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Constant device failure

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Frank Les, Nov 1, 2017.

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  1. Frank Les

    Frank Les

    Nov 1, 2017
    A friend of mine has major problems with all his electronics at home. They all fail within a few days. Cell phone, video game consoles, microwave, cable receptors, all last only 2 or 3 days. It's been like this for the last 18 months. As a exemple, when he connects a new cable receptor, it works fine the first two days. Then it seems to loose signal and have to reboot a few time to finish by stopping to work. The electrical utility put a permanent surge meeter but did'nt find anything wrong. The cable companie check their own signal and cables. Their also put a device measuring electromagnetic fields. Again, found nothing. They check the breaker box, the electrical cables etc. He put surge protections on all device. He spend more than 2000$ on the problem.
  2. 73's de Edd

    73's de Edd

    Aug 21, 2015
    Three quick-initial thoughts come to mind. . . . . .

    Is the house old enough to have been constructed during that era . . . ( '65ish---'73ish) . . .of some contractors use of aluminum house wiring

    Also, there is the possibility of there being a poor/ intermittent/ higher resistance connectivity of the common ground on the wiring at the breaker box to incoming AC line ground at the pigtails.

    Have the electric company place two chart recording voltmeters on each leg of the AC line inside of the house for 24 hrs a day . . . or so . . . . for any initial clues or for longer time periods if any voltage swing nuances are being noted.

    73's de Edd
  3. Wireaddict


    Oct 13, 2017
    Edd might be close, a loose neutral connection at either the transformer or the panel or missing jumper between the neutral lug & the neutral bus bar (rare but I've seen it) can cause unstable voltage. On single phase (residential) wiring the transformer feeding the house has a 240V secondary with a center tap. The wire from the center tap is the neutral & is connected to all the 120V circuits & ensures that the 120V circuits have a secure connection to the transformer secondary center tap. Without the center tap connection the neutral floats & the line-to-neutral voltage can vary considerably above or below 120V.
  4. kellys_eye


    Jun 25, 2010
    Yes, some form of Data Acquisition (recording) device is required on the power lines AND a 24/7 spectrum analysis - you have to cover all frequencies.

    Another common cause is 'distortion' of the mains AC waveform (harmonics) as can happen when people use large motors or even welding sets. This affects SMPS inputs in particular.

    Are there any workshops nearby or people with DIY kit and large powered equipment (bandsaws, lathes etc?)
  5. BobK


    Jan 5, 2010
    This is a question, not a suggestion. Can the bad ground connection be at the transformer instead of at the panel? I would think that would cause the same problems. Don't know enough about home service, but I seem to have only 2 wires coming from the utility po.e for my 2 phases (U.S.) That seems to imply that the return is through actual earth ground. Is this really the case?

    On the other hand. If this is really caused by a lack of ground, it seems ridiculous the the service provider did not find that.

  6. KMoffett


    Jan 21, 2009
    Bad Neutral contact on a 120V-N-120v system? Happened to my farm home. Lamps would blow in certain parts of the house. Some would last a mouth, other times only days. Dad noticed the neutral arcing at the pole during a storm. Electrician came out and tightened the connection and no more more problem. With an intermittently open neutral, the loads on both sides of the neutral become a voltage divider. The heavily loaded side had a low voltage and the lightly loaded side had high voltage...blowing the lamps.

  7. BobK


    Jan 5, 2010
    This would certainly show up if the voltages of both phases were recorded.

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