Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-31-2012, 04:30 AM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1
Share |
Default

Power strip hack


I was visiting my mother last week and tried a "Quick fix" hack for adding a receptacle that has me stumped.

This is a 100+ year old "Company House" (coal miner) that electricity was added sometime in the 1920's. Most of the house is 2 wire (no ground), but the fusebox was replaced with a circuit breaker panel at some point and a few grounded circuit were added. Most rooms only had two receptacles and a ceiling light.

My request was simple. Add some type of receptacle in a room for a power lift chair/recliner. I had no tools with me except for a neon circuit tester I found in my fathers old tools. The location was almost directly over the circuit breaker panel in the basement, but without tools (and 100 year old plaster that had been paneled over) I did not want to add a new circuit. I thought I'd just run an extension in the basement from a three wire circuit outlet that was 10 feet away. As far as I knew, that circuit only had two receptacles on it, both to washing machines, one in the basement that is no longer used and one upstairs.

The quick hack was buying a cheap power strip at Lowes. Cutting off the plug. Drilling a 3/8 hole in the flooring. Putting the cut power strip wire through the hole. Adding a grounded male plug to the power strip. Plugging the power strip into the receptacle using a 10' extension. I'm sure not to code, but seemed easy and only took about 15 minutes - but then

The power strip test light came on, but chair didn't work. The washing machine stopped working. Disconnect the power strip and the washing machine works. (in that configuration, the neon test lamp seemed dim). A drill plugged into the power strip would work on some plugs, but not on others.

Well after about three house of scratching my head and testing the best I could, I gave up and disconnected the hack. I checked the two known receptacles for correct wiring and made sure I didn't have a neutral crossed. I tested the chair on another circuit (using extension cord) and found that it was erratic. It is a transformer with two 9v batteries for emergency power. Sometimes it worked (up), but then would not go down until giggled things - never could find anything consistent. After wasting a bunch of time trying to figure it out, I just wrote if off as a bad transformer that would have to be tested and replaced by the dealer.

I though I'd leave in the power strip and at least she could have a lamp next to the chair when I ran into more things that confused me. I grabbed a little table light that had one of the little round CFL light in it and plugged it in. The light seemed a little dim, but got a little brighter. I tried another receptacle on the power strip and it didn't come on at all. I turned the power switch off and on and the light came on - a little brighter. Each receptacle closer to the switch would be a little brighter! That's when I gave up and said "Steve, your in over your head - something is wrong and you don't have tools to test it".

Any idea what could be wrong. Bad power strip? Something else on the circuit (faulty) that could cause this? I didn't mention that the the visit is 800 miles away so it is something I can't do anymore testing on until the next visit in the summer. (when I'll probably just have a new circuit added)

salex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2012, 04:36 AM   #2
retired elect/hvac/plumb
 
plummen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: south east of omaha/The island of misfit contractors
Posts: 2,901
Default

Power strip hack


Id say buy a good meter and take it with you when you go back

__________________
"facts" have no relevance to this discusion
Posting from a concrete bunker under a non descript barn
plummen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2012, 05:50 AM   #3
Electrical Contractor
 
kbsparky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Delmarva
Posts: 3,368
Default

Power strip hack


Don't try jack-legging and hack work. Tools or no tools, you are only going to get in trouble ..!
__________________
-KB

Life is uncertain -- eat dessert first!!
kbsparky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2012, 06:10 AM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nashua, NH, USA
Posts: 6,936
Default

Power strip hack


Yjrtr there are probably some loose connections in the system.

I actually think that the reason the CFL got brighter each time was that it warmed up normally as you went one at a time from receptacle to receptacle. Had you started with the receptacle closest to the breaker panel (electrically) that would have been dimmer because you did that one first.

Bad idea to cut the plug off the extension cord (power strip). You could bet away with drilling a larger hole and dropping the plug through to temporarily plug into a receptacle in the basement. Except as you described that circuit probably had some problem, or you re-attached the plug to the extension cord improperly.
__________________
Stop wasting time re-adjusting the pattern. Have several lawn sprinklers, one for each pattern.

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-31-2012 at 06:13 AM.
AllanJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
solar power - how to hook up and how to get PAID? MLMIB Electrical 7 11-03-2011 01:21 AM
Dumb electrical question about potentially overloading a power socket zapp Electrical 2 02-18-2011 09:43 AM
Wring for Lincoln Power Mig Welder vstoyko Electrical 17 01-15-2009 06:15 PM
safe way to add extension to power cord sil Electrical 7 10-18-2007 09:58 PM
Partial power on same fuse! joyjam Electrical 5 07-10-2005 10:23 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.