After hunting down what was wrong with breakers in my new apartment (badly burnt insides of a breaker), I was wondering - is there a safe way to trip someone's breakers without harming the electronics and live through the ordeal?
>plug in lots of things
>switch on lots of things
>repeat till overload trip, profit.
be easier just flipping them manually tho. They are not generally designed to kil the unwary. Bonus points for finding a 'Test' button.
at the 100A fuse box just after the meter, you can reverse one phase with the neutral. this places 220V across plugs and lights, and should definitely pop the breakers without doing TOO MUCH damage to TVs and stereos.
Purchase two of these: http://www.amazon.com/Waring-DB60-Portable-Double-Burner/dp/B000I16B18
Plug in the first one, slowly turn up both burners, if that doesn't trip the breaker, plug in the next one, slowly turn up both burners until the breaker trips. This way you are just BARELY going past the point where the breaker will trip and you shouldn't be harming any other electronics on the circuit. Just make sure you put the burners on a large flat surface where they won't start any fires from the heat output.
Kek! Have a cousin that's an electrician, end of the day, tired, in a hurry, needed to drill a couple of holes and his battery was dead, mains service only on site... Somehow he got 220 to his corded drill (I'm no electrician, I only know the part of the story that I can understand). Said it ran really fast for about two seconds, then out came the magic smoke!
OP, I'm surprised no one has said to call your landlord yet. Now he can blame you if he's a jerk.
That was the idea. Edison's systems ran on ~100V because it had been shown that shocks of 100V or less were not USUALLY lethal. Remember, this was back in the days of knob-and-tube wiring, which is some scary-ass shit by today's standards; safety was a big public concern. As shit went down, the country eventually settled on 110-120V, and it's been the de-facto standard ever since.
The US HAS 240V service to the home, it's just on a split-phase system with a center-tapped transformer to get 120V between each phase and neutral. It's relatively easy to get a 240V receptacle put in (I actually just did this), but the only places you'll regularly find them in a US house is wherever you keep the dryer. If you have any form of permanent electric heater (HVAC, stove, oven, water heater), those will almost always be 240V, but they'll be hard-wired in.
But you need to buy extra transformers to retrofit existing homes?
I wonder which would fundamentally cost more, replacing all US home appliances with 240v compliance, or installing extra 60 and 50hz transformers in all homes.
not that it really makes any difference at the end of the day, except in maybe long distance power transmission, and drawing amps from getting shocked.
240v shocks are still not lethal anyway generally most circumstances
I dunno, I'd assume power plants producing power at 50hz would run generators at a slightly slower physical speed than 60hz generators?
>I dunno, I'd assume power plants producing power at 50hz would run generators at a slightly slower physical speed than 60hz generators?
The Germans picked 50 hz because it was a 'rounder' number than 60. It was basically a whim. The Americans picked 60 hz because things like motors run faster on 60 hz for the same number of windings compared to 50 hz. Also, it goes into 60 seconds better for things like electric clocks. This didn't matter so much then but I bet you guys would rather have 60 hz displays (or 120 hz) then 50 hz.
So it was a choice made early that not a whole lot of thinking went into and now you guys are stuck with it. Same deal with 110VAC. Really though, it doesn't matter that much for most things in either case. Most shit works just fine on 110v and when we need 220v we have it.
You really want to make your head hurt look into three phase power. Thats what all electric motors should really be running on.
>But you need to buy extra transformers to retrofit existing homes?
There is no retrofit. The pole pigs (the bigass transformers on the power poles) supply 240V and a center tap ("neutral") to your house.
If you want 120V to an outlet, your circuit goes from one phase, though the breaker, to the outlet, and back to the neutral. If you want 240V, your circuit goes from one phase, through the breaker, to the outlet, back through the breaker*, and to the other phase.
The only major difference difference between getting 120V or 240V at an outlet is the breaker configuration in the service panel.
None of this is relevant for long-distance transmission. Local distribution from the substation to your power pole is done, if I remember right, anywhere between 3kV and 15kV. Long distance transmission (from the plant to the substation) is done well into the 100kV+ range.
*240V breakers have two separate breaker mechanisms physically coupled so that if one phase trips it, the other phase is guaranteed to be shut off as well.
>None of this is relevant for long-distance transmission
I meant in the 1-2km range running power to outbuildings/ farm equipment etc. not in actual cross country transmission
that would consist of two 120v wires and a netural right?
I need to do some more reading on this shit
>that would consist of two 120v wires and a netural right?
If you're setting up a remote breaker box or 240V outlet, yes. If it's just a 120V outlet, it would have a 120V wire and a neutral. As for the implications for power transmission, losses are proportional to amperage, and amperage for a given power is inversely proportional to Voltage. Hence 240V has half the transmission losses of 120V. However, since 120V power is "actually" 240V, a remote breaker situation would vary from equal to twice the losses of a pure 240V system. With a perfectly balanced load, the neutral wire carries no current, and it's indeed a 240V load as far as the transmission is concerned. In practice, the load is likely to be only partly balanced.