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Circuit breaker keeps tripping when computer is running.


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#1 nomnompkl

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 08:58 AM

Hey guys,
 
I'm running into an odd issue that I can't seem to figure out the root cause other than my computer being on when it happens.
 
So the main problem is that in my apartment, when I'm playing Diablo 3 (Or any other game really.) the circuit breaker trips and one side of the apartment loses power. I have to reset the breaker every time this happens. This doesn't happen if I am just browsing the web or non-gaming related things.
 
My initial thoughts was maybe I have a bad power supply, but after some research I suspect I may have an insufficient power supply and it may be drawing more than it can handle. This would cause an arc fault and the safety mechanism in the apartment would trip the breaker to prevent a fire.
 
Using Newegg's power supply calculator with the below specifications, it recommends that I have a 900w minimum with a 940w recommended PSU. I built this machine using a 750w PSU though because I originally only had 1 of the GTX 480 cards. I eventually added a second one and totally brainfarted about the PSU.
 
I was wondering besides changing out the video cards to a single GTX 770 (Reducing minimum PSU to 600w) or upgrading the PSU to 1000w minimum, are there any other things I could check? Any thoughts on a surge protector instead of just a power strip?
 
CPU: i7 960 LGA 1366
Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth X58
Video Card: 2 GTX 480 running in SLI
Memory: 24GB DDR3 Triple Channel (Brand/Specs escape me at the moment)
Optical Drive: None
Hard Drive: 500 GB 7200 RPM WD.   
Other stuff in the case: Corsair H100i, 3 200mm fans, 1 230mm fan.
PSU: Rosewill CAPSTONE Series 750W 80 Plus Gold Certified ATX12V/EPS12V
 
Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Edited by hamluis, 02 May 2014 - 12:17 PM.
Moved from IH to External Hardware - Hamluis.


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#2 Kilroy

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:07 AM

Is this computer on a 15 amp or 20 amp circuit?  What else is on the same circuit?

 

If you're loosing power you might want to invest in a UPS.

 

The video card swap may be your best bet.



#3 nomnompkl

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:25 AM

The circuit should be a 20 amp, at least that is what the apartment maintenance person said. Is there an easy way to check this?

 

When the circuit breaker trips, it takes out everything in two different rooms. Two computers, two TVs, two alarm clocks, modem, router, ceiling fans.


Also, would the UPS's only purpose is to keep the computer on if the circuit trips?



#4 Kilroy

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:28 AM

There should be a number on the circuit breaker indicating the number of AMPs.  To make a long story short you're overloading the circuit.  Depending on what is on at the same time this may happen more frequently.

 

I don't see the alarm clocks, modem, or router being much of an issue, but they all contribute.  The two computer and two televisions on the other hand may be a large part of the problem.  Any chance you can move your computer power to a different circuit?



#5 nomnompkl

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:36 AM

Hmmm, moving the computer to a different circuit would be a difficult task but I'll have to check when I get home. Should I also replace the video card as it may serve as a temporary solution?



#6 yu gnomi

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 03:05 PM

take what I am posting with a grain of salt, this is essentially guesswork. Also if switching to a different outlet fixes your problem, you can probably disregard what follows.

 

Since this happens while you are gaming, and you have what sounds like a high-power gaming rig, I am guessing you have a breaker that is tripping due to power demand spiking. This is something an AFCI circuit in a circuit breaker would sense, and cause the breaker to trip - even if the current rating of the breaker never gets exceeded.

 

Since you do not own the property, you may not be able to power it on a circuit that is not AFCI protected. A surge protector would help against a power supply spiking issue (from lightning, transformer failing, etc), but I don't think it would make a difference if it's the demand (i.e. load) that is spiking.

 

I did a bit of searching and http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=192467&showall=1 links to a discussion about AFCI's and post #6 in that thread leads to something that you could buy, that I think would help. I can't guarantee that's what your problem is, so if you find a solution that doesn't require shelling out $40, do it.



#7 dc3

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 01:41 PM

A power spike should be something a AFCI would recognize and not cause the breaker to trip.

 

AFCI brealers have been required in new construction since 1999, so if your apartment was built at that time or later you should have either a AFCI breaker or AFCI receptacles rated for the amperage of the circuit it is being used.

 

The question is what type of breaker is this.  AFCI, GFIC, Magnetic, Thermal Magnetic, or a common trip breaker.

 

A AFCI breaker will look similar to the image below.

