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How to protect against dirty power?

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Hi all,

Not 100% computer related so I'm not sure where to put these. Mods please move if it's not in the right place.

So I'm having a problem with my household electricity supply. In the evening and at night, it'll jump all over the place. It's usually 230 V, but it'll drop down to 150 and spike up to 290 V at times for anywhere from 5 seconds to 5 minutes. I'd like to protect anything connected to my household circuit. I have UPS' for all of my computers and also my router, but I'm worried about the stuff that isn't connected to them (Aircons, Fridge, water coolers, etc.).
Also with the frequency of the power surges, I'm worried about the UPS' themselves getting damaged as I can hear the relays working overtime to keep up (lots and lots of clicking).

I have ordered a Schneider Easy9 surge protector to go in the main breaker box, but I'm not sure that this type of protector is designed for the types of surges I'm dealing with.

Another device I'm looking at is a 25KVA voltage regulator, but again, I'm not sure whether they are designed to protect stuff on the household circuit.

I could go with more UPS' for the fridge and water-cooler and other smaller devices, but from what I understand, the compressors won't like the sine-wave approximated output and would likely do more harm than good.

Does anyone have any advice on the best way to regulate these surges? I am 99% sure that it's nothing on the household circuit that is causing the problems as I've flipped the breakers for all the high current circuits (aircons, etc.) but the surges persist and I've checked all of the wall sockets.
 
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Contact your electricity supplier and explain the supply issue, then ask them to test the line outside supplying your property or rectify the problem.
 
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As @Caring1 says, the problem is obviously the power supply to your house, hence you need to contact the company responsible for supplying the power. Anything else is just a band-aid.
I'd love to, but if they don't witness it directly, then they refuse to admit there is a problem. I'm in an apartment and already contacted management. Their response is that 'it's AC so normal to vary between 170-270 V (50 times per second)! Clearly not understanding the problem and not wanting to investigate.
 
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From my understanding, the Voltage stabiliser should do the job. This is apparently a fairly common problem in some South East Asian countries.
Wasn't aware it was an issue in Vietnam though, as I've never seen any Voltage stabilisers when I've visited.
Something along the lines of this
 
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I'd love to, but if they don't witness it directly, then they refuse to admit there is a problem. I'm in an apartment and already contacted management. Their response is that 'it's AC so normal to vary between 170-270 V (50 times per second)! Clearly not understanding the problem and not wanting to investigate.
Thats a whole buncha lotta B.friggin.S... normal household AC power should N>E>V>E>R drop & spike that much, except perhaps during a lightning storm or if someone crashes into a power pole near your apartment...

something is definitely very, very, wrong here....

I have lived in apartments, condos, townhouses and regular single-family homes all over the world over the past 40 years and have never, ever, heard of anything this bad happening to anyone anywhere . Sure occasional, minor variations in the power lines are common, but not to this extreme...

I would strongly suggest you set up a joint meeting with your apartment management, the power company, and your attorney and get it resolved like yesterday, BEFORE you come home one day to smoldering pile of ashes.....
 
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From my understanding, the Voltage stabiliser should do the job. This is apparently a fairly common problem in some South East Asian countries.
Wasn't aware it was an issue in Vietnam though, as I've never seen any Voltage stabilisers when I've visited.
Something along the lines of this
imo it's worth to have this thing anywhere in the world
my home electricity is clean and pretty stable but nevertheless sometimes there's some weather condititions
point is having an avr will never hurt

and yeah,get an electrician,have him pinpoint what the problem is exactly and tell the landlord HE has a problem.
 
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imo it's worth to have this thing anywhere in the world
my home electricity is clean and pretty stable but nevertheless sometimes there's some weather condititions
point is having an avr will never hurt

and yeah,get an electrician,have him pinpoint what the problem is exactly and tell the landlord HE has a problem.
I own the house. No landlord.
Main problem is with those things I'd need 20-30KVA and they get big and heavy (70-120 kg). The response time on them is 0.6-1s so miss anything shorter (they operate based on a mechanical servo changing the windings on the secondary coil. I will buy one if I can be sure it'll protect my aircons etc.
I don't think the lower voltage events (brownouts) will damage much, but I'd like something to filter out anything over 250 V or so.
 
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I only see 10v flux, I thought that was a lot until I saw your thread. I use a line conditioner for my electronics, I’m not sure that would help you though..
 
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I only see 10v flux, I thought that was a lot until I saw your thread. I use a line conditioner for my electronics, I’m not sure that would help you though..
Yeah. It's been bad the past few weeks, before now never an issue. It's continually tripping the breakers inside my UPS' needing me to manually reset them.
I'm hoping that the Easy9 Surge protector that fits inside the breaker box can shunt any dangerous voltages to ground, but I don't know how they work and I can't find much information online. I'm guessing it's part of an electricians training course.
I know there are different whole circuit surge protectors (box like), but I can't find them here. I'll happily order one from overseas though if it'd do the job better than the one I've ordered.
 
