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Power Problem

CastillleCastillle KhobarPosts: 2,703Member Uncommon

So Im not sure where I should put this but since Ive had my computer, I havent been able to fully use it.  Everytime I have the airconditioning and computer on along with the tv, the circuit breaker would flip and shut off.  This only happens when the pc is being stressed. 

 

Do you guys know of a way I could prevent this from happening?  Cuz its kind of annoying :( Should I complain to the building owners or something?  Theyre plugged on opposite ends of the room and it happens too when I try to use the microwave with the AC unit on :(  I have to turn off the AC then turn on the microwave >.< 

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Comments

  • miguksarammiguksaram Fort Meade, MDPosts: 826Member Uncommon

    First and foremost are you running your PC and peripherals through an UPS, and if so does it provide sufficient power for everything plugged in and at full load?

    If the above it ok have you tried to ensure all other electronics are as spread out amoung the available outlets within your room, preferable on different walls.  Also do you use surge protectors for all electronic devices, or at least expensive ones?

    EDIT: after rereading it sounds like you have some issues with the wiring in your place.  While both and A/C and a Microwave pull a lot of power unless they are pulling from the same outlet (and this certainly shouldn't be the case) you shouldn't be experiencing the issues you are describing.  That said I am not a professional electrician so perhaps there is something else going on I'm missing.

  • CastillleCastillle KhobarPosts: 2,703Member Uncommon

    I do use surge protectors and yes theyre all on different sides of the room (in terms of power outlets).  I have a UPS but it only lasts long enough to shut down lol. Its getting really really annoying x.x especially since I got my new computer and I cant just turn off the TV cuz other ppl are watching x.x 

     

    And yes it works fine and never crashes if I turn the air conditioning off x.x But srsly its hot.

     

    Edit : I guess I should call the building guy about it?  >.< Or can I just get it fixed myself by calling an electrician?

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  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,779Member Uncommon

    That sounds like an issue with the way the building is wired.  A given circuit is only built to handle so much current, and trying to go overwhat it can handle is dangerous.  That's why the circuit breaker is there in the first place.

    If you can move something onto a different circuit, that should fix the problem.  That might be as simple as plugging something into a different wall outlet, or it might require rewiring your house.

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,174Member Uncommon

    Usually an entire room (or adjacent rooms) will be wired on the same circuit breaker. It doesn't matter if you are plugged into opposite ends of the room or not, they still come from the same feed, and so you still trip the breaker.

    Most residential feeds in the US are 15A, which is good up to about 1500W total. Going past that (such as just swapping out the circuit breaker with one that is bigger) is a bad idea, as it's a fire safety issue. In order to upgrade, you'd either need to change out all the wiring, or make a jump to something like 220VAC (which your computer, and maybe AC unit could do, but not a lot else really uses 220V in the US except heavy duty appliances like clothes dryers).

    Now, if you think that your tripping before hitting 15A (and honestly, a microwave, AC unit, and computer all at the same time is probably ~well~ beyond 15A), then it would be your landlord/owners problem.

    But it doesn't sound like it's a wiring problem - it sounds like your wiring is working exactly as it should. You really only have a couple of options:

    (*) Live with the fact that you can't turn on every electrical appliance at once. Yes, this means turning the AC off to use the Microwave Oven.

    (*) Run an extension cord from another room on a different circuit (bathroom or kitchen - those are usually on separate circuits) to run something. This is ~not~ a good solution, and you don't want it to become permanent, but it will at least keep stuff from tripping off. Not only is an extension cord going to be a trip hazard, and likely keep you from fully shutting doors, they are also a fire hazard, especially if you try to use a cheap one with thin wires on a high-amp appliance (look for one with 14GA wire or smaller (lower GA is bigger wire)). I would not run your AC unit from one under any circumstances, and would hesitate about a PC or microwave oven for any prolonged period.

    One easy way to check what's on a circuit - plug something into an outlet (a small lamp or fan or something), and open the breaker. See if it stays running or not. Don't go by lights or ceiling fans - sometimes those are on different circuits than the wall outlets.

