Computer blows the breaker / Monitor fades and dims when it shouldn't!

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Smooch, May 26, 2007.

  1. Smooch

    Smooch Guest

    Hey there,

    I'm hoping someone can give me some insight into a problem I am
    having with my computer before I take it in to be looked at. The
    problem is this: I've had my 17" ViewSonic CRT Monitor for nearly 5
    years now. The computer itself is 2 years old. What is happening is
    my monitor's brightness will dim/fade for about 30 seconds and then
    will slowly go back to it's normal level. I've thought the problem
    was just the monitor going out but at the same time, the breaker that
    my computer is on is continually switching off and last night the
    entire breaker ( 20 volt I believe) blew!

    The computer and it's peripherals are all on a special surge
    protecting battery which is plugged into it's own outlet in the
    house. What is the normal reason for a monitor to start fading in and
    out? I've heard it could be a power supply issue with the computer, a
    failing graphics card or bad wiring at the home's electrical outlet OR
    the monitor is actually dying. I don't know if power problems within
    the computer are causing these breakers to fail and monitor to fade or
    if the outlet in the home is faulty. I had that outlet installed
    especially FOR this computer. However, my area has been plagued with
    electrical thunderstorms, lightning everywhere and the power
    repeatedly going out in the home.

    I know the answer could be complex but I was just wondering if
    anyone had any insight they could share so I have more knowledge when
    I approach a computer tech at the store. Also I have just purchased a
    very expensive, state-of-the-art custom computer and am a little
    scared to plug it in anywhere! Gee I hope I was clear with my
    question and I appreciate any help someone could provide.

    Smooch, May 26, 2007
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  2. First thing I'd do is eliminate which it is, the monitor or the computer
    (I'm betting on the monitor). Swap for another monitor or put that
    monitor on another computer and see what happens.
    =?ISO-8859-1?Q?R=F4g=EAr?=, May 26, 2007
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  3. 1. Plug you computer and monitor into a different outlet that is on a
    different circuit breaker.

    2. Try plugging everything in without the surge protector.

    3. Do you have other electrical items plugged in to the same circuit
    breaker (not necessarily the same outlet)?

    4. Circuit breakers are rated by amps not volts.

    5. Eliminate all peripherals from the circuit and only plug in the computer
    and monitor.

    6. Check outlet wiring:
    Atlas Shrugged, May 26, 2007
  4. Smooch

    pcbutts1 Guest

    Sounds like dirty power. Dirty power can and will ruin a 5 year old monitor.
    Brown outs and power surges. Get a good UPS for your computer and replace
    the monitor.


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    pcbutts1, May 26, 2007
  5. Smooch

    Vanguard Guest

    A "20-volt" circuit breaker. Not likely. A 20-ampere breaker, yes.
    You think there are a hundred, or more, circuit breakers in your house?
    How many outlets do you have? Do you have that many breakers? No,
    because several outlets are on the same circuit (hence the name
    *circuit* breaker). So what ELSE do you have on this same circuit?
    Refridgerator, laundry washer, something else with a motor, the wife or
    kids using hair dryers?
    Since this is a CRT, the gun that heats the element so when it is hot
    spews out the electrons that energize the phosphor on the screen may be
    getting irregularly controlled (i.e., the brightness control). Could be
    the CRT isn't getting enough amps because something else on that same
    circuit is sucking down the current. Could be you have an outlet that
    has a short. Could be you have snapped the circuit breaker so many
    times that it now needs to be replaced.
    The power supply in the computer supplies voltage and amperes to the
    computer, not to anything outside the computer (oh, okay, so there is
    some current going out any USB ports). The problem isn't inside the
    computer box. The monitor just fading out could possiby be from how the
    video card is controlling the image but it couldn't possibly be snapping
    the circuit breaker. You have overloaded your circuit. Move your
    stereo, television, or whatever major amperage consumers to another
    circuit, or move your computer to a different circuit that is less
    So does that mean that NOTHING else on any other outlet has its current
    go through the circuit breaker that is blowing? I can't see why anyone
    would install a "special outlet" in their home just for a computer.
    There are special circuits and outlets for big power consumers, like an
    electric oven which has a special outlet or when someone runs a line to
    their garage for an electric arc welder, but no one does that for
    televisions, stereos, table lamps, or for computers. Besides, if you
    have motors that are sucking down tons of juice at the same time then
    there will be a voltage drop to all the circuits, especially if they all
    start up together. We don't know what else is putting a load on your

    You could always unplug the monitor and let the computer run by itself
    for awhile. Computers don't need monitors. You do. Then see if this
    special one-outlet circuit blows its breaker again providing that the
    ONLY thing connected to that special outlet is just the computer.
    Did you also have a whole-home surge arrestor installed (or replaced the
    old one)? Uninterruptible or standby power supplies do NOT protect
    against surges. They are to maintain power in case of a short-term
    outage. That is, a UPS is for data protection, not for hardware

    With so many power line troubles, maybe you are also afflicted with
    brown outs which means the voltage is lower. Is the monitor also
    plugged into the UPS? If you didn't get a UPS that can handle the load
    for some minimal run-time which includes the monitor then your monitor
    is just as susceptible to brown-outs as everything else plugged into the
    lines. You could get another UPS just for the monitor (and maybe some
    of the other peripherals).

