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Scaltech
08-04-06, 12:20 PM
So heres my tale and I'd like to see if anyone here can actually fully explain this entire ordeal to me:

So the night before last there was a pretty large storm in the area and we lost power around 12:30AM. I thought it was just a normal power outage and got up and unplugged my computer at this point just to be on the safe side. Morning came around and still the power was out in my bedroom. I got up and to my surprise the rest of the apartment had power, so I went to take a look at the breakers.

Well the breaker for the bedroom had been kicked off as I expected and I reset it. The power in the bedrooms kicked on and I was happy. I walked back into my room and plugged the UPS (yes my computer is on a backup power supply) back into the wall and then darkness envoloped the room once again. Confused I began to run different scenarios through my mind as to why this would happen. Was there suddenly too much of a power drain on the line causing the breaker to flip?

Still keeping the UPS plugged into the wall I walked back to the breakers and flipped it back on but it instantly flipped back off. I went back and unplugged everything from the wall, even including my alarm clock. Flipped the breaker once more and plugged the UPS with nothing in it back into the wall. The breaker didn't flip off this time. Slowly I started plugging different things back into the UPS. My speakers, my monitor, everything was fine. I got to my computers power cord and again it cut the power to my room.

So I had found the culprit, it was my computer. I was now a little worried but I had to get to work so I left it until I got home that night hoping that whatever was wrong might simply be resolved with time. Overly optimistic I know and it proved a false hope when I got home that night and the problem persisted.

I decided I would move the computer into the kitchen and try it there. I plugged it in and everything worked perfectly. I pushed the power button and could hear it booting up. I walked back to the breaker panel and looked up the kitchen breaker I had used. I had a larger bulk then the one servicing the bedrooms so I thought maybe that was why.

At this point I proceeded to move the computer back into my room to try something else. I unplugged the UPS from the wall and plugged my computer into it. There was a low humming sound that I've never heard before coming from the UPS but I could turn the computer on successfully. After about 2 minutes the low humming faded away. I tried plugging the UPS back into the wall and it worked! I was amazed and overly relieved.

I proceeded to plug everything back in one by one and still the breaker held up. Started up the computer and everything was normal except it wanted to do a chkdisk scan on my games partition, strange indeed. Booting into windows it prompted to tell me that my E:\ (games) was corrupt. A small price to pay for a lightning strike I thought. Another strange thing was that windows had for whatever reason forgotten the custom theme I had applied to it. So I formatted the E drive, reapplied my theme, and everything was perfect.

Now this morning I woke up and it is telling me that my F drive is now corrupt (my applications partition). I've decided to do a full format on the harddrive in hopes that this will clear up any lingering issues.

What I need explained to me is what exactly happened internally that was blowing the breaker and also apparently corrupted my harddrive. My best guess is that the PSU absorbed the power surge and was pumping out some extreme voltage until it faded away (the humming on the UPS) but I've never heard of anything like that happening before. As for the harddrive I assume that the excess charge in the PSU may have had some sort of magnetic effect on the harddrive and scrambled some 0's and 1's, but again I'm just talking out of my behind at this point because I have no real clue.

Thanks to anyone who can shed some light on this mystery!

grey_1
08-04-06, 12:49 PM
You may have a couple of problems. The first thing I would do is have a qualified electrician make sure that circuit isn't overloaded. A 15amp breaker won't always pop at 15amps. Second, make sure (electrician again) that your home's service is properly grounded and that you have "clean" juice going into your 'puter. A dirty sine wave pumping into your rig over a period of time, especially with a good power surge, could do a bit more damage that hdd corruption.

ViN86
08-04-06, 01:11 PM
maybe the breaker is damaged and delivers an abnormal voltage?

Scaltech
08-04-06, 01:41 PM
Well I can't see that being the issue because it has never caused a problem before, and since "discharging" it on the UPS it hasn't had any issues since. Also, even if the line had an abnormal voltage, the UPS would warn me that it did (same withe the poor ground that grey mentioned). A UPS is designed to feed a constant stream of energy to anything hooked up to it is it not?

grey_1
08-04-06, 02:37 PM
Well I can't see that being the issue because it has never caused a problem before, and since "discharging" it on the UPS it hasn't had any issues since. Also, even if the line had an abnormal voltage, the UPS would warn me that it did (same withe the poor ground that grey mentioned). A UPS is designed to feed a constant stream of energy to anything hooked up to it is it not?

It's not so much a constant stream of voltage as the quality of the voltage. I mean, something like this would be pretty rare, but I have seen it in action.

http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:pVVWmFYzxjYJ:www.nor-tech.com/solutions/dox/PrimeronCybePowersProfessionalPowerProtection.pdf+ problems+with+dirty+sine+waves&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=4

http://www.endtimesreport.com/dirty_power.html

Just a couple of quick links to browse through. Google "dirty power" computers or "dirty sine waves" You'll find alot to read on.

Not all UPS will ensure clean voltage, but that being said, it's almost a crap shoot guessing as it hasn't had issues since.

evilghost
08-04-06, 02:55 PM
Get an UPS with AVR, a good one. Most UPS may have very low/high transfer to battery voltage clamping. I know some of the SOHO UPS will not transfer to battery unless the voltage is below 85V or above 135V. A better UPS will be able to clamp sag/surge by kicking to battery or by using AVR to boost/reduce surge/sag between the transfer to battery ranges.

Sounds like you're pulling too much current on that 15AMP breaker and it's tripping.

Your UPS will likely show improper ground or you can buy an easy plug test kit for like ~$3.00 at your local hardware store. I doubt it's a wiring issue and I also doubt lightning hit your lines.

The chkdsk was likely caused by your I decided I would move the computer into the kitchen and try it there. I plugged it in and everything worked perfectly. I pushed the power button and could hear it booting up. step; did you properly shut down the machine?

The kitchen breaker is likely running to a 20AMP circuit with 12-2 wiring with GFI plugs. Your bedrooms are likely 14-2 with a 15AMP breaker.

So, esentially, purchase a quality UPS that will do sag/surge/AVR supression coupled with Battery Backup (with good transfer-to-battery voltage ranges). Some of the higher quality Belkin series have nice software that will display incoming/outgoing voltage, phase, load, frequency, etc.

fugu_fish
08-04-06, 02:55 PM
It's possible that the breaker servicing your room is marginal for the load and that the additional load of a discharged UPS was enough to make the difference and trip it. Once the UPS recharged somewhat it didn't draw as many amps and the breaker stayed set. Like the previous poster said, get an electrician to check it out to be safe.

As far as the hard drive corruption, lightning does strange things to electronics.
Over the years I've had lightning take out several modems, my Netgear router, (It surged through the cable TV line to my cable modem)and my stereo. Once I had a customer bring me a PC that wouldn't boot. Turned out the lightning came through his network cable and blew a chunk of silicon off a chip on the NIC.

You should do a bad sector scan on those drives.

crainger
08-05-06, 10:32 PM
I once had lighting go through a USB modem/USB Hub. It took out the modem with a puff of smoke and also a USB mouse attached to it.

Nothing else was touched luckily :)

Bearclaw
08-05-06, 11:09 PM
I once had lighting go through a USB modem/USB Hub. It took out the modem with a puff of smoke and also a USB mouse attached to it.

Nothing else was touched luckily :)

Your lucky nothing else was touched. :)