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nitzguy
Premium
join:2002-07-11
Sudbury, ON

To my electrically inclined friends, explanation required

Hi all,

I know we have quite a few people who are electrically inclined in this forum so I thought I'd ask this question.

I've had blackouts, and I've had brownouts, but I've never had quite the situation that occured last night.

As some may or may not be aware there was a large freak storm for us that came in, it was 5c and rain, then freezing rain, then eventually snow and it sits right now at a balmy -15c, which caused a very weird scenario to occur.

For the most part, my power was out. During the occurence the lights (I have those compact flourescent ones) flickered for about 5-10 seconds, then seem to come on much more subdued than before. My laptop went to battery power, and...unfortunately my 22" LCD I believe became a casualty as I could smell a burning smell coming from it at the time, and now with power fully restored I've tried to turn it on and no dice, it just won't power on. My battery backup went into action, and started beeping, but I don't know the innards of what happenned as the backup isn't connected to a computer so I couldn't run their diagnostic program to see what was going on....and it powers my router(s) and dsl-modem and they went on for about 4 hours before the backup died, I was quite surprised at the longevity that they could remain powered up.

Anywho, what happenned? I checked the Hydro One website this morning but since the outage cleared I had no idea what the root cause was, and its just got me curious. It seemed as though anything requiring more than about 15w of power wouldn't come on, or unfortunately in the case of my computer monitor, burnt out for some reason.

Just curiousity as I've never seen an "outage" quite like this before...its like we had some power, but...not much....it was like this for my 12 plex, the one next door, the ones across the street and for the most part everything else on the street seemed to be off totally...


donoreo
Premium
join:2002-05-30
North York, ON
Sounds like you had low voltage. Just a guess on my part.

peterboro
Avatars are for posers
Premium
join:2006-11-03
Peterborough, ON

1 recommendation

reply to nitzguy


nitzguy
Premium
join:2002-07-11
Sudbury, ON
Thanks for the info . I didn't realize a Brownout was something that could happen unintentionally...I always thought Brownouts were something engaged by the electricity operators...


bluebaron2
Stuff Happens
Premium,Mod
join:2001-02-01
North of 44
They are, and they aren't nitzguy See Profile. Intentional brown outs do occur ( though rarely) and acts of Gawd can also cause a voltage sag.

Intentional voltage reduction is a energy emergency procedure initiated by the IESO and carried out by your power utility. The IESO can order either a 3% or 5% voltage reduction in response to an emergency imbalance between the power demand of the province and the power that is currently available to supply that demand. It is, as I've said, an energy emergency response and it wouldn't affect just your street it would affect your whole town and/or region. It would also in all likelihood not even be noticed by the average electrical user. What you describe wasn't that.

What you've described, and I'm only giving my educated guess here, I don't KNOW for sure this is what happened to you last night, but it sounds like the system somewhere near you experienced a low level fault during the storm and it sagged your voltage. This can happen when say a tree or tree branch comes in contact with a feeder ( say during a storm ) and causes the power in that feeder to drain to ground BUT not severely enough to actually have the feeders primary relay protection sense the fault immediately and trip the feeder off potential. Eventually the feeders timed back-up protection, which is set at much lower fault current values than its primary high set instantaneous protection (which would clear the fault in a couple of cycles), senses the fault and it's there for long enough to allow the back-up protection to trip the circuit. .

So, sounds like somewhere around your house the feeder you and your neighbours are fed from had a tree touch the feeder and caused a voltage sag before the feeder finally tripped off and put you all in the dark.

But like I said , I don't know for sure, I'm only guessing.
--
bb2

There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want. ~Bill Watterson


nitzguy
Premium
join:2002-07-11
Sudbury, ON
said by bluebaron2:

They are, and they aren't nitzguy See Profile. Intentional brown outs do occur ( though rarely) and acts of Gawd can also cause a voltage sag.

Intentional voltage reduction is a energy emergency procedure initiated by the IESO and carried out by your power utility. The IESO can order either a 3% or 5% voltage reduction in response to an emergency imbalance between the power demand of the province and the power that is currently available to supply that demand. It is, as I've said, an energy emergency response and it wouldn't affect just your street it would affect your whole town and/or region. It would also in all likelihood not even be noticed by the average electrical user. What you describe wasn't that.

What you've described, and I'm only giving my educated guess here, I don't KNOW for sure this is what happened to you last night, but it sounds like the system somewhere near you experienced a low level fault during the storm and it sagged your voltage. This can happen when say a tree or tree branch comes in contact with a feeder ( say during a storm ) and causes the power in that feeder to drain to ground BUT not severely enough to actually have the feeders primary relay protection sense the fault immediately and trip the feeder off potential. Eventually the feeders timed back-up protection, which is set at much lower fault current values than its primary high set instantaneous protection (which would clear the fault in a couple of cycles), senses the fault and it's there for long enough to allow the back-up protection to trip the circuit. .

