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Generic Question About Electricity & Voltage Drop With Appliances

D

David ~

Jan 1, 1970
0
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?

Thanks,

David...
 
B

Bob Eldred

Jan 1, 1970
0
David ~ said:
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?

Thanks,

David...

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.
 
D

David ~

Jan 1, 1970
0
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,
David...
 
K

Kitchen Man

Jan 1, 1970
0
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,
David...

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.

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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