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Old 12-06-2012, 10:07 PM   #1
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Troubleshooting some electronics issues


I'm trying to solve an electrical problem, and I've realized now that I may just want to do it myself.

I have two rooms whose outlets have given me trouble ever since I moved in a month ago. This townhouse was built in 1999. Whenever I plug my smart phone into one of these troublesome outlets, the touch screen is either very jumpy or not very well responsive. When I plug my laptop into one of these outlets, the touch pad (mouse alternative) is also jumpy--or if it has been plugged in for a while, unresponsive. It remains unresponsive for a little while even after I unplug it. I can move my phone or my computer to a different circuit in the house, and they'll be just fine. The problem occurs when I use a surge protector or not--doesn't make any difference. In addition, my laptop will have the same issue if I have it on batter power, connect it to a monitor via HDMI, and then have that monitor plugged in to the wall (also via a surge protector or not). I can move the laptop/monitor setup to a different circuit in the house and the problem will not exist. I had an electrician come and check it out, and he said the voltage measures perfectly on all the outlets on the problematic circuits. He tested the grounding or whatever and was able to trip the breaker. He really didn't know what else to try, although he didn't have the tool with him to check the magnetic interference in the air or whatever he was talking about. Is there anything else that can be done to figure out what the problem is and how to fix it?

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Old 12-06-2012, 10:22 PM   #2
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Troubleshooting some electronics issues


Do this.....

Plug an incandescent light into the top outlet....

Then plug in an iron into the bottom outlet....turn on the iron....if you see the light flicker and/or dim considerably....you have a bad connection at that outlet.

Unplug and get it fixed.

I really doubt you have any 'magnetic' issues with those outlets.....

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Old 12-06-2012, 11:09 PM   #3
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Troubleshooting some electronics issues


See demo...

Lamp and iron

The video is hard to see exactly what the significance is, but it's at least noticeable... more so in person than in the video. Based on what can you see, would you say that's probably what you'd consider "bad"?
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:19 PM   #4
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Troubleshooting some electronics issues


Perhaps a better demo: Maybe
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:37 PM   #5
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Troubleshooting some electronics issues


It's significant to state that there's no change in the lighting when doing the test on a working outlet that doesn't have cause a problem with the phone or laptop.

So does this mean the outlets should be replaced or maybe at least the cable from the circuit breaker up to at least the first outlet?
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:20 AM   #6
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Troubleshooting some electronics issues


The fact that it does it on battery power as well is significant info. That would indicate an interference issue instead of a power issue. Something local to that area is generating interference causing your video issues.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:30 AM   #7
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Well... it does it on battery power only when the monitor is plugged in, so indirectly there is some power connected to the laptop. Of course if it's just on battery and has no peripherals connected, there's no problem.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:46 AM   #8
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Troubleshooting some electronics issues


Quote:
Originally Posted by paulbrill View Post
I have two rooms whose outlets have given me trouble ever since I moved in a month ago. This townhouse
You using any X10 or powerline-networking products?

Are your neighbors using such devices?
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:55 PM   #9
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I'm not. I'll have to check with my neighbors to see.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:36 PM   #10
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Troubleshooting some electronics issues


Have you tried the iron and lamp test yet? you can use a space heater or toaster oven or hair dryer if you don't have an iron.

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