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Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: GGD
Date: November 22, 2022 02:51PM
Power isn't completely out, but the UPSs are beeping and the Kill-A-Watt is saying that the voltage is around 99-100 volts.

The electric meter isn't dark like normal outages, but is showing all 8's, basically every LCD segment is turned ON.

The power company outage map says 45 customers in my area are impacted.

So, since the power isn't totally out, I'm wondering if some of my neighbor's solar power are what's mostly feeding this small 45 customer grid and the voltage drop is from demand exceeding supply.
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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: November 22, 2022 03:02PM
sounds like a typical brown out. Those are worse than full outages as they can fry electric motors (like a refrigerator) if they last very long.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” -- François de La Rochefoucauld

"Those who cannot accept the past are condemned to revise it." -- Geo. Mathias
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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: gadje
Date: November 22, 2022 03:41PM
Yeah, unplug appliances and expensive electronics if you can. When power company works on it, there is a small chance of higher voltage that could fry things.

Good luck.
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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: gadje
Date: November 22, 2022 03:42PM
Also I don't think it is the solar panels, usually those also go out, and it's not enough to feed 45 houses.
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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: JoeH
Date: November 22, 2022 03:47PM
You could also have lost power on just one of the two hot lines coming into your house. Depending on how the neutral is set up, you can end up with partial voltages on circuits. To isolate you from problems until they fix things, open your main breaker and leave it that way until power is restored.
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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: hal
Date: November 22, 2022 04:44PM
Quote
GGD
Power isn't completely out, but the UPSs are beeping and the Kill-A-Watt is saying that the voltage is around 99-100 volts.

The electric meter isn't dark like normal outages, but is showing all 8's, basically every LCD segment is turned ON.

The power company outage map says 45 customers in my area are impacted.

So, since the power isn't totally out, I'm wondering if some of my neighbor's solar power are what's mostly feeding this small 45 customer grid and the voltage drop is from demand exceeding supply.

we had a similar problem after a massive storm related outage - the power came back, but LED lights wouldn't come on and anything with a motor would not run. UPS said 70v.

THe advice then was to shut down everything with a motor (especially fridge). Call the power co and make sure they know what's goign on.

FOr us, after many hours, there was another short outage and full power came back a few minutes later.
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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: RecipeForDisaster
Date: November 22, 2022 04:45PM
We have kill switches so that solar doesn’t back feed the grid and hurt people working on it. If the power is out, the panels are basically disconnected.
Quote
gadje
Also I don't think it is the solar panels, usually those also go out, and it's not enough to feed 45 houses.
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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: November 22, 2022 05:04PM
It might depend on the electrical standards in your town/county/state, but there is supposed to be an auto-transfer switch that shuts off solar/batteries back-feeding a local distribution loop. The switch might not have tripped if only half of the circuit was out.

Another possibility is if there are apartments or multiple unit condos in the area. They can be fed with three phase power and the outage might have only taken down one phase. I occasionally had strange power problems when I lived in an 8 unit apartment in Sacramento that was fed with 3 phase power (I mean besides my stove taking forever to heat up). I am pretty sure having multiple UPS units saved my electronics at least once.

Edit: forgot to mention my power was out this morning from about 4:30 am to 6:30 am. It might go out three times a year where I currently live but they are usually very quick to restore it when it goes out.



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/2022 05:07PM by Filliam H. Muffman.
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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: Tiangou
Date: November 22, 2022 07:25PM
Unplug all of your expensive electronics, but especially any machines that still have spinning platter drives.

Brown outs are especially tough on hard drives.



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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: GGD
Date: November 22, 2022 09:13PM
Quote
RecipeForDisaster
We have kill switches so that solar doesn’t back feed the grid and hurt people working on it. If the power is out, the panels are basically disconnected.
Quote
gadje
Also I don't think it is the solar panels, usually those also go out, and it's not enough to feed 45 houses.

But in this case the grid didn't actually die, my Kill-A-Watt's didn't reset their counters like they normally do when there's a real outage, it is just a voltage drop, so my thoughts were that solar installations wouldn't disconnect from the grid because the grid was still "on".

Anyway, after several hours of low voltage there was a complete power off and it has been off now for several hours. About 90 minutes left until they estimate power will be restored.

My house was built with a generator input and a sub-panel of "essential circuits" with a manual transfer switch, and that's currently being powered by a solar generator (battery only, it's night time and I don't have solar panels for it yet).
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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: gadje
Date: November 22, 2022 09:25PM
GGD, what is the current situation?
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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: GGD
Date: November 22, 2022 09:49PM
Quote
gadje
GGD, what is the current situation?

Dark, expected restoration is 9PM 10PM Pacific, still running on the Solar Generator Battery it had dropped to 29% battery capacity left, so I hooked an inverter up to my car battery and have it idling, and the charger is drawing about 400 watts off of the inverter, the house is drawing about 250 watts at the moment but there's quite a bit of overhead in the solar generator so it's charging very slowly and got up to 31%. Main goal is for it's level to stop dropping.

BTW: The outage grew to 161 customers from the original 45 customer reported at the start. It's pretty much everything along both sides of a 3 mile road.

The Solar Generator is a Bluetti AC200 that I ordered a few years ago when they were first selling them through Indiegogo.

Power back on at 10:13PM. Hope it stays on through Thanksgiving and the weekend, lots of guests visiting.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/23/2022 12:18AM by GGD.
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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: November 23, 2022 05:31AM
.....ghosts.....???



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: gadje
Date: November 23, 2022 06:15AM
.....helpful.....???
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Re: Experiencing a weird power outage
Posted by: modelamac
Date: November 23, 2022 09:29AM
Quote
GGD
Power isn't completely out, but the UPSs are beeping and the Kill-A-Watt is saying that the voltage is around 99-100 volts.

The electric meter isn't dark like normal outages, but is showing all 8's, basically every LCD segment is turned ON.

The power company outage map says 45 customers in my area are impacted.

So, since the power isn't totally out, I'm wondering if some of my neighbor's solar power are what's mostly feeding this small 45 customer grid and the voltage drop is from demand exceeding supply.

Your Kilowatt is reading only one of two 120V lines coming into your house. Pull out the refrigerator, unplug it and plug it into the Killawatt. Wait 15 minutes and plug the killawatt into the wall and check the voltage. If under 110V, turn off refrigerator until you get proper voltage. Same with freezer and furnace (blower motor will suffer otherwise). Hold off washing and drying clothes until brownout is over.



Ed (modelamac)

I think I will just put an OUT OF ORDER
sticker on my head and call it a day.
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