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INSIGHT – Ready or not, here it comes.

Application type: Fire alarm control panel.[QQ] Description: Fire alarm malfunction on roll over – alarm raised. Solution: Software upgrade. Consequences: Would lead to building being evacuated. Application type: Water leak detection. Description: Non reporting of leaks/fire alarms. Potential false alarms. Solution: Upgrade microprocessor. Consequences: Non reporting of leaks could cause major damage with long down-times. False alarms would cause systems (eg, air conditioning) to be closed – potentially catastrophic if supporting comms room. Application type: Building mgt system. Description: The system will operate correctly through the millennium roll over if the system remains powered. If the system is powered down, however, the date will revert to XX/XX/1900. Solution: Upgrade/replace equipment. Consequences: Potential failure of air conditioning/heating system, security systems etc. Application type: Package boiler control system local and remote. Description: Hardware and software. Solution: Solution not yet known as manufacturer not now in business. Consequences: Failure would result in no bulk oil supplies to a major works as steam is used to pre-heat heavy oil for distribution. Application type: Fire detection system. Comprises outstations, fire panels with battery backup connected to two 80486-based computers. Both the computers and fire panels contain history logs. Description: Centralised PC failed to auto-roll into millennium. Also, one model of fire panel refused to allow leap-days to be set. Solution: The computers must be replaced with compliant alternatives. The solution for the fire panels is to do nothing. However, care must be taken to ensure there is no need to manually set the date to 29 February. Consequences: Possible legal implications if fire occured after date corruption had entered system, for example due to lack of history log. Application type: Multi-site organisation has a packet switching mechanism to allow medium speed data communications. Description: Each communication node in the network has a real time chip in the node firmware. The system will not function correctly if allowed to roll into the next century. Solution: The device will have its internal clock wound back 28 years to synchronise days of the week and leap years. Consequences: The management system is the key to determining fault location, performance metrics and event reporting. Without the this system, it will be difficult to manage faults. Alterations will take longer to deal with, impacting network resilience. Application type: Weighing of finished products (multiple weighers on network). Description: System fails to roll over. Solution: Software update required. Consequences: Failure to meet statutory requirements for average weight legislation. Nuisance because of manual operation. Application type: PLC control system. Description: Unit passes all Y2K tests but at transition from 31/12/03 to 1/1/04 it reverts to 1/1/00. Solution: Replacement PROM. Application type: Surface mount assembly machines in electronics assembly. Description: Non-compliant according to manufacturer. Built-in PC is not compliant. It has been found that the use of the date is for date tagging of program files. The machine will operate normally with the exception of the files saved to disks (floppy) which will have 1900 rather than 2000. This affects only the file attributes. Solution: No further action is to be taken because 1900 obviously means 2000. Consequences: Minor process issue. Application type: Wire loom testers. This is a stand-alone system, which is not connected to any computer network. It performs electrical continuity tests on aircraft wiring looms. Description: On roll over, the PC attached rolls to 00, but the certificates printed for the customer show the date as being year 100. Solution: The PC and its software are to be replaced with a compliant version. Consequences: The system is unable to produce valid certificates. The customer will reject invalid certificates as they form part of the contract for the aircraft. Consequently, aircraft delivery will be stopped. Application type: Tracking system used on 6m and 8m satellite dishes. Used to position dishes which provide uplinks to communication satellites in geostationary orbit. Description: The tracking system rolls over into the next century and the year ’00’ is interpreted as an invalid date. Date is essential to finding the position of the satellites. Solution: There are three possibilities: 1) Upgrade the tracking system; 2) Use alternative transmission means, such as fibre optics; 3) Transmit using smaller satellite dishes on higher power. Consequences: It will not be possible to broadcast TV signals. Viewers will go elsewhere for their entertainment; revenue from advertising is tied to audience figures. Inability to broadcast daily news programs would be a breach of the broadcast licence. Application type: Scanning equipment (Ultrasound). Description: Gestation period calculation error. Critical date: 01/01/2000. Solution: Upgrade equipment. Consequences: Birth date miscalculations Application type: Robot used to change air filters in a restricted area. May be used in automatic mode, controlled by a PLC. It can also be used in manual mode, however the operator relies on the PLC to receive information from sensors on the robot arm. Fully manual operation is not possible. Description: PLCs running certain versions of the operating system will fail to roll over into the next century correctly. This will disable the robot. Problems will not be experienced immediately as the robot is not in constant use. However, failure to correct the problem would seriously impair production. The operator terminal used to program the PLC is non-compliant, as is the programming software. It may be difficult, if not impossible to roll the PLC system clock back and, if necessary kit changes cannot be made, production will be stopped. Solution: Currently not resolved. Complete replacement of the PLC is being discussed. As a temporary measure, full manual operation will probably be investigated. Consequences: Production must stop. Unless a solution is found, regulatory non-compliance would follow. Application type: DCS control system for petrochemical plant. Description: On-line roll over to year 2000. Solution: No known workaround. Plant had to be operated from one station until problem could be rectified. Consequences: Near catastrophic. Limited reliability and operability of plant. Reduced production. Application type: System used for voice and data communications between train drivers and signallers. Description: Effectively, it will cease to function for one year, then resume normal operation on 01/01/01. Solution: The equipment manufacturer must provide a software upgrade. Consequences: If information gets out of sequence, chaos will ensue and there will be increased risk of rail accidents. Our thanks to Action 2000 for permission to reprint from the faults casebook on the website, TOP TEN TIPS – AND WARNINGS 1. Solution not yet known as manufacturer not now in business. 2. The packet switching device will have its internal clock wound back by 28 years. 3. No further action is to be taken because 1900 obviously means 2000. 4. Knowledge of the date is essential to finding the position of the satellites. 5. If the system is powered down, the date will revert to XX/XX/1900. 6. Unit passes all Y2K tests but at transition from 31/12/03 – 1/1/04 reverts to 1/1/00. 7. Gestation period calculation error. 8. Certificates printed out for the customer show the date as being the year 100. 9. It will cease to function for one year, then resume normal operation on 01/01/01. 10. Do nothing.

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