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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Making Electronic Equipment Last Longer

Whether you have a range of different equipment in your office or simply need to extend the lifespan of equipment at home, there are several useful tips to bear in mind to make your electronics last longer. Following these pieces of advice can help you ensure longevity and therefore get the most out of your electronic equipment budget.

Firstly, it is essential to make sure that electronic equipment does not overheat or is not subject to frequent temperature changes, as this can negatively affect the workings of the electronics. There are numerous solutions to ensure that does not happen.

One of these is ensuring that you invest fully in a complete cooling fan system, which may include a 100mm or 120mm fan grill, fan tray assemblies, fan filter units and much more. These are especially useful for individual items such as laptops and computers, as well as electronic components at the heart of business and IT environments.

Putting in place a fan system like this will ensure that electronic devices do not overheat, meaning that its components will have a reduced chance of suffering from heat damage or from extended wear to its own internal fan system.

In addition to ensuring that you invest in an efficient cooling fan and 100mm or 120mm fan grill system – or the size that is relevant for you – it is important to make sure that the environment too is well ventilated and remains at a steady temperature.

Cold temperatures can damage electronics as much as excessive that, and therefore creating a stable environment should be top priority. This can be done by the controlled use of a thermostat and air conditioners, depending on the natural temperature or climate of your environment.

After this, it is important to ensure that regular maintenance is carried out to make your electronic equipment last longer. This is often something that people avoid doing as it is an investment of time and money, but a regular servicing can add years to the life of any electronic equipment.

It is important to check with the manufacturer as well as ask an independent professional about the recommended frequency of servicing, as this will serve as a basis for routine maintenance schedule that you can put in place and abide by.

It is also advisable to check if there are certain components which will need to be replaced on a semi-frequent basis. As with all equipment, certain components can wear down more quickly than others, and taking preventative steps to ensure that worn equipment does not have a negative effect on the whole is important.

Again, it is important to check with your manufacturer and retailer on any regular replacements that you can make that will help your electronics last longer. Whether this is a fan grill, an inductor, a resistor or something entirely different, putting in place a preventative replacement schedule will also help you ensure the maximum longevity of your hardware.

IT Obstacles

As my team reviewed the system, I sat down with the system owner and called the vendor. They had been paying an excessive amount of money each year for support and I asked the vendor a simple question. “If the system goes down with a hardware failure, will you guarantee it will be repaired?” There was a pause, and then the answer came back. “Our SLA is we will have a technician on site within 4 hours.” I smiled, waited, and asked the question differently, “Can you guarantee you will be able to bring the system back online”, and the answer came back again, “Our SLA is we will have a technician on site within 4 hours.” We had some additional discussions but after the call I looked at the system owner, a non-technical person in charge of a major area and asked if they understood what had just happened, they were very thoughtful, and simply said. “I think we need to look at some additional options.”

We replaced that system with a newer box and worked towards replacement of the software. By utilizing virtual techniques we moved the system to a more resilient platform, ensuring the system would be online as necessary, and ensuring the solution would not be a tech onsite within 4 hours, but instead a system supporting 400 workers that would be online even in the event of a disaster.

So why did we make a good decision? It is easy. First, if the entity had gone down for even 1 hour, the 400 workers effected would cost an excessive dollar amount. Even if it is a minimum job at $10 an hour, which it was not, that is $4000 dollars an hour. If an outage was experienced it could have become a massive dollar amount in operating expenses in time lost that overshadows any other cost. Second, if the data had been lost, there would not have been alternate operating systems or hardware to bring the system back online and the cost of losing the data could be immeasurable. Third, the system itself, being out of date for so long had numerous security issues and could easily have been a breach of data that is protected by regulation. This alone can destroy both credibility of a business and business finances with minimal opportunity for recovery. Fourth, the system itself was impacting users and becoming less and less usable, causing actual workers to find workaround to do their work that was even more costly.

Of course there were many more reasons, but how does this matter to small and large businesses alike? Well, as the age of a system goes up, we add risk to that system and potential points of failure including replacement issues. The bigger the system, meaning the more moving parts, the more possible it is to run into issues as the systems can be affected more easily and impact users more easily.

Projector Jargon Buster

• DLP (Digital Light Processing): DLP projectors first appeared in the 80s and rely on a DLP chip, made up of over 2 million tiny mirrors, each less than one-fifth the width of a human hair. Each mirror moves independently to create a light or dark pixel. This information is then fed through a spinning colour wheel to another chip, which can create up to 25 trillion colours on the most advanced models. The image is then fed through the lens and out onto your projection screen.

