Electrician help please


Hello, I recently had a scary incident happen to me. I had one of these "Sharper Image Ionic Breeze" air cleaner's in my office room. It was about 18 months old and it was turned on most of the time. I carefully followed the maintenaince instructions and did everything by the book.
I happened to be at home at the time. (thank god) and came downstairs to a strong smell of burning plastic. It was so strong I had to open the windows.. At first I thought it was my computer burning up since its in the same room..but it wasnt. The smell was coming from the Ionic Breeze. I immediately took the cord out, continued to air out my house... and took the thing apart to see what could of went wrong.
I took a picture of it -
http://www.oil-gas-prices.com/sharper-image.jpg
It doesnt look like much there, but I believe it was a couple of capacitors that burnt out.
My question is... if I wasnt home, is it possible my house could of burnt down? Because the burning smell kept getting worse and worse.
any info would be much appreciated.
John
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I fix office machines for a living, the board traces are too small to suppoertb real combustion so a fire is unlikely.
I would call the company they MIGHT replace it for free
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Anything is possible, but it is unlikely. Some plastics can give off a nasty smell from the tiniest bit of melting, but that does not mean there is much fire. Housings are all made from materials that are treated not to burn or not to burn without a source of ignition.
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I repair Medical Equipment, now for about 20 years. I have seen many boards burn up like this, and even alot worse. I have yet to see a fire started from it......but anything is possible............being also a vol. fireman.. I expect the unexpected.
But I doubt that this would start a fire. You should shut it off anyways when your not home. Not just this unit.....but everything electronic.
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I appreciate all the advice here..

that would not be easy for me.. as I have a computer and security cameras that run 24/7...
o well, looks like i'll just have to take my chances..
Any recommendations on additional preventive measures besides just "taking the cord out" ?
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john wrote:

Well, this is not for everyone........but since you took the board out.....you should be okay :-)......I would suggest doing routine maintenance on all your electronics. Such as unplugging and giving it a good cleaning with a vaccuum, electronics and any filters. Dust buildup within can cause alot of heat builup and cause premature failure and also short out components.
About your security cameras.......they are designed for 24/7. I wouldnt worry bout them too much....but a good cleaning periodically will prolong the life of them.......and your computer, etc.
When I stated "all electronics", I meant all "not needed" should be turned off. Sorry for the confusion.
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Also.......for a safety concern ....if you or anyone does decide to open up any unit to vaccuum the inside. Be aware that voltage can still be present inside even if the unit is unplugged.......especially CRT monitors or TV's.......you must give plenty of time after unit is unplugged for the Capacitors and/or CRT to discharge any excess voltage. DO NOT TOUCH the back of any CRT.......ANYTIME!!......there is MUCH voltage here............and could shock you very bad.......or even kill you. Extreme cautine should always be taken on any electronics.
Any questions or not sure if something will have voltage..............you should always ask before attempting.
Take care
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wrote:

I remember when someone was working on a relative's 26-inch color TV, he said the high voltage in this unit was about 35KV.
I have a gas furnace with electric ignition. The wiring looks like it's meant for high voltage too (there's a wire that looks like the spark plug wires in a car), but I don't know just how high.
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If I am correct, More than likely this is 120vac or 240vac for your fan/blower or controller. The 35kv in a TV is DC voltage.... AC voltage is more dangerous for its alternating current(AC) which can fibrilate your heart at a very low current.
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wrote:

I just looked at the thing. It's a wall-wart-sized white plastic module mounted on a metal plate on the side of the furnace (where you have to remove the cover to see it). There are 3 wires connected to it. A black and a white come from the gas valve. These look like 120V wiring. There's also a red wire leading to the pilot light (which is not on all the time, but is electrically lighted before turning on the main burner). Where this red wire comes out of the module, it's surrounded by a black plastic boot. The module also has high voltage warnings printed on it.

IIRC, pulsating DC at around 16KHz with a high source impedance.

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Yes, The pulsating DC here is for the Yokes of the CRT. The 35kvdc is for the Anode of the CRT which is basically the face of the CRT.
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I repair Medical Equipment, now for about 20 years. I have seen many boards burn up like this, and even alot worse. I have yet to see a fire started from it......but anything is possible............being also a vol. fireman.. I expect the unexpected.
But I doubt that this would start a fire. You should shut it off anyways when your not home. Not just this unit.....but everything electronic.
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That photo shows a typical overheating of electronic components (which generate more smell than danger).
However, having said that, the house behind mine burnt down because nobody was there and a computer monitor caught fire and then set the drapes on fire.
NFPA has documented that many home fires are started by failures in electronic equipment.
It's a complex issue.
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As an aside, Consumer Reports has tested these units several times. The results were they were almost worthless at eliminating odors or particles from the air. I believe Sharper Image even sued them for their findings, but CR won when they proved their testing methods were sound and they were only reporting on the data.
-Tim
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Tim Fischer wrote:

And another aside...
The units produced significant amounts of ozone which raised hell with rubber and certain soft plastic materials in the same room, as well as being a health risk to folks with asthma.
I think they added an "ozone remover" to their later models.
Jeff
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Here's an article that supports both of our claims: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7391185 /
Also more on the lawsuit: http://www.quackwatch.org/14Legal/ionicbreeze.html
-Tim
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Tim Fischer wrote:

When I started seeing the TV ads for the Ionic Breeze a couple of years ago my first thought was, "That thing can't cost more than $20 to manufacture overseas, and they're asking $350 for it?
I'm glad I didn't spring for any of that company's stock back then....
http://tinyurl.com/y4ssf4
Jeff
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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

Ozone remover- yes, I love the way they marketed that as something that turns pollution to oxygen- technically true, but most of the pollution (ozone) was from the unit!
Brilliant marketing.
Dave
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