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]
Why did my casserole just shock me? [more inside]
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]
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]
Which (American-style) electrical surge protector will most reliably and economically protect my precious computer equipment from unforeseeable disaster? [more inside]
Can I use a plug adapter and an American power strip to power multiple electronics in Japan? [more inside]
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?
Lightning. Why does it always go to ground? [more inside]
Bad wiring or defective PC power supply: Why am I getting shocked? [more inside]
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]
Is voltage/frequency all I need to know to use my brazilian appliances in the US? [more inside]
Should I switch to green power, wind power, or whatever is cheapest? [more inside]
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.
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]
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?
Craftiwork Filter: Help me turn an antique bottle into a light bulb/fixture. The incandescent sort. [more inside]
What could cause electricity to go out sporadically? [more inside]
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]
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]
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?
Static electricity fried my PC. How do I prevent it from happening again? [more inside]
I'm going to London + Paris and don't want to blow up my electric/electronic gadgets. [more inside]
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]
Why do my light bulbs keep burning out? [more inside]
Why does my electricity go the wrong way? [more inside]
New York City residents: Have you switched from Con Edison to another electricity and/or gas supplier under deregulation? If so, have you seen a significant difference in your bill, and how is the new provider's customer service? I'm trying to decide whether to switch to another provider (Econnergy, Energetix, etc.) for electricity, gas, or both.
I just picked up a 1000W step-down converter (220V-110V) to power a receiver after a 750W exploded in a blaze of glory when I turned it on one morning. I'd very much like to avoid this kind of thing again. So my question is, is it relatively safe to keep step-down converters turned on at all times? If so, will it constantly be using 1000W of power even when the receiver is turned off? I've heard differing opinions but found no definitive answer on the interwebs. Related, is it true that you should always have something plugged into the converter when it is turned on?
I have two Nokia mobile phones - one purchased in the US and one that I've purchased here in Indonesia, both with their own similar-looking chargers (though with obvious differences on the plugs). Can I charge the Indonesian phone in the US on the US charger? [more inside]
Does an incandescent lightbulb continue to use electricity after it's burnt out? [more inside]
static electricity problem: Comfy new office chair (on carpet) gives me strong static charge. My metal computer desk does not like this. Help me stop getting shocked.
I need a new electric company. But there seems to be only one really sheisty one here in Daytona, FL. Am I doomed to pay their extortion? [more inside]
Do power tools need more than just a voltage converter to work in Eastern Europe (Belgrade, Serbia)? My father wants to purchase a power tool for my father in law (think a drill...). (more inside) [more inside]
How to make a simple railgun to demonstrate the principle to children? [more inside]
We live in a two bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. Our electricity bill averages between $60 and $80 a month. Yesterday, however, we received a bill in the mail seeking an additional $645 for the past 215 days. [more inside]
One residential electrical junction box with wires coming into it from two different circuit breakers, is this to code or completely whack? [more inside]
What's the best way to organize a mountain of computer-related power adapters that is a) safe, and b) neat? [more inside]
Voltage converter / inflating an air mattress to be used in Italy: My friend, a sculpture instructor in Florence, Italy, is putting us up and guiding us around the city. Very cool. He has asked that we bring an air mattress with an electric pump, which he will later use for camping, also in Italy. [more inside]
Will it cost less to run a gas furnace to heat the entire house or to use a space heater to heat one room? [more inside]
My microwave is driving me nuts! [more inside]
How did people describe "electric" experiences before electricity? I got to wondering when someone described the feeling of being pressed up against someone as "electric"...surely people had that experience (for example) before it meant "like invisible power" or "tingly all over"? [more inside]
After a last minute sale of my condo, the deal on the house I bought closes on Thursday. I need to arrange for utilities, insurance, and some repairs, and have next-to-no time to do research. If you have a satisfactory provider of any of these things and said provider's services are available to a Torontonian, recommend away! And of course I'll think of you all when I'm doing my happy dance on my rooftop terrace;-) [more inside]
I need some new sockets to dip my prongs into. [more inside]
Our bedroom fan with light bulbs makes a quick snapping or popping noise when it's off. Normal? Bad? [more inside]
WTF just happened in our kitchen? It was like a mini lightning storm! Maybe a power surge interacting with the steam from the open microwave? Complete details inside. [more inside]
I live in a hundred-year old house (in Los Angeles, no less!) that has limited electrical outlets. I have unlimited (it seems) electronics - three computers, monitors, two laser printers, two air conditioners, electric heater (in the winter), etc. The house was upgraded from old-style fuses to circuit breakers a few years ago. It is a rental so I am not able to do any upgrades. None of the wall outlets are three prong, so I am using adapters. In the summer, my office is just overdone with things drawing power - all three computers, the printers, AC, and probably 20 (or more) smaller items - cell phone, postage scale, radio, etc.... [more inside]
Why do my lights turn on by themselves? Do I have poltergeists? [more inside]
Electric Eel powerplant, why not? [more inside]
How could I have LED's on a pane of glass light up with no visible contacts like This amazing table? [more inside]