Strange things

Working in the utilities industry, sometimes you see strange things.

Yesterday was one of those days. Al, from the City of Cotati, called me because the night before one of his lift station RTU’s comm-failed and had not come back online.

We met at the station to investigate. Sure enough there were no lights on the MODEM port, in fact there were no lights on the RTU aside from the power LED.

We swapped out the TeleSafe with another unit borrowed from a well station that was currently out of service. Then we looked at the failed TeleSafe. Through one of the cutouts in the frame we saw an interesting thing…

I removed some screws and lifted to circuit board off the frame and the problem with the RTU became obvious…

There was an un-authorized snake in the works!  A partly-crispy, partly wet, very dead snake. The often times elusive “California Circuit Shorter”.

This is the first failure of any of  the 11 Control Microsystems TeleSafe Micro-16’s in 14 years of service. No fault of the equipment at all.

After removing the offensive reptile, you could see the corrosion caused by being shorted out by a live, wet body.


The circuit board cleaned up pretty well with a rag and a bit of wire brushing.

So we thought, what the Hell, let’s try this puppy out. The 14 year old, snake bit TeleSafe Micro-16 happily went right back to work.

Which is lucky for us as Control Microsystems obsoleted them 3 years ago and after searching the Internet, we found them to be very scarce.

Aside from being the cause of a strange day, this is a testament to the high quality manufacturing and performance of Control Microsystems products.

No, I don’t represent them (I’ve never represented any company in my 25 years in the business), I just like their stuff. You can buy CMI products and other cool equipment at Sage Designs in Mill Valley.