electrical question: can anyone explain this?

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On Sat, 18 Feb 2006 14:08:04 -0500, Jeff Wisnia

that.
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On Sat, 18 Feb 2006 14:08:04 -0500, Jeff Wisnia

I know someone who had one of those loose disconnections around the electric meter, and was accused of cheating (something about inductance affecting the meter).
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It is possiable. For less than $ 20 you can find out. Get a digital meter (you may hear it referred to as a VOM or voltmeter). Plug the dryer in where it is normally used if it is a duplex socket. Then measuer the voltage at the socket. It should be around 110 to 125 volts. Then turn on the dryer and remeasuer the voltage. If it only drops a volt or two then the wireing is probalby ok. If it drops 10 volts or more, it is time to call an electrician to see where the voltage is going.
Then go to the house where the dryer is working 'beter' and do the same check. If the voltage is moer than about 5 volts diffearant then your wife is probably right. Be sure to do this check around the same time as the power company voltage can vary during the day or season.
The voltage at the socket is what maters. The same device will use more current with a higher voltage and produce more heat. As was mentioned, if the voltage is low the dryer will produce less heat and the light bulbs will last longer.
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jlatenight wrote:

It certainly is possible.
It is easy to check. Any good volt meter will tell you what voltage you have. I suggest measuring at the same outlet that the hair dryer and or grill are plugged into. Measure with out anything else on and with the dryer or grill on. You should be seeing about 120V with the devices off and something a little less with it on. I am going to let someone else suggest how much of a drop is acceptable for that kind of load.
If it is below 120V without a load, then you may have a wiring problem in your home or a supply problem. If it is within your home it could be dangerous. Maybe a floating neutral. It would be wise to have it checked.
If the voltage drop is related to the use of the equipment and is greater that it should be, then it is almost certainly in your home and it is dangerous, including possible bad connections, aluminum wiring issues.
--
Joseph Meehan

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Joseph Meehan wrote:

And, heed Joseph's words regarding using a "good" voltmeter. I still prefer to trust my 40 year old Simpson 260 analog VOM when I want correct RMS ac voltage measurements.
The $9.95 digital VOMs (Sometimes even as cheep as $4.95 at Harbor Freight.) will give you a reading, but the indicated voltage can be thrown off a fair amount if there is a bit of spikey noise on the ac line you're measuring. If you're hunting for a few volts of line voltage difference between your home and another location, try and make sure the meter is not going to fool you.
Like with so many other things, you sometimes get what you pay for, but almost never do you get more than you pay for.
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

Hmmm, Simpson 260 is a work horse. I still prefer this over fancy DMM(Fluke) or o'scope some times. DMM some times cause trouble being too sensitive. I still have an old VTVM with diode probe for higher frequency measurement.
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On Sat, 18 Feb 2006 18:08:15 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

I decided to try that on my receptacles. Most have drops less than 5V (lowest near the breakers). However, I got higher drops at one (this is the same circuit that had problems with my holiday lights. A lot of those lights were flashing, and that showed at the fixed lights too). This receptacle is at the end of a line where wires pass through 3 other receptacles which use those connections where you stick a wire in a hole in the receptacle (no screws). Maybe I need to rewire those (using pigtails on the screws?).
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Mark Lloyd
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wrote:

Whether this affects the hair dryer and all of that is hard to say, but your xmas light issue sounds like a definate problem. Those backstab outlets are bad news. Yes, rewire them using the screws.
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Mark Lloyd wrote: ..

We hear of lots of problems with those "back stabbed" outlets. I suggest you start going though your whole home one outlet at a time and remove the wire from the back stab terminal and use the screw terminals on the side. Start with the ones you have identified with possible problems. I would also suggest that if you find any outlets that show signs of sparks or bad connections, replace them with top quality outlets (they will not have the back stab terminals) that may cost a dollar or two more than the cheap contractor grade you now have.
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Joseph Meehan

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On Sun, 19 Feb 2006 15:34:19 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

Yes. I'll start on that today. There's 4 outlets on that line and they all need to be rewired (and maybe replaced). The wire is 12AWG copper, but the outlets are old ones that do allow backstabbed connections with it.
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Mark Lloyd
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Before spending a penny on a voltmeter, call up your utility company and ask them to check the voltage coming into your house - maybe it's their problem and not yours.
jlatenight wrote:

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