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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

Why do my light bulbs hate me?

Why do my light bulbs keep burning out? [more inside]
posted by PEAK OIL on Mar 5, 2007 - 17 answers

Why does my electricity go the wrong way?

Why does my electricity go the wrong way? [more inside]
posted by talitha_kumi on Feb 28, 2007 - 12 answers

Which electricity supplier should I choose?

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.
posted by zembla3 on Feb 23, 2007 - 6 answers

Is it safe to keep a step-down converter turned on at all times?

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?
posted by DefendBrooklyn on Feb 17, 2007 - 7 answers

Two Nokia phones from different countries on the same charger?

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]
posted by mdonley on Feb 12, 2007 - 8 answers

Do burnt out lightbulbs use any electricity?

Does an incandescent lightbulb continue to use electricity after it's burnt out? [more inside]
posted by muddylemon on Feb 10, 2007 - 13 answers

how do i eliminate static charge caused by new office chair?

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.
posted by donmayo on Feb 4, 2007 - 9 answers

Am I stuck with one electric company?

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]
posted by dozo on Jan 25, 2007 - 23 answers

How to get power tools to work in Eastern Europe?

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]
posted by dyerfr on Jan 21, 2007 - 4 answers

How to make a simple railgun?

How to make a simple railgun to demonstrate the principle to children? [more inside]
posted by jjsonp on Jan 19, 2007 - 12 answers

Electricity Bill Too High?

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]
posted by suasponte on Jan 17, 2007 - 13 answers

Electrical Code Question

One residential electrical junction box with wires coming into it from two different circuit breakers, is this to code or completely whack? [more inside]
posted by peeedro on Jan 8, 2007 - 8 answers

What's the best way to organize a mountain of computer-related power adapters?

What's the best way to organize a mountain of computer-related power adapters that is a) safe, and b) neat? [more inside]
posted by theNonsuch on Jan 8, 2007 - 16 answers

A complicated gift

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]
posted by amtho on Jan 5, 2007 - 9 answers

Is it cheaper to heat a whole house using gas or to use an electric space heater for one room?

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]
posted by perpetualstroll on Jan 3, 2007 - 16 answers

Magnetron Torture

My microwave is driving me nuts! [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot on Dec 23, 2006 - 20 answers

How did people describe "electric" experiences before electricity?

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]
posted by paul_smatatoes on Dec 20, 2006 - 25 answers

Insurance! Water! Heat! Lights! Action!

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]
posted by orange swan on Nov 20, 2006 - 8 answers

Help Me Practice Safe Prong Insertion

I need some new sockets to dip my prongs into. [more inside]
posted by WCityMike on Nov 8, 2006 - 5 answers

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Our bedroom fan with light bulbs makes a quick snapping or popping noise when it's off. Normal? Bad? [more inside]
posted by LadyBonita on Oct 26, 2006 - 14 answers

The perfect "veggie ramen" storm

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]
posted by bienbiensuper on Oct 7, 2006 - 18 answers

Online learning about solar electricity

Does anyone have any information about, or experience with, SEI's online PV courses? [more inside]
posted by bjork24 on Sep 17, 2006 - 1 answer

Old house, lots of toys, am I going to burn down?

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]
posted by soulbarn on Sep 16, 2006 - 12 answers

Why do my lights spontaneously turn on?

Why do my lights turn on by themselves? Do I have poltergeists? [more inside]
posted by jknecht on Sep 7, 2006 - 8 answers

Dumb Question

Electric Eel powerplant, why not? [more inside]
posted by furiousxgeorge on Sep 2, 2006 - 12 answers

How to invisibly provide power to an LED?

How could I have LED's on a pane of glass light up with no visible contacts like This amazing table? [more inside]
posted by Ookseer on Sep 2, 2006 - 28 answers

Was I struck by lightning?

Was I struck by lighting? [more inside]
posted by squishy on Aug 28, 2006 - 9 answers

How to get electricity back?

