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Popping everybody’s water balloon

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Tobin Itharel

New Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2002
Popping everybody’s water balloon – Water-cooled home made computers and the new store sold units might be illegal or at the least questionable to electrical inspection.

How did I find this out? My mobile home requires an upgrade of it’s electrical service and I asked the contractor doing the outside wiring to give my home a once over to see if I had any problems before the town inspector comes out. He saw my computer workbench and the water-cooled system I’m building. He said, “If that thing doesn’t have a GFI in it or is not plugged into a GFI wall socket then it wont pass inspection.” He went on to explain that this is because electrical safety code requires a GFI, Ground Fault Interrupter, on electric devices within 3 feet of water.

The guy did offer to install a GFI plug for me but I think he might be right about the code. I have heard before about the “3 feet” rule and, by putting water inside the computer with electricity, I am sure some sort of codes must be followed.
 

CrystalMethod

Senior Band Wagon Jumper
Joined
Jun 9, 2001
Location
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Good point! The GFI's are easy to install, and you can do it yourself. Just take all the necessary precautions as with anything when you're working with electricity, I.E. TURN OFF THE BREAKER OR PULL THE FUSE FOR THAT OUTLET!
 

pudgy-duck

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Location
Colorado, USA
What about if you have your computer plugged into a UPS? The UPS takes the 110 VAC converts it to DC voltage then back to 110 VAC. Would the UPS isolate the computer from the GFI too much to be effective? Probably. Is there a GFI built into the UPS? I'm not sure.

Pudge
 
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craigiz1

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2002
Location
Pompano Beach, FL
When you look at a normal 120-volt outlet in the United States, there are two vertical slots and then a round hole centered below them. The left slot is slightly larger than the right. The left slot is called "neutral," the right slot is called "hot" and the hole below them is called "ground." If an appliance is working properly, all electricity that the appliance uses will flow from hot to neutral. A GFCI monitors the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral. If there is any imbalance, it trips the circuit. It is able to sense a mismatch as small as 4 or 5 milliamps, and it can react as quickly as one-thirtieth of a second.

So let's say you are outside with your power drill and it is raining. You are standing on the ground, and since the drill is wet there is a path from the hot wire inside the drill through you to ground. If electricity flows from hot to ground through you, it could be fatal. The GFCI can sense the current flowing through you because not all of the current is flowing from hot to neutral as it expects -- some of it is flowing through you to ground. As soon as the GFCI senses that, it trips the circuit and cuts off the electricity.

:)
 
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Tobin Itharel

New Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2002
I think what is needed here is a power supply maker to put out a unit that has a 120 V outlet inside the case to plug the pump into and a GFI built into the AC input.

The special "Water-cooler" PSU would be safer and a real selling point.
 
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Tobin Itharel

New Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2002
one more thought - a way to turn on the in case 120v before the motherboard is powered up would be a plus. This way the pump come on first then the system.

This would be a GREAT item for all water-cooled system builders. I hope someone would pick up on this.
 

craigiz1

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2002
Location
Pompano Beach, FL
You can get them built into short extension cords. We call them "pig tails". Get one at Home Depot for around $15 and plug it into your wall, then plug your surge suppressor into that, then your computer stuff.


UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!!! SCROLL DOWN AND READ MY NEXT POST!!!
 
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Pepsi

THIEF AND A TROLL -Silversinksam
Joined
Nov 1, 2001
Location
Twister City
So go get a GFI for 20 bucks and spend 5 minutes installing it. Ah I think he's pulling yer leg. Listen every dishwasher, washing machine they have pretty much the same setup. You know pumps wiring it's all the same. Just curious where do you live? Worst case call the city engineer and ask about the codes you are concerned with. I really think all they want is a ground fault interrupter circuit so if you blow a coolant hose you don't get electrocuted or start a fire and burn down your house. Codes by the way vary tremendously from city to city and state to state you can't convince me of this I know I've been in construction for over 20 years there is nothing in any city code anywhere that states what you posted. You need to call that guy back and question some more. Who knows he could have been scamming you for a few bucks trying to put the fear of getting busted into your head.........recheck your facts call the city and call that guys boss see what he tells you. Don't ever listen to what the first contractor tells you unless it's backed up by different companies.
Sorry just rambling don't let him fool you he only told you half the story I suspect . I assume he is not a friend of yours.
The other thing I don't get is why do you have to have this inspection on a manfactured home? You should have a metal plate somewhere on the outside that states something to this nature.
The manfacturer certifies to the best of the manfacturer's knowlege and belief that this home has been inspected in accordance with the requirements of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and is constructed in conformance with FEDERAL MANUFACTURED HOME CONSTRUCTION AND SAFETY on the date of manfacture.
What this means to you is federal housing codes superceed any state or city codes. What was in that home when it was new was good enough for Uncle Sam. The state has to bow down. The ONLY thing they can say about your electrical service is just that the wires from the street to your house. They should in no way be inspecting the inside of your house for anything ..plumbing ect. If they tell you your are wrong and you need bla bla get a laywer and sue.
Sorry guys I have seen this so often being in the industry so long it makes me ill when I hear stories like this.
Good luck go find that metal plate on your home and tell the city to go kiss a rock.
Just my 2 cents
Pepsi
 

MadMan007

Magical Leopluridon Senior
Joined
Nov 28, 2001
Location
in a magical field
craigiz1 said:
So let's say you are outside with your power drill and it is raining. You are standing on the ground, and since the drill is wet there is a path from the hot wire inside the drill through you to ground. If electricity flows from hot to ground through you, it could be fatal. The GFCI can sense the current flowing through you because not all of the current is flowing from hot to neutral as it expects -- some of it is flowing through you to ground. As soon as the GFCI senses that, it trips the circuit and cuts off the electricity.