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I own the house. No landlord.
Main problem is with those things I'd need 20-30KVA and they get big and heavy (70-120 kg). The response time on them is 0.6-1s so miss anything shorter (they operate based on a mechanical servo changing the windings on the secondary coil. I will buy one if I can be sure it'll protect my aircons etc.
I don't think the lower voltage events (brownouts) will damage much, but I'd like something to filter out anything over 250 V or so.
Hi,
Not sure where you own
First you say apartment now you say house okay which is it, a house/ condominium/ town house ?

How many electric meters are near yours ?
How far away are you to your meter and breaker box ?
Firstly you will need to check your ground system make sure it's not degraded, often electricians only use iron ground rods and that rusts fast so if iron add a copper ground rod.

It's not the going off that kills electronics it's the sudden on/ off and on again that fry/ melt electronics and frankly start fires.

With proper ground and battery backup you can get away from issues with power fluctuations
Worried about a/c units.... get a whole house backup power system usually fueled by natural gas that way everything is protected.
 
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Hi,
Not sure where you own
First you say apartment now you say house okay which is it, a house/ condominium/ town house ?

How many electric meters are near yours ?
How far away are you to your meter and breaker box ?
Firstly you will need to check your ground system make sure it's not degraded, often electricians only use iron ground rods and that rusts fast so if iron add a copper ground rod.

It's not the going off that kills electronics it's the sudden on/ off and on again that fry/ melt electronics and frankly start fires.

With proper ground and battery backup you can get away from issues with power fluctuations
Worried about a/c units.... get a whole house backup power system usually fueled by natural gas that way everything is protected.
My mistake. I meant home. Living abroad too long. Yes, it's an apartment. Breaker box is in the apartment. Meter is about 4 meters down the hall next to 7 other meters. Grounding is done through the apartment building. Either to the foundations or a metal rod, I imagine.
Gas backup is out of the question. I've thought about installing solar as there is a balcony like area of ~8m^2 outside, but people have a tendency to drop things from the upper floors onto that area.
 
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Hi, if it was ok few months back maybe it can be fixed on supplier end.

If it is persistent you will need voltage stabilizer but better than one you linked.
As example look here, they have description of different types
They go up to +/-40% of input fluctuation and response time < 1.5ms.
I would look for something like that.

As you stated they are big and I bet laud, can you put it outside? Maybe work with everyone in building and get really big one for everyone, I bet they all have the same problem as you.
 
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Hi,
Well you can add a new ground rod and just connect it to your meter
Only other issue is ground up to your unit after that
Most common issue is loose connections.
But I have no idea how they wire stuff in Vietnam :)
 
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It's usually 230 V, but it'll drop down to 150 and spike up to 290 V at times for anywhere from 5 seconds to 5 minutes.
You are hosed! UPS, AVRs, and voltage stabilizers work great for minor and short term fluctuations (±30VAC or so that last a few seconds) but you have swings of 140V! :eek: :twitch: :kookoo: And some last several minutes. That is not good at all. As suggested you need to contact your electric company and complain. And if me, I would do this every couple days until they get tired of you complaining and come out and fix it.

If this is happening to you, then surely it is happening to your neighbors too. They need to also be calling and complaining. And I don't mean just your neighbors in your same apartment complex, but those in other nearby buildings - especially if on the same transformer.

If this is due to the apartment's AC and management refuses to fix it, check your local government for someone to complain to. Who owns the appliances because you are right this can damage connected devices - especially things like refrigerator compressors and motors.

IMO, your only other option is to get a generator and supply your own regulated power, or move.
Thats a whole buncha lotta B.friggin.S... normal household AC power should N>E>V>E>R drop & spike that much, except perhaps during a lightning storm or if someone crashes into a power pole near your apartment...

something is definitely very, very, wrong here....
Agreed.
 
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You are hosed! UPS, AVRs, and voltage stabilizers work great for minor and short term fluctuations (±30VAC or so that last a few seconds) but you have swings of 140V! :eek: :twitch: :kookoo: And some last several minutes. That is not good at all. As suggested you need to contact your electric company and complain. And if me, I would do this every couple days until they get tired of you complaining and come out and fix it.

If this is happening to you, then surely it is happening to your neighbors too. They need to also be calling and complaining. And I don't mean just your neighbors in your same apartment complex, but those in other nearby buildings - especially if on the same transformer.

If this is due to the apartment's AC and management refuses to fix it, check your local government for someone to complain to. Who owns the appliances because you are right this can damage connected devices - especially things like refrigerator compressors and motors.

IMO, your only other option is to get a generator and supply your own regulated power, or move.
Agreed.
Yeah. Today, it's not been so bad. It's not swinging wildly all the time. For example, when it surges, it will be at 260V (from 230V) for a few minutes with some spikes over 280V. Other times it will brown out for minutes at a time stabilizing around 180 V, with dips to 150 V.
Other apartments haven't noticed it that I know about and haven't complained, hence management unwilling to believe it's a problem. You can only 'see it' in LED lights (not many apartments have them here) or when you pay attention to the sound the compressors/fans/etc. are making.
I'm only certain it's a problem because of the readout on all my UPS units gives me.
Next step is the electricity company, but the Mrs. says they won't do anything unless a bunch of people complain. At this point, I just want to protect from over-voltage in the short term, it'd going to take a while to get it fixed properly.
Moving or staking my own ground rod isn't really an option.
 
