Here at Cornerstone Technologies, we do lots of service calls to homes and businesses. This really is the core component of our business and the most effective way that we give our clients the individual attention that they deserve. It gives our clients the chance to ask questions and become more aware of best practices. Sometimes, we go onsite for a particular problem that is related to something that is outside of our expertise.
I had the opportunity to go to a family home because I had sold them a new LCD monitor to replace one that wouldn’t power on. Things go bad, particularly electronics, but a new monitor should work without issues. As soon as I went into the home, I realized they were in some sort of renovation phase, which normally isn’t a problem for what we do. When I came to the computer, I quickly realized what was going on. The computer, monitor, printer, and DSL modem was all plugged into a power strip, which again is pretty standard. Also plugged into the power strip was a large tube TV, which was clearly part of the problem. Tube TVs tend to draw a lot of current, which typically might be more than an ordinary household power strip can handle. In this case, if the TV was on, something else plugged into the power strip would fail to work. The old monitor failed because it was continually trying to power on, but surging itself with power that eventually fried the power board. If the TV was off, it would power on.
This story gets worse. The power strip itself was powered from an outlet in another room. To make up the distance, the client had used no less than five of the very cheapest brown extension cords one could buy at Dollar Tree. The computer and other associated devices were only powered on for a few minutes, but to the touch, the extension cords were quite hot, likely enough to melt the plastic insulator and cause an electrical fire issue. I informed the client that the setup was unsafe and that I couldn’t go any further in the present conditions. I advised them to move the computer to an outlet that worked (apparently this particular room hadn’t had working outlets for years!) immediately.
In the end, an extreme electrical issue was hampering the ability of these people to use their computer. If it has been resolved, I do not know, though the house hasn’t burned down thankfully. It is important to use the correct type of electrical devices for practicality and safety. Not doing so is risky and potentially deadly.
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