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PC tripping house supply!

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February 21, 2008 1:33:16 PM

When I power on my PC the house supply starts to fluctuate and at times trips. I dont think it is a UPS or spike guard problem, since this fluctuation/tripping persists even when both of them are cut out and the CPU is given a direct connection. Changing the power outlet also hasn't made any difference. Could anyone suggest what the problem may be? Is there anyway to check and see if the power supply unit in the CPU is malfunctioning?

kris2008
21-2-2008

More about : tripping house supply

February 21, 2008 1:44:05 PM

im a little confused. What do you mean by house supply? Are you talking about the computer's power supply?
a b à CPUs
February 21, 2008 2:11:36 PM

You are probably overloading a circuit in your house.
Calculate how many amps are used on the circuit and then look at the breaker.
You probably need a new separate circuit.
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a b à CPUs
February 21, 2008 2:23:57 PM

You probably want to get an outlet tester and check the outlets in your house for incorrect wiring also. Costs about $5.00 and gives a red light if somehting is incorrectly wired.
a c 124 ) Power supply
a c 136 à CPUs
February 21, 2008 2:39:05 PM

Are you saying the power in your entire house goes out, or just whichever one circuit you try? If just one circuit, then maybe you should put in a dedicated new one for your computer equipment. If it is your entire house, then the image that comes to mind is a house that was initially wired with knob-and-tubing back in the 1920s or so and may only have a 60A max for the whole house (no offense intended; I lived in one of those myself for a while). We'll need more information about your wiring.
February 21, 2008 3:03:25 PM

I'm guessing that you mean only one breaker trips when you turn the computer on and not the main breaker....(if it's the main then you might have some problems), chances are best that you are just overloading the circuit. standard household circuits are 15Amp Max.
you said you tried another outlet, but if the outlet is in the same room it will be on the same circuit and there for not make any diff. even if you try one in the next room (ex: you tried 2 diff bedrooms) there is a good chance it's still the same circuit.
I'm a residential electrician, and when wiring a standard 3 bdrm house there tends to be about 12 receptacles (12 items is the max allowed for me to put on a single circuit anyways) and I just run them all in series. so if you are having a problem in one bdrm then trying a plug in another would do nothing.
Try a plug in the kitchen or living room or something (run an extension cord so you don't have to move your computer)
February 21, 2008 3:05:08 PM

you can pick up a computer power supply tester for $15-$20, it is possible that it could be drawing to much current.
February 21, 2008 3:08:49 PM

I agree with what gizmo is saying.

@OP
It would also help to understand your spec's to also get an idea how much power your system needs.

Also, if your system can start... or your circuit breaker box switches off. That also could indicate a short on the PC MB itself.
February 21, 2008 4:22:12 PM

Wonder if they guy forgot to pay for the electric bill.. or really shorted out the circuit breaker box??? [:kentuckyranger:3]
February 27, 2008 4:42:44 AM

rallyimprezive said:
im a little confused. What do you mean by house supply? Are you talking about the computer's power supply?


evongugg said:
You are probably overloading a circuit in your house.
Calculate how many amps are used on the circuit and then look at the breaker.
You probably need a new separate circuit.


Onus said:
Are you saying the power in your entire house goes out, or just whichever one circuit you try? If just one circuit, then maybe you should put in a dedicated new one for your computer equipment. If it is your entire house, then the image that comes to mind is a house that was initially wired with knob-and-tubing back in the 1920s or so and may only have a 60A max for the whole house (no offense intended; I lived in one of those myself for a while). We'll need more information about your wiring.


Grimmy said:
I agree with what gizmo is saying.

@OP
It would also help to understand your spec's to also get an idea how much power your system needs.

Also, if your system can start... or your circuit breaker box switches off. That also could indicate a short on the PC MB itself.


February 27, 2008 4:47:44 AM

I mean the supply in the house.
Things have been working fine for the past two years, so I doubt if its a problem of overloading.
The supply of the whole house goes off. At times for a few seconds, or else for a few minutes.
My system is AMD Athlon Xp, Gigabyte MB, multiboot-Windows XP Pro and Sabayon. The powersupply is 300w. House voltge 250v. UPS 500w.
February 27, 2008 5:27:01 AM

How old is your house? I lived in a small house for two years and whenever I used the microwave with the dishwasher the breaker would trip. We had two freezers, we ended up putting a 30amp breaker in place of the 15amp breaker. However I am not recommending you try this at all until you speak to a technician! :D 
February 27, 2008 10:08:36 AM

Why does it say in my e-mail that Zorg has replied to a post... I don't see a post from Zorg, so whats going on here?
a c 124 ) Power supply
a c 136 à CPUs
February 27, 2008 10:50:25 AM

