04:39AM | 01/12/04
Member Since: 12/11/03
18 lifetime posts
Do brown-outs damage refrigerator, furnace, or electric motors?


Jim D

10:40PM | 01/12/04
Member Since: 01/06/01
342 lifetime posts
MATTLILA - hi, and yes - in my opinion. When a brownout occurs, the voltage feeding the motor drops below the minimum voltage needed for proper motor operation. Should it suddenly come back up to full power while the motor is winding down, it could eventually cause physical damage making it necessary to rebuild the motor.

I'm basing this on my 4 years' duty in Tokyo, JA. The standard voltage in the entire country (off a US military installation) is only 100-105 VAC. Most US appliances want 115-120 VAC and they experience "brownout" conditions at 100-105 VAC. When we first started getting desktop computers in as a commonplace thing (mid-1980s), we also bought "constant voltage transformers" for each PC. These items would handle an input voltage of 85-120 VAC and provide a constant 115VAC output. They were fairly small and we had to have a separate on for each system (PC/monitor/printer). I also knew a few folks who lived off-base and experienced damage which they attributed to running major appliances (washers, dishwashers, fridges, and TV sets) on the lower voltage. Most of them didn't see a problem until the first time they hooked back up to 115-120VAC power...then they'd start seeing sporadic faults and they'd have to get repairs done.

I don't know if this helps you or not. There's lots of great folks on this forum who can offer their opinions and maybe even cite their own experiences to help you out. Regards! Jim D/Heathsville, VA

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