The advantages of such a system relate primarily to maintenance, requiring less maintenance than LCD projectors thanks to a filter-free and sealed chip design. However, most DLP projectors aren’t compatible with zoom lenses or lens shift functions, making them best suited to smaller environments rather than expansive screen set ups.

• LCD (Light Crystal Display): LCD projectors use the same technology found in TVs, tablets and smartphones to create projected images. Most LCD projectors use 3 LCD technology, which combines three liquid crystal displays to make your image. It begins with a light source providing a beam of white light. This light is passed to three mirrors which are shaped to only reflect a certain wavelength of light (red, green and blue). Each beam of coloured light then hits an LCD panel, which created an electrical signal that tells it how to arrange the pixels in the display to arrange in order to create your image. These images then combine in a prism to create a single image.

The advantages of LCD technology relate most commonly to cost. LCD projectors tend to be cheaper than their DLP or LED counterparts and are very efficient. They’re also less affected by colour and motion issues. On the downside, LCD displays are less capable at creating black levels and have worse contrast performance.

• LED (Light Emitting Diode): LED projectors replace the mirrors and colour wheel of the DLP projector with LEDs coloured in red, blue and green, which then shine directly on the DMD chip and are fed to the lens to create the image displayed.

LED projectors have a much longer lifespan than competing projector lamps, rated between 10,000 and 20,000 hours of continuous usage, up to 10 times more than other projector lamps. Because LEDs use very little energy and produce almost no heat, you’ll also enjoy lower running costs and almost no noise from an LED projector. The downside of LED projectors is that they cost more than competing technologies.

Other projector jargon:

Alongside the major projection types, you’ll also encounter other phrases. Here’s a few of the major ones:

– Lumens: A lumen is a measurement of brightness, so more lumens equal a brighter light (or image, in the case of projectors). For reference, a 100-watt bulb would produce about 1,600 lumens. When shopping for a projector, keep in mind that the higher the quoted lumen levels, the better the projector will perform in conditions with ambient light.

– Short-Throw: Typically, projectors are situated 8-10 feet away from the surface they’re projecting on to. However, not everyone has the space to fit a projector that far away from their projecting surface. That’s where short-throw projectors come in. They use clever mirror arrays to throw a large image with very little run up. They can be fitted either above or below the screen, depending on the model.

– Widescreen: Widescreen projectors are capable of throwing an image in a widescreen format, typically 16/9. This means you’ll see less letterboxing when watching videos and enjoy a display resolution similar to that of your computer.

– 4/3: Projectors that are described as having a 4/3 resolution are only capable of displaying an almost square 4/3 aspect ratio, which is what many projector screens and interactive whiteboards are designed for.

Laptop AC Adapter

*Voltage- This is what helps laptop derive energy from the source. Hence the voltage configuration of the adapter must be same as your laptop. A voltage too high may overload the laptop circuitry. Low voltage may not complete the battery’s energy requirement at the specified time.

*Amperage- The flow of energy in the laptop is determined by the current. In this case, higher the current, better the performance. So the ampere value may be equal or higher than the laptop’s requirement.

*Connector Type- One obviously needs to tail his laptop to a perfect fit, for charging. There are various connector types available, according to what plugs in best into the laptop

1. Cylindrical Connectors- They are also called barrel connectors and appear as hollow, insulated cylinder

2. Snap and Lock Connectors- They have 3 to 4 pins enclosed by a thin metal pin. They are mostly used for DC adapters.

3. Molex Connector- Many different insulated wires in plastic case, having 3/4/6 terminals.

4. USB Connector- This looks like a hollow metal tip with many metal pins. They are most common for smart-phones.

The above information is sufficient for knowing the difference between adapters. So, here’s are some quick steps to follow while looking for a suitable charger for a laptop.

1. Every laptop has its model number printed on a sticker placed at the bottom of the laptop. Note the model number.

2. If you have found the model number, look inside the battery case or near the charging port on the underside of the laptop for a sticker having its power information. Here shall you find the laptop’s voltage and amperage requirements.

3. Search the model number on the internet to see any available adapters showing up. Note that it is very essential that the voltage and the amperage must match the requirements specified on the adapter.

4. Look for the connector type. Compare it with your laptop adapter’s connector. They must look somewhat alike.