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Lemonsquare
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Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:16 am

Hi,

I moved a number of months ago to a new apartment, however its power-delivery ability is poor being a very badly maintained and minimally upgraded 1930s era apartment.

So I understand that power surges and such can have a negative impact on PC hardware, i.e. outright kill it, and I do have a surge protector for my PC, but... I haven't been able to find information online (what little I have has been contradictory) if tripping a circuit breaker can have any negative effects on hardware as well. My wife will forget that we can't have the toaster and microwave on at the same time, for example, and bam, the circuit trips and there goes the power for the unit. I know that even though the computer is "off" it's still not completely off, and I have it set in my BIOS to do sort of an immediate restart on power loss, so if I turn my computer back on after sudden power loss, it'll boot up and then immediately restart I suppose to let me know that something occurred.

It's probably happened like 10+ times now and my computer is still seemingly fine, so I'm leaning towards it doesn't matter but I'm hoping to hear some expert advice.

It comforts me though knowing I have a very high quality PSU - Corsair's AX760i.
 
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:23 am

A clean trip like a circuit breaker shouldn't damage your hardware like a voltage sag could. Modern journaling filesystems should also be okay although I'd expect some kind of eventual corruption if it happens continually and regularly.
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:29 am

I wouldn't worry at all about damage due to power being suddenly removed. One in a trillion or whatever event.

I would be more worried about data loss myself. Picture yourself working at the machine on a long document or image edit or whatever and....BAM no power because of the kitchen activities. Data, work and time gone.

Grab a $100 UPS unit which can take you through the short time spans where the breaker pops and gets reset. The power will never go out as far as your machine is concerned and you'll get some data protection as well.

If the breaker is overloaded there is nothing to be done but plug in elsewhere. But, if you look at the combined current draw of both the toaster and microwave and they are below the breaker rating then you might have a reason to ask your landlord for a replacement. Over time and especially tripping on events, breakers can wear out where they will trip on lower current than their rating.
 
TwistedKestrel
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:30 am

Yeah, your situation sounds like you're continually rolling the dice on losing something important that you're working on. I would get a UPS
 
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:49 am

As others have noted, the primary danger is to your data, not the hardware. Get a UPS.

And even a journaling file system won't protect you 100% from file system corruption caused by data that is still sitting in the HDD's or SSD's internal cache (but hasn't been written to the physical media yet).
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Topinio
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:59 am

just brew it! wrote:
As others have noted, the primary danger is to your data, not the hardware. Get a UPS.

And even a journaling file system won't protect you 100% from file system corruption caused by data that is still sitting in the HDD's or SSD's internal cache (but hasn't been written to the physical media yet).

This is why power-loss protection in the SSD itself is a good thing, and it's a shame that only Intel and Crucial bother to include any.

OP: get a decent UPS -- true sine, 10 minute run time, reputable manufacturer, decent warranty. Upgrading your apartment's wiring is also recommended by experts :wink:

Edit: APC has a UPS selector which can help you narrow down your options (from its product range, of course).
Last edited by Topinio on Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:00 am

videobits wrote:
I wouldn't worry at all about damage due to power being suddenly removed.

I would for anything with a HDD in it. I see a LOT of disk fallout when power is suddenly removed.

Beyond that, data integrity is going to be compromised eventually even with "safe" filesystems unless you've got expensive SSDs with safe caches or expensive HDDs with feedback motors to drain cache.

I double the recommendation for getting a UPS. My NAS is on one not for uptime, but for data and hardware safety.
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ludi
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:23 am

Unfortunately, it's pretty common that a microwave plus any resistive heating appliance will cause a delayed trip on a circuit, even a modern 20A kitchen circuit. And it sounds like your entire unit is wired from one breaker?

The UPS is a great recommendation. A quality 500VA unit will run a modest desktop for several minutes at full power, and much longer during sleep.
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:24 am

Add to this the fact that every time a circuit breaker trips, it loses a wee bit of amperage tolerance. IOW, it'll trip with lower and lower loads the more times it's been tripped.
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:56 am

Lemonsquare wrote:
Hi,

I moved a number of months ago to a new apartment, however its power-delivery ability is poor being a very badly maintained and minimally upgraded 1930s era apartment.