:)

GOOD POINT!! The lesson here is clear: To avoid potentially fatal shocks, don't drill outside in the rain!! Thanks!! :D
 
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Tobin Itharel

New Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2002
Pepsi - thanks - I think you may just be right - the contractor was the one the "park" sent around and we were all told inspections will be done. I'll look into the idea that I dont need an inspection at all.

I think though he did have a point about safety for water-cooled systems. I'll see about a plug in GFI for my system.
 
D

DorrellCO

Guest
Store made units would not be illigal. Are fish tanks illegal?. No. It is not their responsibility to make sure YOU have it plugged into the correct wall outlet. Nothing to worry about. Good discussion though!!!
 

craigiz1

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2002
Location
Pompano Beach, FL
UPDATE!!!

A ground fault interrupter (GFI) is a safety device required by the National Electrical Code to avert personal injury. Ground fault interrupters can be mounted in a wall receptacle or mounted in the circuit breaker panel. GFIs that are mounted in the wall receptacles can be seen in any hotel bathroom and are identified by the small "reset" button on them. GFIs that are mounted in the circuit breaker panel appear to be regular circuit breakers except they too have a small "reset" button.

A ground fault interrupter senses leakage current to ground on the circuit to which it is connected. The function of the GFI is to detect any currents that might occur as a result of, for example, dropping a radio into a bathtub. Such currents could potentially kill somebody but may not be large enough to trip the circuit breaker on overcurrent.

UPS systems and computer equipment exhibit leakage currents. These currents are a natural result of the common mode filters present in computers and UPSs. Leakage currents may be large enough to "fool" the GFI and cause it to trip. When this happens the UPS will switch to battery since the GFI will shut off the power to the UPS or computer.

The National Electrical Code also states that an existing two-wire system can sometimes be brought up to standard by using a GFI receptacle. This may resolve the safety issue, but the GFI is still incompatible with a UPS.

Do not use a UPS, Surge Suppressor or computer that has a surge protected power supply with a GFI protected circuit.
 
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Pepsi

THIEF AND A TROLL -Silversinksam
Joined
Nov 1, 2001
Location
Twister City
Craig,
You are correct 100%. The issue is getting disolved here our friend as best as I can see is being harrassed by the city he lives in to comply to rules they made that don't apply to his home. True you are a fool to drill holes in the rain and an idiot to not upgrade your home to current standards, but the fact of the matter is it's his money if he wants to spend it on computer toys fine he can't be forced to change his home and spend his money by the city because their code says so. No way.
Tell the county I said to go kiss a boulder.
Pepsi
 

craigiz1

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2002
Location
Pompano Beach, FL
I agree. I was thinking of the safety issue, not the contractor. After some research, I found the information about "fooling" the GFI and the UPS conflict. And yes, drilling in the rain is stupid. :)
 

Kosmic

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2002
Location
Washington State
Welcome To The Forums, Tobin!

Very interesting thread we started, and I'm glad Craig found the information that we DON'T want to plug our computers into a GFI. Can you just hide your computer / water setup if you HAVE to have the inspection?

As for your idea of a special GFI power supply, which appears to not be doable given Craig's information, when I finally go to water cooling, I am just going to buy an extra power strip to sit by my computer with the pump, computer and monitor plugged into it. This way, when I turn the computer on I'll first have to turn on the power strip which will power the pump up a couple seconds before I turn on the system. Probably a lazy way to go, but it's simple and effective.

k1
 
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Tobin Itharel

New Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2002
drilling in the rain = stupid = wait I've done that :D :beer:

park's contractor = out to make money :mad:

inspection of mobile home = should not happen :temper:

Water-cooling = safe if done right :clap:

Now, I would love to put in some way to protect the system if it does leak - I dont like the idea of getting zapped while playing a hot new game.

I still think what is needed here is a power supply maker to put out a unit that has a 120 V outlet inside the case to plug the pump into and a leak detection shut-off. That with pump power on control would be a win win.

A special for water-cooled systems PSU would be safer and a real selling point.
 

Pepsi

THIEF AND A TROLL -Silversinksam
Joined
Nov 1, 2001
Location
Twister City
Man I'm stupid......
It just hit me now I remembered a similar incident years ago and this remindes me a lot of it.
Bear with me
Over the years I have seen city goverments pick on manfactured home owners. Don't get me wrong here, but they are easy targets, most of them would either comply or move out. Most all cities see this type of housing as shall we below their standards and will do nearly everything in their power to make it hard for the persons owning these homes to stay put. It could be weird taxes or higher sewer rates, whatever. Even get this a completely different set of codes for the foundation. In this respect I recently did a pier foundation for a rather nice manfactured home in my town. The total yardage of concrete the city wanted for a 28,000 pound home to sit on was more than if the guy had dug a basement and had poured walls and flatwork. They are just picking on these people trying to push them around and conform to what they want.
Tell your city engineer to give me a call I'd really love to talk to him about this big load of rocks I'm going to drop off.
Stay Cool
Pepsi
 

diehrd

Senior SMP Gawd
Joined
Jan 15, 2001
Location
NY
Does that rule apply to a FISH TANK ???

I am almost wondering if the computer falls under the Fish tank code which states.

It is ok to run electric pumps and electric heaters under water with out any ground fault protection at all,

Exceptions are Goldfish bowls,, Goldfish plastic bag containers you get at a fair, and pools of water that share common areas with swimming humans.