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.
I just moved into a new room in a shared house, only to quickly realize none of the outlets in my room (except for one) is 3-Pronged. Until an electrician comes in to update it, how can I hook up my computer equipment safely? [more inside]
I'm looking for scenes in movies that feature electricity. [more inside]
What are some books (or other resources) that would help me understand electricity and hobbyist electronics without a hydraulic metaphor? [more inside]
What is "electric potential"? I've dug through the internet, gone to tutoring, asked my teacher, and nothing has helped. [more inside]
I'm interested in purchasing electricity that comes 100 percent from renewables. I need to understand the costs, but I'm confused. Help me understand the cost of purchasing electricity from renewable sources. [more inside]
I bought a light fixture yesterday at Ikea and I was all like YEAH THIS IS GOING TO BE SO EASY. Ha. Can you help me not die? [more inside]
My mom uses AEP electric and her bill is pretty outrageous, but she doesn't want to cut down on her usage. I think I have seen advertisements before, for some no name company that will provide the same electricity for 10% to 30% cheaper. Who was it and is it legit? What are my other options for switching electric companies/lowering my electric bill. I already had her sign up for low income assistance Thanks.
I'm in over my head on a DIY project involving electrical terms I don't understand. I want to use a solar panel to power both a water pump and a computer fan, and need to know if this is possible with the components I have, and if possible how can I splice/connect these non-matching wires? [more inside]
Thinking of getting a kiln. Can my house's wiring handle it? (UK) [more inside]
I am traveling to Chennai, India this October. I will be bringing my Mac Book Pro and assorted accoutrements (iPad, iPhone, etc.) with me. Does the Apple World Travel Adapter kit provide connectivity to Indian electrical power outlets? If not, what does? Thanks.
There was a huge lightning storm this morning, in the middle of it my power went out. All the breakers on my boat are on, all e breakers on the power bollard are on. The odd thing is that the bollard has power to the meters and register 5v on the ac setting of my multimeter across live and earth. Also the RCD buttons trip out the breakers. This suggests that it has power. But nothings coming out. Any ideas for a) How come it has some power but no output b) Is there anything I can do. My electrical skills = I own a nice multimeter My fear of zappy death = relatively high [more inside]
We had an electrical incident where I work a couple of nights ago, and I'm trying to wrap my brain around it. Our house engineers have maintained systems at 150 amps on legs with 200 amp fuses. The power company reported a power dip, shortly after which we blew two of the 200 amp fuses. What happened? We had a drop in available voltage, so our amperage demand shot up? [more inside]
As part of my ongoing efforts to remain stuck in the twentieth century, I'm trying to rewire and use this telephone. [more inside]
We've had PG&E SmartMeters installed at our building for awhile, and our landlord is very concerned about the health risks and surveillance risks he believes they pose. He's sent us a bunch of "literature" to read and it all reads like wackadoodle conspiracy theories with no basis in science, as does everything else I've found online. As easy as it is to just roll my eyes and dismiss his concerns, I feel like I should make a good faith attempt to discover if there's really anything to be concerned about. Are there any good, reality-based reasons to be anti-SmartMeter? Any science-based studies from reliable sources on their safety? Any well-thought-out articles on the subject that don't include the phrases "molecular earthquakes" or "like hundreds of cell phones being on at the same time"? Help a skeptic out!
I just got an automatic watch and the fact that it powers itself via small movements of my wrist has me fascinated, and also puzzled that we haven't really taken more advantage of obtaining small amounts of power via changes in kinetic energy (if thats the right term?) [more inside]