  • CastillleCastillle KhobarPosts: 2,703Member Uncommon

    Sadly switching rooms doesnt work :( 

     

    I just tried it with the microwave + pc in the living room and the moment i turned on the air conditioning in the bed room, the power turned off :(   (We have an air conditioner in the bed room and living room/kitchen. the living room/kitchen one was off)

     

    And wow o.O Thats the first time Ive ever encountered the 1500W per room thing o.O

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  • PalaziousPalazious Lewiston, IDPosts: 162Member

    It might be how your house was wired as well.  Depending on the building codes of your area, when the house was built, and more importantly if the wiring was even inspected or was just a amatuer job by a not so bright previous homeowner/landlord.

    I know when I bought my house the whole thing (including waterheater) was on 3 circuits.  Very overloaded and sneezing would blow a breaker.  I rewired the house with a new service panel as well as a dedicated 20amp circuit where the computer would sit. 

    One option would be to have an electrician check it out for safety (sounds like its needed).  It would also be pretty easy for him to run a dedicated circuit for where your computer sits (especially if the panel is real close) while he's there if the loads are just too much.

    Just for safety sake have it checked out.

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  • CleffyCleffy San Diego, CAPosts: 4,623Member Uncommon

    The house I am in now was wired on 1 circuit.  Over 30 outlets.  Half of them were burnt up.  Now its wired on 30 (More Outlets added).

  • CastillleCastillle KhobarPosts: 2,703Member Uncommon

    Meh -.-  I apparently need the building managers permission and he said no to fixing the wiring.

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  • alkarionlogalkarionlog SPosts: 1,124Member Uncommon

    no to fixing wire? ask him what he is hiding? you can also just ask for someone take a look, just to see what its wrong, in any case, don't know how it work where you life, but try to file a complain or just send a tip for fireman or something about dangerous enviroment or something.

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  • miguksarammiguksaram Fort Meade, MDPosts: 826Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by alkarionlog

    no to fixing wire? ask him what he is hiding? you can also just ask for someone take a look, just to see what its wrong, in any case, don't know how it work where you life, but try to file a complain or just send a tip for fireman or something about dangerous enviroment or something.

    I'm going to have to second this.  Any landlord who actually cared and wasn't trying to hide something would want to try and find out if their residence was a potential fire hazard/death trap.  I'd figure out how to go about filing a fire code hazard and see if you can get the place inspected anonymously just be sure to keep distance yourself from any potential backlash if negative results were to follow.  Obviously your landlord might suspect but that's hardly proof of anything.

    EDIT:  I've seen too many "horror shows" when it comes to improper wiring thanks to my wife's love of the home improvement channel or whatever it's called.

  • MexorillaMexorilla Las Vegas, NVPosts: 313Member

    it should only be a few hundred dollars to add another circuit to the wiring.  (depending of course on how old/hosed up your wiring is)  one thing you could do is unplug everything in your house you arent using while using your pc.  toasters, microwaves, tv's,  alarm clocks, etc....they all use power wether they are turned on or not.

  • KilraneKilrane Sedro-Woolley, WAPosts: 255Member Uncommon
    I'm gonna also suggest that you have your fire department inspect the residence/building. OR you and your roomies might want to think of finding a new pad to live in.
  • ZezdaZezda Posts: 685Member Uncommon

    Don't know how it works for the US but I'm in the UK and I've got my PC (1.2KW PSU, probably about 800-900W on load atm), my speakers (Creative Gigaworks 7.1, rated at 700W RMS) as well 3 displays that are around 50W a piece all running and never had any problems with our power supply in the house and we can have as many as 6 or 7 PC's running from the same circuit along with all the other stuff like a Kettle/Vacuum etc etc.

    In the UK a single socket is usually rated at 13A (That's usually the rating of the fuse you will find in the plugs). That's 3000W of power into a single socket. Each ring main in the UK is usually rated for 30A for a total of 7500W. Cookers and other high current appliances generally have a dedicated circuit which does not put load across the sockets we use for other stuff. I don't know much about A/C since we don't use it in the UK but I would have to assume they would have done something similar had they been designed to use a high current.

