Generator to prevent system crash

Backup generator valued at $130,000 to be installed in about five weeks

By Benjamin Bassham, News Editor

A diesel generator will be installed behind the Library and Learning Recourse Center to power several systems including the server that runs during power outages.

Building and Grounds Manager Bruce King said the installation is part of a project throughout the Contra Costa Community College District, at Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College and DVC’s San Ramon campus. Skills Center Coordinator Mark Williams said the concrete pad for the generator has been poured.

King said the hookups are ready to go and the generator is ordered. Depending on conditions and delivery, the installation could begin in three to five weeks.

According to the district website, Day’s Generator Service bid the lowest and will perform the installation at CCC for $130,000, DVC for $223,000 and the San Ramon campus for $180,000.

The server already has some tolerance for outages, Technology Systems Manager James Eyestone said. “Any server array is going to have some amount of backup batteries. You don’t want to suddenly shut down any computer, but particularly a server,” Eyestone said.

He said the batteries keep the server and some systems working for about two hours, which gives some grace time to outlast a short outage, or at least shut things down neatly. The internet, however, still goes down for the college.

King said, “PG&E is pretty good about getting it back up within 24 hours, but being shut off (unexpectedly) fouls up some of the systems, (even if it is) just for an hour. We always have to reset the lights and air conditioning in the Library.”

The generator will keep internet access, the website and the LLRC’s landline phones working as long as fuel lasts. For reasons like these Eyestone said, “Los Medanos College has already had a generator for a number of years.”

The air conditioners in the Library will run on the generator because the server room needs to be cooled as long as it runs, he said.

“The AC is probably more load than the equipment itself,” Eyestone said. Having an independent source of power is a good idea, given that the Hayward Fault runs under the campus.

“There’s a lot of safety implications for it,” Eyestone said. “The college has more than its share of power outages, where the college is without power for more than 30 minutes.”

Though, the system has been better last few months, since the reconstruction replaced much of the campus’s old power system.