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Old 01-29-2008, 08:25 AM   #16
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Please Help - Weird electrical issue affecting home network


I still suspect that my wiring is picking something up from the air.

I tried the test suggested by running the computer via battery and plugging a 7A shopvac into the same outlet (actually the same power strip) as the computer. No difference -- my network is still crystal clear. As soon as I plug the UPS back into the outlet, though, it starts dropping again.

I'm going to see if I can isolate this to a particular breaker, although I'm doubtful that is the cause.

What is a toroidal filter, exactly, and who do I talk to about installing those?

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Old 01-29-2008, 09:03 AM   #17
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I've read most of the posts & am left with a few ideas.

Firstly, "filters are not filters", as such. In order to find out what filter you need, you must know what the problem is. As you may be aware, some types of filters are;
a] Band Pass filters,
b] High Pass filters,
c] Low Pass filters,
d] Band Reject filters,
to say the least. In order to find out what filter you need, you will need some hard facts about your electrical supply, namely the shape of the waveform.

It could be that you are experiencing some strange "harmonic" problems, which are excaberbated by "resonance". In my experience, the length of a data cable can be a "resonant" length, which can cause untold problems, considering that data can travel at certain frequencies ie bytes per second. Cutting an inch or 2 off it (the data cable) may aleviate/eradicate the problem but obviously you will need to re-attach an RJ45 connector after such an action.

A simpler but somewhat more expensive solution could be to place an "online" (Dual Conversion) UPS between the supply & the computer. An "online" UPS should appropriately filter the incoming supply. If this works, you will know that the supply waveform is perhaps your problem (discounting voltage). Then again this may not be as cheap as hiring data logging equipment to monitor your electricity waveforms.

As an initial action, I would check the Earth Fault Loop impedance, to ensure that your having effective earthing. This can only be done using specialised equipment & usually by an electrician (if he's worth his salt).
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:58 PM   #18
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Please Help - Weird electrical issue affecting home network


Kango is totally on the money. I was trying to start simple and work outward from there. Troubleshooting these kinds of things are, in the words of a friend "a dark art". While the noise is almost certainly on your wires as you suspect, there are indeed a number of different filters to try at your discretion. Again, first thing to do is try a power strip with EMI/RFI suppression.

Toroidal filters are donut shaped items that the circuit wire would be wrapped around before it hits the breaker. Kango can obviously tell you more about these since I am getting my electronics info second hand.
Earthing is what many in the non American, English speaking world call grounding. Which brings us to...
Kango, I was going to see what your thoughts were on the grounding situation on this one. Would improper bonding bring the plumbing into the harmonic resonance problem you mentioned? My thinking was that the sheer strength of the signal would preclude almost anything but filtering. Thoughts? I'm an electrician, not an electronics guy.
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:10 AM   #19
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If I was in this situation, I would beg/borrow an Online UPS & see if that improve the situation. I would also check my earthing (grounding).

It would be a highly unusual situation for metallic pipework to become part of a resonant circuit...I would discount this idea for the timebeing.
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Old 01-30-2008, 10:04 PM   #20
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I'm not familiar with "online" UPS. Do these types have some kind of clean up transformer or chokes and filters? I agree that the grounding should be checked, but short of installing an enitirely new underground ring, what could he do if everything checks out?
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Old 01-31-2008, 11:54 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goose134 View Post
I'm not familiar with "online" UPS. Do these types have some kind of clean up transformer or chokes and filters? I agree that the grounding should be checked, but short of installing an enitirely new underground ring, what could he do if everything checks out?
Some general details about an "Online" (Dual Conversion) UPS.
1] continuous protection of load is provided from the inverter, whether it originates from the AC-input supply or the battery.

2] isolation of the load from the upstream distribution system, thus eliminating transmission of any upstream fluctuations such as spikes and over voltages to the load.

3] very wide input-voltage tolerances and precise regulation of the output voltage.

4] precise regulation of the output frequency and possibility of the UPS operation as a frequency converter (if configured for this purpose) by disabling the static switch.
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:25 PM   #22
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Kango,
Sounds expensive. I understand the isolation via the inverter, and the use as a freq. converter sounds interesting as well. I also understand what you were saying in an earlier post about filtering frequencies being filter and freq. specific. I'm NOT trying to argue, just trying to come up with a more inexpensive solution. The way that RF filtered power strips have been described to me is rated on a dB scale. The multi-stage filters take out different freqs. until noise reduction is achieved. Death by a thousand cuts as they say. Don't get me wrong, I think what you propose would work, but wouldn't this possibly offer a more economical solution?
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:07 AM   #23
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With regard to UPS's, the only easy way out for you is perhaps to go to a UPS dealer & ask if you can "try before you buy". Even if this means that the sales rep must be present during such a short trial, it may eliminate one of your possible problems. Other than this, there is no simple or cheap solution.

At the end of the day, all you need to do is prove that the "normal" supply is not causing the problem. This can be achieved by isolating the supply from the load (computer). Just as a last thought, a Ferro-resonant transformer may be able to help you. They may not be cheap & do not perform well under prolonged voltage problems (usually they are good for a couple of cycles...cycles means Hertz) but they will definitely provide you with a "stable" & clean voltage waveform. For a computer, you will need one of these about 750 kVA in size (assuming a maximum 500 Watt computer power supply).
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Old 02-03-2008, 11:42 AM   #24
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an worthy challenge

to what has been suggested so far . .might I add this...a tip was your statement of hearing what sounds like AM coming through various devices
experiemnt with some of these items

A. . . . .find out where your telephone line is grounded...and temporarly disconnect that . .try the computers
B. DO THIS FRIST BEFORE THE FOLLOWING . . .while you are at the computers . .have a friend get on the cell phone with you and have him ..one by one turn off all of the breakers in the main panel . .while you observe the results . .record the breaker number of any that ELIMINATE OR ALTER THE PARAMETERS OF THE PROBLEM . . .any breaker that eliminates or alters the parameters of the problem will lead you to which circuit to focus on . . .THEN sure as the devil make sure all switches . .recepatcles . .lights are running proper polarity..recepatcles silver xcrew-neutral....brass screw= hot
C. Is there an sub panel that feeds the computers...a sub panel between the compauters and the computers?
D. as an process of elimination . .do the following . . .if there is an home
..say a neighbors home close enough to run extension cords to their home . .then unplug all computer equipment...plug them all into a power strip of an NON deluxe style IE JUST an power strip . .no gadgetry included . .if this ELIMINATES or CHANGES the nature of the problem . . .continue with the following . . .go to your breaker panel . . . .and while you are at computers..have a friend...one by one turn off ALL of the breakers one by one . .AND AGAIN RECORD THE NUMBER OF ANY BREAKER THAT ELIMINATES
or alters the problem

if you plug your computers into your neighbors house . .and that elimates the problem . .with all of the breakers in your house ONit isnt an RF problem
if you plug your compuetrs into your neighbors house and the problem remains...do the breaker turn off one by one and look for a change...if it changes..inspect all of the connections in that circuit

I hghly suspect an ground/neutral miswiring

as to the X-10 devices . .this also makes me suspect a ground/nuetral
miswire . .do remember that in a single phase home wiring system . .IE two
hot legs in main panel . . . . .you need TWO X-10 receivers..one plugged into a receptacle that is powered by EACH leg
is the Neutral bus bar tied to the ground bus bar in your main panel?

if I can help with this worthy challenge . .email me . .I'll learn soemthing from it as well won4thewoad@yahoo.com

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