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Old 01-06-2008, 08:41 PM   #1
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dirty power at home

Wondering if any of you guys had any ideas to help with this. computer power supplies burn out every 2 years (different comptuers, different circuits), incandescant lights last a few months in most fixtures, CFL lights last only a little longer (6 months as opposed to the advertised 5 years).

UPSs have helped the computers and no trouble with them since. can't exactly put a UPS on the whole house... it's just not practical.
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Old 01-07-2008, 01:01 AM   #2
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I am baffled. Never before have I heard of such madness. For one, call your power company. They should send someone out to check you out. For two, if you are getting bad power, then your neighbors must be too -- talk to them about it too!

My guess is that your house has something bad somewhere. Gotta find that and fix it. Power company should be cooperative in helping you with that. May end up paying for it, but it is better than killing your electrical devices like you are now.
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Old 01-07-2008, 04:13 AM   #3
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Check the ground rod for the house it might be a short rod drove in like 6 inches instead of a few feet like it is supposed to be. If the ground rod is ok it might be just a crappy transformer feeding your house. You can complain to the power company and they might fix it. Your only real option is to get a whole house noise filter. They mount in your breaker panel and do a pretty good job of cutting the random noises you get in the power line. I use one on my house to get x10 signals to work reliably.
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Old 01-07-2008, 04:31 AM   #4
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Do you live in an industrial area? Industrial motors can generate some nasty harmonics (although I'd be surprised if it actually affected your power that much).

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Old 01-07-2008, 06:05 AM   #5
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Get a digital voltmeter and see if the AC voltage jumps around a lot or if it is too high (130+ volts). As was mentioned, it could be a bad or overloaded transformer.
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:09 AM   #6
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I'm not near industrial...ins't much of any industrial in town at all.

No ground rod. it's done through the water supply pipe.

Where would I find the whole-house noise filter? That sounds most promising since the UPSs I use on the computer are basically noise filters with battery backup.
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:40 PM   #7
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It is probably a bad ground, water pipes are not really that good of a ground source. I would first get a copper rod and drive it in. Ground to it and see if the power gets more stable in the house.

http://www.sandecell.com/?item=GPP-8005&VID=1 is the cheapest whole house surge suppressor I have seen in the short amount I just looked. You can search around and find other ones, once you know what to search for they are easy to find.
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamesama980 View Post
I'm not near industrial...ins't much of any industrial in town at all.

No ground rod. it's done through the water supply pipe.
You're assuming that you aren't sharing a substation with a concern that either "regenerates" power back into the line or which uses some sort of system. You could also be the victim of circumstance, for example you're getting surges from natural sources like thunderstorms.

Three phase motors can generate noise but what really generates noise are power conversion systems that use switching, for example variable frequency drives. These can generate horrendous harmonics. There are established limits for the amount of harmonic distortion but sometimes machines do not always work properly.

Utilities do NOT like it when industrial customers use systems that put "dirty" power back into the lines. Really annoys the crap out of them.

To actually see these harmonics you need to monitor the power using an oscilloscope or a spectrum analyser.

Another possiblity is someone who is "putting power back into the grid". Such a person may be using an inverter to generate AC. The square waves that inverters generate are rich in harmonics, which is what gives them their square shape in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kamesama980 View Post
Where would I find the whole-house noise filter? That sounds most promising since the UPSs I use on the computer are basically noise filters with battery backup.
A suitable "noise filter" would be a very large inductor. Inductors have a higher resistance the higher the frequency of the electricity.

Alternately an isolation transformer would reduce harmonics the same way an inductor could do. However to run your whole home through an isolation transformer we're talking some pretty righteous bucks.

Odds are that someone on your side of the substation could be doing some nasty stuff. Could also be caused by surges in the line from thunderstorms or other transient sources.

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Old 02-20-2008, 12:04 AM   #9
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No, all grid power supplies dirt in the electric, some is just worse than others.
You might have them check out your house, but it also might be nothing doing.

A UPS is the best noise filter, nothing beats that battery to supply steady uninterrupted, clean power. They do, however, sell regular noise filters that look like power strips at places like Best Buy... These non-UPS filters are normally used for electronic appliances such as VCR's, DVD players, TV's and stereos.

They're not cheap but there's no batteries to replace so they don't wear out.
Unfortunately they're not as good as a UPS but they do help.

Might be worth a shot
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Old 02-20-2008, 07:24 PM   #10
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unfortunately a plug strip doesn't do much good. we've got UPSs on the computers but the house lights burn out in about 1/4 the tiem you'd expect. incandescants in months. CFLs in half a year.
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