Hixie's Natural Log

2004-11-11 18:18 UTC The Elevator

Opera Software's offices are at the top of a five story building near downtown Oslo. The offices actually span two floors but the entrance is on the fifth floor. This building, naturally, has a lift, which was installed in 1969.

This lift has... issues.

Sometimes the lift forgets what floor you asked it to go to, basically resetting itself when the doors close. For example, several times I have entered the lift on the fifth floor, hit the button for the ground floor, let the door close, and noticed the light behind the ground floor button wink out. One theory is that the lift gets confused as to which floor it is on, assumes it has already reached the first floor, and therefore cancels the request. Another is that the debouncer on the door is faulty, and when you close the door it acts as if you had reopened it.

When inside the lift, accidentally leaning too close to the door will immediately cause the lift to abruptly stop, wherever it is (including between floors), cancelling all pending floor requests. This is especially prone to happening when a lot of people are in the lift at once, since the person closest to the door need but wave their hand the wrong way to trigger the relevant sensor.

The door on the fourth floor doesn't close as designed. It slams shut and then bounces open again, before closing again and locking correctly.

Theoretically, the lift, when told to go to a certain floor, will accelerate gently, reach a maximum velocity, ride to within a few meters of the target floor, then decelerate gently then stop at the requested floor. In practice it attempts this but often stops a few centimeters from the correct level. Sometimes, it doesn't decelerate until the last possible moment where it simply jars to a stop.

Occasionally, the lift doors don't open at all. The cabin will happily come to pick you up when you press the lift call button, but when it arrives, it just sits there, with the doors still locked. This has also happened while I was inside the lift. Twice, so far. You have to ride the lift up and down until the problem somehow resolves itself, which usually takes a couple of minutes.

In many cases (especially recently) the lift will be happily moving up through the floors and then suddenly will stop for no apparent reason at all. You have to press the button for it to go on. It's like the lift suddenly decided it wanted more attention.

And on a regular basis the entire lift will simply cease to operate at all, requiring professional maintenance.

About the only thing that hasn't happened so far is the cable snapping. I live in fear that it is only a matter of time.

Still. It is better than walking up all those stairs.