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Author Topic: Dealing with power cuts  (Read 2059 times)

Bowdon

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Dealing with power cuts
« on: September 22, 2017, 01:15:58 PM »

I recently had a couple of power cuts and it caused me some technical problems when it came to technology, modems, routers, a pc, a kitchen light and a microwave.

I was wondering what is the best strategy to save electric devices while dealing with power cuts?

I'm thinking the problem happens when the power comes back on rather than off. It must be some type of power surge.

The interesting part of this is some of my devices were behind at least 1 surge protector. The pc was behind 2, yet the power surge still got through.

I'm beginning to wonder if surge protectors are a bit of a marketing ploy, and do they actually work?

So I was thinking of possible alternative methods of protecting devices. I know the ultimate solution is to buy a UPS device (which I have). But its not practical to get that up for everything in the house, not least because the UPS can only have a maximum number of devices connected.

So I was wondering, would turning the power off on the back of the pc prevent a surge in the pc, or would only unplugging it completely work?
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Dealing with power cuts
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2017, 03:14:04 PM »

You've been unlucky, we get frequent power cuts here and never had any damage.

But one thing worth mentioning, we had one a few weeks ago, power was off for about two hours while engineers attended at the village substation, after which power was restored but my microwave failed to heat my lunch.   I picked up on a few other symptoms, like a fluorescent light that was slow to come on, and checked the mains voltage... 180V, way below the minimum.

After I called the supplier and moaned about the low voltage they quite promptly returned to the village and waved their magic tools around once more, after which mains was 238V and microwave functioned perfectly.

Without sounding arrogant, I'll bet 9 out of 10 other people would simply have assumed the microwave was deceased, rather than checking supply voltage.   The supplier would have noticed eventually of course, but that could be days later.

Excess mains voltage could equally be the problem, and maybe more likely to cause damage.  Easiest way to check mains voltage is a plug in volt/watt/VA meter, circa 10-15 from Maplin or Amazon, iirc.
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j0hn

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Re: Dealing with power cuts
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2017, 03:19:05 PM »

A decent surge protector should do the job for surges.
The issue you had with your modem/router in the other thread wasn't a surge. A surge will do physical damage. You suffered from some sort of corruption in the firmware/configuration of the devices, which will be related to suddenly losing power/improper shutdown. Only a UPS would prevent something like this in future.
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JGO

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Re: Dealing with power cuts
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2017, 03:48:05 PM »

AIUI the problem is more incorrect static supply voltage than a surge ?  In which case a constant voltage transformer (CVT) may be a solution Caution I have heard of them producing a distorted 50HZ waveform which might give further trouble. On the other hand I recall a friend's supply regularly dropped to 180v on Sundays when everyone was cooking dinner, when a CVT would be helpful.
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Chrysalis

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Re: Dealing with power cuts
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2017, 07:44:51 PM »

UPS is probably the only proper solution.  That also will protect from low voltage situations which I discovered in my area happen quite frequently.
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displaced

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Re: Dealing with power cuts
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2017, 01:40:31 PM »

Could well be an initial surge which breaks stuff. 

We've got a persistently high mains line voltage on our road.  My wife, who grew up here has all kinds of stories about DC adapters going pop after only a few months in use.  Virtually all my father-in-law's home low-voltage gear (routers, modems, DAB radios etc) are running from replacement adapters bought from Maplin after the original stopped working.

In our house, we used to lose a lot of incandescent bulbs. That's been solved by switching to LEDs.

We've also got a UPS for a server, HD array, modem and router.  Attached is a graph from our monitoring software showing our line stats.  As you can see, we're almost at the level (~256V) that the 'leccy company would have to do something!

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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Dealing with power cuts
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2017, 04:52:27 PM »

Ref low voltage, dont ignore it, that can be quite dangerous too.   There might for example be an underlying cause, such as a high resistance joint, which could start a fire.   That happened to us just after we moved into a newly built house a long while ago.   Wed noticed the lights were a bit dim, then one day the lights went out completely with the big flash and an almighty bang.  It blew a hole right through the side of the supply cabinet which, fortunately, was on an outside wall.  The incoming supply had apparently not been properly secured.

Even if its just a poor supply at the end of a long line, it can lead to problems with fridges that fail to reach the thermostat setting, causing the compressor to run continuously and overheat.   Similarly, oven heating elements may be overworked.  There are other examples too.

There is a legal minimum (216V iirc), if it is below that you should be able to get the supplier to fix it.   No matter how hard it may be to fix, I am pretty sure they have to do so.
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roseway

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Re: Dealing with power cuts
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2017, 06:31:14 PM »

A few years ago we had a low voltage incident. Apart from the dim lights I noticed that the gas boiler was trying to light, but there wasn't sufficient voltage to make a spark, so unburnt gas was going straight out of the flue. The electricity company didn't seem to understand why this might be dangerous. >:(
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Dealing with power cuts
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2017, 07:47:53 PM »

To their credit, when I reported 180v, they responded very quickly.   I reported it on the emergency phone number and they did indeed treat it as an emergency.   Got several call backs to report on progress, and fixed by tea time.
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