    Again, I don't know how this is usually done in the US but it sounds like either your AC unit or something else you are using is faulty or you have some questionable wiring somewhere in the premises. If your landlord refuses to investigate the issue then you can either check to see if you can force him to do so legally as I would assume he needs to have some sort of license or inspection to say that the house passed electrical safety measures. Failing that you can get someone in to check it out. Although it's usually quite expensive to get plumbers/electricians etc out for jobs if you know someone they should at least be able to give it a quick once-over for you. We have done a lot of electrical work ourselves in our loft including a lot of rewiring while moving sockets etc and for the most part it's pretty simple.

  • kadepsysonkadepsyson sun prairie, WIPosts: 1,937Member

    I have a similar thing go on at my house.  When the window air conditioner is running (for extra cooling of the computers), and someone down the hall, through a room, and in the bathroom on the other side uses a hair dryer the circuit gets tripped.  When I have a friend over and he brings his beast of a computer, and we have the air conditioner running it is fine so long as i don't enable CrossfireX while we're both playing games.  The second graphics card is enough to trip the circuit lol

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  • CastillleCastillle KhobarPosts: 2,703Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by kadepsyson

    I have a similar thing go on at my house.  When the window air conditioner is running (for extra cooling of the computers), and someone down the hall, through a room, and in the bathroom on the other side uses a hair dryer the circuit gets tripped.  When I have a friend over and he brings his beast of a computer, and we have the air conditioner running it is fine so long as i don't enable CrossfireX while we're both playing games.  The second graphics card is enough to trip the circuit lol

    Funny thing is that this just happened 2 or 3 hours* ago rofl.  I didnt know the air conditioner in the room was turned on and the electricity went out when I was drying my hair.  :(

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  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,174Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Zezda
    In the UK a single socket is usually rated at 13A (That's usually the rating of the fuse you will find in the plugs). That's 3000W of power into a single socket. Each ring main in the UK is usually rated for 30A for a total of 7500W.

    UK has a couple of key differences from the US that make it a bit more robust:

    UK has what is called a ring setup, which allows you to draw roughly twice the power over the same gauge wiring, and why European circuits typically run around 30A on the same gauge wiring. US runs what is called branch circuits, so our circuits typically are only rated for 15 or 20A.

    UK runs at 240VAC, which allows you to draw roughly twice the power over the same size breaker (amps). US runs at 120VAC (or 110VAC, depending on where you measure at). European 13A at 240VAC is about 3000W per outlet, and 30A about 7000A per circuit - you are right. In the US, it's only about 1500W per outlet (110VAC at 15A), and 1500W per circuit (maybe 2000W on larger circuits, but 20A services commonly only run to like a kitchen or utility room where several appliances would be in use at the same time, only lately have they started running 20A services to bedrooms or home offices).

    Wall outlets in the US are typically 15A, which at 110VAC is only about 1500W (a bit more maybe, but could be a bit less in parts of the country that have power problems, like California). Residential room breakers are also typically rated for 15 or 20A (which gets shared across each outlet and light and anything else on the circuit).

    Current (amps) are the real driver, as your circuit breaker doesn't care how many volts or watts you pull, it only measures (and trips) on amps, and as your voltage goes down, current goes up by a similar factor (Power (W) = Volts (RMS) x Amps x Power Factor (AC single phase voltages are typically 0.9-0.95)).

    Current is also what the fire inspector cares about - the more current in a line, the more heat it generates. Too small gauge wire, or too long of a run, and the wiring can get hot enough (particularly at connection points, like outlets, where the resistance is a bit higher) to catch fire. This is a very common problem with people using extension cords, particularly on high-draw appliances (like A/C units, microwaves, and the like).

  • demarc01demarc01 Dover, DEPosts: 428Member

    Sounds like an issue with your circuit.

     

    I'm assuming your AC is a window model and plugs into a two pin socket rather than a fixed unit that plugs into a three pin socket (and hence would be a 220v) I make this assumtion since you say plugging it in causes a trip with the microwave which would indicate that they are on the same circuit. You say you have a room mate so I'm guessing a 2 bedroom place? If its a 1 bedroom and very cheap then its possilbe that your entire ring main (Sockets) are on a single circuit .. which would be ugh. If its a 2 bedroom + living area then there *should* be at least 2 ring mains for your rooms and an additional for the kitchien / bathroom (These are usually RCCB / GFCI protected) Cookers etc should be on a seperate CB (220v) and lightning on another.

