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  Reply # 1123815 7-Sep-2014 20:31
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Basically, make sure all your computer equipment is tied together using grounded power cords

Get a power board that has all the earth/grounding pins tied together and with spike protection.
Even if the power board is not tied to 'real ground' all equipment grounds will be tied together.
Preferably get a power board with some telecom line protection as well.
(or telecom spike protection that can plug into your power board)

Plug all your computer equipment into that one power board.

Your equipment will be protected from spikes across the mains.
All equipment will be protected from spikes from mains to the ground wiring on your power board.

If the mains power is really dodgy you might also consider a ground mat under your work area also tied back to ground wiring on your power board.
Also for personal safety you may be better off with wireless keyboard and mouse.
Remember also when connecting/disconnecting any equipment from your system, to disconnect the mains power feed.

Good luck. All sounds pretty hairy to me!

Gordon





Gordy



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  Reply # 1124446 8-Sep-2014 15:55
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kiwigander: Bienvenue à Montréal, Elpie!   ....Do all the surge protectors you can find have three pin plugs?   Perhaps you could try the cheater + earthing lead running to a cold water pipe? Or, if you're going to be there for a year, can you get an additional, properly earthed circuit installed? The service to the house should be at least 30 A – laughable in these days, I know, but I'm surprised that the entire house would be on a single 15 A circuit.

 

Merci kiwigander :-)

 

Yes, all the surge protectors have the three pin plugs and all claim to need grounding. Cheating and running a lead to a cold water pipe is not an option - I understand it was common in the past but its explicitely disallowed now. The washing machine, dryer and stove are on one circuit, the other circuit - 15A no less, powers everything else. Range hood, lights (two with fans), fridge, dishwasher, baseboard heaters, alarm system. All on one circuit. My coffee machine uses 12.5A so in order to use it we have to turn off the lights/fan. With one light/fan unit on, and notebook running on power with a wireless keyboard and mouse, and router on, this is it - anything else we do causes problems. Sending a document to the printer causes a brownout to the rest. It's just ridiculous. Heaven help us when winter hits (by which time I hope to be back there) and we have heating to run!

 

The landlady has said no to any power upgrades but we will keep working on this. We are prepared to pay for a new circuit. The irony is that if we pay and get improvements done she can raise the rent on us. Gotta love Quebec!



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  Reply # 1124451 8-Sep-2014 15:59
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Gordy7:
Basically, make sure all your computer equipment is tied together using grounded power cords

Get a power board that has all the earth/grounding pins tied together and with spike protection.
Even if the power board is not tied to 'real ground' all equipment grounds will be tied together.
Preferably get a power board with some telecom line protection as well.
(or telecom spike protection that can plug into your power board)

Plug all your computer equipment into that one power board.

Your equipment will be protected from spikes across the mains.
All equipment will be protected from spikes from mains to the ground wiring on your power board.

If the mains power is really dodgy you might also consider a ground mat under your work area also tied back to ground wiring on your power board.
Also for personal safety you may be better off with wireless keyboard and mouse.
Remember also when connecting/disconnecting any equipment from your system, to disconnect the mains power feed.

Good luck. All sounds pretty hairy to me!

Gordon



What do you mean by "tied together" Gordon? Sorry I am so clueless with this electricity stuff. I'd rather be finding bugs in code ;) 

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  Reply # 1124466 8-Sep-2014 16:15
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Elpie: The irony is that if we pay and get improvements done she can raise the rent on us. Gotta love Quebec!

Wut!  That's crazy.  Sounds like you're in the wrong place to be renting!





Sometimes what you don't get is a blessing in disguise!



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  Reply # 1124623 8-Sep-2014 18:44
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DravidDavid:
Elpie: The irony is that if we pay and get improvements done she can raise the rent on us. Gotta love Quebec!

Wut!  That's crazy.  Sounds like you're in the wrong place to be renting!

 

It's the way it is in Quebec. Landlord & tenant responsibilities are highly regulated and rental contracts are damned near water-tight. Landlords have the right to raise the rent each year to cover their increased costs (for their equivalent of rates) and for any improvements to the property, regardless of who made those improvements. Under the law, we can't upgrade the wiring without the landlord's permission and if permission is given we must provide a copy of the invoice so they know what work was done. Then, because it improves the property, we can be charged additional rent. We can refuse to agree to the increase, in which case the landlord can lodge a claim with their rental board. 6-8 months later, the rental board would tell us we had to pay up. 