So, sounds like somewhere around your house the feeder you and your neighbours are fed from had a tree touch the feeder and caused a voltage sag before the feeder finally tripped off and put you all in the dark.

But like I said , I don't know for sure, I'm only guessing.

It would make sense that something like that occured...although I didn't see where that could have been today, but it affected about 1500 homes according to hydro one, but thanks for the info.

I'm just sad about my monitor....

On another point, anyone know if I should replace my 22" LCD or maybe upgrade to something better? I'm looking at a sub $200 price point....


Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23
reply to nitzguy
My solution is to simply run almost everything in my apartment off a UPS :P When suffering a brownout, you can also check the input voltage and drop the battery-level sensitivity to let AVR kick in. AVR on these things only applies a single fixed boost to the voltage, but that might get you close enough to 120v for stuff to keep functioning without going to battery. For example, a good quality computer power supply can normally handle decent voltage drops themselves, so the AVR combined with a switched power supply can keep you running.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org


urbanriot
Premium
join:2004-10-18
Canada
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Cogeco Cable
said by Guspaz:

My solution is to simply run almost everything in my apartment off a UPS

Hah, same! I have neighbours coming to my place asking how we have power when everyone else has been out for hours.

Back when I had a friend working for a junk removal company, we'd recondition some UPS' with minor issues or simply dead batteries, so I wound up with a few Smart-UPS 5000's and an RT 8000 in my home. My TV, HTPC, Xbox 360, blu-ray player and a lamp near my TV is plugged into the 8000 that's sitting at the top of a strong metal shelf the floor below.


Thane_Bitter
Inquire within
Premium
join:2005-01-20
Reviews:
·Bell Sympatico
reply to nitzguy
Who made the TV /monitor?
By rights the power supply should have shut down once voltage was below a certain value (as defined by the designer of the power supply unit). It could be that the unit was poorly designed or that substandard components were used in its construction.


J E F F
Whatta Ya Think About Dat?
Premium
join:2004-04-01
Kitchener, ON
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Rogers Portable ..
reply to bluebaron2
The City of Waterloo did brownouts a couple years ago, reduced voltage to about 103v..it also killed a lot of CFL's in the process. They haven't done it again.
--
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. - Albert Einstein


J E F F
Whatta Ya Think About Dat?
Premium
join:2004-04-01
Kitchener, ON
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Rogers Portable ..
reply to nitzguy
Here's another type of power failure. A Partial Power Outage. Not sure if that is the correct technical term. Usually your house receives 230v, 115 per phase. Two hot wires and a neutral. Anyway, we were only getting a single phase, so half the house was lit, half wasn't. Two elements on the stove worked, the other two didn't.
--
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. - Albert Einstein


BGB
Wants moar interwebz
Premium
join:2009-07-09
Waterloo, ON
Reviews:
·TekSavvy Cable
said by J E F F:

Here's another type of power failure. A Partial Power Outage. Not sure if that is the correct technical term. Usually your house receives 230v, 115 per phase. Two hot wires and a neutral. Anyway, we were only getting a single phase, so half the house was lit, half wasn't. Two elements on the stove worked, the other two didn't.

Had that happen at my place about 10 years ago. Half the house in the dark, while leaving the other half lit. After verifying that none of the fuses blew, looked outside at the line, and noticed that one of the feeder lines had a break in it. Had to get hydro in to fix the line.


elwoodblues
Elwood Blues
Premium
join:2006-08-30
Somewhere in
kudos:2
Reviews:
·VMedia
reply to nitzguy
What I don;'t understand is how a brown out could "fry" the TV?
At best it should just shut off due to a lack of power. I've seen that with my TV, it would go off with a minor voltage change (they have very little tolerance), but the lights and the clocks etc.. didn't reset.
--
No, I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake.......


nitzguy
Premium
join:2002-07-11
Sudbury, ON
said by elwoodblues:

What I don;'t understand is how a brown out could "fry" the TV?
At best it should just shut off due to a lack of power. I've seen that with my TV, it would go off with a minor voltage change (they have very little tolerance), but the lights and the clocks etc.. didn't reset.

Ok, here's the best I can explain as to what happenned. I'm a minor nerd so I have (had) a dual-monitor setup with my laptop, have usually any movie or tv show like netflix on my 22" LCD and do my regular surfing on my 17" laptop screen.

My CFL's flickered a lot, the monitor stayed on, but then there was a burning smell coming from the monitor (its a G2200w BenQ model for anyone who was curious), the monitor stayed on for about a minute, and then it turned off....

After the power came back on, I tried to power up the monitor and it won't power up. I tried a known good power cord and a known good outlet, no dice...

So ....fry is the best word I can use. Maybe the wrong word, but the burning smell followed by the monitor not powering on seems about right....I bought the monitor in 2009 so...so I'm pretty sure its out of warranty.


koira
Keep Fighting Michael
Premium
join:2004-02-16
Reviews:
·Start Communicat..

