I think my house is killing my electronics, no really!

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by nicoleabraira, Jan 27, 2006.

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  1. Jan 27, 2006 #1

    nicoleabraira

    nicoleabraira

    nicoleabraira

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    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?
     
  2. Jan 29, 2006 #2

    pqglen

    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
    pqglen
     
  3. Jan 30, 2006 #3

    Sparky

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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.
     
  4. Feb 2, 2006 #4

    nicoleabraira

    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! :mad: Anyway, we haven't discussed the situation with our neighbors because they move in and out too fast, but it's a good idea.:rolleyes: 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.:)
     
  5. Feb 4, 2006 #5

    nicoleabraira

    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? :confused:
     
  6. Feb 4, 2006 #6

    pqglen

    pqglen

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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

    pqglen
     
  7. Feb 8, 2006 #7

    nicoleabraira

    nicoleabraira

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    Hmmm, ok! Thanks! :D
     
  8. Mar 7, 2006 #8

    Polar Sparky 1224

    Polar Sparky 1224

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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.
     
  9. Mar 16, 2006 #9

    JoeD

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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.
     
  10. Mar 16, 2006 #10

    kenny k

    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
     
  11. May 17, 2006 #11

    Index12

    Index12

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    Hi there -

    I just joined the forum and was viewing some threads when I came across this one.

    In your first post, you mentioned all of the devices that had failed or gone intermittant, one of which was a previously problematic hard drive (I think it failed on its own - you shouldn't have to erase it for it to work!). The Mac was also a three year old hard drive - possibly coincidence, as hard drives are made to such tight tolerances now that they fail far more easily.

    The DVD player becomes a bit harder to explain, but having repaired consumer electronics for friends for years, it wouldn't surprise me at all to have problems with a DVD player even a few months after buying it.

    Where things become interesting is the "problem with kitchen lights and outlet". If there is anything wonky in the electrical service in the apartment, this may be a clue to the source. When you have time, can you post the details? We might be able to pinpoint possible issues from there. I would also like to know more details on the lighting you returned - I worked in a lighting repair store for several years, I might be able to help there!

    Index12,

    www.electricalrepairlinks.com
     
  12. May 17, 2006 #12

    woodworkingmenace

    woodworkingmenace

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    Ok, I can sympathise with this...

    I had a C.B. antenna, (30 foot job), on a 50 foot tower. And for the longest time, I was getting some type of interference... humming, buzzing static that eventually blew out my new curtis mathis tv (And of course, this is when they WENT OUT OF BUSINESS! hmmm conspiracy if you ask me!)...

    It also affected my radios (Ham, CB, AM/FM)...

    I was getting feed back from the air, into the antenna and tower..(even had a ground system in). So, I took the antenna down.... Still feed back.
    I took the tower down... Cut it down a whole lot, but a little left.

    I found realized later that I grounded the electrical system to my water pipes, and that didnt do any good, so, I put a better ground in, and that solved the entire problem... Oh, yea, they DID replace the faulty transformer outside my house after that too... hmmm :)

    It drove me nuts for 5 months, thought it was thermostat noise, or dirty electric (spikes in power)... So, I sympathise with you because it can drive you batty....

    Jesse
     

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