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601 posts

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# 126888 23-Jul-2013 08:54
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Hi there,

Last night I believe our house experienced a brown-out: this caused the lights to dim and then come back to full strength. Our modem, router, and desktop PC restarted. The other computer didn’t restart and stayed on. I’m going to ask some neighbours if they experienced the same thing.

The issue is at the time I believe our Canon printer was on, or shutting down, at the time. Afterwards it would turn on. I've tried plugging the power cord direct into the power point in the wall (rather than where it was at the time of the brown-out, in a surge protector board). Every other device plugged into the surge protector is working fine.

What are the causes of brown-outs, and what are my options if this caused damage to my printer's power cord and/or printer itself?

Regards,
Stevie

 


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  # 864083 23-Jul-2013 09:23
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http://www.contactenergy.co.nz/web/findoutabout/surges?vert=fh/

-From Contact Website;
Brownouts can occur within a street or suburb when there is a partial failure of network equipment such as "distribution substations". This can result in electricity being supplied to households or businesses at (for example) less than 150 volts instead of the usual approximately 230 volts. Lights will be noticeably dimmer and some appliances may not work until the usual voltage is restored.Regular brownouts can reduce the efficiency and life span of your appliances.

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  # 864096 23-Jul-2013 09:47
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Pretty sure the power companies have clauses in their contracts that say "tough luck power delivery is a best effort service". You should probably send it to be repaired, and claim insurance if appropriate.

Was it plugged into a surge protector?

Some printers are so cheap that it's not worth having them repaired. Even my multifunction printer can be replaced by an upgraded model for $320 now, the only downside is I'd need a new CIS - I can highly recommend RIHAC if you're sick of ink costs.

 
 
 
 




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  # 864106 23-Jul-2013 10:14
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timmmay:
Was it plugged into a surge protector?

Yes.

timmmay:Pretty sure the power companies have clauses in their contracts that say "tough luck power delivery is a best effort service".

Buggers.

I didn't pay $100+ for a printer, to be usable for a month and a bit.


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  # 864108 23-Jul-2013 10:17
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You could always take it back and say "I turned it on one day and it doesn't work". It's reasonable to expect that a printer can handle the type of power we get in NZ.

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Technical Solutions Aust

  # 864125 23-Jul-2013 10:43
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Surge protectors (for the most part) won't help in a brown out condition. You would need some kind of phase failure relay in your main switchboard, so that the power is completely killed when the voltage gets below a certain threshold.

Brownouts are as catastrophic (if not more) as surges / spikes - the difference is that a lot of people use protection on surges but not for brownouts.



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  # 864357 23-Jul-2013 15:46
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Printer seems to be turning on now, after a period of not wanting to.

I've unplugged it from the surge protector, and am keeping it away from power plugs for the mean-time.

Must look into investing in a UPS. Any recommendations? One that last for an hour after power is cut would be preferable, but not an absolute requirement.

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  # 864370 23-Jul-2013 15:52
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Half an hour for printer, modem, router, PC, monitor, etc, or just the printer? Just add up the power requirements of your equipment (ideally measure it) then get an appropriately sized UPS.

I had one, but it made an annoying high pitched noise so I got rid of it.

 
 
 
 


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  # 864420 23-Jul-2013 16:26
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The printer power supply probably has a automatic resettable fuse that tripped, seems consistent it working again later.

A UPS is a decent option to protect electronic devices from under voltage, over voltage and surges.  Eaton and APC have some reasonable options thesedays.



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  # 864461 23-Jul-2013 16:53
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Make sure the UPS is online, or at least line-interactive. The cheapies won't save you from anything really.

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  # 864547 23-Jul-2013 18:50
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What type of printer? I'm pretty sure laser printers can't be put on a ups because of their large initial power draw, or something like that.

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  # 864757 24-Jul-2013 01:02
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Only things that generally care about brownouts are things with AC motors in them, PCs, tvs etc have switchmode power supplies that will usually run on anything from 90 volts upwards.

Chances are something in the printer crashed and just needed the power off for a while to unlatch and actually reset.

Infact I had inadvertantly connected my entire workbench to my 110v stepdown transformer and only noticed when I tried to use an anglegrinder on the powerstrip - everthing else didnt care - even the hot glue gun still got hot enough, drill chargers still charged, TV still went etc, Light still lit (fluro with electronic ballast)




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  # 864765 24-Jul-2013 02:09
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 Must look into investing in a UPS. Any recommendations?
 You discussed a brownout - a low voltage.  A surge protector does nothing (remains inert) until, for example, the 230 volts exceeds 500 volts.  What does a protector do during a brownout?  Absolutely nothing.

  All electronics either work normally during a brownout.  Or power off normally.  For example, most electronics consider ideal voltage even when lights dim to 50% intensity.  Computers are even more robust.  Ideal voltage is even when lights dim to 40% intensity.  If lights dim more, then electronics power off without any damage.

A UPS is temporary and 'dirty' power during a blackout.  Temporary as in power for ten minutes so that you can save unsaved data.  It does nothing to protect hardware.  In fact, in battery backup mode, it can be some of the 'dirtiest' power seen by the appliance.

 If concerned about a potentially destructive brownout, then a UPS must be on what is at risk - motorized appliances.  To protect hardware, you need a UPS on the refrigerator and air conditioner; not a computer.


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  # 864766 24-Jul-2013 02:11
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PaulBags: What type of printer? I'm pretty sure laser printers can't be put on a ups because of their large initial power draw, or something like that.

 You can always get a UPS that is large enough.  But a UPS tpyically outputs some of the 'dirtiest' power when in battery backup mode.  That 'dirty' power is ideal for all electronics.  But can be harmful to power strip protectors and small electric motors.

  UPS manufacturers are not forthcoming about why they recommend no motorized appliance on that UPS.  Then you might learn how 'dirty' UPS power can be when in battery backup mode.  That would harm sales promoted by 'clean' power.


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  # 864786 24-Jul-2013 08:12
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westom: If concerned about a potentially destructive brownout, then a UPS must be on what is at risk - motorized appliances.  To protect hardware, you need a UPS on the refrigerator and air conditioner; not a computer.



My electrial knowledge is lacking, would getting your own transformer be useful here? Or would it not step up the house voltage when the power lines brown out?

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  # 864828 24-Jul-2013 08:55
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I know that aircons are smart enough to stop on low mains voltage, as a friend has one that keeps going into fault mode because of that because of their crappy rural power supply which they cant complain about since it would be on them to pay to fix.




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