cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Damage to equipment

Community Veteran
Posts: 7,923
Thanks: 600
Fixes: 8
Registered: 02-08-2007

Damage to equipment

Sorry but I have to refer to a article in the  DM.
The main story was about power cuts but  also mentioned was damage to electrical equipment if the power supply dropped or was cut off for a few seconds.
Clearly if you are using a computer and the power is cut off then it's likely work will be lost, I know power supplies are available to prevent this but the article suggests many other types of equipment such as tv, mobile phones and other similar devices could be damaged so the question I am asking is this claim correct ?
28 REPLIES
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 16,562
Thanks: 1,801
Fixes: 125
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Damage to equipment

We had a series of outages in quick succession a couple of months ago; everything off/on several times within 10 seconds.
Although the PC turned off the first time and needs the button to be pressed to turn back on it seems the rapid outages had an effect on the PSU (not a cheap low wattage one but 750W costing around £80 over 2 years ago) which 'blew' needing a replacement Sad

Forum Moderator and Customer
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain
He who feared he would not succeed sat still

Community Veteran
Posts: 13,924
Thanks: 515
Fixes: 8
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Damage to equipment

It's the sudden surge of electricity which causes the damage and when done multiple times in quick succession (as Mav describes)  thats usually when the most damage occurs.
Old TVs, VCRs and other basic electronic systems used to survive quite well however these days nearly everything has sensitive electronic components inside (smart TVs for instance) which will obviously suffer from voltage spikes.
So yes gleneagles, it can and does happen. The DM are no doubt amplifying it a bit but it is true, power cuts where the power is suddenly restored within a second or two can be dangerous to electrical equipment.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,824
Thanks: 1
Registered: 27-10-2012

Re: Damage to equipment

I think this is different.
It's when the voltage in the grid is deliberately reduced due to demand exceeding supply and to avoid a blackout. Some electronic devices (particularly those with motors) can have issues when they are put under a load with a lower voltage (or frequency) than they are designed for.
Community Veteran
Posts: 13,924
Thanks: 515
Fixes: 8
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Damage to equipment

Well we've been deliberately dropped from 240V to 230V over the years.. and I've not heard of any major failures over that missing 10V lol
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,824
Thanks: 1
Registered: 27-10-2012

Re: Damage to equipment

Maybe it's the frequency that drops then that can cause the issue.
We need an electrical expert to explain. I know this is an issue in the US.
@ nanotm - You are not an electrical expert  Crazy
Community Veteran
Posts: 13,924
Thanks: 515
Fixes: 8
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Damage to equipment

Quote from: AndyH
@ nanotm - You are not an electrical expert  Crazy

Grin Grin Grin ;
jim:red Excessive emoticons removed mod:end
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,251
Thanks: 937
Fixes: 56
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Damage to equipment

I suspect that the problem isn't at a generating level but at local distribution level after the final step down transformer where relays tripping out and being reset could potentially create a voltage spike or spikes http://www.aelgroup.co.uk/pdf/wp_powqal.pdf
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,824
Thanks: 1
Registered: 27-10-2012

Re: Damage to equipment

It was in the newspapers back in early Sep that the probability of blackouts this winter have increased 100x - from 0.1% to 10% because of increased predicted demand and reduced network supply (nuclear?).
Edit:
Links
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/shortcuts/2014/sep/07/brown-out-britain-new-technology
https://hardware-engineering-design.knoji.com/what-is-a-brownout-and-what-should-you-do-during-one/
http://www.theguardian.com/big-energy-debate/2014/oct/14/-sp-how-close-uk-power-blackout-energy-data
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,307
Thanks: 86
Fixes: 3
Registered: 08-01-2008

Re: Damage to equipment

Quote from: AndyH
Maybe it's the frequency that drops then that can cause the issue.
UK mains frequency is 'fixed' at 50.00Hz.
From the National grid:
Quote
National Grid has a licence obligation to control frequency within the limits specified in the 'Electricity Supply Regulations', i.e. ±1% of nominal system frequency (50.00Hz) save in abnormal or exceptional circumstances. National Grid must therefore ensure that sufficient generation and / or demand is held in automatic readiness to manage all credible circumstances that might result in frequency variations.

Quote from: 7up
Well we've been deliberately dropped from 240V to 230V over the years

Our Voltage has changed nominally from 240V to 230V but the allowable tolerance also changed so it went from 240V +/- 6% to 230V +10%/-6% meaning we can run at a lower Voltage than before (but the upper limit was deliberately kept close to where it always was) but in practise we still have a mains Voltage close to 240V (=230V +4.3%), continental Europe changed at the same time from 220V +/-6% to 230V +6%/-10% and they still operate predominantly around 220V.
For quite some time before our Voltages were 'harmonised' with continental Europe at 230V nominal, manufacturers/importers were required to ensure that all domestic appliances marketed anywhere in Europe were suitable for operating on 230V +/-10%.
Voltage drops, surges, spikes etc. are almost always relatively localised and normally caused by a fault somewhere in a particular area.
Call me 'w23'
At any given moment in the universe many things happen. Coincidence is a matter of how close these events are in space, time and relationship.
Opinions expressed in forum posts are those of the poster, others may have different views.
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,923
Thanks: 600
Fixes: 8
Registered: 02-08-2007

Re: Damage to equipment

Thanks for the responses which all appear to agree.
As you know it is possible to buy surge protectors which allow a number of electrical items to be connected, would this be the answer to the problem ?
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,307
Thanks: 86
Fixes: 3
Registered: 08-01-2008

Re: Damage to equipment

Surge protectors can certainly help, some include 'insurance' for connected equipment - be sure to keep relevant receipts if you might need to claim.
Call me 'w23'
At any given moment in the universe many things happen. Coincidence is a matter of how close these events are in space, time and relationship.
Opinions expressed in forum posts are those of the poster, others may have different views.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,824
Thanks: 1
Registered: 27-10-2012

Re: Damage to equipment

Surge protectors don't protect against the brown outs though.
The only protection there is to turn off valuable electronic devices when you notice the lights flickering.
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,547
Thanks: 193
Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Damage to equipment

Some years ago a friend claimed against his insurance for TVs that had been affected by a power surge. Much to my surprise his insurance company paid out without any question Shocked
Community Veteran
Posts: 13,924
Thanks: 515
Fixes: 8
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Damage to equipment

Quote from: AndyH
It was in the newspapers back in early Sep that the probability of blackouts this winter have increased 100x - from 0.1% to 10% because of increased predicted demand and reduced network supply (nuclear?).
Edit:
Links
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/shortcuts/2014/sep/07/brown-out-britain-new-technology
https://hardware-engineering-design.knoji.com/what-is-a-brownout-and-what-should-you-do-during-one/
http://www.theguardian.com/big-energy-debate/2014/oct/14/-sp-how-close-uk-power-blackout-energy-data

We've got one power station out of action now too after a fire last week.. can't remember which one though.
Quote from: gleneagles
As you know it is possible to buy surge protectors which allow a number of electrical items to be connected, would this be the answer to the problem ?

In theory yes but I've noticed that sometimes after a storm, the protection neon lamp will stop functioning. I've no idea if this means it still protects against surges or not however mind still supplies power to the devices despite the neon being dead. Whenever we get a storm i just shut down and unplug everything. Power cuts / flickering.. well... thats something i can't predict / do much about.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!