Electrical problems, zapping/frying my equipment - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-10-2007, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been having a very strange and hard to pin down electrical issue with my various home theater equipment. I've blown up over the past months about 2-3 tivos, and my projector 2 times. What is happening is that at seemlingly random times when I got to connect up say the HDMI cable on my tivo or the component, or sometimes the satellite coax cables, it's acting as if there is 120V live that I'm shorting out and frys whatever I'm trying to hookup. I cannot figure out or understand what is going on here.

At first I though that the satellite coax cable was crossing so ac power line in my wall or something, but I ran fresh new coax from my satellite not going through any walls. Here is some of the scenarios where something sparked or blew up:

Scenario 1: I have a NEW tivo plugged into the wall, the DVI output going to a plasma tv and I'm watching tv. I take my projector off the ceiling from downstairs and bring it up and plug it in and turn it on. I plug in the 3 plugs of a component cable into the projector, and when I go to plug the first rca jack of the component connector I get a big spark and I lose picture on my plasma. Rebooting the tv everything is fine this time.

Scenario 2: In my main entertainment rack I go to put back my tivo into the rack (I've done this tens and tens of times before). I plug in the HDMI cable to my projector 1st, then I go to start screwing in one of the satellite coax and ZAP SPARK SMELL end result is the dish's LNB is fried, the tivo sat inputs are fried, and my projector will come on but not display a signal. The projector was sent in for repair and there was a fried diode that was replaced.

Scenario 3: Bedroom TV is showing live tv off a tivo onto a old zenith tube tv. I just had gotten my plasma tv and so I plug it in, turn it on, and then attempt to connect an RCA video cable from the video in of the plasma, to the video out on the tivo.. as soon as I try to do that ZAP SPARK again. End result is the tivo is fried - won't even turn on, AND the tivo DOWNSTARS from all this can no longer pick up a signal, AND my DOWNSTAIRS ceiling project will also no longer display any signal and 1 of 4 LNB's fried. I was in a completely separate room from the other tivo and projector. The projector was on showing tv and right after the zap - I heard no tv downstairs.

Scenario 4: I go to plug in a serial cable (head phone jack) to my tivo. It's already hooked up to a running pc. Tivo is on hooked to a tv showing it's on. As soon as I try to plug the serial jack into the tivo it sparks and the jack is fused to the plug.

You can see here that I obviously have something wrong going on, I've just can't figure out what it is cuz this kinda stuff doesn't always happen. But I also cannot afford to keep blowing up equipment try to figure this out.

I've checked all the ac outlets with a 3 prong tester - all good. I've used a voltmeter trying to find any sort of high voltage and no luck.

If anyone has any ideas or suggestion I'd really appreciate hearing them. This is driving me crazy and my pocketbook crazy.
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-12-2007, 07:37 AM
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You may have a big problem! I would contact the electric power company and see if they can (or recommend a skilled electrician) troubleshoot it. I have heard of problems like this before and the average bear is not going to fix it.

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post #3 of 13 Old 01-12-2007, 07:42 AM
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sounds strange but could it be a static electricity issue, dry house + leather shoes + winter = perfect conditions for a static charge

"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is." Einstein

 


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post #4 of 13 Old 01-12-2007, 04:00 PM
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I'd put my money on, something strange happening in a:
Shared Neutral.
The Safety Ground.
Or Neutral and Safety Ground swapped.

Kevin
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post #5 of 13 Old 01-15-2007, 04:25 PM
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refer to manuf manual and check grounding on dish, and dish wiring grounds, may have to open a junction box.

consider ups system for each room to isolate components from house wiring (btw ups surge protection does not degrade with time as do surge protector strips, so good investment in any case).

my bet is on a missing or loose ground with the dish, since you checked the house wiring.
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-22-2007, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Could this kind of thing happen if my dish is not grounded. Neither the dish nor the coax cable is grounded.

Also, w/ the circuit breaker off and using a continuity tester i get a connection from neutral to ground and none for hot to ground.

is this normal?
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-26-2007, 03:14 PM
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ground and neutral are tied together at breaker panel, this is normal.

your dish should be grounded, that would/should in turn ground shield of coax. check installation manual.
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-29-2007, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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you will not believe what my problem electrically was. had an electrician out today, we spent 2 hours going through the wiring and all and during his testing he found a live coax cable, the one that connects all my tv's throughout the house. We tracked it down to my kitchen tv -- it was leaking voltage out onto the coax connector.

he said he's never seen that before and i would never of thought of anything like that happening. the tv works fine, but will now go to the dump.

2 hours and $150 -- well worth not frying anymore equipment.
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-29-2007, 10:50 AM
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i believe, electricity is afterall a phenomenon.

caveat to my suggestion on grounding the dish, i learned that some instructions advise a separate ground rod for the dish, do NOT do this unless you bond the new rod to your service entrance ground with at least a #6 wire.
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-01-2007, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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So i wanted to run some tests myself on the voltage issue i have/had.. Got my voltmeter out and plugged the culprit tv in (tv off) and measured from the ground plug of an outlet to the outside coax threads and i got 60 VAC. I thought this verifies what the electrician saw, but then i decided to try the same measurement on my office tv -- same result. Then i went into the basement and pulled out the old zenith and measurement from pipe-ground to outside coax thread and i got the same 60 VAC.

I find this strange and now i'm more confused. The outside of the coax is chassis ground -- i don't see why i should ever get any ac voltage measurement across it.

thoughts?
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post #11 of 13 Old 02-01-2007, 03:54 PM
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It's very common, the voltmeter has very, very high input impedance. It draws almost zero current, so you will see a leakage voltage (but no current) from a lot of electrical devices. When I do that type of test, I put a resistor across the two probes. ( maybe a 1K or 10K resistor, what ever I find first)

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post #12 of 13 Old 02-02-2007, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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The device the electrician he used to determine if a wire was "hot" or not -- just lit up if it was. So i'm not sure if this was measuring voltage or amps. no probes or anything -- he could just wave it by a cord/cable. Anyone know what this thing was actually measuring to determine if it was "hot"??
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post #13 of 13 Old 02-04-2007, 11:34 PM
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That pencil tester he waved over it is a inductance tester. Those arent all that accurate.
I have seen a voltage from measuring between separate grounds.
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