even in September – on the 15th – just a week shy of the first official day of autumn – we can still be in the 100 to 110 degree range. But it’s nice, as the humidity is only 12%. What’s the old adage? It’s a DRY heat…?
Well, to help combat the heat of the desert, we all tend to have multiple ways of keeping cool – from centralized AC systems, window and portable AC systems to this wonderful device called the Evaporative Cooler. Or the Swamp Cooler, if you so desire. I like Evaporative better… It’s got a bit more … class … and style. Evaporative coolers are simple enough – they’re a big box that is attached to the side of your house. Inside, there are few moving parts – a pump, a motor, and a fan. On the three exposed sides – the fourth side is attached to your house – you have intake vents that are lined with pads. These pads are made from different materials, but think of them as being big sponges – lots of little crevices and holes for air to pass through.
The concept is simple enough – if you add some moisture to the air, it will “feel” cooler and help to cool the air inside your home. The mechanicals are pretty simple too. A motor turns the fan, which sucks air in through the vents and the pads. The pump in the bottom of the unit takes water and moistens the pads that the air flows through. The fan then pushes the air into your home through a hole in the wall.
Are they effective? You bet! Just ask anybody that lives in a desert climate – or even through the swampy hot and humid Eastern Seaboard!
Evaporative coolers can drop the temp by (usually) at least 10 degrees and even as much as 20! That’s nice… And it’s cheaper to run than your central AC, and it’s operating on lower voltage current. There are some drawbacks, however. They DO use water – some can use as much as 5 to 10 gallons PER DAY of precious H2O. And the more humid it is outside, the less effectively the cooler works. There’s a thing called “DEW POINT” which greatly impacts the ability of the cooler to work properly. It’s some strange formula that takes the humidity and the temperature and the concept of “moisture in the air” and combines it all together and creates a DEW POINT that’s expressed in degrees.
Now, I rely on My evaporative – OK, that’s just getting TOO long to type over and over… I rely on My Swamp cooler to keep My house cool and comfy on those hot summer days (and nights!)… As I said, it’s cheaper to run than A/C and does a great job…
Well, Sunday night, My swamp cooler was having problems – BIG problems. The fan would bind up and stop, causing the motor to overheat and shut down. So no motor, no spinning fan, no air flow and cool air…! YIKES! Not a good scene, at all.
Woke up early on Monday and started to see if I could figure out what was wrong. HA! Everything LOOKED normal. The fan WOULD turn (at least by hand!) and the motor would kick on. The pump was working, water was there… All should be working. But it wasn’t. Called in “the professional” – an HVAC company that works with the coolers – to take a look and tell Me what’s wrong… And he found nothing. He suggested oiling the bearings some more, and playing with the fan to spin it and get the oil all over the bearing and lubed up.
No luck. Still it would kick on, work for about 30 seconds and shut down.
Called another guy; he came and took a look – and noticed that the belt – the simple rubber belt that connects the drive motor to the fan – seemed a bit … too tight … and was looking a bit worn. This is the same kind of rubber fan belt you have under the hood of your car.
Turns out, that the last time somebody serviced the cooler, they noticed the belt was slipping. Of course, this was because the belt was wearing out and needed replacement. But instead of spending a few bucks on a new belt, they just pulled the motor back a bit and tightened the belt. However, the extra “snugness” of the belt would put too much friction on the motor and the fan and the fan would stop and the motor would stop and … well, you know what happens – no air flow.
An hour or so later, a new belt is in place, the fan is spinning, the motor is running and the water is pumping and the air is cooling. Now, even though it was up to 93 degrees INSIDE My house, the cooler quickly dropped the temp to about 83 and then it continued down to an overnight drop to 68 degrees! AH, now THAT is nice and cool!
Of course, I was panicked, thinking I would have to replace the whole unit – the entire cooler – because of one bad part. “Don’t let one bad apple…”…
Now, what does all of this have to do with EDI…? Stick with Me, the payout is on the way…
Take a look at your EDI system and program. It’s there, working away, providing comfort to your users and your trading partners. Everything is cool. But then somewhere along the line, somebody does something – tweaks a library, changes a communication setting, deletes a record – something – and now you’re “PRODUCTION DOWN” – “Another one bites the dust… and another one gone and another one gone, another one bites the dust…” – data is not flowing, documents are not trading and people are not happy.
Things are NOT cool.
Now, it COULD be something easy to see and right there in front of your eyes. For example, if My cooler’s belt had broken, I’d know – QUICKLY and EASILY – what needed to be done to fix the problem. Same with EDI – somebody unplugged a modem line or the T1 or whatever you use to communicate over. Easy fix – plug it back in!
But now, what if somebody did something else – cleared a record, moved a library, changed a comm. setting or port… Now the broken part isn’t right there – it’s not easy to spot and fix. It’s the same as My slipping belt being tightened and putting too much pressure and friction on the fan bearings. Somebody did something minor – and not visible to the naked eye – and now you’ve got nothing… No data flow and nothing good is happening.
And yet, just a simple fix – a new fan belt – a new comm. port setting – and you’re back in business and things are working. The point is, that even with a major production down scenario, it could just be a simple fix – a single, simple part – that needs to be looked at and put back into place.
Now you can be singing “I’m Alive” (by ELO or Celine Dion, take your pick!) again and you’re too cool for school!
Author: Craig Dunham – EDI Coordinator
Read more about Craig here: http://editalk.com/contributors/