454 posts tagged with electricity.
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Will what I'm planning to do ruin my Prius battery or my life?

I am replacing a single cell in my 2005 gen II Prius' battery pack. In order to equalize the voltage in all of the cells I plan to temporarily wire all of them in parallel. Is there some reason not to do this? [more inside]
posted by cmoj on Jul 19, 2016 - 15 answers

Plugging a U.S.-U.K. converter into U.K.-EU

If I have an American laptop with a 60W power adapter, and I'm in Europe, and the only thing I have with me is a U.S.-U.K. plug adapter -- is it O.K. to plug that into a U.K.-E.U. one? [more inside]
posted by johngoren on Jul 9, 2016 - 10 answers

Seeking a nonfiction book about how private resources become utilities

People who wanted water used to have to live near a well. Businesses that wanted to use electricity had to generate their own, so they had to be located near mills. I read a book about this. [more inside]
posted by bingo on Jun 3, 2016 - 9 answers

Resurgence, or, Can I Surge Protect My Entire Building?

The electricity in our neighborhood often spikes. So far it has killed several fancy toaster ovens, the electronics on the oven, and the rooftop air conditioner. It's easy enough to find a surge protector for a toaster oven (they make 1875 W surge protectors), but what about major appliances like ovens and air conditioners? Is there a way to surge protect where power comes into the building (in which case the entire condo building could benefit)? Are there heavy duty surge protectors for ovens and rooftop air conditioning units? Do they work?
posted by Native in Exile on May 27, 2016 - 7 answers

How/why are the electric socket wires suddenly both positive

The light socket next to my bed stopped working and the electrician says it's because both wires are positive. I asked him how it could have happened and he said he didn't know, it was very strange. Electricians of MetaFilter, what's happening here? [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on May 24, 2016 - 17 answers

Electricity / Electronics for Dummies

Please help me understand electricity and electronics. I have read the water analogy numerous times but I still can't quite grok it. Like "Ummm, Where does the water go and does it evaporate?" I have started tinkering with a Raspberry Pi and would love to build more complicated circuits with capacitors and transistors. [more inside]
posted by jasondigitized on Apr 27, 2016 - 7 answers

I'm constantly shocking people. But why?

I get and give little electric shocks all the time. This means I often get zapped i.e. when touching a computer or door. That's annoying but okay but it gets worse when I zap coworkers, friends or even clients. I'm not so much interested in how to cope with this but more in what causes this issue. Do you know why I fry them?
posted by krautland on Mar 29, 2016 - 28 answers

Mice as Fire Hazards

Our house is 150+ years old. It's porous. Ergo we have mice. Is this an actual problem? They're not in the living areas (thank you, cats) but they are in the crawl space under the house and they are in the walls. I've heard anecdotes, of course. And you are not my electrician or my pest control professional. But do mice really chew on wiring? (If they do, why?) If they do, will they really cause a fire in a house with updated wiring and a modern breaker box?
posted by baseballpajamas on Mar 28, 2016 - 15 answers

Baby baby baby light my way

My flat has (allegedly) asbestos ceilings and we are not supposed to put new holes in the ceiling. Both fixtures in the kitchen/dining area are ugly and dim. Please hope. [more inside]
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet on Mar 21, 2016 - 12 answers

I broke my heater - what'd I do wrong?

I am in the process of replacing all of the 240V single-pole wall thermostats in my house with programmable thermostats. This has all gone well until I got to the very last thermostat, which I can't get to work. What'd I do wrong? [more inside]
posted by saeculorum on Feb 22, 2016 - 9 answers

Daisy chaining surge protectors, cords, and power strips

How do I safely connect my computing equipment to a surge protector and a far away wall socket? [more inside]
posted by ticktickatick on Jan 30, 2016 - 14 answers

WTF is up with this maddening lamp?

I have three pendant lights in my kitchen, in a row over the counter. I've replaced the bulbs in two of them, maybe... never? Once? But the middle one burns out after a few weeks. WHY WHY WHY? [more inside]
posted by The corpse in the library on Jan 25, 2016 - 11 answers

Apartment Lighting & Lamps, for Dummies

Lamps. Incandescent vs LED. Bulb wattage. ...Lumens? "Layering" light. Filtering natural light. I can decorate an apartment, but I still can't figure out how to arrange the lighting so that it's both purposeful and warm. What tactics, strategies and core concepts do I need to make my rental apartment a home that is well-lit, yet still cozy? [more inside]
posted by nightrecordings on Jan 24, 2016 - 8 answers

I just wanted to make some tea!

Got a beautiful Russian electric samovar. Now I need help running it on good ol' American electricity. Details (and a Russian electrical schematic!) inside. [more inside]
posted by Itaxpica on Jan 21, 2016 - 14 answers

My apartment lights dim briefly when the elevator starts running

Should I be concerned that my apartment lights dim momentarily when the building’s elevator is activated? [more inside]
posted by germdisco on Jan 4, 2016 - 8 answers

Questions about my power company's peak usage electrical billing

I'm finding this more confusing that it probably is, and in the process wondering how part of this doesn't amount to price gouging... [more inside]
posted by FireballForever on Jan 2, 2016 - 19 answers

Is there a rift in the time vortex in our bedroom?

