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Old 04.08.2015, 12:53
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Plugs acting weird

Lately some of the plugs in my apartment have started acting unusually.
I have a security camera looking at my front door, it sends me emails when it detects activity- lately I have been getting a lot of emails to say it has been disconnected. Unplugged. Wha?
The other night I plugged in my phone to charge overnight- woke up in the morning and the battery was dead. The plug wasn't working.
It seems random when one of the plugs of my sets of 3 won't work (except the one where I keep my tv and computer plugged in, never trouble there). And there is no pattern to which one of the 3 goes off.
Any idea what could be happening? My place doesn't have a fuse box (except for the kitchen and the lights oddly) and it is a variety of devices being used so it isn't a bad device.
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Old 04.08.2015, 13:00
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Re: Plugs acting weird

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Old 04.08.2015, 13:09
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Re: Plugs acting weird

How old is your apartment block? Could be old/faulty wiring and the whole block could need rewiring. We had our 1950s built house rewired when we bought it as the OH knew the wiring probably wouldn't stand up to modern day demands on the supply/plugs. Plus with the old wiring there was a possibility a plug could go "live"!
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Old 04.08.2015, 13:12
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Re: Plugs acting weird

Are some of your plug sockets controlled by a wall switch? Maybe someone keeps turning them on and off accidentally.
Most of our triple sockets have one which is controlled by a switch, it's a bloody pain in the arse.
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Old 04.08.2015, 13:15
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Re: Plugs acting weird

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Are some of your plug sockets controlled by a wall switch? Maybe someone keeps turning them on and off accidentally.
Most of our triple sockets have one which is controlled by a switch, it's a bloody pain in the arse.
No switches on them, they're always on.
I read a theory that one of them could be linked to the light switch but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Also that the wife or the monster were to blame was an early theory that has since been dismissed.

I've no idea how old my building is. I guess mid 20th century?
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Old 04.08.2015, 13:15
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Re: Plugs acting weird

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Lately some of the plugs in my apartment have started acting unusually.
I have a security camera looking at my front door, it sends me emails when it detects activity- lately I have been getting a lot of emails to say it has been disconnected. Unplugged. Wha?
The other night I plugged in my phone to charge overnight- woke up in the morning and the battery was dead. The plug wasn't working.
It seems random when one of the plugs of my sets of 3 won't work (except the one where I keep my tv and computer plugged in, never trouble there). And there is no pattern to which one of the 3 goes off.
Any idea what could be happening? My place doesn't have a fuse box (except for the kitchen and the lights oddly) and it is a variety of devices being used so it isn't a bad device.
Are you actually in Dublin? If not, please correct your location so that people in your area can offer more specific advice!

Anyway...
First; contact your concierge (caretaker),
Second; contact the Regie (letting agency) or your landlord directly if you have neither of the forementioned.
They should arrange for a electrician to come and check the electrical outlets.

Do not arrange this yourself, under the terms of your tenancy contract you will probably be liable for the bill!
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Old 04.08.2015, 13:16
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Re: Plugs acting weird

My best advice to you, is to switch everything off before you go to sleep.

Tomorrow get some professional help to fix the wiring problems. The wiring condition sounds very dangerous, and could easily cause a fire.
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Old 04.08.2015, 13:19
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Re: Plugs acting weird

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Are some of your plug sockets controlled by a wall switch? Maybe someone keeps turning them on and off accidentally.
Most of our triple sockets have one which is controlled by a switch, it's a bloody pain in the arse.
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No switches on them, they're always on.
I read a theory that one of them could be linked to the light switch but that doesn't seem to be the case.
That's what Paddy was referring to. It's very common, so I suggest you look around for any light switches that don't seem to do anything and test it. They needn't be near the socket in question. Another clue is that the wall plate will usually have a little icon of a light on the switched outlet, so have a close look there as well.

Here's a picture showing the icon on one of the three outlets

Last edited by Ace1; 04.08.2015 at 13:45. Reason: Added picture
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Old 04.08.2015, 13:34
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Re: Plugs acting weird

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That's what Paddy was referring to. It's very common, so I suggest you look around for any light switches that don't seem to do anything and test it. They needn't be near the socket in question. Another clue is that the wall plate will usually have a little icon of a light on the switched outlet, so have a close look there as well.
In a previous apartment where I lived there was a socket in the basement that wasn't connected to my fuses, i.e, it was still live when all my fuses were and the main breaker were out. Probably connected to some communal fuse box and thus also being billed to the community (and thus probably not intended for private use). A neighbour had a freezer in the basement (which by consequence I guess wasn't allowed) and complained that the food in it was often spoilt. It turned out that that the fuse would sometimes trip and sometimes when the caretaken saw that it had tripped he would put it back, but sometimes weeks could elapse between the two events which of course isn't good for what's in the freezer. The neighbouzr even went so far as to assume the caretaker was doing it maliciously as he shouldn't be having a freezer there. Typical passive agressive neighbourhood battle?
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Old 04.08.2015, 14:57
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Re: Plugs acting weird

I assumed we were dealing with Irish wiring as the location states Dublin, but now I researched him and found that Kitano is Scottish and lives in Lausanne... The wiring is still dangerous though, and could catch fire. It's usually the poisonous smoke that kills you first.
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Old 04.08.2015, 16:34
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Re: Plugs acting weird

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That's what Paddy was referring to. It's very common, so I suggest you look around for any light switches that don't seem to do anything and test it. They needn't be near the socket in question. Another clue is that the wall plate will usually have a little icon of a light on the switched outlet, so have a close look there as well.