The power in our downstairs is out but there are no breakers in the fuse panel showing red. Can any electricians out there 'shed some light' (groan....) ???? [more inside]
posted by pman78 on Aug 27, 2006 - 11 answers

How can I save money and energy and still have attractive lighting?

I understand that incandescent light bulbs are antiquated and extremely wasteful, but LED and fluorescent light looks horrible... [more inside]
posted by bradn on Aug 23, 2006 - 24 answers

Do I have a poltergeist?

Why is my electricty going on and off? It's not a blown fuse/circuit because it comes back on again. What would cause this? What should I tell an electrician to do in order to get them to fix the problem? [more inside]
posted by mulkey on Aug 21, 2006 - 8 answers

Can I afford not to waste electricity heating up my showers?

My old electric hot water service has sprung a leak, and I'm researching replacement options. Is there anything greener and more cost-effective available to this Australian than off-peak electric? [more inside]
posted by flabdablet on Aug 7, 2006 - 11 answers

Bill's Big

Why is our electricity bill so high? [more inside]
posted by popcassady on Aug 1, 2006 - 23 answers

Do chargers use electricity when they aren't being used?

ChargerFilter: Do chargers for things like mobile phones, digital cameras, camcorders etc. use power (and cost money) if they are left plugged in? [more inside]
posted by Glum on Jul 28, 2006 - 21 answers

V=I*R

Physics filter: The original fuse for an Ikea lighting system was rated for 6.3A and 250V. After a power surge, I noticed that the fuse had been toasted. Upon visiting 3 hardware stores, the best I could find was a similar fuse rated for 3.15A and 125V. Since V=I*R, it follows that the resistance is identical when the original fuse is compared with the replacement. Does this mean that these fuses are functionally equal?
posted by |n$eCur3 on Jul 3, 2006 - 14 answers

How do electric meters work?

How do electric meters work? How do they measure the amount of charge you used? I suspect they must know the amount of charge that enters the home, and then they have some way to measure the amount of charge that leaves the house, but I'm really not sure. [more inside]
posted by willnot on Jul 3, 2006 - 18 answers

I just don't want to shower in the dark.

Homerepairfilter: a light bulb blows out. The glass and metal part separate. How do I get the metal part out so I can replace the bulb? [more inside]
posted by Famous on Jun 6, 2006 - 21 answers

How do I keep my neighbors from stealing my power?

I just found out our new neighbors are stealing our power. What to do? [more inside]
posted by radioamy on Jun 5, 2006 - 61 answers

Help me insulate my windows from the Florida heat/sun.

I'm trying to insulate my window/frame... can anyone help me devise a solution? [more inside]
posted by mhuckaba on May 31, 2006 - 13 answers

Deregulation and Electricity: More than Just A Headache?

EnergyPurchaseFilter: What is the deal with non-regulated electric purchasing? Who's had experience with this, and was it all the [highly suspect] awesome hoopla that it's played to be by the companies/government? Bonus points if you live/have lived in New Hampshire, where I'm trying to figure out this whole mess. [more inside]
posted by plaidrabbit on May 30, 2006 - 3 answers

How does Economy 7 switch?

In the UK we have cheap rate electricity between 12.30am and 7.30am, but how does it work? [more inside]
posted by twine42 on May 4, 2006 - 19 answers

Free electricity!?

I've been living in my apartment since December, and I still haven't received an electric bill from ConEd. It was made clear that we had to sign up to receive power and we did that -- my wife called in, gave them her social security number, address, etc. Still, no bill. The meter man comes by every month and checks the meter. Still, no bill. [more inside]
posted by jeffxl on Apr 26, 2006 - 28 answers

I need to make the bulbs in a lamp pulse on and off.

I need to make the bulbs in a lamp pulse on and off. [more inside]
posted by bkeaggy on Apr 7, 2006 - 11 answers

Shocking iPod question.

How do you get your music off a malfunctioning iPod? [more inside]
posted by spinifex23 on Mar 18, 2006 - 11 answers

Using an extension cord, safe?

Safe to use an extension cord for a small refrigerator? [more inside]
posted by KneeDeep on Mar 12, 2006 - 15 answers

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