Electrical Problem - HELP - QED?

I just moved into a new apartment in an older building. I am now having a problem with my receiver (Harman Kardon AVR-310 5.1 Channel Receiver). It just turns itself off as soon as I turn it on. I think the problem might be the power. The room only has two double outlets, one of which is the two prong kind. I am using the three prong. Also in the living room there is a hole drilled into the floor with a extention cord coming thru it that I guess is used for power. There are very few outlets in the whole aprtment - so those are the reasons I suspect a pwer problem. So, before I call the landlady and tell her there is a problem with the power, I would like to know what the problem could be? Why is the receiver more affected than anything else? Is this an easy thing to fix? Is it something a landlord has to fix? Can I withold rent?


Just to add, I have never had this problem before and nothing happened to the receiver in the move. I think it might just need too much power.

It has stayed on a couple of times for up to a half hour. It is also not getting hot or anything and is hooked up exactly as before.

Just a wild guess, but maybe the outlet is not wired correctly? You can get fairly inexpensive testers which show you with lights whether it is. Maybe your amp is trying to protect itself by having this kind of testing ability built-in, and it just shuts down if it’s not wired right?

Clearly not to code, have your landlord correct this :smiley: :eek:

I got a tester at Radio Shack. It showed proper wiring except for the GFCI protection. What is GFCI and could this be the problem?

There are things the tester will NOT detect including:

the quality of a ground connection
two hot wires in circuit or tow or more types of defects in combination
reversed grounded and graounding combinations
Here is what it said about the problem with the GFCI:

If the tester’s red light does not turn off after about 6 seconds, the AC oultet’s GFCI did not work. This might mean that the GFCI is working but the wiring is incorrect, or that the GFCI is working but the wiring is incorrect. Ect. Consult an electician.

Any guess as to the problem?

After doing some searching on the Net, I doubt this outlet has a GFCI protection, so now I have no idea what the problem is.

OK, anther possible problem. I bought a lamp that uses a 150 watt bulb. After it was plugged in about 2 minutes the blub started making a clickng noise. I unplugged the lamp and the blub was super hot and still clicking. Is this a problem? Why was the blub clicking? Should the blub get really hot that fast?

I seriously doubt this outlet is a GFCI outlet anyways. GFCI outlets are typcially used where outlets are placed near some water supply, like a bathroom, kitchen or an outside outlet that may be exposed to rain.

I would plug a voltmeter into the outlet and see what kind of voltage you are getting - it is possible it is 220v. Clearly, your receiver senses something is not correct.

Try powering on your receiver with nothing plugged into it (speakers, etc) - just the power cable plugged in. Does the same thing happen? Most receivers will power off if the speaker wires are touching each other.

Have you tried your receiver on a known good outlet? Maybe take it to a friend’s house and try it there. You need to make sure your receiver was not permanently damaged the first time you powered it on.

If your reciever required more power than the circuit can deliver, your breaker or fuse would pop. A 15 or 20 amp circuit, which is probably what you are dealing with, should power a receiver with no problems.

The fact that you have an extenstion cord coming out of the floor should tell you something about your landlord - he does half-assed repairs/remedies that have the potential to be dangerous. I hope he has good fire insurance.

GFCI is Ground Fault Interrupt. It’s a special type of outlet with a built-in circuit breaker, and the National Electric Code requires them wherever there’s water, like a bathroom or near the kitchen sink.

A standard breaker trips on one of two possible triggers: the magnetic field generated by the current is too strong, indicating an instantaneous overload; and a bimetallic trigger heated up by excessive current, indicating an overload. In a standard 3 wire circuit, there are 2 return paths. A GFCI adds a layer of protection by tripping on a fault in the earth ground path.

If your apartment is wired for 2 wire circuitry, by definition you can’t have GFCI. However, if the place is new enough (mid 40s to 50s construction), the outlet boxes are the ground in a 3 wire circuit, and contact with that ground is through the center screw that holds on the outlet cover. You go to the hardware for a 3 to 2 converter that has the little metal fork. That is the ground contact for the metal screw.

A low current 220v outlet has at least 1, if not more, prong holes that are horizontal instead of vertical.

A high current 220v outlet you can’t mistake for anything else

You’ve got problems! Your landlady may have more in violations of local electric code.
!. An extension cord comiing through a hole in the floor is ridiculous and a violation of the local electrical code. An el cheapo solution.
2. A 150 W bulb usually is quite hot! What did you compare it to?
3. A 150 W bulb may have loose supports making the noise. Get a new bulb if it bothers you. Worst it can do is burn out. I would suggest not leaving it unattended however.
4. Get a voltmeter and check the voltage. Anything less the 115 VAC is totally inadequate for a good radio/amplifieror anything else for that matter. Most areas now have 120 VAC
5. On further reflection the house/apartment’s wiring may be totally inadequate for today’s conditions of occupancy. House/apartments need rewiring, new 3-prong outlets, etc. to meet National Electric Code and local codes.
6. Ultimate solution…MOVE!

That’s my point - if the landlord has extension cords coming out of the ground, who knows what he did. You could hook up 220v to a normal 110v outlet.

I wonder how many times I’ll have to say this before it sinks in around here: The ground wire is not required for a GFCI outlet to function properly. A GFCI works by sensing the current differential between the hot line and the neutral return. The device trips if this differential exceeds about 5 mA. It is perfectly permissible per the NEC to install a GFCI on a two-wire system, provided you attach the included sticker which reads “No Equipment Ground” to the face of the outlet.

Sounds like something’s screwed up.

I second the notion that you should check the voltage, both open circuit and under load. You might also try sticking a big load on it, like a hair dryer. If the problem seems to be much worse with a big load, then there’s probably a high resistance electrical connection somewhere that’s heating up.

There’s also the possibility that you have a crappy (or nonexistent) ground connection and the common-mode voltage has floated up to undesirable level. So you should also check the voltage between neutral and earth ground.

It has been over a month.
How about a progress report?

Well, I’m no math whiz, but according to my calculations it’s been four days since the OP was posted. Have they changed the definition of “month” while I wasn’t looking?

Mea Culpa.
It must have been last month’s calendar! :smack:
Report due Oct. 3, 04