DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Electrical and Wiring > I think my house is killing my electronics, no really!




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Old 01-27-2006, 12:26 PM  
nicoleabraira
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Default I think my house is killing my electronics, no really!

My husband and I moved into our first home, a condo, four months ago and we've noticed that a lot of our electronic equipment is systematically shutting down.

First, it was the light we installed in the office on the ceiling. We returned two brand new lights and then decided it must need a dimmer switch. My husband examined all the wiring and even tested it with a multimeter. So far the third light hasn't died, but it makes this whining sound when we turn up the dimmer.

After that the DVD player, a 6-month-old Sony, started acting strangely and then just wouldn't turn on. It's not even on the same circuit as the other electronics.

Then my PC died. Now, I'll admit, it has been troublesome over the years, but my husband always got it working by just wiping the hard drive. However, it had already been wiped and was fine when it died. It wouldn't boot to the Windows disk and basically doesn't see the hard drive.

Shortly thereafter our modem died. We had another one on hand, so we just swapped them out.

After that I started having trouble with my laptop (MAC). It wouldn't connect to the internet. Yesterday I got no signal (wireless). Today I have a signal, but it doesn't recognize the server ALL THE TIME. I got it to work here and there, but it gets stuck periodically. It's never done this before. The modem we have now is new. The router is a few years old, and my MAC is a year old.

Worst of all, though, is that my husband's MAC is dying. You can hear the hard drive shutting down, but always at different points after being turned on. This was the computer that we always relied on. It's three years old.

I won't even go into the weird things that happened with the kitchen light and one of the outlets when we first moved in.

I can't help but think this house is slowly killing our electronics. Is that possible? I would hire an electrician, but I don't know what he/she could do for us. Any advice?



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Old 01-28-2006, 05:50 PM  
pqglen
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Your problem sounds bizzare. I confess I have no solutions for your problems just a couple of questions and suggestions. Do your neighbors have the same problems with thier electronics? Did the previous owners have simalr problems you might want to ask them or your agent. Have you contacted Apple cutomer support and ask them what might be the cause. good luck please post any sollutions or cuases to your problem if you find them
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Old 01-30-2006, 04:19 AM  
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So what were the readings when you test the voltage? I've seen weird things and it usually traces back to the transformer that supplies the voltage. They don't last forever. I'd call the utility first.

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Old 02-01-2006, 07:04 PM  
nicoleabraira
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Thanks for the replies, pqglen and sparky. Sorry for the delayed response. I've been offline for a couple of days because my wireless router or modem or laptop, something electronic, is giving me the middle finger! Anyway, we haven't discussed the situation with our neighbors because they move in and out too fast, but it's a good idea. Honestly, since I only speak English, I can only communicate with the neighbors across the hall, and they JUST moved in. They're renting. I will ask when I see them again. And as far as the previous owners of our condo, I wouldn't know how to reach them. These used to be rental apartments. They were converted last year. I'm afraid we don't have Applecare, so we can't use Apple's customer support. My husband's Applecare expired a year ago, and I have my extended warranty through CompUSA. Without Applecare, they won't help us. Fortuately, my husband was able to recover the data on the hard drive by putting it in the freezer. It kept it going long enough for him to transfer the data to another drive. What I'm reading on other websites is that most people replace their hard drives without batting an eye because they're inexpensive. We'll replace ours too. Of course, we still won't know what caused it to go bad. Sparky, my husband measured the voltage on one circuit, in the office, where we have all our computer equipment and the light fixture I was telling you about. It read between 119 and 120. Although the reading was normal, he was considering replacing the circuit breaker because he couldn't think of anything else. I forgot to mention that all our equipment is connected to high-quality surge protectors. So you think it could be the transformer? Wow! I guess I'll get in touch with FPL. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll keep you posted on new developments.

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Old 02-03-2006, 09:13 PM  
nicoleabraira
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Well, my letter to FPL went out yesterday. I mentioned the transformer possibility and another possibility. An electrician who works with my husband said it sounded to him like a faulty ground or a problem with the outside meter. So I also asked FPL if they'd check for problems with the meter. We're thinking about having this electrician test for a faulty ground, however you do that, but I don't want to get into exploratory surgery because I think it'll end up to be EXPENSIVE. I'd rather talk it out with those who know about this stuff to at least get an idea of what is probably NOT the problem. Any opinions on the ground or meter theories?

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Old 02-04-2006, 03:10 PM  
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you can buy a cheap test tool from your local Hardware or Home Depot store. it has 3 prongs to fit in a 110 outlet and three lights on the back it is not very sophiticated but will tell you if your outlet is wired correctlly. It is safe and easy to use. A faulty ground can be elusive. I would involve your husbands freind for help if the power company comes up empty

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Old 02-08-2006, 04:50 PM  
nicoleabraira
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Hmmm, ok! Thanks!

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Old 03-07-2006, 01:52 PM  
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Do you have fluorescent or "energy efficient bulbs in your light. Regular incandescent (standard) lights should be used, and as for the interference i have the same problem when large appliances are used. I live in a basement apartment for now and have areas that my phone acts up. You may have to just find a better place to have your computer set up. If you know the lay out of the apartment above you put it as far from their TV and kitchen as possible and that should make a difference. You may also look into getting a filter for your phone line.

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Old 03-15-2006, 10:05 PM  
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A faulty ground will not likely cause the problems you are describing. A faulty neutral might cause the problem however. One symptom of a faulty neutral is the flicker and going brighter.

Whinig or humming sound from lights on a dimmer is often caused by cheap brand bulbs. Sometimes changing the brand of bulb makes the humming go away.

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Old 03-15-2006, 10:21 PM  
kenny k
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have you called a catholic priest to come and bless your house might be haunted just joking sound like you are on the right track though



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