I have questions about this article which I found after receiving a letter from Exelon, our electric utility, warning of a price hike starting June 2016. What is PJM Interconnection and who controls it? Why are electric bills only rising a few dollars a month if the cost of a megawatt-day will more than double? Have 'ratepayers' been getting a deal until now or are we now overpaying for capacity assurance (is it assured)? Any explanation you can give is appreciated.
Experiments with MakeyMakey have led me to dive deep into the Maker World. I'm trying to develop a completely wireless version of a project I developed and I'm not sure if I'm going in the right direction. [more inside]
My apartment has an Arc-Fault Circuit Breaker in the electrical panel that trips intermittently. While investigating troubleshooting steps, I discovered that I have have two circuits that share a common neutral wire. These two circuits, however, are independently switched at the panel. I have a two-gang light switch that appears to bridge the two circuits. Is this safe? Here's my basic circuit diagram. The "Bed/Bath Closet" light is controlled by the Bedroom breaker, not the bathroom breaker. But I was able to measure 220V across the two Bed/Bath switches that are controlled by independent circuit breakers. [more inside]
This evening, while I was reading a terrible Victorian novel, both my washer (electric) and dryer (also electric) began behaving oddly. The washer made it through the first cycle, then died at rinse. I could restart it, but it would go a couple of minutes and then, again, stop working at rinse. I then discovered that my dryer would make vague "I'm turning on" noises, but not remain on unless the button was held in (and even then, it would make noise but not do anything). [more inside]
I am using 100 volt 50/60 amp electrical devices in a 220 volt country. I have a few 100 watt transformers (100 volt to 220 volt) which are used for individual items. This is working well. I have additional questions regarding voltage transforming and surge protectors. Please join me inside: [more inside]
I had to re-wire the power cord on my anova immersion cooker, and while it now works perfectly, the wires are exposed. Any suggestions on an easy way to wrap or otherwise contain the wires in a preferably waterproof way? Plus, is what I did to this thing ok, or is it going to burn down my apartment? Pic and details after the break. [more inside]
We moved house last week and realised that the electrics we've inherited are not great. [more inside]
Why would using an American electrical device on European voltage cause it to short out circuits at home when I plug it in again after coming home to the US? [more inside]
We have three lights on our hallway/stairs that are all controlled by the one switch. The bulb went out in one of them and when I went to change it, the glass part was broken off from the metal screw part. Additionally I discovered that the breaker for these lights is not in my breaker box - it must be in my landlord's breaker box, so I don't feel safe attempting to remove the broken screw part... I'm going away for a bit tomorrow (so don't have time to do much!), but my catsitter will be in and out. My question is if it is dangerous for the fixture to be turned on at all - should I tell the catsitter not to turn on those lights or is it fine for it to be on without removing/replacing the broken bulb. I don't want my catsitter to fall on the stairs, but I also don't want to electrocute anyone or cause an electrical fire while I'm away!!
I am planning to use a power plug adapter along with a power strip over a long period. Is this advisable, and what should I know? (Chinese/Australian grounded Type I plug and grounded European Type F socket) [more inside]
Ex-roommate left her tanning bed in my basement when she moved out and I want to use it. It has a plug that I am unfamiliar with. She said that the people she purchased it from said she needed some type of adapter cable. Could you help me identify what I need? Details inside. [more inside]
We live in a 3BR townhouse. Our electricity usage spiked really dramatically in December, and it's stayed up in January. I cannot fathom what is causing such a spike, but I don't know a lot about electricity usage. Details below. [more inside]
Does anyone know anything about electricity? Here's the situation. About a week ago, the overhead lights in my dining room and living room went out simultaneously -- we saw it happen. There is another light (kitchen overhead) on that circuit that is now out as well. I think it was turned off at the time, so we only noticed it later, but I am guessing it went out at the same time as the others. [more inside]
Last summer, I replaced my thermostat with a Nest thermostat. It worked great until now that winter is here—when the temperature drops below freezing, my heat pump can't produce warm air. Tomorrow night it's forecast to be 8°F. Can you help me figure out what I've wired incorrectly? [more inside]
Was I almost struck by lightning on a beach in Oregon? Long weird story. [more inside]
Woke up this morning, to find that I slept on my plugged-in iPhone wall charger for at least part of the night. My phone was not being charged at the time, so it was just the cord hanging out in my bed. What the hell? Was I mildly shocking myself all night in a way that I should worry about? [more inside]
I was reading something by someone who "did the math" for leaving a 400 Watt PC on for an entire year, and I thought his rate of 37 cents per kilowatt-hour was high. [more inside]
A bar I visited the other day had old-school Edison bulbs hanging from the ceiling, and I noticed that in several of them, the filament was vibrating. And by vibrating I mean vibrating big time — swinging back and forth a full inch or so inside the bulb multiple times a second. The bartender didn't seem to know what caused it, but seemed to think it wasn't uncommon. Any idea? [more inside]
I discovered this week that the closet light in my new home is wired in a questionable way, and I need to know if this is a problem. [more inside]
I just picked up an IBM electric typewriter from a salvage shop. However, as you can see HERE, there's something a little bit strange going on. Any electricians out there who can give me some insight? Thanks!