So I understand that power surges and such can have a negative impact on PC hardware, i.e. outright kill it, and I do have a surge protector for my PC, but... I haven't been able to find information online (what little I have has been contradictory) if tripping a circuit breaker can have any negative effects on hardware as well. My wife will forget that we can't have the toaster and microwave on at the same time, for example, and bam, the circuit trips and there goes the power for the unit. I know that even though the computer is "off" it's still not completely off, and I have it set in my BIOS to do sort of an immediate restart on power loss, so if I turn my computer back on after sudden power loss, it'll boot up and then immediately restart I suppose to let me know that something occurred.

It's probably happened like 10+ times now and my computer is still seemingly fine, so I'm leaning towards it doesn't matter but I'm hoping to hear some expert advice.

It comforts me though knowing I have a very high quality PSU - Corsair's AX760i.

Setting your PC to automatically restart after power loss is a bad idea. That does not do a restart after you turn it on. It turns the computer on after power is restored. You should have it stay off until you have verified the power situation.

Im not sure about new design circuit breakers, but the older GE types said its bad for the breaker itself, to turn it back on, if there is a device(s) expecting load(ON).

You should get a UPS to protect your computer if power outages are common.
 
Lemonsquare
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:23 pm

Thanks for the helpful responses all, that alleviates my worries. I don't do anything data sensitive on my desktop, so that's mostly a non-issue, it was definitely hardware/$ I was worried about. A UPS is a good idea, though.

@blahsaysblah - I should've been more clear. I didn't mean it starts after power loss. It happens once I press the power button, so only with user interaction. I think it's enabled by default in ASUS BIOS for the Maximus 6 Hero.
 
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:27 pm

Lemonsquare wrote:
So I understand that power surges and such can have a negative impact on PC hardware, i.e. outright kill it, and I do have a surge protector for my PC, but...
That surge protector may not be doing much for you. I used to be involved with a company that did Point of Sale installations in restaurants, and we saw how worthless most consumer-grade surge protectors actually were. At best they'd die in a sacrificial way; at worst they'd pop after passing on an unhealthy spike to everything downstream. They might be fine for transient loads in a home (ie, something else on the circuit cuts off resulting in an inevitable small spike of voltage) but they were useless in an environment where large motors (ice-makers, industrial dishwashers, etc) were cutting in an out -- and I would expect an overloaded electrical system in an aging apartment building, while not as bad, might be similar... especially when the circuit breaker is regularly reset and power returns in a surge. (Aside: no, computers shouldn't be on the same circuit as anything producing large transient loads, and in cases where there was new construction or electrical work being done, we strongly advocated creating a dedicated circuit for the PoS systems, but a lot of our customers were mom-and-pop operations and we had to deal with whatever setup they had, which usually meant the PoS was plugged in wherever it was convenient -- often right on the same socket as a fridge or something else with a motor). After seeing a lot of failures in the computer systems themselves, or the routers and related equipment hanging off "surge suppressor" power strips, we started requiring real surge protectors -- and you could tell the real ones because they were full of copper windings and so were heavy enough to use as boat anchors or doorstops.

The good news for you is that you will get most of that for free with a decent UPS, as well as protection from sags which are probably an even bigger problem in an old apartment building.
 
ludi
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:35 pm

Lemonsquare wrote:
I don't do anything data sensitive on my desktop

Even so, the OS itself, or your applications, can become corrupted and destabilize as a result of sudden power interruptions.
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:59 pm

You might want to build a power strip with a circuit breaker in it with a lower trip point than the breaker you keep tripping, then plug your microwave and toaster in to that.

Also get a good UPS if power loss is a regular event.
 
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Re: Tripping circuit breaker impact hardware negatively?

Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:25 pm

TL:DR

DUDE! You need a UPS! :D

I would get one that can run not just the pc but all of your computer electronics and or multiple ones.

Get one for your LCD TV and A/V electronics as well.
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