    If is your real e-mail address, you just
    announced it to all spambots that harvest e-mail addresses from Usenet.
    Vanguard, May 26, 2007
  6. Smooch

    Vanguard Guest

    in message

    Since you mentioned surge protection, and since you didn't bother to
    check or to install a whole-home surge arrestor, it may be time to
    replace that "special surge protecting battery" device. As surge
    devices get repeatedly stressed, they become weaker. Depends on how
    they are made. Some of the old ones (or using old technology) can
    actually cause fires. Rather than spend hundreds on decent end-point
    surge protectors, a whole-home arrestor is much cheaper.

    If it isn't your home so you can't have one installed and you're stuck
    using end-point protectors, use one surge protector for all components
    of your computer and make sure not to connect anything to it that
    doesn't go through that one surge protector. Doesn't do any good to
    have multiple surge strips, even on the same outlet. With their 6-foot
    cords, that would place the interconnected loads more than 10-feet
    apart. The impedance of that 10+ feet of power cord between the surge
    strips for each device on them during a spike could generate more than
    400 volts difference between those surge protectors, and that surge
    would travel, say, from your monitor on one protector across the signal
    cable to the computer on another protector. All interconnected devices
    must be upstream of the SAME protector, so that would include the
    monitor, printer, speakers, telephone line, or anything else you connect
    to the system box. That's why a whole-home arrestor is the best choice
    because everything in your house is upstream to it. Only if you were
    foolishly running lathes or other high-current motors in your home would
    you be introducing surges or brownouts within your home.
    Vanguard, May 26, 2007
  7. Smooch

    Chess Sadist Guest

    Roger, when are you going to get it through your thick skull that you're too
    stupid to be of any help to anyone here. You're nothing more than a useless
    Chess Sadist, May 26, 2007
  8. Smooch

    w_tom Guest

    Computer draws less than one amp. Monitor would be even less. So
    why is a 20 amp breaker tripping? You describe what probably are two
    different problems. However one is a threat to human life. Ignore
    the computer monitor completely. Find the reason for that 20 amp
    circuit trip - a serious human life threat. Do nothing about the
    computer because repeated 20 amp circuit breaker trips are that

    Whether the 20 amp breaker trip is also a reason for monitor dimming
    - totally irrelevant at this point because the 20 amp trip is that
    many times more serious and is not caused by the computer system.

    Meanwhile, another has recommended the $6 outlet tester from Sears.
    Ignore that recommendation. It cannot report anything relevant to
    your problem. And it cannot report any outlet as good; only identify
    a few and 'not relevant here' problems with that outlet.

    20 amp circuit breaker tripping. It's not a computer problem. It is
    a human safety problem.
    w_tom, May 26, 2007
  9. Smooch

    Pennywise Guest

    That cable supplied from the 20 amp breaker could snake thru a few
    rooms, and too much is plugged into it.

    Might check what's plugged into that circuit. is something everybody should
    have on hand - at the breaker box disconnect the live wire. attach the
    tone generator to the breaker, and run the hand held along the wall
    tracing where the cable goes.
    Pennywise, May 27, 2007
  10. Smooch

    Leythos Guest

    You mentioned that you had this circuit installed just for this computer/
    purpose - please have the electrician come back out to the house and test
    the AC Line between the breaker and the wall outlet - have him test the
    breaker - have him test the load with your UPS installed, then turn on
    the monitor and test it again - then, if nothing is wrong, turn on the
    computer and test it again.

    If these steps don't show what is drawing 20 AMPS+ then you could still
    have a faulty breaker - it would not be the first time one was bad, even
    a new one.

    So, here are the things you need to test:

    1) Total load on the line with computer, monitor, UPS running - for a
    typical computer and 17" monitor and UPS you should be under 5AMPS.

    2) If showing more than 10AMPS then you need to turn off each device
    until you figure out what is drawing the massive load.

    3) If none of the devices or all combined are drawing an excessive load
    then you've got bad wiring or a bad breaker.

    4) If your contractor used those cheap blade type outlets (where you push
    the stripped wire into a hole and a blade makes the contact) then have
    him replace them with good screw type outlets - test again.

    5) If none of the above, then replace the breaker, THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE
    PANEL - test again.

    6) If none of the above show the problem then call Ghost Busters :)

    Want to know what PCBUTTS1 is really about?
    *** WARNING - this links contains foul/pornographic content of an
    abusive nature created by PCBUTTS1 and still hosted on his public
    website ***
    Leythos, May 27, 2007
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