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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 - 21 answers

Very basic car battery question

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]
posted by notquitemaryann on Jul 16, 2014 - 13 answers

4 Solar panels and salespeople that want sales

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]
posted by mrgroweler on Jul 3, 2014 - 5 answers

Will this LED rope light kit work in Tokyo, Japan?

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?
posted by Maximian on Jul 2, 2014 - 3 answers

Why do I have three electricity meters? And how to choose a provider?

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]
posted by lollusc on Jun 17, 2014 - 8 answers

Does anyone have any experience with Green Mountain Energy?

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]
posted by cmoj on May 5, 2014 - 8 answers

Too many volts?

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]
posted by grumblebee on May 5, 2014 - 7 answers

I broke my apartment

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]
posted by silverstatue on May 2, 2014 - 20 answers

Appliances turning on spontaneously: When? Why? How? How often?!

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]
posted by magdalemon on Apr 17, 2014 - 24 answers

Electrically flummoxed.

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]
posted by amy lecteur on Apr 4, 2014 - 16 answers

Why do my Xbox 360 power supplies keep going bad?

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]
posted by jbickers on Mar 10, 2014 - 8 answers

Bringing our US electrical devices to the UK / also NTSC-PAL question

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]
posted by theory on Feb 18, 2014 - 20 answers

How's it hanging?

I want to hang a fluorescent strip light above my workbench. How can I do this? [more inside]
posted by Caskeum on Feb 15, 2014 - 6 answers

You remind me of the babe.

Or what do I have to look for on a portable generator to recharge my camera and tablet. [more inside]
posted by Fermin on Feb 11, 2014 - 11 answers

Why do I keep killing bass amps?

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]
posted by tmcw on Feb 6, 2014 - 13 answers

You are not my electrician.

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]
posted by stopgap on Jan 31, 2014 - 10 answers

Heating a Drafty San Francisco Apartment with Electric

Please help me figure out how to heat my drafty San Francisco 1-bedroom apartment without breaking the bank. Details inside! [more inside]
posted by Amplify on Jan 10, 2014 - 21 answers

What would be involved in converting an old SUV into an electric vehicle

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]
posted by Scientist on Jan 2, 2014 - 11 answers

Meter Reader Craziness

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]
posted by raspberrE on Dec 28, 2013 - 9 answers

Should I switch my electricity provider to ConEd SOLUTIONS?

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.
posted by DMelanogaster on Dec 21, 2013 - 10 answers

Power Problems

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]
posted by hellojed on Dec 8, 2013 - 15 answers

Shocking films!

I'm looking for scenes in movies that feature electricity. [more inside]
posted by Ms. Toad on Nov 10, 2013 - 56 answers

I want to learn about electronics, not plumbing.

What are some books (or other resources) that would help me understand electricity and hobbyist electronics without a hydraulic metaphor? [more inside]
posted by ddbeck on Oct 9, 2013 - 10 answers

A Potentially Electric Question

What is "electric potential"? I've dug through the internet, gone to tutoring, asked my teacher, and nothing has helped. [more inside]
posted by runcibleshaw on Oct 3, 2013 - 26 answers

I'll go green once I understand it.

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]
posted by Tehhund on Sep 24, 2013 - 9 answers

Light Fixture Wiring?!

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]
posted by kbanas on Sep 15, 2013 - 14 answers

Can I switch to some other elctric company to save money over AEP? Ohio

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.
posted by crawltopslow on Aug 23, 2013 - 5 answers

Help me use a solar panel and splice it all together!

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]
posted by croutonsupafreak on Aug 19, 2013 - 9 answers

Kiln In the Name Of

Thinking of getting a kiln. Can my house's wiring handle it? (UK) [more inside]
posted by popcassady on Aug 16, 2013 - 3 answers

Power outlets in Chennai, India

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.
posted by dfriedman on Aug 9, 2013 - 6 answers

lightning blew up my power

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]
posted by Just this guy, y'know on Jul 22, 2013 - 11 answers

Voltage drop, amperage increase?

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]
posted by nevercalm on Jul 17, 2013 - 9 answers

Can you help me to rewire this very old telephone?

As part of my ongoing efforts to remain stuck in the twentieth century, I'm trying to rewire and use this telephone. [more inside]
posted by crazylegs on Jul 16, 2013 - 6 answers

Help me get smarter about SmartMeters

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!
posted by rhiannonstone on Jul 14, 2013 - 16 answers

Could we be getting loads of extra power from kinetic energy?

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]
posted by Admira on Jul 10, 2013 - 22 answers

Help me find this article about household AC power.

I once read a great article explaining why we use polarized plugs, grounding, and GFCI outlets in household AC circuits. It was written from the perspective of an electric company whose customers keep getting electrocuted by their appliances. The company introduces the safety measures one by one and the article explains how people still get shocked. It might even have been a comment on Metafilter; I'm not sure. Where can I find it?
posted by scose on Jul 7, 2013 - 1 answer

Electric smoker safety questions - help save tomorrow's BBQ!

