power problem

rokrok
Posted:
in Genius Bar edited January 2014
okay, i had a similar problem long ago, but now i can't find the thread, but the symptoms are pretty similar...



my computer acts fine... until the central electric heating/air conditioning kicks on. then not only do i start seeing distortion waved on my crt display (which get more pronounced when i change the refresh rate), but my wirless keyboard/mouse start freaking out, too.



my guess is that the heating/cooling upsets the current int he house on a whole (and it probably doesn't help that my office is right next to the outdoor powerbox).



aren't there such things you can buy to help regulate the voltage (more than just a surge protector) to curb some of these effects? if so, if anyone can point me to some vendors, i'd appreciate it.



thanks in advance...

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    maccrazymaccrazy Posts: 2,657member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by rok

    okay, i had a similar problem long ago, but now i can't find the thread, but the symptoms are pretty similar...



    my computer acts fine... until the central electric heating/air conditioning kicks on. then not only do i start seeing distortion waved on my crt display (which get more pronounced when i change the refresh rate), but my wirless keyboard/mouse start freaking out, too.



    my guess is that the heating/cooling upsets the current int he house on a whole (and it probably doesn't help that my office is right next to the outdoor powerbox).



    aren't there such things you can buy to help regulate the voltage (more than just a surge protector) to curb some of these effects? if so, if anyone can point me to some vendors, i'd appreciate it.



    thanks in advance...




    wireless is effected by electrical devices so that would explain that. If the heating is making a lot of noise that would explain the distortion. If you blow raspberries in front of your monitor you will see the screen flicker. Is it possible that it is this causing the problem? How close are you to the boiler?
  • Reply 2 of 5
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by MacCrazy

    wireless is effected by electrical devices so that would explain that. If the heating is making a lot of noise that would explain the distortion. If you blow raspberries in front of your monitor you will see the screen flicker. Is it possible that it is this causing the problem? How close are you to the boiler?



    "blow raspberries"? i'm not even sure i want to know what that means.



    after kicking the heat on and off last night, it's pretty obvious that the electrical heating is causing the primary problems. since i know very little about electrical appliances, motors, harmonics, frequencies and such, let's suffice it to say that i think a combination of circumstances in my house is causing the lectrical equivalent of a moire pattern in my electricity.



    now the question is, how do i fix it? or at least ease the symptoms? i can't replace the heating for at least a couple years (if i change it at all, we're going gas heating, but that will be a major expense and undertaking). i was thinking about power conditioners, but those things can be bloody expensive... ups' do very little outside of spikes and sharp drops (nothing for in-between).



    anyone else have any suggestions?
  • Reply 3 of 5
    maccrazymaccrazy Posts: 2,657member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by rok

    "blow raspberries"? i'm not even sure i want to know what that means.





    sorry I wasn't very helpful. Blowing raspberries is like making farting noises with your mouth. It demonstrates the CRTs response to excessive motion.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by MacCrazy

    sorry I wasn't very helpful. Blowing raspberries is like making farting noises with your mouth. It demonstrates the CRTs response to excessive motion.



    ah, okay, that makes sense. also chewing particularly crunchy/brittle items will do the same thing, due to the different vibration from the refresh (but that usually only happens at low refreshes... my monitor stays at 85-90 Hz to avoid that problem.



    to describe the problem, you know the distortion you get when you poke an lcd with your fingertip? well, imagine that to a lesser degree, BUT extending all up and down the right side of my screen whenever the heating kicks on. since it was so localized on my screen, i had erroneously thought it was a magnetic field getting kicked up by the power box, but now i think it's just affecting the current in the house as a whole (like pipes banging when there's air in them).



    another option is to call the heating folks out and check to see if there's anything they can do to ease the situation on their end. it might also be a grounding issue for the house.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,074member
    Possibly voltage sag (stuff the prongs of a voltmeter into

    the outlet that your computer is plugged into - does

    the voltage drop when the HVAC turns on?).



    If it is due to voltage drop:



    Are the computer and HVAC unit on different circuits? Power

    the HVAC circuit off and see if your computer loses power. If

    so, get it re-wired.



    If not, maybe the transformer for your house is too small for the surge current from your HVAC unit (my 5-ton heat pump has a 60 amp surge current). If this was the case, your lights would dim also whenever your HVAC turned on. You can either get the electrical company to put in a bigger transformer, or get capacitors put on your HVAC to fix this.



    Or you could put your computer and monitor on a UPS.



    If not due to voltage drop:



    You could buy an isolation transformer for your computer, maybe in combination with a UPS, if it is due to line noise.
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