    You could try running an cord from another room for your AC, though I would'ent reccomend that.

    You could also check the CB, it may be faulty and tripping without load's that should cause a trip. That your landlord seems reluctant to investigate the matter seems to indicate that he's aware of the crappy wiring and just wants to ignore it. You could call in an electrician to administer load tests but thats a cost you'd have to foot yourself and probably dont want to do.

    Honestly it sounds as though your WHOLE appartment is on one ring, I'm making the assumption that your microwave is in the kitchien and your AC and computer are not ... kitchien sockets are *usually* on a seperate breaker from the other ring's since kitchiens will generally see high loads (Microwave / convection ovens / exahust fans / appliances) ... that your microwave blows the breaker under load with your AC / Computer bothers me ... sounds like a real cowboy did the wiring in there. Gotta assume pre-fab unit and cheap construction costs ...

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  • CastillleCastillle KhobarPosts: 2,703Member Uncommon

    I asked the other renters and it seems like they have the same problem I have :(  I think its 1 circuit per apartment thingie.  I never had that problem in Astoria where even if the kitchen is pretty much a hall way, I can microwave with the heater on and the tv and the pc.

    -.- I wanna move out but everywhere is so expensive.    And they want like those...Income statement thingies which...I dont really have o.O 

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  • MMOarQQMMOarQQ BoogalululuPosts: 636Member
    Originally posted by miguksaram
    Originally posted by alkarionlog

    no to fixing wire? ask him what he is hiding? you can also just ask for someone take a look, just to see what its wrong, in any case, don't know how it work where you life, but try to file a complain or just send a tip for fireman or something about dangerous enviroment or something.

    I'm going to have to second this.  Any landlord who actually cared and wasn't trying to hide something would want to try and find out if their residence was a potential fire hazard/death trap.  I'd figure out how to go about filing a fire code hazard and see if you can get the place inspected anonymously just be sure to keep distance yourself from any potential backlash if negative results were to follow.  Obviously your landlord might suspect but that's hardly proof of anything.

    EDIT:  I've seen too many "horror shows" when it comes to improper wiring thanks to my wife's love of the home improvement channel or whatever it's called.

     

    It's not a fire hazard when the breakers are functioning as they should. As long as the circuit configuration suffices for typical use, the owner isn't in the wrong.

    If anything your advice will get him/her on the owner's shit list, and believe me, they have ways of making you miserable afterwards.

  • miguksarammiguksaram Fort Meade, MDPosts: 826Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by MMOarQQ
    Originally posted by miguksaram
    Originally posted by alkarionlog

    no to fixing wire? ask him what he is hiding? you can also just ask for someone take a look, just to see what its wrong, in any case, don't know how it work where you life, but try to file a complain or just send a tip for fireman or something about dangerous enviroment or something.

    I'm going to have to second this.  Any landlord who actually cared and wasn't trying to hide something would want to try and find out if their residence was a potential fire hazard/death trap.  I'd figure out how to go about filing a fire code hazard and see if you can get the place inspected anonymously just be sure to keep distance yourself from any potential backlash if negative results were to follow.  Obviously your landlord might suspect but that's hardly proof of anything.

    EDIT:  I've seen too many "horror shows" when it comes to improper wiring thanks to my wife's love of the home improvement channel or whatever it's called.

     

    It's not a fire hazard when the breakers are functioning as they should. As long as the circuit configuration suffices for typical use, the owner isn't in the wrong.

    If anything your advice will get him/her on the owner's shit list, and believe me, they have ways of making you miserable afterwards.

    Perhaps you don't mind relying on a single point of failure (especially when it's pretty obvious the issues appear to be very poor wiring) but I certainly wouldn't stand for it and I'm sure the fire inspector would feel the same.  That said, yes I am fully aware no ones likes being told they are in the wrong and now must cough up money to fix the issue.  I mentioned that portion in my post.  Too many landlords get away with substandard rentals simply because no one is willing to take the risk involved in pointing a finger.

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