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]
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?
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]
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.
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]
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.
New York City dwellers: Do you use Green Mountain Energy for your household power? Why or why not? [more inside]
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]
Why is my oven crackling and sparking at the on/off switch and will it start a fire in my wall? [more inside]
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.
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]
I got a shock from my laptop the other day and now I'm afraid to use it... [more inside]
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]
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]
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.
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]
I have (legal) access to a building slated to be demolished and can take whatever I want. Specifically I want to remove a Simplex clock Similar to the one here. [more inside]
Who makes reliable, well manufactured step down transformers? [more inside]
I get painful static shocks to my hands where they touch the cart as I'm pushing it around at Costco. As far as I can tell this happens while wearing various kinds of shoes, although I haven't experimented rigorously. Help me devise a method to prevent this that I can realistically implement during impromptu trips to the store. [more inside]
I need to find about 10 transformers/converters from 240 @ 50hz to 120V @ 60Hz capable of about at least 1000W @ 120V. [more inside]
Why is my business partner always on the receiving end of painful (but hilarious) static shocks in our office, yet I seem to be unaffected? [more inside]
Explain to me the technology of charging devices. Is it mainly about voltage? About current? How close to the "required" values must you be? [more inside]
My computer cycles off without warning, and it's on a battery pack/surge protector UPS. What gives? [more inside]
Electrical Filter: Help me figure out how an electrical circuit seemingly got rewired overnight. [more inside]
How do I keep my iguana alive during an electric blackout? All of her lighting and heating elements demand electricity. I don't have a generator or the funds to purchase one. I'm most concerned about her getting too cold. Under 80*F for extended periods is the danger zone.
I have a question about my house's ground wire, and may need recommendations for an electrician in Minneapolis. [more inside]
What's the best way to protect surveillance equipment from lightning? [more inside]
Power went out... right as I'd gone to the grocery. I put all the must-stay-cold stuff away anyhow because the stuff I'd bought was worth more than what was already in there. So, it's been opened once, what was put in was still frozen/cold from the grocery. I'm not opening it again. How long can I expect stuff to still be good for? [more inside]
I want to get a voltmeter. I think that is what it's called. Can you recommend one? [more inside]
I need a primer on how (electrical) power works. [more inside]
I want to buy a fabric steamer to iron curtains, but not sure which model to choose (details inside) [more inside]
Will turning up the thermostat on my central air and buying a window AC unit for the one room I use the most make a significant difference in my electric bill? [more inside]
Please help me understand this bizarre home electrical-wiring problem, and how to fix it. I've got a mid-50s house. I wanted to put an outlet into the second bathroom, which has none, and it looked like the easiest way to do that would be to replace a wall switch with a combination switch/outlet (specifically, this one). [more inside]
Why are my UPSs not pulling power from the generator? [more inside]
Home energy advances. Are there any new developments I should know about as I'm about to move into an older single-family home after 13 years of living in an apartment? It is a gas/electric home with heavy tree shade.
Planing to split the electricity bill with a new roommate - how should the bill be managed in terms of payment so that I protect myself?
Planing to split the electricity bill with a new roommate - how should the bill be managed in terms of payment so that I protect myself? I don't want to get screwed some how. [more inside]
I am considering changing my electricity provider and I have never done this before. What I want to know are what things should be considered before making a switch such as this. My basics reasons are cost and that Comed, the local provider has treated me like crap over the years and I am tired of their corporate doublespeak and crappy service. [more inside]
I just installed a new lightswitch in my bathroom. Now, when I turn my living room air conditioner OFF, the power in most of my apartment goes out. And even when the AC is on, the power level is extremely low. WTF??? [more inside]
In 2009, 91.2% of Seattle's electricity was from hydroelectric sources, and in 2010, 87.9% was hydro. Is the hydro capacity maxed out, or will it scale up to meet additional demand and maintain that ratio? Here's what I'm getting at: If I were to use more electricity than now, will that incremental power effectively come from non-renewable sources rather than ~90% hydro?
Correct way to put a 110V (three-prong) dryer onto a 240V circuit? Or should we just throw it in and get a new one?
We've swapped out a three-prong dryer cord with a four-prong one but not wanting to plug it in and potentially blow something up. Approach from here? [more inside]
Explain alternating current distribution across "the grid" to me in terms an educated layman can understand. Specifically, I have a question about how to talk about which power plants are providing power to a particular consumer. [more inside]
Home electrical mystery: Why did tripping a circuit cause all of the GCFI outlets within the circuit to fail (ie none of them can be reset now)? How can I fix this? [more inside]
I moved into a flat in London in Sept 2011. I wasn't given any meter readings---my agency didn't have them and didn't even know where the meters are. Landlord also doesn't have a good idea where they may be. I don't know previous tenants. There is no gas in this flat---it's electricity only. [more inside]
I have an odd fascination with lighting. I want to learn how to rewire various consumer electronics into functioning lamps without electrocuting myself and/or burning down my apartment building. [more inside]
Want to install an ungrounded hanging light fixture in place of an existing grounded flush-mount dome light. Controlled with existing three-way switches. [more inside]
Does flipping a switch on and off rapidly damage electrical equipment? [more inside]