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Can the electricity company charge a deposit regardless of credit?

I am new to renting and I just called the power company and they said that I have to pay a deposit no mater what my credit is. Is this normal practice? [more inside]
posted by stevechemist on May 16, 2008 - 31 answers

Press Button to Cross

How does the button on the pedestrian crossing lights work? Does it actually send some sort of signal to the traffic lights, or is it just a psychological thing? It seems rather random timing-wise.
posted by divabat on May 14, 2008 - 21 answers

should we switch to a green energy provider?

Should I have our small business switch to a third party green energy provider? We had a salesman for Accent Energy come to our door and he was a bit shady so I told him that I wanted to look into this on my own time. But from what I'm reading online it could be a great way to convert to a more environmentally responsible energy solution. And its Earth Day today too. Our company wants to do what we can to be "green" and we would even pay slightly more to do so, but if a switch to a third party will cost three times as much then we just cant do it. [more inside]
posted by minicloud on Apr 22, 2008 - 2 answers

Buying an Oscilloscope

I'm an electrical engineering student/hobbyist looking to buy an oscilloscope. I'd like to spend around $200 ($300 max, probes/shipping included). What should I look for, and where? [more inside]
posted by phrontist on Apr 16, 2008 - 10 answers

Do third party hydro providers save you any money?

Has anyone tried using a third-party hydro provider? What are your experiences with it? [more inside]
posted by perpetualstroll on Apr 8, 2008 - 10 answers

Can you short a connection using a staple?

Can you short connections on a PCB using a staple? [more inside]
posted by secret.osha on Apr 6, 2008 - 6 answers

Plug safety

If a plug is not fully in its outlet, and you touch one of its prongs, will you get shocked? [more inside]
posted by cgs on Mar 31, 2008 - 32 answers

A shocking experience...

How much current flowed through me when I was shocked? [more inside]
posted by FergieBelle on Mar 14, 2008 - 19 answers

Trying not to fry them

Plug adapter for Argentina and Uruguay? [more inside]
posted by Bezuhin on Mar 4, 2008 - 7 answers

How do you -really- ground yourself?

Help me clear up my understanding of how to ground myself when working on my computer. [more inside]
posted by GleepGlop on Feb 28, 2008 - 14 answers

DIYWAMH

Working on DIY solar charger from modified garden power lamps. Of course the panels look different than the ones in the pictures! [more inside]
posted by aetg on Feb 17, 2008 - 6 answers

What should a homeowner know about electricity in the home?

What should a homeowner know about electricity in the home? [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Feb 12, 2008 - 12 answers

Where is the switch?

Why do some electrical appliances lack an on-off switch? [more inside]
posted by Tube on Feb 8, 2008 - 23 answers

I want to turn you on!

Why won't CFLs work in my fixture? [more inside]
posted by Shebear on Feb 1, 2008 - 9 answers

Am I saving a ton of cash by using Starbucks' power?

How much money am I costing, say, Starbucks if I charge my laptop there every day? [more inside]
posted by terceiro on Jan 28, 2008 - 14 answers

My touch lamp has the same vibrating static electricity feeling that my massage clients used to have. Why?

My touch lamp has the same vibrating static electricity feeling that my massage clients used to have. Why? [more inside]
posted by kristymcj on Jan 28, 2008 - 7 answers

Why doesn't ComEd know where I live?

I need help sorting out an issue involving my electric company, my electric bill, and the other apartments in our building. [more inside]
posted by youngergirl44 on Jan 19, 2008 - 5 answers

How can I keep my track lighting from catching fire?

You are an electrician. But you are not my electrician. Question about low-voltage track lighting system inside. [more inside]
posted by ook on Jan 17, 2008 - 9 answers

Looking for a smart power strip.

