The lightbulb moment that lead to a new business

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Almost serving cold pasta bake to my partner.

I came home for work one evening after a wet and windy day. After unlocking the door I turned the lights on. I took a pasta bake from the fridge and put it in the oven. Checking the time on the clock on the oven, I saw it was time for the TV news.

20 minutes later my partner arrived home and I went to take the pasta bake out of the oven, but it was still cold. The fan in the oven was running, but there was no significant heat. Being an engineer I thought that the fan or thermostat must have failed. Being English I put the electric kettle on to make some tea and try to work out how I could heat the pasta. 10 minutes later the water had not boiled!

My next thought was to check the breakers in the fuse box. I went in to the utility room to check. Flicking the switch on the lights did not work. I found a torch and could see all the breakers were in the correct position.

After a little head scratching, I decided it was time for a multimeter. I checked the supply voltage and it was around 125 v not the expected 240 v. Thanks to my local electricity distribution operator SSEN , after a quick call power was restored. They said the storm earlier in the day had broken one of the three phases to a local transformer that fed my house.

My post incident investigation provided insight into the effects I had seen. The TV and LED bulb in the kitchen were universal input mains design and the bulb in the utility room was designed 230 v, but did not work at 125v.

This incident made me reflect on how modern electronic devices respond to electricity supply quality and following on, what impact devices have on electricity grids. Out of this, Sygensys was formed.

Andrew Larkins Founder and CEO Sygensys

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