 

If you want to live in Quebec you just have to go with the flow and learn what the rules are. On the face of it, that one seems crazy but when you consider that people get into a property and may stay in it for years (not that uncommon for a tenant to be in a place 10-20 years) it's not really so crazy at all. if anything, it removes some of the disincentive for landlords that want to upgrade their properties. 

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  Reply # 1124629 8-Sep-2014 18:53
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Plugging each piece equipment using mains cables with an earth or ground wire when plugged into a power board with internal ground wiring will provide ground tying.

 

This means that there will be no voltage differences that can develop between the chassis of each piece of equipment that is plugged into the same power board.

With respect to spike protection and lack of ground to real earth.... Even if the power board (with spike protection)  is used, it will (or should) provide spike protection across the mains and to the ground of the power board. 

You did not say what sort of equipment you will be using.

Having gone through the "tying" together of equipment I see that you mentioned a UPS.

The output of the UPS should have grounding on all outputs and if you connect all you equipment to the output they will be tied together.

Hope that helps a little.

Cheers





Gordy

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  Reply # 1124632 8-Sep-2014 18:59
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I just did a Google search using:

computer equipment safety using ungrounded mains supply

 

There is a heap of info that turns up...

Cheers






Gordy



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  Reply # 1124693 8-Sep-2014 21:05
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I've read every result that comes up. Most are dealing with safety, as in personal safety and avoiding electrocution. I'm looking for information on protecting my gear. 
I don't want my electronic gear damaged and/or data lost. 

 

I can't remember ever reading about someone killed by their PC so I imagine the safety aspects of using computers on ungrounded outlets isn't that significant. What fluctuating power and ungrounded outlets do to the gear though... that worries me. 

 

 

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  Reply # 1124725 8-Sep-2014 21:43
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If it is the gear you want to protect from the dodgy mains then use an Active UPS. Not sure if that is the correct name...
Do a search on types of UPS...

From my understanding:

An Active UPS is a full time UPS that generates mains output supply and charges the batteries.
The mains input can vary all over the place (within limits) and the output of the UPS remains constant.

Some cheaper UPSes provide input mains feed through and when the input mains drops out, the UPS mains kicks in.

Maybe the Active UPS is the answer for you....

Cheers









Gordy

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  Reply # 1125339 9-Sep-2014 20:46
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Since you say you value Geekzone creativity I will make a stab at it. Apart from desktops and TVs, many devices consume little power, usually via small 12-volt AC adapters. So pick up a lead acid battery or two from an automotive supply place, connect them to the mains via a trickle charger, get some power supply leads to fit your small devices and make direct 12 volt connections for them (assuming they are 12 volt DC of course), and use a pure sine wave inverter for the rest. This is a bit like the UPS idea. The batteries act as a buffer so no more worries about surges. And unless you watch TV day and night there should be plenty of down time to keep the batteries charged. I actually did something like this on a smaller scale in my Amsterdam flat many years ago and it worked brilliantly. Think of it as a kind of DIY UPS, except you get more for less if you do it right.

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 1125368 9-Sep-2014 21:40
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Gordy7: If it is the gear you want to protect from the dodgy mains then use an Active UPS. Not sure if that is the correct name...

I think that you mean an "online" or "real" UPS:
see Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uninterruptible_power_supply

Online/double-conversion

"In an online UPS, the batteries are always connected to the inverter, so that no power transfer switches are necessary. When power loss occurs, the rectifier simply drops out of the circuit and the batteries keep the power steady and unchanged. When power is restored, the rectifier resumes carrying most of the load and begins charging the batteries ...

"The online UPS may be necessary when the power environment is "noisy", when utility power sags, outages and other anomalies are frequent, when protection of sensitive IT equipment loads is required, or when operation from an extended-run backup generator is necessary."

These cost more than consumer-grade offline/standby UPS units, but provide a much higher safety margin.




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  Reply # 1132700 20-Sep-2014 13:31
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Interesting post. I have travelled to the USA in the past and noticed they only had two pin plugs but didnt make the obvious link with no ground pin.

Anyway, bought a laptop last week and was surprised to only have a USA cloverleaf connection but was puzzled by the separate earthing lead...

Plug picture.

I also have travel adapter so could charge the laptop.
Imagine the frustration of getting home with your new laptop and discovering you couldnt plug it in.
I would have thought being able to plug it in would have been a requirement for selling electrical equipment here?

A.

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  Reply # 1132704 20-Sep-2014 13:36
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It is a legal requirement in nz that and device sold under 10 amps comes with an as 3112 plug on it. Place selling you that is breaking the law.




Richard rich.ms

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  Reply # 1132712 20-Sep-2014 14:01
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Well someone been a bit naughty then.

A.

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