Tank Crash. I'm still on vacation. Questions about outlet & electricity.

Discussion in 'Other Reef Talk' started by neuro, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    Thanks JAR, I might take you up on that offer some day. Need to get my water chemistry balanced out first.

    Thanks Marc. Actually I just checked, and depending on what other faucets I have turned on/off, I should hit 50 psi on the RODI which is good enough for me. Thanks for the anecdote; it's convinced me that I don'y really need one.
  2. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    I picked up the killawatt and it says i'm only pulling ~6.24 amps.

    I am deducing that somehow something caused a short and tripped the breaker. I am thinking the likely culprit might have been saltwater splash from my filter getting clogged up and the water splashing about. I have no definitive proof, but this is my guess. I'm going to look for a cabinet to move all of my electronics out of the way just to be safe.

    I did another 20 gallon water change tonight, and in good news, a few of my zoas have opened up since the last few days. Others look like they are melting however.
  3. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

    Breakers can trip if the breaker is bad or if the breaker panel is old and or corroded or has loose connections.
    6.24 amps (749 watts) should not trip a good breaker.
    neuro likes this.
  4. Marc

    Marc Guest


    Is there anything else on that circuit that could have popped the breaker?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    neuro likes this.
  5. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I would bet on a minor power glitch, then inrush current into the UPS and other equipment.
    Inrush into DC power supplies can be huge.
    Add in motor startup current, and it could easily pop a breaker.

    ** There is a way to test it **
    Make sure heater, lights, and everything is on.
    Go out to MAIN breaker, turn it off, wait 30+ seconds, and turn it back on.
    Did the tank breaker trip?
    Yeah, it resets all the clocks in your house, which is a pain.
    But it tests inrush issues pretty well.

    Suggested: Also add a fake load to the same tank circuit. A small hair dryer is good.
    That makes sure you have plenty of margin.
    neuro likes this.
  6. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    Sorry to hear buddy but from the sounds of things, it definitely seems like something was tripped. Also, when starting MH lights, I believe initial startup of the lights causes a quick and temporary surge so it may be worthwhile to view the Kill A Watt while the MHs turn on.

    Either way, best of luck to you with the cleanup.
    neuro likes this.
  7. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    I'll give this a try. Thank you!

    There shouldn't be anything else on the circuit. I'm going to confirm by asking around. The breaker is a 2, 20amp 1-pole switch, so I'm not sure how that's wired up. I'm assuming each pole is wired separately.
  8. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Sorry for asking the obvious here... but did a breaker trip? You said earlier your tank sitter couldn't find the breaker panel, did you end up resetting the breaker?

    Also do you have a GFCI on the plug that you're using for your tank stuff?
  9. neuro

    neuro Webmaster


    Yes the breaker did trip. I did end up resetting the breaker. I do have a GFCI that everything is on, it's on the power strip itself (not built into the outlet).

    I'm still doubting that water splash caused it, and I'm going to try Mark's (rygh) suggestion. I don't want to spend money on furniture that I can't confirm will solve it. It can help, but the economic costs don't necessarily motivate such a purchase. The cabinets I'm looking for cost $150-$200 total. I also wonder if the UPS played a part. Maybe I'll plug it into the Killawatt meter to see what it's drawing.
  10. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Good idea to measure UPS.

    Most UPS boxes will draw almost no power when a good working battery is charged.
    They can draw a lot after a power outage though, when it is discharged.
    (Specs should say)
    If you see a lot of power used when you think it is charged, the battery may need replacing.
    neuro likes this.
  11. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    Very good to know. I'll do some tests and see if the UPS is the culprit!!!
  12. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    Ok, so I haven't plugged/turned-on/tested the UPS since I got back, so:

    - I plugged the UPS into the Killawatt, and then turned on the UPS.
    - "Click, click, click" then an electrical burning smell.
    - The UPS lcd is on but it's blank.
    - I've unplugged it, and now I'm airing out my living room right now because it smells.

    I think the UPS is fried. I am leaning to the theory that the UPS shat all over the place for some reason.

    Can anyone convince me that moving all of my electronics to a separate cabinet is worth it?

    Thanks everyone!
  13. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Hmmm ..... yeah, I guess that might indicate a slight problem. :)

    Separate cabinet for electronics is great. Or seal them. Or move them outside the humidity/spray zone.
    Or put a cover around your skimmer.
    Some put a moveable board between stand and wall, and mount electronics to that.
    Many options.
    The skimmer and drain lines are the main culprits. Popping bubbles really put salt spray into the air.
    neuro likes this.
  14. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    Thanks mark,

    I'm currently looking at this:


    Ill probably order it soon.
  15. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

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  16. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    I've been following this thread. What a bummer! Sorry for your losses.

    One item popped out at me in the first post. Seems like you had a lot of power hungry stuff attached to the UPS. Most UPSs aren't really designed for a huge load. You might consider putting just the absolutely essential equipment on the UPS.

    This is always a balancing act. Every piece of equipment added shortens the UPS run time.

    I'd start with the controller and in tank circulation. Assuming your controller has texting or email notification, either add the internet gear (router, modem) to the UPS or they should have their own UPS.

    With just this your system should be able to run for hours with little damage. Unless you have a really powerful UPS (size of a mini frig!), I'd leave heat and light off of it. I was just looking at specs for some APC UPSs. Most have a run time of less than 30 minutes if the draw is 200w! They are not designed to run for long, just long enough for a controlled shutdown of computer stuff.
    neuro likes this.
  17. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    Thanks aquanut & JAR,

    In the future I'll do just you've suggested. I'll split the power bars from my controller into manageable loads in the event that I do pick up a new UPS. I'll do this whenever I move the powerbars

    I'm having second thoughts about the cabinet. I'm contemplating how to cleanly run the wires from/to my controller if it's located 3 to 4 feet away. I don't think I can easily extend my probes, ATO, and some power lines things nicely. Preferably, I would just want to move all components and mount them on the outside part of the stand, but if I spilled any saltwater (which happens often), it might short things out. And since my stand sits at an angle to the corner of the room, It would also obstruct getting behind the stand incase I need to wipe things up behind the stand.

    still thinking of solutions
  18. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

  19. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    oo Thanks for the link and the idea! Though i don't have a lot of space behind the tank. I don't think that's going to fit... and I wouldn't be able to get to it easily to clean anything up.. but that's definitely something i haven't thought of.

    i think one alternative is to buy/build a new stand that has enough room, or to move the tank out of the corner and against the wall instead and get a cabinet to hold the electronics.

    i dread having to do either...

    thanks all, i'm still contemplating the next best alternative

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