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How do I test my electrical outlet? There is a buzz noise.

How do I test my electrical outlet? There is a buzz noise.


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Old 03-01-14, 06:56 AM
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Question How do I test my electrical outlet? There is a buzz noise.

I've been having serious problem with my power supply (Computer). I had to return my old one (it fried my graphics card and motherboard), which was brand new.

Now that I have a new one (corsair AX860), there is still a buzz noise. And it's not a fan related problem, because you can turn it off.

Also, my power supply is connected to an UPS Cyberpower CP1350PFCLCD.

I'm thinking it's because my house has an electrical problem.

First of all, I'm currently in Mexico, which in reality, my input voltage (outlet) ranges from 130 to 133 volts (that's 10-13 more volts than standard in US 120 volts). This reading comes from 2 different UPS, so it's pretty accurate.

Second, the electrician was not a professional, so there is a 50% that the outlet is reversed (polarity).

Third, the outlet is not properly grounded. There is just a nail inside the wall.

My first question is: What do I need to test my outlet to see if it's reversed and/or grounded? Do I need a multimeter or a receptable tester?

My second question is: If I connect my UPS cyberpower to a regulator, will that solve the 130-133 volt problem and get a constant 120 volts?

My third and last question is: Maybe I was just very unlucky and got a bad power supply again? Even with all the problems my outlet has, maybe the power supply is at fault here?

I apologize for my lack of knowledge. Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 03-01-14, 07:06 AM
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The safe and easy way to check polarity is using one of these.



Available for about $5 from most Home Improvement stores

I'll leave the other questions you have to the experts.
 
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Old 03-01-14, 07:13 AM
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Thanks. I will go ahead and buy one of those. I think getting a multimeter would be overkill.
 
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Old 03-01-14, 08:10 AM
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Thanks. I will go ahead and buy one of those. I think getting a multimeter would be overkill.



Not necessarily. This would be a perfect opportunity to buy a VOM. Google on how to use it. It will come in hand many times in the future. It need not be an expensive one. I would also suggest the analog type vs the digital. In fact buying a VOM means you won't need the polarity plug.
 
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Old 03-01-14, 08:30 AM
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Actually you should check to with a multimeter to see if the plug-in tester was correct. In certain cases the plug-in testers can give misleading results. A cheap analog not digital multimeter is best because cheap digitals can sometimes be fooled by induced voltages and no reason to buy an expensive brand name meter. A $8-$15 analog meter is all you need.

In the Philippines I saw people plug their TV into a Variac (variable AC transformer). They'd occasionally glance at the volt meter on the Variac and adjust as needed as they watched TV.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 03-01-14 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 03-01-14, 08:47 AM
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What do I need to test my outlet to see if it's reversed and/or grounded?
Just so you know, there is no real difference of having an outlet wired in reverse. You are running in AC (Alternating current) so the "polarity" reverses many times a second. (50hz or 60hz depending on location) The "polairtity" is really there for safety so that a screw shell of a lamp is not energized.

will that solve the 130-133 volt problem and get a constant 120 volts?
Voltage is nominal and will vary depending on your location, load of your circuit, and the load in the neighborhood. Normal voltage is 120 volts (in the US) +/- 10% so your voltage, while a bit on the high side, is within tolerance.

there is still a buzz noise. And it's not a fan related problem, because you can turn it off.
Where is the buzz coming from? Can you remove components of the computer (Video card, North bridge fan, some other fan) and see if you can get it to stop. Maybe try plugging it at some other location (work) and see if the noise persists. I kind of doubt it is an electrical issue.
 
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Old 03-01-14, 09:01 AM
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Thank you for your response.

I see, even at 130-133 volts, it shouldn't make the power supply do a buzz noise.

Where is the buzz coming from? It's coming directly from the inside of the power supply. I did a paper clip test, with the fan turned off (AX860 has an option to turn off the fan).

So, with everything you said, all that is left is if my outlet is properly grounded, am I right?
 
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Old 03-01-14, 09:11 AM
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Not having a ground should not cause any issues either. The ground is also there for safety and "should" not carry any current/voltage except during a fault.

Looking at the specs of your PSU (corsair AX860) I see the voltage range of it is 100-240 volts so I am pretty sure that is not your issue. While that PSU appears a good one, it is possible that you got another bad one.
 
 

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