Hi, I am moving to Japan soon and I can't seem to find a definitive answer on whether or not my various electronics will work in Japan. I was hoping to move my tv, speakers, consoles, and AVR but most of them are rated at 110-120V and Tokyo is rated at 100V. I have read articles saying it is fine and other saying the opposite. Can anyone point me to some credible source to help answer this question? Are there other things I need to look into besides voltage? My understanding of electricity is abysmal.
Clueless new homeowners here. After a shower and a use of the toilet upstairs, water started dripping through a screw on the track lighting in the kitchen. It started maybe 10 minutes afterwards and lasted maybe 10 minutes, maybe a cup or so of water total, then stopped. What happened? What do we do now? Call a plumber, presumably, but how urgent? An electrician too? Is there danger because of the light fixture? [more inside]
I removed some sconces from an interior plaster wall in my house. My house is old and the wires are single strand copper wires with woven insulation, inside metal junction boxes. I would like to patch over the holes. Is it sufficient to cap the ends with wire nuts before patching? If not, what else should I do?
I was sitting in bed with my laptop about an hour ago. When I reached out to tap my partner's arm, we both felt a buzzing, dragging feeling - like touching the handle of a turned-on electric razor or something - and pulled back from each other. This only ever happens with MY laptop, regardless of what my partner is doing/holding/touching. [more inside]
Recently I got a new surge protector because, the old one didn't have enough outlets anymore and it got me thinking if I really need to unplug my stuff during a thunderstorm. I don't want to just not play my games or something just because it's storming. I only get so much free time to play games and I don't want to have it squandered by the weather. So do I really need to unplug my stuff during a storm? Right now it's storming and I unplugged everything but, my ethernet switch which I need to type this.
Why do these light bulbs keep dying? [more inside]
How do dams hurt rivers, exactly? Is that damage built in – that is, are there ways to mitigate it? On the other hand, do a few million people deserve electricity? Looking for reasoned arguments. Caveat: solar power is reasonable, but I don't see it replacing the Aswan dam in the next few generations.
I recently moved out of an apartment in NYC. A few days before my lease was up, I contacted ConEd to terminate service effective the last day of my lease. Apparently ConEd sent a final bill with an estimated reading??? [more inside]
I need to replace a bunch of two-prong outlets with three-prong outlets and I have a few questions. [more inside]
I need to replace the power cable for my rice cooker. The kitchen area of my apt is pretty small, and the cable was stupidly close to the stove and I burned a hole through the insulation. On the end of the cable that connects to the mains, it says 16a 250v while the end that plugs into the cooker says 10a 250v. The appliance itself is labeled as 10a 250v. [more inside]
On Monday, Mr. Pants texted me to let me know that as he was preparing his morning toilet, the lights in the bathroom flickered and went off. The lights haven't worked since then and we've been unable to determine on which breaker the circuit resides. Any idea how to figure out what the power source of my bathroom is? Other weird electrical mysteries follow in the expanded text... [more inside]
The internet says positive should be reconnected first, but that's not as easy as it should be. What's the best option? [more inside]
So I find myself with 4 185 W Solar panels AND 4 enphase M190 Micro inverters (that onboard connect to each panel). The system from what I can tell is "made" for a grid connected solar system. Which is great but NOT what I want/need (Also I am too far from a station to qualify for microfit in Ontario). [more inside]
This is the appliance in question. I'm aware that Tokyo's electrical system is 100 volts at 50 Hz, but I'm not sure how that applies to this rope light kit, which is rated for (according to the instructions) 120V, 60Hz, and 100 mA. Does the low current/wattage (12 watts) mean it will work anyway, due to some transformer inside, or is it just not going to be compatible?
