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Author: Subject: Electricity: Blackout during experimenting, any idea's ?

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sad.gif posted on 11-7-2015 at 10:09
Electricity: Blackout during experimenting, any idea's ?

I was busy with 2 experiments, one magnetic stirrer was on for purification and the distillation apparatus was build. I turned on the reflux pump then I turned on the heating mantle.

At that point everything went dark in the lab and there was no electricity anymore. I checked all the mechanical fuses, they where all above in the right position, in the other rooms there was indeed electricity.

This is strange as the mechanical fuse of the lab didn't move, it was in exactly the same position as before: which means that there should be electricity on that place. But there is no electricity which is a very strange situation !

What might cause this blackout, I'm now 12 hours later and still have no electricity in the lab. This might be very dangerous if I don't know all the possible reasons.

What should you ?
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International Hazard

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[*] posted on 11-7-2015 at 10:16

If by 'fuse' you mean circuit breaker then swith it off and back on. Some breakers dont give a visual cue when they trip.

Also, if your lab outlet is GFCI, press the reset button. Sometimes the gfci outlet is in a different location within the same room/circuit.

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International Hazard

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[*] posted on 11-7-2015 at 10:32

Yes, either switching on/off the breakers to reset or look for a ground fault outlet. It might be in the bathroom. Sometimes they use one GFCI for an entire house.
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International Hazard

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[*] posted on 11-7-2015 at 12:27

I get a problem with GFI's that the won't re-engage until I flip down all the breakers and then turn them back on... it's like a ghost in the system :O
The GFI on land used to blow every half hour until I bridged it (Every technician freaks out at this :P) I think it has got to do with our EM field but am not sure... can anyone verify this?

all above information is intellectual property of Pyro. :D
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National Hazard

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[*] posted on 11-7-2015 at 13:40

Find the circuit breaker and turn it on and off. If you still have no power, check the continuity of various parts of the circuit: switches, outlets, etc just to see if there's anything wrong with those specific parts. Wiring almost never fails

This is one of my worst fears in the lab. Distilling bromine, lose power, everyone dies. Always have a scrubber or a cold trap ready in case of a power outage, so you can run a hose into it to condense/neutralize vapors.

My GFCI sometimes trips for no reason, but I suspect it's the power strip. I've actually changed the strip since, and I haven't had any more problems.

Fear is what you get when caution wasn't enough.
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Eastern European Lady of Mad Science

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[*] posted on 12-7-2015 at 01:55

I prefer not to use electricity in my experiments, because blackouts are very common where I live. There are processes where you can't do without it, such as electrolysis, or concentrating battery acid by evaporation of water (the latter can be done on a propane home stove, but it's a risk of ruining it). But mostly I prefer to use alcohol or propane based heating and wind instead of a fume hood.

[Edited on 12-7-2015 by ave369]
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International Hazard

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[*] posted on 13-7-2015 at 18:12

You will get this straightened out. After you do, install a larger circuit breaker. Run a larger caliber of Romex also, if required.

Your power needs are great, your current electrical capacity....appears to be small.

Also be aware that in some instances, battery back-up may be helpful. The same type of battery systems that can be used to back-up your computer, in the event of power failure....could be used to supply emergency electricity to some critical lab stuff. Thus, giving you a few minutes juice for safe shutdown.

Computer back-up systems, used to be as common as fleas.

Inverter plus Car battery is also an option.

[Edited on 14-7-2015 by zed]
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