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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    65

    Default Possible inrush current issue in home office

    I haven't had it checked, but spoke with a friend that is an electrician and he stated that it sounds like a inrush of current.

    So here is what was happening.

    So in our home office we have 3 sets of outlet, all have things plugged into them but only 1 set is usally used at any given time.. mostly my set with my pc connected.

    So I use to have a UPS on my pc, and on the 2nd set is where I had my printer connected with no UPS. Anytime I would turn on the printer, the lights in the room would dim for a sec and you could hear the UPS kick in. And it would also happen when I would send a print job to the printer.. Once my UPS failed and needed to be replaced I stopped using the printer cause without the UPS it would reboot my pc, I cant have that..

    So since my friend doesn't live close by, im posting here for some advice on what I can check or troubleshoot myself before calling out a electrician.

    It only seems to do this in this one room..

    I haven't bought a new UPS yet, but if I do, im going to get one for both the pc and printer, but rather find a solution for the issue anyway.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    792

    Default Re: Possible inrush current issue in home office

    You didn't say how far away from your power panel was from your workstation; what the breaker or fuse size was; or if other loads were on that circuit.

    But, if your house is wired properly, it doesn't appear like a normal situation.

    You could plug in a portable heater near your ups and see if the other lights dim etc.

    If so, note which loads are on that circuit by turning the breaker off.

    Then plug in the heater at a point as far away from your panel, on that circuit, as possible.

    Then plug in a lamp on all the other receptacles and turn on all the lights, on that circuit.

    If you have good bright lights on the first half of that circuit but others are dim, you've probably located the location of a bad receptacle or lamp connection.
    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, Hidden Content

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Possible inrush current issue in home office

    The office is at the front of the house, the panel is in the backyard, so roughly maybe 40ft or so.
    Ill have to check the breaker to see what else is on it, but when I work in the office, everything else in the house is off cause I work from home and no one else here so everything else is off.

    I do know that before we bought they had just finished fixing it up and ALL the outlets/receptacles were replaced.

    So after the testing, it could be as simple as a bad outlet/connection?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Northern Indiana
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: Possible inrush current issue in home office

    The very first thing to check is the power requirement for the printer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Possible inrush current issue in home office

    AC 110 to 120 V, 50/60 Hz is what is listed on the manual.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    792

    Default Re: Possible inrush current issue in home office

    Quote Originally Posted by cubangt View Post
    The office is at the front of the house, the panel is in the backyard, so roughly maybe 40ft or so.
    Ill have to check the breaker to see what else is on it, but when I work in the office, everything else in the house is off cause I work from home and no one else here so everything else is off.

    I do know that before we bought they had just finished fixing it up and ALL the outlets/receptacles were replaced.

    So after the testing, it could be as simple as a bad outlet/connection?
    All it could be is a loose connection, unless you have a commercial printer that draws 1500W on a 15A breaker.
    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, Hidden Content

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,940

    Default Re: Possible inrush current issue in home office

    Check your outlets and see if the wires are in stab connectors rather than on the screws.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Possible inrush current issue in home office

    And if they are the stab type, undo and secure with the screw? when I tested all the outlets with my small plug in tester that checks for connection type issues everything checked out fine..

    But I will actually open each one and verify the wires.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,898

    Default Re: Possible inrush current issue in home office

    Inrush current is not the problem. Inrush current is usually associated with electric motors, they often require more current to get them started than they use to run.

    You have three outlets in the room, are they all on the same breaker? Are the outlets for the printer and the PC on the same breaker?

    Do you have similar issues with the rest of the house other than the lights dimming for a moment when the AC kicks on? When the AC kicks on, that is an example of inrush current. Sometimes a refrigerator will also do this.

    I'm going to guess here that the outlets in your home office are on the same CB in the distribution panel and that you don't have a problem in the rest of your house except a slight dimming when the AC kicks on. If that is true, the you most likely have a poor or loose connection in the first outlet in the room. By first outlet, that is the one that is electrically closest to the distribution panel. In other words, the cable comes off the CB, goes to the first outlet, then to the next and finally to the last one.

    Sometimes more than one room can be on the same CB so there could even be outlets in another room on the same cable and be in front of the outlets in your home office.

    You need to determine which breaker serves the office and what other outlets it also serves. Then you, if you are qualified to turn off the breaker and check the outlets yourself, or your electrician needs to remove power and check the in and out connections on each outlet.

    If they are stab connections, they really should be reconnected at the screw terminals. Each connection needs to be secure. The connection at the circuit breaker needs to be checked as well. Not just the wire but the circuit breaker to the buss bar too.

    What is happening is that somewhere along the chain to your office, or at the input side of your first outlet in the office, the connection is loose and has some resistance. When there is no load (current flow) on the circuit, the voltage is equal everywhere on the circuit. As a load is added, the voltage is dropped across any series resistances in the circuit according to Kerchoff's law. As the load increases across a loose connection, the connection heats up and its resistance increases, further dropping voltage at the bad connection.

    It appears that when you use the printer, the voltage drop across the loose connection is great enough to cause a low voltage condition for the printer and the PC. Your lights may be dimming also if they are on the same circuit, but in most houses, the lights are on a different circuit so they might not dim in your office.

    This loose connection could eventually cause a fire so you should get it fixed as soon as possible.

    One last thing, if all connections check out, you may need to replace the circuit breaker itself, the contacts inside may be the problem.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Northern Indiana
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: Possible inrush current issue in home office

    I don't understand how a diagnosis of a loose connection can be made without knowing the circuit ampacity, the circuit length and the circuit loading.

    What is the wattage/amps of the printer?
    Last edited by brrichter; 09-13-2014 at 11:11 AM.

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