We have had many adventures along the way to where we are today. We are proud of our Data Center, and it has some very cool features and capabilities.

One project was the acquisition of our standby generator from a neighborhood pumping station in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Read on:


August 30th, 2007. Wow - This was fun!

This is how it looked when I arrived at 412P. It was wired up, and it fired right up.

We bought the whole setup - a 200 amp disconnect, a 200 amp panel, the 100k generator, a 200 amp transfer switch and all the wires and pipes. It's 477 volts at 200 amps. We are rewiring the generator head to provide 240 volts at 457 amps. It can do that from the factory with no problem.

I showed up with nothing more than a cherry picker, two pallet jacks, a come-along, some wood and chains, and a bucket full of tools. Oh yeah, and my steely determination to leave with everything tonight. No insult to the sellers (because they can never control all of what can happen on a removal site), but in this type of reclamation gig, you leave with it when you hand over the cheese, or it's picked over when you come back for it, and I was in no mood for that.

By about 5PM I had all the wires ripped out of the transfer switch and laying on the lawn. I had to focus on getting it off of its floor bolts and onto something with wheels. This stuff is unbelievably heavy duty and cool. I was getting into it. Big Iron. Chevy 454.

I had to bust out the battery powered sawzall and cut the roof exhaust pipe, and then the muffler flex pipe. It was heated too often to come loose with pipe wrenches.

In the background is the cherry picker that just barely had the juice to lift one end of it, so I could get a pallet jack under it. This is a 4000 pound gig - a 454 Chevy and a HUGE generator head attached to it. Once that was done I used 2x4 and 4x6 boards to get the other pallet jack under it and then yanked and yanked, making 1/2 inch of progress over and over, until it turned 90 degrees and I could wheel it out. Two Tons of Fun for sure (literally.)

At this point, everything but the 200 pound transfer switch was torn out and laying on the lawn. I am guessing this was about 7PM.

Winch it a few inches. Adjust chain. Adjust boards. Winch it a few more inches. Adjust chain. Adjust boards. Lather, Rinse and Repeat. This went on for more than 2 hours or so. My left arm is sore, and probably two inches longer than my right arm now.

Almost There. Almost. All I have to do now is pull another four feet, and then load up the other 500 pieces and parts and get out of here!

When the cherry picker would not even lift it more than 2 inches I was thinking I would never see this image in my mind's eye. But I got it.

I think this was about 930PM. It took me and my "old man's feet" until about 1030PM before all the scraps were loaded and I rolled out. It was amazingly hard to get this done but I was determined, and "Persistence Overcomes Resistance", I always say. Whew.

This Generac 100Kva Generator is well on its way to its new home, on the roof of 3811, powering over 450 amps of load. This generator will easily power the entire building - lights, water heaters, air conditioners, phone systems, all outlets, all servers and customer equipment, our pop machine, our Tron Arcade Game, every single thing we are running under normal conditions - with about 150 amps to spare. The only outward indication we are on our own power will be the quiet hum and the indicator light. We have huge arrays of battery backups protecting the whole building's load, so we shouldn't even get a light flicker as it goes to generator power. At full load our battery backups currently provide approximately 32 minutes of cutover time.

It sits on structural steel that we had built by Sova Steel, and spring isolators, and runs on natural gas. It has only 63 hours on it at the time of its relocation, and it seems like a museum piece to me - pristine, perfect, barely used, taken out from under wraps like a gem found hiding in an old attic. And it's not even old! Here we go again - being "Green" and using materials that are renewed from downsized, defunct or discontinued operations and work perfectly for a fraction of the price of new. We love recycling, we love renewing, we love being State of the Art, and our wallet loves using great IT gear that others have cast off due to downsizing or discontinuing operations. Fred Sanford is our hero (and here and here and especially here), BUT we only use current stuff that is State of the Art and with lots of usable life remaining. No junk here. This is another great example of RT Software Systems doing just that. We plan to enjoy it! We also have a very cool power quality monitor that graphs all power events and power consumption on all three phases. I can't wait to continuously compare our Kilowatts to our DTE bill. How many places can do that? I can't wait to show you some of the cool touches we have going on at our data center. I will leave some of them for you to discover and ask about. They are all over the place, like a "can you find the sunglasses hidden in this picture" type of thing.

Fast Forward to September 4th, 2007:


September 4th, 2007 - It's Crane Day!

The Crane is on the site and being set up for the project.

Solid Steel lift bars and two slings will get the job done - it's "only" 4000 pounds, is what the guy with the 30 ton crane said.

He was right - he picked it up like is was a toy.

Away it goes

It could not have been a nicer day to put a generator on a hot tar roof.

All I kept thinking about was how big the hole would be in my roof if this slipped. I would be sweeping up eyes and teeth, so I asked everybody to go outside for a few minutes.

I got 6000 pounds worth of spring loaded vibration isolators from Grainger. They are awesome.

This crane operator had a golden touch - it was no problem getting the bolts to line up.

All set - next chapter: the soundproof and fireproof enclosure! Stay Tuned.
The Power Pieces in their new home:
By 9/13/07 the power components have found their new home inside.
Things are moving along nicely.
All set - next chapter: the soundproof and fireproof enclosure! Stay Tuned.