I've got too much power!

Too much voltage, actually. PG&E is apparently giving me more than 135 volts at times, which has been seriously annoying my computer, or more accurately, the battery backup it’s connected to. In the past three days, the UPS has “intervened” due to overvoltage for a cumulative 6 or so hours.

After some cajoling, I finally managed to get someone from the power company to put a recording voltmeter on the house. Normal power is in the 110-120 volt range, and yesterday afternoon, I’m getting 126, and that’s with a neighborhood full of air conditioners running.

Hopefully they get this sorted out before anything’s actually damaged. I’ve been thinking of having a yard sale to get rid of all the extra volts.

Let me know how that sale works. I might do one too.

I’ve got a ceiling lamp that runs 120-130 volts in my kitchen. The electrician who inspected it (light bulbs last about 1 month) kind of shrugged his shoulders when I asked him how to fix it.

Fortunately, I wasn’t paying him to fix that, as a shug is not a terribly helpful answer. He was busy wiring my basement.


Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Lord Acton

Hey, send some of those volts down here! L.A. county had some sort of level something power emergency yesterday, and we’ll probably have more.

Eliphalet, you should get some high voltage light bulbs (130v or higher) to put in that fan. Here’s a whole bunch to choose from, and you can probably go to your local electrical supply and find some there. They will last longer, but they won’t be quite as bright as a standard 120v of the same wattage.

Can you send some of that extra power our way?

– Toronto.

For your computer you can get a UPS (Uniterruptible Power Supply). It levels out the voltage.

I have a UPS. Problem is that the overvoltage times are sometimes so long that the batteries run down and the thing shuts off.

At least I was able to find a time-of-day configuration so the thing doesn’t start honking at 5 AM.

Most power companies guarantee something like 120 plus or minus 10 percent (which is 108 to 132, not 110 to 120), so if it’s within that range they may not be too inclined to do anything about it. Check with your power company to see what range they actually guarantee, since it does vary a bit from company to company.

You might have them double check that your nuetral connection is ok. If you have a bad nuetral, what can happen is that it floats up away from ground potential, so you may well have 240 volts going into your house, but instead of being split into 120 and 120, it gets split into 140 and 100.

A loose neutral was definitely on my mind. The recording meter has a light to indicte such, but it’s not lit. Right now, both phases are a steady 128, and my meter at the PC is reading 127, so my neutral would appear to be solid.

If the power company doesn’t feel any need to correct your current situation, look into a power conditioner or a UPS that incorporates one in it’s circuitry. This will provide much better protection than a UPS alone.