Hot tub EMI==>>Computer

Old 03-02-04, 06:11 AM
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Hot tub EMI==>>Computer

A friend of mind sent me this email:

"I installed a pool and spa. Friday the pumps get turned on and Saturday morning my computer freezes on start up. i get an occasional beep from the box and the mouse curser won't budge. The key commands work, and I can open and close programs, but the mouse is frozen. I used the mouse up on my sons computer--works fine. So, I put my computer up in his room and the thing works fine. Bring it back downstairs and its frozen solid. I am less than 20 feet from den to pumps. Ever heard of such a thing and better yet--any fixes?"

I am suspecting that his pump is radiating EMI and his computer is acting like an antenna and receiving it. Since he's already tried moving it and it works, I've asked him to leave it in place and use a heavy-duty extension cord to power the computer from another circuit to see if the problem still exists. Haven't heard back yet.

Any other ideas/solutions?

Old 03-02-04, 09:59 AM
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My guess is that the computer problems are unrelated to the pool pumps.

Is the computer a laptop or desktop? Is it on a network? Wired or wireless? Is your mouse USB or PS2 or wireless? Optical or mechanical?
Old 03-02-04, 12:28 PM
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The only occasion on which I've seen a motor create a computer problem involved a very poorly installed variable frequency drive, not really relevant to pool pumps.

I have however seen a number of very strange electrical problems over the years that are impossible to relate to someone not on site, so as much as I doubt the pumps have anything to do with it, you never know. The best isolation test to find out, is of course to leave the computer where it is, test it, turn off the circuits feeding the pool pumps, test it, turn them back on, and test it again.

If the results still indicate that the pump circuit may have a hand in the issue, I'd consult your local electrician, as you may have issues that are cheaper to pay a pro to fix than buying the test equipment you would need.

However, I believe the problem is most likely with your computer. It's certainly worth a generic $12 mouse to find out, so test it with a new one as well before doing anything expensive.

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