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Generic Question About Electricity & Voltage Drop With Appliances

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by David ~, Jun 7, 2005.

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  1. David ~

    David ~ Guest

    As a coffee enthousiast, I enjoy roasting my own coffee at home with a small
    hot air type of roaster (think popcorn machine). However, the roaster has
    been acting strange lately so I checked the voltage at the outlet with a
    digital volt meter during the roast cycle. What I saw was that voltage was
    dropping 10 - 13 volts and staying that low during the entire roast.

    So then I plugged a hair dryer into the same outlet, turned it on (without
    the roaster running) and basically saw the same thing.

    My question, is it normal for voltage to remain that low during operation ?
    If not, is it a result of bad power supply in the neighboorhood or something
    in this rental house?


  2. Bob Eldred

    Bob Eldred Guest

    It's the result of something bad, even dangerous. That voltage drop means
    that there is excess resistance somewhere in the circuit. It is a potential
    fire hazard because heating is sure to occur where this is happening. The
    most likely culpret is a bad connection like a loose screw or rivet on a
    connection somewhere and it probably is in the house or in the breaker box,
    not beyond. A likely candidtate is the socket where the roaster plugs in.
    Run the hair dryer because it doesn't mask odors like the coffee roaster
    would, and search the house for any heat smell, roasting plastic or burning
    smells. Check inside the house at switch plates, outlets and the breaker
    box. Don't run the circuit very long until it is fixed. Plug the roaster in
    a different outlet and measure the voltages there. Tell the manager and
    insist that an electrician be called to look into it. Even if you find the
    problem, don't fix it yourself. Insist that a licenced electrician do it so
    you don't void any insurance should there be a fire.
  3. David ~

    David ~ Guest

    Bob, Thanks for the response. That's exactly the what I needed. Tomorrow
    I'll run the hair dryer test on separate circuts which (I assume) will tell
    me if it's in the box or not. As far as the manager, I'll inform him of the
    situation but I'm not going to get a lot of support out of him, and I'll
    probably be moving in a few months anyway.

    Best Regards,
  4. Kitchen Man

    Kitchen Man Guest

    This is imperative. Don't wait a few months, this is a serious
    problem. It is possible that the fault is with the PUD feed, and if
    so it will be fixed without charge to the landlord. I had a similar
    problem in a rental house; turning on the electric range caused a deep
    voltage drop, manifested as degraded performance of the television
    set. I called the PUD and as it turns out, it was the external feed
    at fault and the landlord was not liable for the repair. Keep a
    record of your observations for future reference, in case the landlord
    drags his feet on the issue. You don't want to live in a building
    where the safety of the electrical power is suspect. If the manager
    won't move, call the PUD yourself.
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