Looking for a smart surge protector that shuts down peripherals when a computer is turned off or asleep. [more inside]
posted by floam on Jan 14, 2008 - 7 answers

I just want to plug things in

I have a light switch on the wall that controls both an overhead light and an outleft. I'd like it to only control the overhead light, while still sending power on to the outlet. [more inside]
posted by donnagirl on Jan 3, 2008 - 16 answers

Residential Electricity

Residential Electricity: Is it possible to measure current flow through romex in a non-invasive manner? [more inside]
posted by allelopath on Jan 2, 2008 - 16 answers

How can I use this UK appliance in the US?

British appliance, US power: can they find happiness together? [more inside]
posted by bac on Dec 9, 2007 - 15 answers

Anyone know a simple and cheap solar panel setup to run a small boombox about 9-12V DC?

Anyone know a simple and cheap solar panel setup to run a small boombox about 9-12V DC? [more inside]
posted by Bengston on Dec 4, 2007 - 3 answers

Crazy brain stuff going on.

Amateur neurologists, please read! What is going on in my head?? [more inside]
posted by missuswayne on Nov 17, 2007 - 19 answers

Can I use a 220v device in the UK?

Can I use a lightbox purchased online from the US, which includes an international voltage adaptor for 220v, in the UK? I think the UK mains voltage is 240v and have no idea whether I have to be bang on 240v or if 220v is good enough. [more inside]
posted by penguin pie on Nov 16, 2007 - 8 answers

At the mercy of power surges and I'm not an electrician

When it rains / storms our power inevitably blinks out (usually comes right back online in a few seconds) and we have lost 1 TV and another one is now behaving erratically. Need help coming up with a plan of action. [more inside]
posted by dino terror on Oct 9, 2007 - 8 answers

Tell me why I just spent $75.

So the electrician said nothing was wrong. But something WAS wrong, only it fixed itself by the time he got there. Help me diagnose this maddening problem our tenant had. [more inside]
posted by dhartung on Sep 21, 2007 - 17 answers

Should I be hiring a patent lawyer?

Why did my casserole just shock me? [more inside]
posted by thebrokedown on Sep 15, 2007 - 7 answers

I (don't) have the power!

2 outlets & a ceiling light stopped working at the same time. None of the circuit breakers were flipped. What would cause this, and how can I troubleshoot it? [more inside]
posted by designbot on Aug 30, 2007 - 15 answers

Help Me Convince The Electric Company That We Are Not Going To Stiff Them

We received a menacing letter today from our electric provider. They stated that since our last few bills have been late (which I don't dispute) we will now be required to pay a $200 "security deposit"... BUT... We have a 13-year payment history with them, at the same address, so where is the logic in suddenly requiring a "security deposit" that we obviously can't afford? Is there any way I can convince them to not do this to us? Please read the background info inside before responding. [more inside]
posted by amyms on Aug 18, 2007 - 30 answers

A prayer to St. Elmo?

Which (American-style) electrical surge protector will most reliably and economically protect my precious computer equipment from unforeseeable disaster? [more inside]
posted by zachxman on Aug 13, 2007 - 13 answers

Using a US powerstrip in Japan?

Can I use a plug adapter and an American power strip to power multiple electronics in Japan? [more inside]
posted by Espy Gillespie on Aug 10, 2007 - 17 answers

I want an exercise bike which can charge my phone. Does such a thing exist? If not, could I make one?

Is it possible to buy an exercise/stationary bike which generates electricity? If not, how hard would it be to build one or modify an existing exercise bike?
posted by handee on Jul 25, 2007 - 5 answers

"It's god banging on the piano keys..."

Lightning. Why does it always go to ground? [more inside]
posted by Solomon on Jul 24, 2007 - 14 answers

What is this thing?!

Does anyone know what this piece of nyc infrastructure is? [more inside]
posted by funkiwan on Jul 19, 2007 - 7 answers

Bad wiring or defective PC power supply: Why am I getting shocked?

Bad wiring or defective PC power supply: Why am I getting shocked? [more inside]
posted by frieze on Jul 12, 2007 - 14 answers

Will I fry my apple 65 watt power adapter if I plug it directly into the wall in the UK?