Here's a picture showing the icon on one of the three outlets
You can also (carefully, if you're not confident of the circuit breakers) remove the cover and check the wiring.

Three feeds (=colours - often six wires in pairs) means just one circuit, more (usually four) means there's a separate lighting circuit in there.

The varieties I've seen share earth and neutral.
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Old 04.08.2015, 16:53
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Re: Plugs acting weird

We have no ceiling lights in our living room at all, just two of these wall sockets at different ends of the room connected to the dual light switch. Two plug-in standard lamps do the job. Jolly confusing at first until we asked the landlord who explained to us "Johnny Foreigners" how it worked!
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Old 05.08.2015, 09:45
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Re: Plugs acting weird

I can't see any light pictures on any of my sockets.
And this is something that is happening when i know for sure that nobody is at home- I get a mail from my camera to say it had disconnected, 30 minutes later I check it and it is working.
The one where I tried charging my phone usually works, just that one night it didn't. And I was home alone that weekend.
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Old 05.08.2015, 09:54
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Re: Plugs acting weird

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I can't see any light pictures on any of my sockets.
And this is something that is happening when i know for sure that nobody is at home- I get a mail from my camera to say it had disconnected, 30 minutes later I check it and it is working.
The one where I tried charging my phone usually works, just that one night it didn't. And I was home alone that weekend.
I don't have light pictures on my sockets but they are still switchable.

Maybe it is also minor irregularities in the supply that are causing the camera to think it is being disconnected.

have you considered getting a power conditioner?
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Old 05.08.2015, 11:05
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Re: Plugs acting weird

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I can't see any light pictures on any of my sockets.
And this is something that is happening when i know for sure that nobody is at home- I get a mail from my camera to say it had disconnected, 30 minutes later I check it and it is working.
The one where I tried charging my phone usually works, just that one night it didn't. And I was home alone that weekend.
plug a light into each socket and turn it on. then go around pressing every light switch around to see which ones get turned on or off.
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Old 05.08.2015, 11:21
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Re: Plugs acting weird

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plug a light into each socket and turn it on. then go around pressing every light switch around to see which ones get turned on or off.
Phil_MRC; It sounds like only one (and apparently not always the same one) of the three plug sockets is mis-functioning, so it's presumably not because the whole power point is being switched off.

Kitano; Have you tried plugging your camera into a different wall point entirely, just in case it's not the plug socket but the camera that's faulty (also, could it be picking up radio signals from somewhere that tells it it's off?).
Then ask your Regie or landlord to send an electrician, there's possibly a loose connection or similar somewhere in the wiring to that power point.

Please change your location, we're not experts in Irish electrical circuitry!
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Old 05.08.2015, 11:38
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Re: Plugs acting weird

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Phil_MRC; It sounds like only one (and apparently not always the same one) of the three plug sockets is mis-functioning, so it's presumably not because the whole power point is being switched off.
That's exactly why it does sound like a switched socket, as these nearly always have only one of the three connected to a light switch, with or without the markings on the socket plate as in the picture I posted up there ^^^.
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Old 05.08.2015, 11:52
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Re: Plugs acting weird

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That's exactly why it does sound like a switched socket, as these nearly always have only one of the three connected to a light switch, with or without the markings on the socket plate as in the picture I posted up there ^^^.
So the wall switch will only turn off the one socket out of three that has the light symbol next to it? Bizzare system.

Still think the OP needs to try plugging his camera into a completely different socket, check that the problem does/doesn't re-occur and then ask for an irish electrician to come and check that particular set of plugs!
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Old 05.08.2015, 12:00
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Re: Plugs acting weird

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So the wall switch will only turn off the one socket out of three that has the light symbol next to it? Bizzare system.
Why bizarre? Normally you want one switch to control one light, not three.
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Old 05.08.2015, 12:09
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Re: Plugs acting weird

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Why bizarre? Normally you want one switch to control one light, not three.
Just not something I've ever seen down here (Geneva) and I've lived in three new-builds during the past 35 years, none of the socket units were 'switch-offable'. I expect you get used to it.

Anyway, Kitano seems to be ignoring my suggestion about asking for a electrics check, so I'll back off and let him sort the problem out himself!
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