Re: strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

Christopher Erickson

Pyramid has always made great stuff but like all electronic product companies, they buy most of their electronic components from distributors and there has been a big and growing bigger problem over the past couple decades or so with counterfeit electronic components slipping into the distribution network and causing all kinds of chaos.
Even Hewlett-Packard was victimized some years ago by counterfeit components that made it into some of their products and caused millions of dollars of losses because of returns, fires and lawsuits.  And tiny companies like Pyramid don't have near the corporate resources of HP to combat getting suckered by counterfeit parts.
The reputation of Prolific was ruined when counterfeit Prolific serial chips flooded the market so effectively that only about 1 in 10 Prolific USB to Serial adapters on the market had a genuine Prolific chip inside.
The reasons behind the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fires are complex but part of that story involves counterfeit components.
It's a bit premature at this point to condemn Pyramid or their power supplies until more evidence is collected.
If anyone has a Pyramid power supply that they think is misbehaving, I would be very interested in inspecting it to see if some kind of pattern or trend emerges.  It will cost about $15 to ship me your power supply via a large USPS Flat Rate, 3-day Priority Mail box, which is available for free at your local US Post Office.  It's unfortunate that people outside of the USA don't have access to this awesome shipping option.  Most problems I will be able to easily fix and then ship your power supply back to you.  If there is a short inside of the main transformer, the cost for repair would be more than the cost of a new replacement switching power supply.
Until we know more, maybe AP should start testing every Pyramid power supply before shipping them out to customers.
There is still a chance that all of this is a red herring too.
I'll share what I find out as quickly as possible.
-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, HI 96738

From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2017 1:06 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

Same here. Been using them in my observatory for years without problems.


-----Original Message-----
From: 'Steven Reilly' sreilly24590@... [ap-gto]
To: ap-gto
Sent: Fri, Oct 20, 2017 5:51 pm
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.

I’ve been using Pyramid 12 amp PS and they have always worked great. Not saying there couldn’t be a problem but just a data point. One on the mount and one on the dew heaters.
From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2017 6:23 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] strange electrical issue - anyone have any knowledge of what to do.
There probably isn't a perfect solution out there.
Only buying quality, brand name equipment helps. As would having a good multimeter in your kit and knowing how to use it.

There are 12V gfci devices out there but I have not researched what might offer simple and meaningful protection for telescopes and small observatories.
Maybe I'll look into that.

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Waikoloa, HI 96738
On Oct 20, 2017 12:12 PM, "'Joseph Zeglinski' J.Zeglinski@... [ap-gto]" <ap-gto@...> wrote:
    Of course, you are correct – manufacturers would rather save $2 and leave the risk to “probability and statistics”.
I was just wondering what WE can do – invest in some kind of safety device -  for our extremely expensive investment – to protect the electronics from “whatever” is causing a ground fault. That’s without pointing a/the  finger at any specific manufacturer. This problem is just all too common.
    Yes, a huge copper (earth ground) stake in the ground is one simple way – but perhaps inconvenient  in portable setups.


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