Real life puzzle. My wife and I each have a digital alarm clock on our bedside tables. They were both accurate until we rearranged the room - now my wife's is always fast. We've switched the clock, extension cord, and outlet, but my wife's is still always fast. What's going on? Have we discovered a small rift in the time vortex? [more inside]
posted by kdern on Dec 21, 2015 - 29 answers

What is causing a hum and tripped breaker in my house?

I had my roof replaced last week. Coincidentally(?) I had a breaker — for the circuit which serves the upstairs — trip, and trip again when it's reset. There's a buzz or a hum, coming from somewhere upstairs when the circuit is powered for a second or two, before it trips again. The electrician who came to check it out concluded I had an exhaust fan or some other motor that's seized up. The only problem is, I don't have an exhaust fan that I'm aware of. What could this be? Details aplenty inside. [more inside]
posted by brentajones on Dec 6, 2015 - 19 answers

How do I figure out which outlet is clicking, if any?

I hear an infrequent popping noise coming from my kitchen every few days. I think it's coming from an outlet in the kitchen, but I don't know which one. How do I narrow down which outlet, and should I be concerned? [more inside]
posted by theraflu on Dec 5, 2015 - 10 answers

(do not) be exelon to each other

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.
posted by michaelh on Sep 21, 2015 - 6 answers

Wireless piano

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]
posted by calcetina on Sep 21, 2015 - 2 answers

Is my apartment's wiring safe? Arc-Fault breaker flips intermittently

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]
posted by reeddavid on Sep 19, 2015 - 4 answers

That should have been a wash.

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]
posted by thomas j wise on Aug 17, 2015 - 13 answers

how to measure electricity voltage transforming & surge protectors

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]
posted by gen on Aug 15, 2015 - 8 answers

How can I organize this mess?

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]
posted by Huck500 on Jul 25, 2015 - 9 answers

New house, electrics are old and seem not safe

We moved house last week and realised that the electrics we've inherited are not great. [more inside]
posted by TheDonF on Jun 3, 2015 - 27 answers

Why is this device shorting out my power?

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]
posted by anonymous on May 18, 2015 - 8 answers

Lightbulb broken in socket - dangerous if fixture is turned on?

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!!
posted by blu_stocking on Apr 19, 2015 - 13 answers

Please tell me if this is a bad idea

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]
posted by Aiwen on Apr 16, 2015 - 3 answers

How to get this tanning bed working?

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]
posted by sarahgrace on Feb 3, 2015 - 6 answers

Where the hell is my electricity going?!?

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]
posted by juniperesque on Jan 30, 2015 - 40 answers

Lights out: Why did my overhead lights all fail at the same time?

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]
posted by TonyRobots on Jan 14, 2015 - 18 answers

How can I make my Nest thermostat activate emergency heat?

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]
posted by waldo on Jan 6, 2015 - 10 answers

Incoming lightning bolt?

Was I almost struck by lightning on a beach in Oregon? Long weird story. [more inside]
posted by Cool Papa Bell on Jan 5, 2015 - 6 answers

Slept on my iPhone cord.

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]
posted by anonymous on Dec 11, 2014 - 14 answers

Suspiciously LINEAR increase in electricity prices

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]
posted by shipbreaker on Nov 5, 2014 - 7 answers

What causes vibrating filaments in Edison bulbs?

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]
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Oct 27, 2014 - 6 answers

A Curious Question About Wiring

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]
posted by 4ster on Oct 25, 2014 - 8 answers

HELP! HAL is in my IBM!!

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!
posted by crazylegs on Oct 24, 2014 - 6 answers

Using American electronics in Japan

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.
posted by Pterofractal on Oct 20, 2014 - 10 answers

Brief water leak through ceiling track lighting-- what now?

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]
posted by EmilyClimbs on Oct 19, 2014 - 7 answers

Properly dealing with live wires inside a junction box before covering

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?
posted by OmieWise on Oct 6, 2014 - 14 answers

I shocked my partner with my computer. Why?

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]
posted by Ashen on Oct 3, 2014 - 16 answers

Do I really need to unplug my stuff during a thunderstorm?

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.
posted by mamamia88 on Oct 2, 2014 - 28 answers

Aziz! Light bulbs!

Why do these light bulbs keep dying? [more inside]
posted by purple_bird on Sep 11, 2014 - 9 answers

Dams hurt rivers, but are rivers more important than children?

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.
posted by LonnieK on Sep 7, 2014 - 18 answers

Estimated reading for final ConEd bill?

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]
posted by dcjd on Sep 4, 2014 - 6 answers

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I need to replace a bunch of two-prong outlets with three-prong outlets and I have a few questions. [more inside]
posted by griphus on Aug 29, 2014 - 20 answers

Why does my rice cooker's power cable have 2 different amp ratings?

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]
posted by pugg on Aug 21, 2014 - 9 answers

Why is the wiring in my bathroom not connected to a breaker?

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]
posted by wizardpants on Jul 25, 2014 - 23 answers

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