electronics burning out


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Old 11-14-08, 10:58 AM
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electronics burning out

hello all, first post and i hope you can help me with this issue. i am a wood burning artist and recently my old wood burner died. now these are not the soldering iron type, but varible heat, double pen units by razertip/colwood/etc. it was my old razertip that did not work anymore, it was 3 years old. ok, so i order a colwood from the dealer, it arrives, i plug it in to the exact same outlet in the garage that the old woodburner was on, it worked fine for about 1.5 hours then it got power to the unit itself but it did not send power to the pens. i sent it back and got another and the same thing happened only about 6 hours of burning time later. the manufacturer states that this does not normally happen and that i should check the plug for electrical problems. my house is less than 2 years old, new, and i live in arizona so there are not any electrical storms or outages that could fry anything. all the other power tools/freezer/etc in the garage work fine. i tested the plugs with my multimeter and the hot to neutral is 119 volts, hot to ground the same and the neutral to ground reads between 0 and .3 volts. do you think that it is my wiring or a flaw in the units that i am receiving, maybe a bad transformer or such.
thanx in advance for any help you may provide.
 
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Old 11-14-08, 11:16 AM
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I think what you may be experiencing is called a high impedance fault, meaning that you have a loose or weak connection somewhere on that circuit which does not present itself until the wiring heats up when in use with the burner.

You may be able to test this theory by plugging in some high wattage item like a 1500W space heater or hair dryer and measure the voltage at the receptacle with the heater on high setting. You may observe sudden drops or fluctuation in voltage which suggest a weak connection. The voltage should decrease a few volts with the heater on, but shouldn't bounce around. The trouble is that it is hard to capture an intermittent problem.

As a starting point, I would recommend checking all of the receptacles, switches and lights on this circuit for solid connections. If you encounter any backstabbed wires at receptacles, move the wire to adjacent screw terminal. Backstab connections are notorious for weak connections. Check that all of the wirenuts are on tight and securely holding the wires in the nut.
 
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Old 11-14-08, 11:34 AM
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thanx! i have an old blow dryer i'll go plug in and test it.
 
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Old 11-14-08, 12:17 PM
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just ran the dryer for 45 minutes, had a slight drop in power when the freezer kicked on but only for a second. how do i test with the multimeter and the hairdryer running?

You may be able to test this theory by plugging in some high wattage item like a 1500W space heater or hair dryer and measure the voltage at the receptacle with the heater on high setting
 
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Old 11-14-08, 02:01 PM
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If you are plugging into a duplex receptical, measure on one plug while the power device is running on the other. Carefully !
Bud
 
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Old 11-14-08, 02:24 PM
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120.1 without the blowdryer, 113 with it set on high running. this was constant, no bouncing or fluctuation on the MM. this is in a power strip plug next to the blowdryer plug, does that indicate anything??
 
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Old 11-14-08, 03:00 PM
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I'll tell you what, I have returned a LOT of products lately because they did not work out of the box or did not work for very long. So that is one thing.

Another is can you exchange the woodburner for one from a different manufacturer? Then when you get that one, use the power strip and keep meter connected. Then monitor your voltage.

Also what time of day was the woodburner burning out? Might want to measure at the same time when other people in your house are doing the same things - using the same amount of electricity - have range going or whatever.

You never have the lights suddenly get brighter do you?

Then sometimes electric companies will provide a device which will record your electricity over a period of time. Might want to ask about that. I don't know if you could connect this to just that outlet or not?

FYI - Sometimes there are poor main connections to a main electric panel, subpanel, meter base, main connections at weather head, or main connections at utility supply. You can call the electric company and have these connections checked. Sometimes they will not touch your stuff and you would need to call an electrician and have him "retorque your main lugs".

But when these problems occur, 1/2 of the electricity will go out or the lights will get brighter sometimes. So ???
 
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Old 11-14-08, 03:20 PM
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great info. i am changing brands from the one 2 i got that burnt out to a heavier duty model of the original that took about 3 years of abuse before it went. both units went out in the evening between i'd say 6-10 pm. no surge of any kind happened. funny i have my garage stereo, my scroll saw and a worklight that runs 24/7 on that same outlet and no problems?? i really think that it is a quality control chinese transformer issue. who knows how many transformers come in one lot. and funny that the unit gets power, red on/off light comes on and it has power at the circuit board, tested that with the MM and its 119 volts, then there are wires that go from the board to the transformer the from the transformer to the outlet where the pens plug into, testing at that point is 0 volts and i don't see any brown or melted solder or any defect inside the unit at all.
 
 

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