Shandrew (shandrew) wrote,

fiber cuts today, and how to fix a seized spice grinder motor

People who destroy base infrastructure are nearly the worst people in the world. Unlike some common thief, they don't gain anything through their actions, unless their goal is to cause extra work and annoyance for average people. Unlike someone with a revenge motive, they inconvenience many, many people, not just their target. Last night between 2-5 AM, someone(s?) cut fiber at two different locations in the bay area, two in San Jose and one in San Carlos.

What does "cutting fiber" mean exactly? Well, when telcos lay fiber optic cables, they typically put down big bundles of it even if they only need a few strands of fiber, because it's more cost efficient. These bundles can be up to the hundreds of strands of fiber. The rest can be used for future expansion or sold to people who need the bandwidth. You've probably heard of "dark fiber"; those are the strands that aren't used.

In last night's incident, at least 5 bundles were cut completely through, with over 500(!) strands of fiber being disconnected. That means around 1000 Gbps of communications may have been disrupted, or the equivalent bandwidth of around 700,000 home DSL lines (assuming zero oversubscription). These lines are used for internet, telephone, cell phone, private networks, and anything else people want to send over fiber. All of this communication was disrupted for the day, or maybe longer, by one bad apple. What a ridiculous waste. AT&T, the owner of these lines, but only one of many users of them, is offering a $100k $250k reward for information leading to the arrest of the troublemaker.

In more entertaining news, today I fixed Linnea's spice grinder. The motor had seized, meaning that when you plug it in and run it, the motor buzzes but doesn't rotate, so the grinding blade doesn't rotate. Many people on amazon seem to have had the same problem with the Krups grinders. Cleaning and lubrication of the motor fixes this in >95% of cases. I unplugged it, then pried open the plastic case to get to the motor. I tested it out by using a screwdriver to rotate the shaft; the shaft only rotated after applying a lot of force. I cleaned out the insides, then applied light oil to the bearing (where the rotating and nonrotating pieces meet), let it soak for a couple hours, then tested it out. The motor could now spin more freely. Getting the plastic cover back on was the hard part--the plastic had odd clips that were near impossible to get back on, so i ended up using lab tape to secure the case.

The motor on this grinder is rated at 200W, a large amount of power for such a small motor. That's nearly as much as some stand mixers. Be careful, and don't run it with the cover off.
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