If the house supply is tripping, and you're certain it is not an overload, then perhaps the problem is one best addressed by an electrician. The breaker may be malfunctioning. I would check your computer's PSU first though. Unplug your PC and in its place plug in another load, such as a space heater set on "low" (500W-750W in the US). If the circuit blows, then you probably do have an overload. If it doesn't, your computer's PSU is a fire hazard, whether or not it still seems to be powering your PC.
How many amps is the service in your home? The standard these days in the US I believe is still 200A. With 250V service, you obviously aren't in the US.
February 27, 2008 10:22:33 PM

systemlord said:
Why does it say in my e-mail that Zorg has replied to a post... I don't see a post from Zorg, so whats going on here?
I stripped it and made it a PM.
February 27, 2008 10:52:57 PM

i had the same problem. i had to change my 20 amp to a 30 amp to keep my 2 computers and living room stuff going. house wiring is wierd sometimes.
a c 100 à CPUs
February 28, 2008 1:57:37 AM

kris2008 said:
I mean the supply in the house.
Things have been working fine for the past two years, so I doubt if its a problem of overloading.
The supply of the whole house goes off. At times for a few seconds, or else for a few minutes.
My system is AMD Athlon Xp, Gigabyte MB, multiboot-Windows XP Pro and Sabayon. The powersupply is 300w. House voltge 250v. UPS 500w.


If your house has been built in the last 30 years or so, the big main breaker at the top of the box (or the big main fuse block) will be at least 100 amps due to the National Electric Code that all new construction or renovation must follow in order to be approved in order to be habitable. Most houses will have 200 amp service, so I doubt that your computer with maybe 200 watts of draw will be flipping the main breaker than is rated for 24,000-48,000 watts. Besides, the branch circuit breakers (the smaller guys lined up in rows) would trip before the main breaker would if you are pulling a ton of current through something plugged into an outlet. You didn't say that "oh, the lights in just these three rooms went dead," so I suspect that you have a problem with that large main circuit breaker, the circuit breaker box, or wiring on the bus of the breaker box. I'd get an electrician to look at it as you have to get somebody from the power company to shut off the power to your house from the street or pole before you can work on the main breaker or replace the breaker box. I would get on it quickly as a short or other problem is not on a hassle but is a real risk of a fire.

@circuseye and systemlord: I sure hope you guys did the smart thing and rewired the entire branch that you put those 30-amp breakers on as the wire gauge is the reason why a breaker is of a certain size. The correct gauge of wire for 30-amp service is 10 gauge Cu wire, as opposed to 12 gauge for 20 amp and 14 gauge for 15 amp. Systemlord, your technician (electrician?) should have told you this and if he was at all ethical, refused to replace the breaker with a bigger one until he replaced the wiring supplied by that breaker. However, if you guys simply plugged a bigger breaker in the box and didn't replace the wiring, you will need to replace the wiring with 10-gauge wiring or risk burning your houses down. Really.

But if rewiring a portion of your house does not sound appealing, you can use the same wiring and safely push more power through the same wires by converting the circuit to 240 volts. Then that 14-gauge wiring on 240 V can carry as many watts as a 120 V 30-amp circuit and 12-gauge wiring on 240 volts carries as much wattage as a 40-amp 120-volt branch does. I know that computer power supplies have a 120/240 V switching capability and that some equipment like freezers may as well, so this might be a solution. If you have shop tools or things like that, almost all of them can run on 240 volts as well. You would just need to install a double-pole breaker (as 240 V has two hot lines instead of a hot and a neutral like 120 V) and the proper 240-volt receptacles so you do not accidentally plug a 120-volt device into it and fry it. A 20-amp 240-volt receptacle looks like a 120-volt one but with one of the prongs turned sideways instead of vertically.
a c 124 ) Power supply
a c 136 à CPUs
February 28, 2008 2:06:13 AM

All very nice, MU, and true as far as codes in the United States go. With a mains voltage of 250, however, I don't think the OP is in the USA.

When I rewired the upstairs of the nasty old house in which I lived, I used 12-2 throughout, including a dedicated line for my computer equipment.
a c 100 à CPUs
February 28, 2008 3:15:09 AM

1797370,18,59500 said:
All very nice, MU, and true as far as codes in the United States go. With a mains voltage of 250, however, I don't think the OP is in the USA.[/qoutemsg]

No country I know of currently uses a voltage of 250 V. I found a list of branch and mains voltages used by various countries:

Small-load branch voltages:
100 volts (Japan)
120 volts (North and Central America)
220 volts (Asia and South America)
230 volts (EU)
240 volts (UK and Austrailia)

Main and large branch voltages
208 volts (2 phases of a 240 V 3-phase installation)
220 volts
230 volts
240 volts
277 volts (3 phases that can supply split-phase 240 V power)
480 volts (SWER in New Zealand)

The U.S. wiring codes as far as wire gauge go are based off resistive heating, which would be similar no matter where you install the wire. In metric terms, 14 AWG wire is 1.63 mm diameter, 12 AWG wire is 2.05 mm and 10 AWG wire is 2.59 mm diameter.
February 28, 2008 4:12:21 AM

Sounds like you're in europe.OK.You probably have too much plugged into the circuit.NOT the outlet,but the cicuit.One circuit can run in 2-3 rooms,usually along adjoining walls.(like a bdrm on one side and the living room on the other side of it).So if that is the case,then you need to find an outlet that is on a lone circuit,or one with minimal other appliances.It may require you to buy a high grade extension cord,one with a proper ground.And try not to plug in any hair dryers as they use a lot of wattage and will most likely trip your breakers.Goodluck.Let me know what you think.

