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Samurai Appliance Repair Man

Protecting Your Appliances from Surges and Other Crap on the Power Lines

24 posts in this topic

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Just wanted to send a message about your topic of Surges and other Crap on the power lines.  I decided not to give up on my dishwasher and something funny occured.  On Monday 2/27 we lost power to about 70 percent of our house. Everything at the panel seemed to be fine, no breakers were tripped.  We then called our electrical provider to investigate.   After finding a faulty connection at the weatherhead and at the street, repairs were made and the power was restored. Having lost several other electronic items over the past few months (computer modem, computer printer, toaster oven, oil burner primary control, etc.) along with lights randomly brightening and returning to normal, we wondered -- could this be the root problem for the dishwasher? 

With no other repairs having been done, we have now run the dishwasher in normal cycle three times successfully through completion -- when previoulsy we couldn't even get it to finish a first cycle. 

After having replaced the control board and the TCO, and on the verge of giving up and buying a new dishwasher, this semi-power failure came at the right time. 

After seeing some of the other similar issues people are posting, this is something that should be seriously considered. 

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[user=6295]swoosh[/user] wrote:

Just wanted to send a message about your topic of Surges and other Crap on the power lines. I decided not to give up on my dishwasher and something funny occured. On Monday 2/27 we lost power to about 70 percent of our house. Everything at the panel seemed to be fine, no breakers were tripped. We then called our electrical provider to investigate. After finding a faulty connection at the weatherhead and at the street, repairs were made and the power was restored. Having lost several other electronic items over the past few months (computer modem, computer printer, toaster oven, oil burner primary control, etc.) along with lights randomly brightening and returning to normal, we wondered -- could this be the root problem for the dishwasher?

With no other repairs having been done, we have now run the dishwasher in normal cycle three times successfully through completion -- when previoulsy we couldn't even get it to finish a first cycle.

After having replaced the control board and the TCO, and on the verge of giving up and buying a new dishwasher, this semi-power failure came at the right time.

After seeing some of the other similar issues people are posting, this is something that should be seriously considered.

It sounds to me like there may have been a loose neutral wire somewhere, maybe at the circuit breaker panel. On homes with split-phase 240v service (2 120v legs), a loose or poorly connected neutral can screw up connected devices, especially when the electrical loads on the two 120v legs are imbalanced. Running a large appliance could cause this imbalance. Dimming/brightening lights is a sign of a loose neutral. You can find more info about loose neutrals using Google and Google Groups.

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[user=8563]I[/user] have covered the content of this posting in a later posting with corrected details.

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[user=8563]I[/user] have covered the content of this posting in a later posting with corrected details.

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This is excellent information, Keinokuorma, thanks for taking the time to post it. You're obviously not a grasshopper, I'll make the necessary title adjustments taksan soon. :dude:

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[user=1]Samurai Appliance Repair Man[/user] wrote:

This is excellent information, Keinokuorma, thanks for taking the time to post it. You're obviously not a grasshopper, I'll make the necessary title adjustments taksan soon. :dude:

I'm not worth it! But I like beer too. And apple cider. Does it count?:D

I've got a war story here... http://applianceguru.com/forum11/8416.html and there are more, but I haven't had (or probably won't have) the time to post them.

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Maybe he was thinking that current flows like water.  Clearly this guy is not the crispiest chip in the bag, I hope he enjoys his flight back to school to learn about surge protectors. :headbang:

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Surge protectors can be useless without a good ground(neutral) connection.

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[user=15372]Ty2010[/user] wrote:

... ground(neutral)...

Brethren, let us open our hymnals to the 12th Law of the Prophecy.

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and amen. I prefer to say ground(neutral) because 99.9% of installations they all go to that nice little screw strip in the fuse box and does state the uselessness of such setups. The only good ground is an isolated ground. The importance of distinction was reinforced even more so for me when I was working as an engineer. An electric glass tempering furnace had the electronics and computers grounded through the same as the elements protected by huge banks of varisters. The furnace was often down as much as it was running and the task was given to me to find cheaper sources of varisters. I asked what they were for and I got a peek at the schematics. Needless to say they installed an isolated ground for the controls and had no trouble thereafter. The company that makes those furnaces even specs out an isolated ground for the controls ever since.

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Yes, a dedicated Ground wire is the way to go. Seen too many of these Swedish grounds... once you lose Neutral for some reason, you have a machine with live chassis... just the opposite thing to what is called for.

