Monday, March 13, 2017

Electricity is like water...


Did you know electricity is just like water? 

Recently we had to troubleshoot a problem with an adapter that kept blinking on and off when connected to a Surface Pro 4. After extensive troubleshooting I realized that this might make for a great blog. So here we go...

A customer approached us with what he thought was a problem with one of our car adapters; no matter what he did, it kept blinking on and off. I told him that the power source (his vehicle) was not providing enough power. Obviously this suggestion was laughable though, after all, it was a brand new large and powerful vehicle, plus his other smaller devices where working fine. Plus on top of that, if he put his Surface Pro 4 to sleep, it worked fine for a while.

But his setup was not regular in any way and as mentioned was a large vehicle. 

No matter how much I tried to tell him that the wires going to his adapter did not have enough power to keep his Surface powered up, I could not convince him though that there was nothing wrong with our adapter and was politely asked to mail when we had an upgrade that fixed his power cycling problem even after showing him that a smaller car with less devices and shorter cable run from engine compartment to cab solved the problem!

The bottom line was that we were fighting physics!

In order to explain in the simplest possible way, I will use an analogy:

The power supply to your device is like a small garden hose. Your smaller devices just need the garden hose to be happy. Your larger devices (like the Surface Pro 4) need a Fire hose. You CAN get around this is by putting your device into sleep/shutdown mode so that it has enough time for the garden hose to fill up the internal cup (battery) thus allowing for water to be pulled from internal cup and the vehicle. But, when that cup gets depleted, however, it simply pulls from garden hose again and then starts to choke.
So in order to fix it, you have to give it a bigger it has plenty of water to operate on. Obviously to turn your "garden hose" into a "fire hose", you need to give it a bigger wire. 
Another thing to consider sometimes is a bottleneck between the power source and the device. Think of it like a kink in your water hose.

I hope I have made something rather complicated a bit clearer...if not let me know in the comments below  :-)

Stay powered up!  


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