Radio Shack used to have a plug in meter, for about five
bucks. Swing needle for voltage.
Google for "line voltage monitor" and find one for $20 at
If that's all you want to do then install a Uninterruptible Power
Supply with an alarm. They seem to have cleaned it up now, but
when I first put in my UPS it beeped several times a week for power
fluctuations that didn't bother lights, or even the TV.
If brownouts are common I'd be more worried about my computers than my
I vote with Smitty. Switch mode power supplies have a great tolerance
for power fluctuations. Some are perfectly happy with any input from
100-250 volts without manual switching. Your basic PC supply still has
a range of 100-150 or 200-250 depending on the switch setting.
They also have a large tolerance to dips, and spikes.
On Sun, 25 Oct 2009 12:00:42 -0400, gfretwell wrote:
ISTR some designs essentially pick one of two configurations depending
on line input - i.e. if it's around 120 (US and presumably others) or
around 240 (Europe). Such designs can still fry if the voltage isn't
somewhere close to one of those two (i.e. giving it something like 180 for
any length of time would be bad)
Yeah, they save a few cents on parts cost. Some really crap ones don't
even have the switch.
Usually - or at least if something does happen it tends to kill parts that
are easy to replace. Although not always - I've seen some where the
entirety of the 'hot' side and half the LV side has been taken out by a
I suppose I could argue that I really don't care if the washer dies,
but it would ruin my day if my computer did.<g>
I stand corrected on that point. [near unanimity here is too unusual
to go un-noticed<g>]
But I'd still go with a UPS for my computer- for all the UPS
benefits-- and an audible alarm if there is a brownout.
I almost disagreed-- then remembered that the last century isn't that
far back. I'm in a suburban area that still had flakey power 10 yrs
I don't get that many brown outs but the switching transients are so
bad I had to cut the wires to my UPS beepers because they were making
the dog crazy.
I set up my Dranitz power monitor here one day and went to work. When
I got home it was out of paper.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.