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Old 01-13-2011, 07:35 AM   #1
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Potential Breaker Sabotage - Need your input!


Calling all Electricians! To make a long story short, I have a vindictive roommate with no limits. Recently had a surge/spike/? in my room only, which took down some very expensive equipment of mine.

Is it possible for someone with access to my breaker box to surge/cause damage to the electronics plugged in my room?

What can I look for that would indicate/prove that tampering was involved?

What could he have done to it?


Any advise would be most appreciated, thank you :D

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Old 01-13-2011, 08:39 AM   #2
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Move to a new place------This cannot end well.

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Old 01-13-2011, 10:59 AM   #3
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Flipping a switch or breaker on and off in quick succession can cause damage to electronic equipment but this is not predictable.

Someone would need at least some electrical know how to generate abnormal voltages or power surges. Now disconnecting the neutral (or a loose neutral to begin with) can fry electronics.
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Old 01-13-2011, 11:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
Move to a new place------This cannot end well.
Ayuh,... Exactly,... Move...

The parameters are much to vague for a plausible answer, 'n any attemps at a plausible answer will only throw gasoline on a flammable situation....
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:55 PM   #5
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Does your roommate have electrical knowledge? Does he know the difference between a neutral and a hot wire? Would he have the balls to touch a hot wire to a neutral wire? Does he know how to remove the cover to the panel? Does he know exactly what breaker feeds your room? Is it only your things that got destroyed? Did other things get destroyed along with your stuff? If he has the knowledge to remove the neutral conductor from the neutral bus and touch the hot to this neutral then yes, he can f**k up everything you own. Of course you might see he has no eyebrows left if he did do it this way. Switching the breaker on and off is unlikely the cause, but possible on some things, not all things like said above.
This action is highly unlikely unless hes an electrician or has some decent knowledge or a friend that does.
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:48 PM   #6
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When I was in grad school (a couple of decades ago), the guys in the door room adjacent to mine would come in very late, turn on their stereo riather loud, and start playing some sort of redneck beatoff music. This was the old style C&W stuff, not the modern stuff (which I could classify as "Southern Rock" and which I actually like). Let's just say that at 3am, I did not exactly appreciate the volume of the music, much less the musical style. The circuit breaker box was in a maintenance closet that was locked, so I would plug in something to blow the circuit breaker on the wall that we shared. No electricity equaled no noise, but no damage to the electrical devices that were on that circuit. Now, if someone wanted to damage the electrical devices on that circuit, it would be a simple matter of blowing the circuit breaker first so that you had an isolated circuit to work with and then feed the circuit with a high voltage source like the high voltage lead off the power supply for a CRT that is going to the back of the CRT -- approximately 20KV or so. Feeding the power from the terminals on a stun gun or cattle prod would also probably work.
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:30 AM   #7
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Well I say:
how easily accessible is the panel?
do the screws looked loosened recently?
Is well labeled to make it easy to find your circuit?
does your circuit have black marks on the breaker screws or any terminals?

But more likely IS THERE ANY OTHER POSSIBLE CAUSE that would explain your loss that would not lay the blame at your roommates feet?
Keep in mind that if his stuff is on another phase his stuff could not be effected by a "surge" coming from the utility, but your stuff ends up fried. Also keep in mind that other non-electronic stuff may not be effected even if it felt the "surge".

By the way and or all of these trouble shooting steps are dangerous


Aslo a little more details of just what you think happened, what was damaged would be interesting.
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:05 PM   #8
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The wires could have been changed in the box to give the outlets 240 volts. You could try checking the outlets with a volt meeter.
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:29 PM   #9
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Let's not feed this fire any more--------------
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:46 PM   #10
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agreed, let's all drop it until IF and when the OP comes back with more precise details.
This could be simply another troll posting.

Thanks guys

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Old 02-08-2011, 02:05 PM   #11
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Ok, I'm back. I did in fact move out of that place, cause I didn't have renter's insurance and could not sustain any more losses. Anyhow, I talked to my ex-roommate about the electrical and he clearly described the electrical layout of the house to, he knew exactly which rooms were on what, so... i won't rule him out of the equation.

Here's what's been confirmed damaged thus far (I have expensive taste, unfortunately): CPU 650W PSU $300 8800GT GPU $300 Soundblaster XiFi $200 1TB Seagate Drive $150 Circuit Board on my 24" LCD Monitor $150 replacement and it took the mainboard on my 46" Samsung 1080p 120hz = I'm REALLY pissed.
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:07 PM   #12
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And for the record, "DM", I appreciate your skepticism but I'm no troll.
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:19 PM   #13
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Expensive taste in electronics, but no surge protection?

Did you have renter's insurance?

BTW...before you spend another dime on new electronics buy an $8.00 surge protector or two. Spring is just around the corner, and I don't know where you live, but where I am the lightning strikes from spring thunderstorms wreak havoc on electronics.
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:36 PM   #14
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Whaa?

I've been using 2 of these: http://www.monstercable.com/productdisplay.asp?pin=4088

Quite pleased with them actually. On another note, about 2 months before my incident, 1 of the 2 got zapped, which I replaced immediately. What's weird is that when the "surge" incident occured, it didn't ruin either of the 2 bars.
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:39 PM   #15
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and no, did not have renter's insurance. so in the event of faulty wiring in the place, the landlord, if i can even call him that, is not liable, nor can i make a claim

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