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For example, when it surges, it will be at 260V (from 230V) for a few minutes with some spikes over 280V. Other times it will brown out for minutes at a time stabilizing around 180 V, with dips to 150 V.
If you look at the ATX Form Factor Standard for Desktop ATX Power Supplies on page 14, they are required to maintain full rated output power with 230VAC mains, with a minimum input of 180VAC up to a maximum of 265VAC. So for your computer power supply, that 260VAC and 180VAC are not problems. But it is a problem when it drops another 30V down to 150VAC or peaks over 280VAC.

And that is just for the PC PSU. The other electronics in your home most likely have different, and I suspect even tighter tolerances - at least for the high tech electronics.

As I noted above, power conditioners won't work with these extremes. That Tripp-Lite, for example, might work for most of your high voltage peaks (as Anwar, notes up 278V). But it can only correct undervoltages that don't drop below 168VAC. Beyond that, it does not say how long it can support the connected devices - it just says brownouts (which are extended sags) and "prolonged" overvoltages. What does prolonged mean? IDK.

When such extreme regulation is required, heat inside the unit becomes an issue too. But why should you have to buy such an expensive device for a problem that is not your fault and should be fixed by either your landlord, or the power company? I understand, in some parts of some countries, just having power is a blessing. But still, at least for the extreme high voltage events, safety becomes an issue. So somebody with the responsibility, and the authority to do something about it, needs to step up and fix this. So you and your neighbors need to start rattling cages.
 
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Keep in mind that a powerful AVR can make the problem worse as it will pull more current as the voltage dips (you linked to a 25kVA unit)

Now if they are getting 240V from 480V, the problem may be a bad neutral; that would explain both the high and low voltages.
 
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If you look at the ATX Form Factor Standard for Desktop ATX Power Supplies on page 14, they are required to maintain full rated output power with 230VAC mains, with a minimum input of 180VAC up to a maximum of 265VAC. So for your computer power supply, that 260VAC and 180VAC are not problems. But it is a problem when it drops another 30V down to 150VAC or peaks over 280VAC.

And that is just for the PC PSU. The other electronics in your home most likely have different, and I suspect even tighter tolerances - at least for the high tech electronics.

As I noted above, power conditioners won't work with these extremes. That Tripp-Lite, for example, might work for most of your high voltage peaks (as Anwar, notes up 278V). But it can only correct undervoltages that don't drop below 168VAC. Beyond that, it does not say how long it can support the connected devices - it just says brownouts (which are extended sags) and "prolonged" overvoltages. What does prolonged mean? IDK.

When such extreme regulation is required, heat inside the unit becomes an issue too. But why should you have to buy such an expensive device for a problem that is not your fault and should be fixed by either your landlord, or the power company? I understand, in some parts of some countries, just having power is a blessing. But still, at least for the extreme high voltage events, safety becomes an issue. So somebody with the responsibility, and the authority to do something about it, needs to step up and fix this. So you and your neighbors need to start rattling cages.
The grid here is reaching capacity here and it's predicted that next year, demand will outstrip supply. There are some power projects in the works, but nothing will come online in time. Because of this, I only think the problems will get worse.
As the majority of these events are happening late evening and through the night, I'm thinking it could be due to all the cement factories coming online. There's still a huge amount of construction here and a lot of other industry turns on at night due to the climate during the day.

I will keep pushing to have them fix it, but I am highly doubtful it will do anything. Losing electronics and white goods is a fairly common occurrence over here. I've lost a lot of PSUs, water coolers, washing machines and aircons over the years I've been here. Usually something on the PCB that fries and needs replacing. It's something that I am resigned to live with.

If it continues to be as bad as it has been, I'll keep on at building management and the electricity company to do something. The power was fine last night with only a short brownout early afternoon, but I still need some way of mitigating dirty power, past using UPSs. That triplite unit is only 2kW, whereas I really need something in the 20kW range.

Reading more, it seems I will need to get an AVR. I'll just need to build a damn cabinet to keep it and punch a bunch of holes through the wall as I don't really want it in my living area, where the breaker box is.
I'll still need something in the meantime to try to protect against anything too high. Do you know how the box-like surge protectors like this or this (locally) compare with an Easy9 protector that slots in the fuse box?
 
D

Deleted member 191766

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A surge protector cannot help; if it comes to a battle between the surge protector and power company, the power company will win. i.e. the surge protector will either do nothing, or fail.
 
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It may be that the local Power Substation is overloaded at those times you are affected, and the Electricity supply company has insufficient Capacitors on the lines to cope with load.
Example of a power line capacitor.
capacitor.jpg
 

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Definitely do check with the neighbours. They may not have noticed the problem, in any case if they don't find any problem in their units then you have narrowed down the search.
 
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