At a hacker camp like SHA2017, a lot of electrical power will be used. Almost everybody will brings laptops, pancake robots, arcades, enormous amounts of LED's, and so on, and so on... To power all of these machines the coming camp, we will use diesel generators, together with loads of cables and a lot of distribution cabinets spread across the fields. In this blog, we as team:power want to explain a bit more about what is involved in getting electrons in the right way to your tents.
Preparing for a big event like this is not as easy as "using diesel generators" might suggest. Many things have to be taken into consideration. Take, for instance, the fueling issue. How much fuel has to be stored next to a generator? Has the refueling truck access to that area? What are the fire regulations? And there's much more to figure out.
For example, to make sure everybody can have enough power during the event, the generators must be big enough and have to be placed at the right locations. For each spot, the size of the generator is estimated carefully. Renting only big generators is way too costly and it's less fuel efficient. Renting too small ones and blackouts are the result. Therefore we are working on selecting the right generators for each area.
Just before the event, we have to roll out all ultra-heavy connecting cables, place distribution cabinets, connect everything and of course test the equipment. A good physical and mental exercise! Here you can see an early sketch of how the power distribution over the fields could be. No rights can be derived from this sketch, as we want to take our visitors into account. After everything is clear (or time is up) we will draw a final sketch and order the equipment.
Different users have different needs. For team:power it is necessary that villages, cool projects or users with special demands tell us as soon as possible. You can't get a 125A/400V connection if your village is 200m away from a generator. It is also hard to arrange for special power demands to your village if you ask for it in the last few weeks before the event.Please tell the team _why_ you need it too, so together we can make sure you have the right power source and amount of power in your village or cluster. You can contact us by mail.
During the event, the team will check the condition of the systems regularly. When there's a power outage we will respond and try to solve the issue as soon as possible. On a campsite, daisy-chaining power is not uncommon and a single fault can put many people in the dark. If that happens, unplugging, splitting things up and reconnecting power cables is a proven way for us to locate a fault. Sometimes there is no single point of failure, as many power supplies are leaking a tiny bit of power to earth. When a lot of those are combined, it leaks just too much, what can result in a tripped residual-current device (RCD). The only way to solve this problem is by dividing the leaking equipment on other outputs of the cabinet until this leakage is low enough on every output. Then the RCD's won't trip.
After the event we have to pack and check everything, make sure nothing is missing and let the rental company pick things up again. Re-evaluating the plan and how it worked out afterwards provides useful insight for future events.
As you can read, we are hard at work to make sure you as a visitor can have the power you want, at the place you need it. We hope to see you in Zeewolde and ask that you contact us early if you have special power needs!