Lately my gf's moms house has been tearing up power supplies. They had
a laptop power source go bad, and then 2 more after that. Its weird
that all these could go bad at the same time. I also found out that
they have a guy doing some work around the house. I'm wondering if he
did something to mess up the wiring as most his other work was very
poorly done. The place is out of town so I don't have access at the
moment but wondering if you had any ideas on what could possibly be
If there is an electrical situation that is causing power supplies to fail,
it would most likely be affecting other things as well. She could have high
or low voltage conditions, but I'd think that they'd be noticeable in dim or
bright lights. I would suggest having someone test the service and grounding
to the building
Maybe a loose neutral (grounded conductor) between the meter and the
house? Or possibly the same thing between the power company's
transformer and meter? Either could cause the voltage to be unbalanced
enough cause problems.
You'd have maybe 150 volts on one line and 90 on the other instead
of 120 on each. It would probably be noticeable though on other things
as RBM said.
One thing you can *very* easily do yourself that doesn't require an EE
degree or an electrician's license is to simply measure the line voltage
at your outlets. All you need is any multimeter, like the commonly
available DMMs (digital multimeters). Make sure it's set to a
high-enough AC voltage range (typically they have a 200 volt and a 750
volt range, so select the higher one), and push the tips of the probes
into the outlet. You should get somewhere pretty close to 120 volts.
Anything more than, say, 15% out of range is cause for concern and may
indicate that something is miswired. (If you have access to an "old
school" analog meter, that's even better, as the digital meters can be
susceptible to "phantom" readings.)
The fashion in killing has an insouciant, flirty style this spring,
with the flaunting of well-defined muscle, wrapped in flags.
Have they seen lights get brighter or flicker, then call the power co.
if it affects supplies everything else could be suffering from stress.
Have there been storms or power interuptions. Good quality surge
suppressors should be used on everything they care about. Its probably
not a worker but should be looked into, the power co is free, they
know what to look for and usualy come out quickly. Once I had my
incomming lines loose and it was cutting out power, wires on the main
panel could be loose, a bad pole transformer are things the power co
will check for free.
Assuming this in North America somewhere?
Look for broken/bad neutrals and or if the amateur doesn't know what
he is doing he may have mixed up and/or connected ground and neutrals
together thinking (incorrectly) they are the same. Or sloppy/poor
connections when something wasl altered repaired or extended.
Because if a neutral is open one can with North American 120 - 0 - 120
standard wiring get 240 volts across something designed for 120 etc.
Check the voltage coming into the house. I had a light bulb problem and
found I was getting 135 volts in the early morning. The rest of the day was
OK, but the power company was goosing the voltage too much when industry was
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