 

afci_zps16d187df.png

 

The amperage is indicated on the switch, in this case this is a 20 amp single pole breaker.

 

A 20 amp breaker can handle up to 2200 Watts, a 15 amp breaker can handle up to 1650 Watts.  

 

In a residential use most of the branch circuits are 15 amp, exceptions would be bathrooms and kitchens which require dedicated 20 amp circuits.

 

If you turn off the breaker you can go through the apartment and determine what is being used.  Once you know this you can go online to a website like Power Survival.com to see what these items draw in wattage.


Edited by dc3, 03 May 2014 - 01:43 PM.

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#8 yu gnomi

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 02:22 PM

Spiking from ordinary use shouldn't cause a breaker to trip, only spikes that the breaker's circuit determine are characteristic of arcing should cause it to trip. But AFCI breakers are known to sometimes suffer from "nuisance" tripping, which is my best guess as to what is causing his trouble. 

 

It definitely could be some other circuit inside the breaker that is telling it to trip though, if the breaker was manufactured with any others.


Edited by yu gnomi, 03 May 2014 - 02:25 PM.


#9 zingo156

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 10:03 AM

I think you are overloading the breaker: there are some common electronic devices that people often forget that may be on the same breaker and use a lot of current for example: microwaves, electric space heaters.

 

I was at a house where this same thing was happening but it was rare. Long story short, it was the microwave running on the same circuit as the gaming rig, when the microwave was running and they were gaming, the breaker was tripping.

 

As dc3 mentioned:

 

If you turn off the breaker you can go through the apartment and determine what is being used.  Once you know this you can go online to a website like Power Survival.com to see what these items draw in wattage.

 

EDIT: I was looking around for the 480 power consumption and found that possible maximum draw could be up to 320w per this article: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_480_Fermi/30.html

 

If this is the case and you have 2 of them = 640w combined, plus cpu, ram, hard drives etc. You would be pushing that psu potentially beyond what it can provide. Power supplies become less efficient when under full load. It could be the psu causing the problem.

 

If you could run the pc on it's own breaker (alone) you might be able to better determine a possible problem.

 

here is a wiki on how psu's work and their input vs output power: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80_Plus

 

More specifically in that article read the

Technical overview

The efficiency of a computer power supply is its output power divided by its input power. The remaining power is converted into heat. For instance, a 600-watt power supply with 60% efficiency running at full load would draw 1000 W from the mains and would therefore waste 400 W as heat. On the other hand a 600-watt power supply with 80% efficiency running at full load would draw 750 W from the mains and would therefore waste only 150 W as heat.


Edited by zingo156, 05 May 2014 - 10:26 AM.

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#10 dc3

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 10:14 AM

There are some common electronic devices that people often forget that may be on the same breaker and use a lot of current for example: microwaves, electric space heaters.

 

The National Electric Code requires a dedicated circuit in a kitchen because of the large amount of current it pulls.  Space heater average right at 1500W.

 

retired electrician


Edited by dc3, 05 May 2014 - 10:17 AM.

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#11 zingo156

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 10:47 AM

This microwave was not in the kitchen, I should have mentioned this. They had it running in a "den" or "tv room" it was just a bedroom that was used as a family room... It was a sharp 900w microwave. Anyone can buy a microwave and put it anywhere they want as long as it uses the standard 3 prong NEMA 5–15R connector.


Edited by zingo156, 05 May 2014 - 10:48 AM.

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#12 dc3

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 12:02 PM

:deadhorse:


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#13 nomnompkl

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 02:20 PM

So I flipped the breaker to check what was connected to it, and here is the list of items connected to the breaker that trips.

 

two computers, 2 tvs, 1 router, 1 modem, 2 phone chargers, 2 floor lamps. 

 

The breaker only trips when my computer is on for a while, at least that's what we have been able to isolate. I am just wondering if my computer is drawing too much power if the video cards req. 950w and my PSU is only 750w.



#14 zingo156

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 03:39 PM

What type of tv's? Plasma? LCD with LED backlight? What bulbs are in the floor lamps? Did you check the breaker to see what the amperage rating was?

 

It might be worth investing in one of these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA2510R90776

To test the current the PC is using. That one is good to 15A


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#15 dc3

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 04:18 PM

You are renting, call the landlord to tell them that you have a breaker tripping.  If this breaker is failing it wouldn't take much to get it to trip.  An electrician will put a clamp-on amp meter on this with everything turned on which is on that circuit and will know very quickly what is going on.


Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 





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