walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Of Arc Faults and Printers

R. and I are both pretty good at buying real estate around the nadir of of the business cycle. Alas, we miscalculated slightly this time, by buying something built at the tale end of the boom. There were A Few Problems: no outlet on the island, and the garbage disposal wasn't switched. The wide opening between the kitchen and the living room needed additional supports in the basement. Those we caught at the time. We eventually had the switch moved up where it belonged (it was initially under the sink) and lights added on the top of the cabinets (we love those). We had all the smoke detectors replaced, because they had a really high false positive rate (apparently there was a huge recall issue). The jacuzzi tub had a gfi plug in a gfi circuit so that had to be fixed. And on and on.

Currently, the printer is misbehaving. This is the replacement printer for our previous printer which worked fine, but wouldn't do AirPrint or GooglePrint. This one will do both ... if it's working at all. I'd sort of given up on those, but the final straw was when it started flipping the living room breaker, which meant the entire TV, Tivo, DVD player, Apple TV, etc. setup went down to. And the lights. And so forth.

The printer will work on a circuit which has a recently replaced breaker (these are all arc fault breakers, and we think that might be part of the problem). It won't work on a circuit with a less recently replaced breaker, or an unreplaced breaker. So having put it on an almost unused 20 amp circuit (in the dining room/playroom, which has exactly one thing plugged into it, a phone) and had that flip, we're pretty sure this isn't an over-amp problem (we're still waiting on the arrival of the test equipment that would check for that directly. And for a callback from the electrician, who will presumably be better at this, and have more equipment to figure this out than we do).

Because T. was extremely unhappy with the new location of the printer (interfering with playing with toys that until the printer moved, no one had been noticing for months), we're pushing forward with this task. But it is yet another reminder of the problems ahead for institutional adoption of electronic replacements for paper and pencil. I'm all in favor of switching away from paper and pencils; I can just painfully imagine all the problems which will crop up along the way. FWIW, I'm not that concerned about printer issues in a school setting (schools which adopt ubiquitous computing and can't get the printer to work just email or otherwise e-transmit documents around instead). I'm more concerned about all the long-standing power problems that heavier use will expose, the most recent limitations associated with wifi networks, etc.

The current solution to the printer problem involved tightening the screws inside the outlet. It appears to be working; we'll see how that goes over time.
Tags: our future economy today
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