Power surges in my new apartment? How do I fix it?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by ElectromagnetNewbee, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. ElectromagnetNewbee

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 13, 2014
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    So i recently moved to a New Jersey apartments and almost ever time I turn on the air conditioner it seems like the voltage to all our electronics dies down and then the air conditioner just turns off, (cause lack of power and poor wiring in my building).

    What are some creative way to remedy this??? A UPS perhaps? or can i make a power grid with car batteries and somehow pull the additional current when needed?

    Also, could i run a AC generator to push more electricity into my electrical outlets?? Im just trying to make sure i have enough power to run my Air Conditioner and my VFD when i get it..

    Thanks,
    Nate
     
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    You should inform the owner of the apartment as it could be something serious like a loose connection that could cause a fire.
    There is NOTHING else you should do other than move to a different apartment.

    Its fairly normal that during the starting of a large draw piece of equipment that some "sagging" happens but it should clear in seconds and all equipment should remain running.

    You would need a massive UPS for an air conditioner not to mention is not likely 120V either unless its a window unit and it still requires a large startup current.
     
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  3. inwo

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2013
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    I wouldn't call that a surge.

    I suspect wire termination issues that need immediate attention.

    Not in the AC circuit, but anywhere from apt. to transformer.

    I don't see an easy fix in your future. Although a vfd might be more tolerant of dips.

    What's the vfd use?
     
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  4. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
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    loose wires lead to heat that causes corrosion. get it fixed before it burns your appartment and all theothers down. some older places were wired with aluminum wire, it expands and contracts with heat from current. when it gets loose enough, there a fire. copper does this too, just over a real long time. do you have any warm or hot recepticals in your house? if so, they need fixing.
     
  5. inwo

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2013
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    Is there a feeder panel in your apt. that's accessible?
     
  6. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Call your utility company today and have them send someone out.

    Few weeks ago we lost a huge tree limb that hiit the line to our house. The next week we would notice the lights flicker, usually a quick flash brighter. Finally convinced ourselves on a Sunday it was really a problem, so we called it in.

    Happens our neighbor's son was visiting and he works for the power company, so he called the guy in charge of repairs, who immediately sent out a repairman. That guy checked the power at the meter, everything looked fine to him, but we're now on the "friends and family" list so he got out his ladder and checked the lines in the drop and redid both ends.

    When he was finished he noted "yeah, the neutral back at the pole was bad, it would open then weld itself back." Oops, that meant when it opened the neutral in our house was floating somewhere between the 220V double line comming in.

    No wonder we were seeing flashes. Lucky nothin burned out too.

    CALL YOUR POWER COMPANY. TODAY. :eek:
     
  7. inwo

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2013
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    I called one in years ago. Thinking it would be a real head scratcher.

    The lineman took his 5lb hammer, went over to the transformer pole, and gave it a whack. The lights blinked, and he knew where to look.

    Same issue!
     
  8. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Like fixing your car with a hammer. It's not having the right tool but knowing where to hit.
     
  9. inwo

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2013
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    I was sooo amazed. I was an electrician at the time, too.

    He had the hammer in his hand when he got out of the truck.:eek: Definitely a common problem when lights flicker.
     
  10. MikeML

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Standard way of looking for loose hardware that might be causing Power-line RFI. Not recommended for a consumer to do it because I have seen a hot line break and fall to the ground as the Lineman bashed the pole with his 20lb sledge...
     
  11. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,284
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    Mostly just repeating what other people have said:
    The power company is responsible for maintaining 240 VAC RMS +/- 5% at all times (at my house) at the meter input. After that, the building owner is responsible for maintaining the wiring. You seem to be taking upon yourself a job which is not your responsibility with ideas that are not practical and which overlook the real problem which is a wiring fault. Please attack the real problem because it will make your electronics work properly and might save you from a serious fire hazard.
     
  12. inwo

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2013
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    +1
    That reminds me :D he told me, that one time, a transformer fell off the pole.:eek:
     
  13. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    For another day I have a great shaggy dog repair story where the punchline is "knowing where to bang."

    My techs always laugh at me when they report a piece of non-functioning equipemnt to me. My first question is always "did you hit it" and no matter what they answer I give it my calibrated open palm WHACK.

    I'm about 50-50 in fixing bad equipment that way, at least until we make the shipment. Then it is out for service.
     
  14. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
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    Tapping things to identify loose connections has been around forever.

    The instrument used to tap is commensurate with the size of the item being tapped.
     
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