I just plugged in my Craigslisted electric smoker for the first time and it melted my (short, heavy duty, indoor/outdoor, properly rated) extension cord. Do I buy another extension cord and try again, or is this thing a fire waiting to happen? [more inside]
posted by rossination on Jun 29, 2013 - 10 answers

Basic Multimeter Question

I have a multimeter, and a I have a hub dynamo built into my bike wheel. I want to attach the multimeter probes to the wires that power my front light, and see what, if any, power comes through those wires when I spin the wheel. What do I set on the multimeter to see that happen? PS: I know nothing about electricity.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic on Jun 20, 2013 - 19 answers

How would a "clip-on current transformer" for tracking domestic electric

An Australian start-up, wattcost.com, is developing a "clip-on current transformer" device for analysing energy usage via domestic electricity meters. Is this real technology, or vaporware? [more inside]
posted by infinitejones on Jun 5, 2013 - 12 answers

Is it safe to use other adapters with this subwoofer?

I just bought a subwoofer from a thrift shop, but unfortunately the power adapter (13.5 AC in) is missing. My neighbourhood shops seem to be fresh out of adapters with that voltage, so I'm wondering if it would be possible/safe/advisable to use a different adapter? I have several lying around the house with output voltages ranging from 5 to 16V.
posted by The Card Cheat on May 27, 2013 - 18 answers

Green Mountain Energy in NYC

New York City dwellers: Do you use Green Mountain Energy for your household power? Why or why not? [more inside]
posted by greta simone on May 21, 2013 - 3 answers

Will my appliances work in Europe?

I'm moving to Germany in a couple of months and have a few questions about using various 110V US-purchased appliances on the local 220V power. Specifically the 50Hz/60Hz issue - how big of a deal is it? My understanding is that anything with a motor may have a shorter lifespan and run somewhat less efficiently (and of course anything that uses AC for timing will run slow), but any other issues? [more inside]
posted by photo guy on May 13, 2013 - 10 answers

My Cooker Wants To Kill Me

Why is my oven crackling and sparking at the on/off switch and will it start a fire in my wall? [more inside]
posted by fruitopia on May 4, 2013 - 11 answers

Electricity math! Need help planning for solar...

So instead of providing an answer, please help me by showing me how you got your result. I have a 12v device that consumes 1W in idle mode, and 5W in active mode. How many "amp hours" am I looking at over a 24 hour period (always on). I am looking specifically for amp hours... I don't understand the relation between amps and amp hours yet.
posted by squirbel on Apr 23, 2013 - 14 answers

My dryer died last night. I'm not sure if it is the outlet or the dryer.

My dryer died last night. I'm not sure if it is the outlet or the dryer. I do have a digital multimeter and want to test the outlet. I'm not sure how to do this without killing myself. [more inside]
posted by johnpowell on Apr 5, 2013 - 21 answers

Is my laptop going to kill me?

I got a shock from my laptop the other day and now I'm afraid to use it... [more inside]
posted by DMelanogaster on Mar 3, 2013 - 12 answers

What's up with our electricity?

We woke up this extremely cold morning (9F/-13C) and various electric things in our condo seem to be flaky, like there's not enough power. I also noticed that the thermostat for our heat pump says "Auxiliary Heat On", which I haven't seen before. Has anyone seen something like this before? Since it's all electric, it seems like it might be related. [more inside]
posted by smackfu on Jan 23, 2013 - 15 answers

Has 12 year old cranioplasty turned me into a capacitor?

Nearly 12 years ago I underwent cranioplasty, which involved dissimilar metals being added to the inside of my skull. Could it be possible that I'm generating a low voltage current? This would explain roughly 90% of the unexplained symptoms I've noticed since that time. This seems like a case of electrochemical capacitance to me. I understand that YANMD; in fact, it may even be the case that YARNAD. That's just fine, I don't really want anyone's 'medical' advice. What I need is some advice on what questions to ask and which specialists I 'should' actually be seeing to properly diagnose and resolve these issues. [more inside]
posted by schade on Jan 15, 2013 - 11 answers

How much electricity does a gas boiler use?

I know this question is a little bit arbitrary, but any response will be helpful. I live in a 2 family spilt house/condo. I noticed that my electrical box is powering the OTHER unit's gas boiler. I assume that the electrical just feeds the thermostat and maybe triggering the pilot to boil the water?? (My knowledge here is limited.) Without knowing too much about their heating use, I am trying to determine the urgency of getting an electrician to switch it from my electricity to the other unit's electrical box.
posted by lccslug on Jan 13, 2013 - 8 answers

Why is our power bill so high?

We've been in our new house about 3 months, and our power bills feel a lot higher than they should be, based on our perceived usage. Looking for ways to track down errant usage. [more inside]
posted by hanov3r on Jan 10, 2013 - 35 answers

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