Will the 65 watt apple adapter work if I plug it directly into a 220v (UK) current? Or will I fry it if I don't use a converter? [more inside]
posted by Tommy Gnosis on Jul 9, 2007 - 10 answers

Is voltage/frequency all I need to know to bring my appliances from Brazil to the US?

Is voltage/frequency all I need to know to use my brazilian appliances in the US? [more inside]
posted by AnyGuelmann on Jun 27, 2007 - 9 answers

Go green or save green?

Should I switch to green power, wind power, or whatever is cheapest? [more inside]
posted by electroboy on Jun 25, 2007 - 24 answers

What is up with my lamp?

I have a table lamp that takes a three-way bulb. The lamp does not have a standard switch; rather, you adjust the intensity of the light and turn the lamp on or off by tapping the metal base one, two, or three times. Recently the lamp's bulb burned out and I replaced it with the same kind of three-way bulb that was in there before. But now tapping the base produces no effect - the lamp stays on its brightest setting and can only be turned on and off by plugging it in or unplugging it. What happened, and can it be fixed? I've only had this lamp for about six months, and it wasn't cheap. I've tried various different bulbs, but nothing seems to work.
posted by zembla3 on Jun 8, 2007 - 7 answers

Screen-printed solar panels?

Solar photovoltaic fabric. I'm trying to find or recall about a particular type of technology that I half-remember, as well as find out more about the current state of the art for flexible and/or fabric and/or imprinted solar panels. [more inside]
posted by loquacious on Jun 6, 2007 - 4 answers

Backwards water drops on third rail

In the rain at my outdoor subway station in Brooklyn this morning, I observed once again a bizarre phenomenon: water drops appear to drip upwards from the third rail to the wooden cover above it. My wife saw this too. What's going on?
posted by rustcellar on Jun 4, 2007 - 21 answers

Turn an antique bottle into an incandescent bulb!

Craftiwork Filter: Help me turn an antique bottle into a light bulb/fixture. The incandescent sort. [more inside]
posted by Phyltre on May 27, 2007 - 10 answers

Electricity = juice ≈ OJ

What could cause electricity to go out sporadically? [more inside]
posted by bigmusic on May 23, 2007 - 10 answers

Last time we were in the UK we blew the hotel up with a hair dryer.

I have a friend visiting me from the UK that is looking to buy a Nintendo DS while he is here to bring back home. Does he need to buy a converter to use with the included power adaptor, or does he need to buy a 240 charger back home? Will the US adaptor work with UK outlets? [more inside]
posted by skrike on May 10, 2007 - 7 answers

What could be using 1,000 KWH per month?

Since December 2006, my electricity bill has shown at least a 1,000 KWH increase over the same period a year ago. We haven't purchased any new appliances, or done anything appreciably different. This month, we didn't use our air conditioning/heating unit at all, and our bill still came in 25% higher (500 KWH) than a year ago. We're at a loss. What could be the reason? We ordered a Kill-a-watt, but till it arrives, we are trying to figure it out. Any thoughts? [more inside]
posted by wflanagan on May 9, 2007 - 34 answers

A device that claims to save electricity when plugged into the mains - how does it work?

This product claims to save electricity through some sort of voltage and current regulation. This raises my suspicions, but there might be some explanation for it I've missed, probably down to some peculiarity of mains electricity?
posted by edd on Apr 18, 2007 - 17 answers

How to prevent static around the PC

Static electricity fried my PC. How do I prevent it from happening again? [more inside]
posted by mkn on Apr 12, 2007 - 2 answers

Help the electro-stupid on holiday

I'm going to London + Paris and don't want to blow up my electric/electronic gadgets. [more inside]
posted by wheat on Mar 20, 2007 - 9 answers

Can I work inside my TV without killing myself?

I have a ten-year-old Sony TV that's on the fritz. It's a good enough second set that I'd like to save it if possible, but it's also big enough that it's going to be a pain to haul in to the shop for an estimate. If I decide to pop the case and dive inside for a quick sanity check, what do I need to do to avoid electrocuting myself in the process? [more inside]
posted by Lazlo on Mar 15, 2007 - 16 answers

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