Dahak

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February 28, 2008 4:57:27 AM

My house was wired in 1979. I had this problem in my office, but on a single 15 amp circuit between 3 bedrooms we had 6 modern computers, lights, and at least 2 monitors per room, with tv and stereo on same circuit. Anybody tried to use the laser printer, or vacuum and gaurantee popped breaker (lots of cursing)

I ran a new wire with 3x outlets for running everything in the office + outlet on opposite wall for stereo to even things out.

12/2 wiring can handle 20 amps so switching out the breaker after confirming wire gauge it should be successful. If its the primary breaker, hire an electrician to examine your system, and/or add a sub-panel, and run outlets out wherever you want them to go. Doing the hard work of running new wires through the walls alongside existing wiring and leaving them open, and hiring an electrician to hook everything up will take under an hour for him and save you $$$.
February 28, 2008 5:16:48 AM

Zorg said:
I stripped it and made it a PM.


Ok, its happenned before with other posters where it says they replied, but no reply.


@MU_Enginee r, Yes I had a electrician replace some faulty stuff along with rewiring with a 10 gauge, I was selling the house so I had to be smart about that. I wouldn't have been able to sell the house without doing it right.
February 29, 2008 2:41:42 AM

Okay, I'll try out the suggestions and get back. By the way I'm in India.
Thevoltage is 220-250v. Supply is quite erratic, with a lot of voltage fluctuation and sudden outages.
February 29, 2008 7:28:35 AM

kris2008 said:
Okay, I'll try out the suggestions and get back. By the way I'm in India.
Thevoltage is 220-250v. Supply is quite erratic, with a lot of voltage fluctuation and sudden outages.


I'm in USA Califormia and we get brownouts all the time.
February 29, 2008 7:54:37 AM

kris2008 said:
Okay, I'll try out the suggestions and get back. By the way I'm in India.
Thevoltage is 220-250v. Supply is quite erratic, with a lot of voltage fluctuation and sudden outages.
You might want to consider a UPS (battery backup), it might save your PC.
a c 124 ) Power supply
a c 136 à CPUs
February 29, 2008 9:59:21 AM

Yes; a true online one, if not cost prohibitive. Make sure your PSU is a really good one, not so much higher wattage as higher quality.
February 29, 2008 11:00:46 AM

C'mon, you know a true online one is cost prohibitive. If it wasn't he wouldn't have the house main tripping.
a c 124 ) Power supply
a c 136 à CPUs
February 29, 2008 11:34:42 AM

Wishful thinking...but hey, at least I didn't suggest a motor-generator.
March 8, 2008 3:07:30 AM

Okay, the problem was with the the earthing of the house wiring and that affected the SMPS in the PSU's (?), which had to be replaced.
a b ) Power supply
a c 100 à CPUs
March 11, 2008 4:46:18 PM

kris2008 said:
When I power on my PC the house supply starts to fluctuate and at times trips. I dont think it is a UPS or spike guard problem, since this fluctuation/tripping persists even when both of them are cut out and the CPU is given a direct connection. Changing the power outlet also hasn't made any difference. Could anyone suggest what the problem may be? Is there anyway to check and see if the power supply unit in the CPU is malfunctioning?

kris2008
21-2-2008



Probably the circuit you're plugging into is near to being overloaded and switching to another outlet may not solve the problem because it could be on the same circuit as the other outlet, even in another room.

Todays computers draw more power, especially higher end gaming rigs, but the available power to an already overloaded wall outlet could trip the breaker with just the addition of a standard internet surfing older 300w machine.

It depends on what all is on the outlet circuit you're trying to run on, what AMP rating the breaker is thats feeding that circuit, is the circuit outlet dedicated, or sharing with lights as some mobile home circuits are set up.

An ideal house wiring setup would be the lighting circuits all on spec'd out 15A breakers and the outlet circuits on spec'd out 20A breakers, 15A circuits usually are on 14guage wire, 20A circuits on 12guage wire, the wire does make a difference, you wouldn't want to increase a panel box breaker from a 15a to a 20a unless the circuit was wired with 12guage wire. [Very Important]

This may be Greek to you, or you may understand exactly what I'm telling you.

Best way to solve the problem is to run a dedicated 20A 12guage wire outlet circuit from the main panel dedicated just for your computer needs, thats what I have done for my own problems, and it has solved any overloading issues I was experiencing, if you have the skills you could do it yourself, [DANGER if you don't know exactly what you're doing], or enlist the aid of an electrician to solve this issue, home power panel breakers tripping are just warnings that the circuits are overloaded.

If the entire house is tripping you need to get an electrician there immediately, could be loose wiring, or loose ground wires, or non existent ground, anyway its a definite danger sign!

Best test is to unplug your computer, plug in about a 500w hairdryer in the same outlet and cut it on high, it should trip the breaker the same as your computer confirming the overloaded circuit, if the blow dryer doesn't trip the circuit, grounding may be the issue cause most hand held blow dryers do not have a grounding pin.
!