Subscriber Sam Boggs wrote recently to tell me about some strange electrical issues he was having — and solved:
This is a fwiw:
I think I recall in past newsletters that you mentioned some voltage problems. At my house, I have been having large voltage swings for several months which sporadically triggered my desktop battery backup UPS.
Actually it was throughout the house, such as seeing the room lights becoming dim, but it was most worrisome with electronics. Thought you might be interested in the solution.
Diagnosis: I put a voltmeter at my computer, and noticed that a large 120v load such as microwave or toaster oven would drop the voltage from about 120 to around 109.
Then found that a 240v load (oven; air cond) would BOOST the voltage to around 130 – Kinda odd! I dreaded several hundred dollars of electrical work.
Solution: A good neighbor suggested calling 1-800-ENTERGY. A truck came the next morning, diagnosed that the problem was on their side of the meter, and fixed it. No cost, and voltage is now rock-solid.
There was a problem with the grounding on one side of the 240v in the underground wiring network. Found out that another neighbor, on the same circuit, had been having the same problem.
Thanks for writing, Sam. I’m glad to hear that your electrical problems were resolved so easily. Hopefully your story will help another reader, too.
Every time I see the lights flicker (which isn’t very often), I immediately look at my computer. Fortunately, I run all my desktop computers through Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS’s), so they keep running without any troubles. I remember my early days, though. Every power blip caused the computer to reboot.