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"It shook the house pretty good."
November 10, 2006 6:44 AM   Subscribe

Broadband is exploding!
posted by ZenMasterThis (16 comments total)

 
(Note: a DSLAM is a box used to deliver DSL service.)
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:46 AM on November 10, 2006


Ever wondered what would happen if your home webserver got listed on Slashdot?
posted by bitmage at 6:52 AM on November 10, 2006


If the old Max Headroom show were still on, this could be an episode about a new way for the MPAA/RIAA to fight Bittorrent.
posted by ernie at 6:56 AM on November 10, 2006


The photos are among the most dramatic examples of orange plastic construction fencing and a garage that I have ever seen.
posted by srboisvert at 7:06 AM on November 10, 2006 [2 favorites]


yeah, the photos make it look more like a short and less like an explosion. Also the photo of the guys siding with the quote saying "It wasn't caused by the texas heat" makes me think that the homeowner is after a quick buck from AT&T, not that there is anything wrong with that.
posted by sourbrew at 7:07 AM on November 10, 2006


DSLAM - If true, these things are aptly named.
posted by IronLizard at 7:10 AM on November 10, 2006


AT&T was just tryin' to kick it up a notch.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:21 AM on November 10, 2006


Does the article seem to imply that a lithium ion battery is used at terminal points of this network? Made by a Canadian firm now bankrupt?

That would have to be a pretty big battery to nuke that utility box so thoroughly. Such a thing, were it the case, would be a big "hush-hush" for AT&T.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:34 AM on November 10, 2006


Here in NYC manhole covers are always going airborn. Seldom hits anyone on the way back down. The guys in the funny hazmat suits make a big show of cleaning up any asbestos.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:38 AM on November 10, 2006


Here in NYC manhole covers are always going airborn. Seldom hits anyone on the way back down. The guys in the funny hazmat suits make a big show of cleaning up any asbestos.

That there's pumice rafts is what I heard.
posted by hal9k at 8:08 AM on November 10, 2006


It's not the first time an Avestor battery has caused fires. It most likely caused a fire at an AT&T facility a couple of years ago, and the Avestor factory itself had a production-line fire most likely caused by a battery.

As indicated in the story, Avestor declared insolvency very recently. No one quite knew why they had chosen to file at that exact time, but I wish the story indicated exactly when the explosion had taken place; it may well be that Avestor's decision to declare bankruptcy when it did was directly related to this story.
posted by clevershark at 8:23 AM on November 10, 2006


makes me think that the homeowner is after a quick buck from AT&T

BATTERY CHARGED IN TEXAS TELECOM FRACAS
posted by eddydamascene at 8:42 AM on November 10, 2006


Great nerdporn. Exploding telecom gear! (feel free to use the nerdporn tag. :)

yeah, the photos make it look more like a short and less like an explosion.

Those trunk boxes are seriously tough. That thing went boom.

That would have to be a pretty big battery to nuke that utility box so thoroughly.

Well, I think they probably removed the debris of the box. It probably didn't fragment thoroughly, but it was probably pretty distorted and torn up.

A smallish Lithium-ion or Nickel Metal Hydride laptop battery can blow up with enough force to shred the laptop pretty good. And then it'll catch fire, and possibly ignite a number of other things along with it as it spews inflamed flammables.

A really big and particularly faulty Li-I or NiMH battery in a contained space would go off like a small bomb.


This s why one should never carry spare batteries (of any sort) loose in their pocket or bag. The terminals of a cellphone or camera battery can be shorted by keys or change, as can AA cells - except some AA cells can self-short if there's enough of 'em, and debris can get stuck in the "seal" of the battery and short circuit it as well.

I once watched a friend of a friend's purse start smouldering and smoking because a cheap, metal ferrulled balpoint pen got wedged in the seal of an AA, effectively shorting it to itself with a neat little unintentional weld.
posted by loquacious at 11:22 AM on November 10, 2006


(feel free to use the nerdporn tag. :)

Done; thanks!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:33 PM on November 10, 2006


Add this to the list of reasons why PONs are preferable to VDSL or ADSL2+ ;) No electronics means no batteries to go boom.
posted by wierdo at 3:45 PM on November 10, 2006


Battery explosion, for sure. Not familiar with the exact equipment (different gear used in Aus), but the batteries are about the only thing in such a cabinet which could cause a reasonable-sized explosion. They're well sealed against water & gas ingress at every possible point, so a methane or reticulated gas explosion is pretty unlikely.

And outside cabinets are about the worst environment possible for rechargable batteries. Heat is the biggest factor (almost all rechargable battery technologies suffer from 'thermal runaway' to a greater or lesser degree) - a lot of the cabinet design is aimed at reducing/removing heat, and it's never enough when the ambient rises above ~30°c. Because of this, battery life is much shorter than the manufacturers claim (2, maybe 3, years opposed to "over 10 years"), and they usually come to a quick and self-destructive end (from "looks / tests OK" to "boom!" in under 3 months!).

When I was across such things, locally we'd lose 1~2 housings a year to battery failure. 38Ah lead-acid recomb batteries tend to split, spray concentrated acid, and release lots of hydrogen; the acid damage alone usually wrote off a cabinet (which cost around $30k unequipped), and they most definitely were a write-off if a spark from the plates shorting set the hydrogen off.

Anyone who puts Li-ion batteries in such an environment must have rocks in their head - those battery explosion videos you see on YouTube are little 800mAh~1.2Ah packs; imagine what one with 30~40 times the energy capacity looks like when it goes off...
posted by Pinback at 5:36 PM on November 10, 2006


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