I just moved into a new house (in Sydney). We have three old fashioned looking electricity meters in the meter box. Why are there three? [more inside]
We were approached at a street fair by a somewhat high-pressure salesman. In its self something of a red flag. However, their rates and espoused business practices were intriguing. On paper (online), they seem like a good choice, especially if I'm interested in green energy. I am aware that they're owned by NRG, but this doesn't put me off on its own. [more inside]
I'm moving into a new (to me) NYC apartment, and I need to buy two window-unit air conditioners. The super said that the power there is 110 volts, but the ACs I want are 115 volts. Is that a problem? [more inside]
I seem to have blown a fuse or tripped a circuit or invoked an ancient curse in my apartment. One of those things for sure. How can I get the power back on? [more inside]
Here and there, around the web and (much less) in person, I've heard of small appliances spontaneously turning themselves on. Googling has turned up some product recall notices and grisly photos of burns, but I'm more interested in personal experiences--have you ever experienced a small appliance spontaneously turning on? What happened? Was there loss of property/limb/life involved? [more inside]
Half of my house has lost power. The breakers are fine. You're not my electrician - I just want to understand what the problem is or might be. [more inside]
For the third time in a row in the past few months, the power supply on my Xbox 360 has gone to the solid red light. This one was a brand new one, new in the box; the previous two were pre-owned ones from Gamestop. Of course, in each case, it happens right out of warranty, and they are not cheap ... [more inside]
It's generally advised to leave as much behind as possible when moving abroad, but my wife's employer is paying to have a decent amount of our household stuff transported from the US to the UK. And why would we want to waste money buying duplicate items if it isn't necessary and we probably won't be staying more than a couple years? So I'm trying to figure out which of our electronics and appliances might be made to work overseas. I am aware of the voltage difference and the line/mains frequency difference between the US and the UK and I'm considering buying one or two good-quality step-down voltage converters for things that aren't universal voltage compatible. But I have some questions that my Google research has not cleared up. [more inside]
I want to hang a fluorescent strip light above my workbench. How can I do this? [more inside]
Or what do I have to look for on a portable generator to recharge my camera and tablet. [more inside]
Last night, at an otherwise excellent show, my electric bass amp died. Power was on, amp was off, and would not turn on any longer. In the middle of a song. This would be fine, but: this is my third amp that's died in three years. What's up? [more inside]
I need some help figuring out the wiring in my switched ceiling junction box in order to connect a basic light fixture. In the box I have three pairs of black/white wires and one yellow wire. My fixture has one pair of black and white wires. [more inside]
Please help me figure out how to heat my drafty San Francisco 1-bedroom apartment without breaking the bank. Details inside! [more inside]
This is just a thought experiment at this point, and probably will remain so. In the back of my mind I have the idea that when my old SUV finally gives up the ghost I might rip out the internal combustion drivetrain and convert it to an electric vehicle, possibly with a removable range-extender generator. Setting practicality aside for the moment, can you help me envision what this would involve? [more inside]
Help me understand why the energy company seems to (somewhat randomly) choose to estimate my energy usage rather than billing me for actual usage. [more inside]
is this ConEd solutions on the level, as providing more eco-friendly electricity than my regular Con Edison provider? What are the pros and cons? The agent who is trying to sell me this says my bill will go up a little. This is for residential usage in New York City. Any experience or information on this is much appreciated.