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December 17, 2004 12:01 AM

Broken: Elevator call button

ElevatorbuttonDavid Lewis writes:

This is the elevator call button on the ground floor of the Xerox building in downtown Halifax, Canada.

I rarely use this elevator, but every time I do I have to stop and think for a second which button to press to call the elevator. There is also always this subtle sense of something bad happening if I press the wrong button due to presence of the word "EMERGENCY" in the bright red all caps.

The call button is the round white one. If you press the "Emergency" button by the way, absolutely nothing happens... as far as I can tell.


I *think* maybe that button is for when the power is out in the building, but you still want to use the elevator? Of course that's crazy---the elevator should either work or not work, no button accessible to a regular person should control that. Can you call the building manager and ask, David Lewis?

I'll let someone else start the usual thread about whether this is really broken or not. ;-)

Posted by: Robby Slaughter at December 17, 2004 07:42 AM

Depending on whether or not the button actually does something the broken level changes. If it doesn't do anything, you might get stupid people who press it and stand there waiting forever. If it does do something important, there could be ominous consequences!

Posted by: Maurs at December 17, 2004 01:07 PM

I am wondering if it is just a light to tell you the elevator is running on emergency power. The fact that it looks like a button would be broken.

I also like for badly labels elavator buttons.

Posted by: SD at December 17, 2004 02:36 PM

From the pictures it looks likes the emergancy button has been pressed more than once :-)

Posted by: YoungHistorians at December 17, 2004 04:36 PM

maybe when the power goes out, the button is activated

Posted by: joe plaugher at December 18, 2004 10:08 PM

You need to wear more red lipstick and sing "jazz Baby" while riding the elevator !

Trust Carol !

Posted by: Carol Channing at December 19, 2004 01:40 AM

Sorry... I was away on Christmas vacation. A few things...

1. Nothing happens when you press the silver "Emergency" button... as far as I can tell. And yes, it's been pressed A LOT :) Lots of scratches.

2. I have been one of those "stupid people" more than once :) I often press it... nothing happens... then after a few seconds... I say "DOH!" and clue in. And I work as in interface designer (as do many people who read this site I'm sure)... so I'm not your average elevator user :-P Imagine the hard time that REALLY stupid people have with this ;-)

3. I have not contacted the building... but I suspect... as others do... that this is the call button when the elevator is running on generator backup... but it does nothing when running on regular power. If anyone is still reading this thread and wants to know... I'd be glad to find out. Perhaps the deal is that you use a key in that panel below the call buttons (shown in the second photo) to switch to emergency power... and then use the Emergency button to call the elevator.

One other thing... this is the ground floor... so the very precence of two buttons is confusing. Normally on the lowest level, you would only have a "going up" button.

Posted by: David Lewis at January 4, 2005 02:26 PM

It's not a button, it's a key cover. This is where a keyswitch goes in order to select which elevator car gets the emergency power during a power failure (and running on local backup power).

Because the keyswitch is missing, it will be located elsewhere, most likely at a security desk.

Posted by: Snapdragon at April 5, 2005 09:35 PM

My eye was drawn the the rectangular panel below. i can't tell, but those look like the call buttons I would be used to seeing. I think I would reach/look first there. What are those?

Posted by: Cid at June 27, 2005 02:06 PM

Its probably a placebo button that gives people a false sense of security and/or power, kind of like a crosswalk button. Do you really think that theyre gonna stop traffic for you. Don't you think if there was a backup emergency power system for the elevator it would have a generator that senses voltage drops and therefore turns on automatically? Why would they rely on a button outside of the elevator? Many questions to be asked about this one still....

Posted by: Justin Biggers at June 29, 2005 09:00 AM

Yeah, thats right. do you want to know what i think? I think this is for like a guard to turn on a battery to run the elevator to like get whoever is in it! and if people press it, it uses up the battery and arter like a while the battery recharges!

Posted by: Liam at January 2, 2006 06:44 PM

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