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Once had tenants complaining of their stereo "blowing up". While I was there I noticed lights all of a sudden get bright.

There was an old fuse box in the basement. Found one leg of the incoming circuit was 75 volts, other was 150 volts. Added up to about the right voltage coming in!

Working in the box was beyond me at the time so called an electrician.

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Yes... curious. Coulda been loose Neutral.

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As I had 65v on a ground before, can explain. The neutral line to some outlets were not properly connected so you get a half sine wave voltage. The live line measured to this would either read 65v or around 150 if circuit was on other leg.

which can happen even with many things commonly taken as being a "ground" like cold water pipes, little extra plumbers putty or teflon tape when they replace a meter or better yet plastic parts and no ground. This is happening a lot of late as municipalities go to rf meters.

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This will also happen when you drop neutral from the power pole to the house also.

You will see some lights in the house all of the sudden become extra bright,(and you're real lucky if you don't burn out any other electrical equipment like tvs and stereos), when things on the opposite incoming line try to start up as it changes the load equalization from one line to the other since there is no neutral return path.

If I remember correctly, the first time I ran into this it kind of threw me off, a refrig that won't get cold, compressor not starting.

Checked the incoming line voltage to refrig and got something like 130volts which was real odd to me but thought should be ok still, refrig would start on a start pak. The thing that really threw me was when the refrig tried to startup that is when the other lights in the house got extra bright, (couldn't figure that out until I start testing the light socket voltage which would shot up to like 175volts when the refrig started up, the refrig power line would drop to like around 65volts when tring to pull the startup load).

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In my meditation in the night, after succumbing to the effect to exra suds, I came to think along the same lines. Neutral, if weak or dropped off on the pole, or at the input neutral bracket at the box, would truely cause the voltage to float around the neutral point. Only if the load on each live leg was equal, which is unlikely, would the neutral point appera somewhat neutral.

This is one more reason why it is a bad idea to do a Swedish ground wire from the neutral.

On the 208V system, this would cause more abnormal phenomena. First of all, with neutral dropped off, only 208V would be there to be shared between devices that would appear serially connected. This wouldn't be as likely to burn anything out, but will leave only approximately 104V per leg...

The neutral line to some outlets were not properly connected so you get a half sine wave voltage. The live line measured to this would either read 65v or around 150 if circuit was on other leg.

Ty, can you explain half sine wave? You mean somehow rectified, or just what was explained, that the load imbalance causes abnormal potential distribution on the legs when neutral is not connected?

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Yes, either can happen but the first to be lost is the + phase because when there's an arc that it conducts through it does this through creating a plasma from the excess negatively charged electrons. Blah blah ground doesn't create a point charge of enough potential to start plasma so there's flat voltage in the positive phase and lowered voltage in negative phase.

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Oh, true, the principle used in old mercury vapor rectifiers.

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:yikes: the link for appliance magazine dot com, regarding protecting appliances from surges did not work - I was frustrated when I bought two new a/c units, one thru the wall, one casement window unit - I called the manufacturers asking about surge protection and the circuit boards - all I got was brain-dead responses like "you can't use any extension cord" - I tried to explain I dun wanna use a extension cord, but wanted to know about using a surge protector. All I could get out of Whirlpool, or Sears, was to use nothing.

I have heard of whole house surge protectors being destroyed by lightning, along with all of the equipment - what is advised for protecting appliances, such as my Frigidaire front load washer, fridge, and a/c units?

Dennis in San Diego area :poison:

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If all said machines fit the ordinary single phase outlet, there's no real reason why you CAN'T use an extension cord w/surge protection... if there's no other way of getting individual surge protection, just get a good grounded extension cord with thick wire gauge, and not too long, one for each machine (sure not to overload the circuit or cord).... check that they have surge protection, and NOT GFI because GFI is no good with any of the said devices.

Well, at least back here, there are no legal regulations against using any appliance on an extension cord as long as the current handling capacity is sufficient, and care is observed to not damage the cords. Don't know for sure, but over there, you use half the voltage and double the current mostly so it puts more stress on all connections.

 

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Great information!   I have one of those  plug in continuity checks, which has different lights to determine whether your wiring is set up properly.   Would this be a good check?   My house is 5 years old and most of the handyman types in the neighborhood praise the quality of our electrical system.   I know there is a rod going into the earth with a ground wire attached to it.

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