2 edits
reply to nitzguy
Your cfl and monitor draw fixed amount of current. The internal resistance is a constant and determines the wattage rating of the device. When the supply voltage drops the current rises and fries the internals. This failure occurs with poorly or unregulated power supplies as is likely the case in cfl and monitor.

P=I squared R and P= V times I. Where P is power in watts, I is current in amps, V is voltage.

Say your monitor is rated 40 watts. The internal power supply needs to deliver that to the circuits within. At 110 volt supply , current is .36 amps. If brown out occurs and supply drops to 50 volts the current draw is .8 amps.

Internals of the power supply are rated at something less than .8 amps and consequently burn up from the excessive current passing through.


Thane_Bitter
Inquire within
Premium
join:2005-01-20
Reviews:
·Bell Sympatico
reply to J E F F
said by J E F F:

Here's another type of power failure. A Partial Power Outage. Not sure if that is the correct technical term. Usually your house receives 230v, 115 per phase. Two hot wires and a neutral. Anyway, we were only getting a single phase, so half the house was lit, half wasn't. Two elements on the stove worked, the other two didn't.

Its leg, you lost a leg not a phase.

peterboro
Avatars are for posers
Premium
join:2006-11-03
Peterborough, ON
said by Thane_Bitter:

Its leg, you lost a leg not a phase.

I'm no electrician, nor do I play one on tv, but I did stick a fork into an outlet as a child that I'm sure caused brain damage ...anywho it is possible to lose a leg (conductor), or circuit, of one of up to three phases but few if any homes have more than one phase.


Thane_Bitter
Inquire within
Premium
join:2005-01-20
True, in an industrial or commercial setting (the typical places for those power requirements) that type of failure can cause expensive and weird problems.

peterboro
Avatars are for posers
Premium
join:2006-11-03
Peterborough, ON
said by Thane_Bitter:

True, in an industrial or commercial setting (the typical places for those power requirements) that type of failure can cause expensive and weird problems.

The only experience I had with three phase was at the ski resort our family owned and the compressors and pumps for snow making used it. Wicked power bills form what I remember and that was long before Harris screwed up Ontario Hydro.


J E F F
Whatta Ya Think About Dat?
Premium
join:2004-04-01
Kitchener, ON
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Rogers Portable ..
reply to peterboro
I'm pretty sure all homes require 2 phases. Both your stove and dryer work off of 220/260 and not 110/130.

Or is it simply called 2 leg?!
--
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. - Albert Einstein

peterboro
Avatars are for posers
Premium
join:2006-11-03
Peterborough, ON
Phasing has to do with peak power for large electric motors and magnetic fields. Homes don't need it and only have one phase but some apartments building have more than one. Per my post the phases are delivered on individual conductors or circuits.


elwoodblues
Elwood Blues
Premium
join:2006-08-30
Somewhere in
kudos:2
Reviews:
·VMedia
reply to J E F F
said by J E F F:

I'm pretty sure all homes require 2 phases. Both your stove and dryer work off of 220/260 and not 110/130.

Or is it simply called 2 leg?!

Nope, both of mine run off 120, but both are Natural Gas.
--
No, I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake.......


bluebaron2
Stuff Happens
Premium,Mod
join:2001-02-01
North of 44
reply to nitzguy
Just to clear up a bit of confusion here. In residential wiring the home is supplied via a triplex ( three wires) from a pole ( or pad ) mount transformer which consists of two hot wires and a neutral. The voltage is 240vac phase to phase and 120vac phase to neutral. The distribution systems out on the poles is three phase ( R, W, B) and the distribution transformer, depending on how it is wound, can be connected to that distribution feeder by one or more phases.

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributi···nsformer
--
bb2

There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want. ~Bill Watterson


dirtyjeffer
Anons on ignore, but not due to fear.
Premium
join:2002-02-21
London, ON
electricity is cool, as long as things don't go bad.

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgS9dxQnJxc


»www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJSTyOPS···ts_video

--
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

- George Orwell


FiReSTaRT
Premium
join:2010-02-26
Canada
I definitely have my desktop computer, the modems, the routers, the switch and the monitor plugged into the UPS. Usual draw is under 140W. Might wanna pick up a cheapie for the TV, NAS, nettop and the other switch, just so I can shut'em down quick.


bluebaron2
Stuff Happens
Premium,Mod
join:2001-02-01
North of 44
reply to nitzguy

(topic move) To my electrically inclined friends, explanation re

Moderator Action
The post that was here (and all 4 followups to it), has been moved to a new topic .. »[Anav's Generlink manual connect power switch question]

cog_biz_user
i ruin threads apparently

join:2011-04-19
Hamilton, ON
reply to nitzguy

Re: To my electrically inclined friends, explanation required

just throwing it out there, but the brownout may have caused ripple to burn out the capacitors in your monitor... it may be a cheap fix if you know how to solder.


Black Box

join:2002-12-21
Caps are easy and cheap, but active components are usually fried too in these situations.
--
Keep It Safe, Stupid!
Yes, I CanChat. Can You?