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reverse polarity and computers

Posted by jason1083 (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 1, 07 at 17:55

this came up on the electrical forum. Would reverse polarity likely cause a computer PSU to fail and would it do so in the dramatic manner described below?

I tested my desktop computer in a three prong outlet using a surge protector, and it worked fine. I then attempted to install the computer across the room where my desk is using a different outlet. This was a two prong outlet, so I bought a two to three prong converter for it, and plugged my surge protector in there. I didn't even turn my computer on, but about a minute after plugging it in sparks started shooting from the power supply of my computer. It is now dead.

I called the landlord, and they sent an electrician in. He told me that the outlet has something called "reverse polarity


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: reverse polarity and computers

I may be wrong, but I would think it wouldn't matter.
The hot and neutral lines come in on the AC side and go
thru a transformer to drop the voltage to the proper level.
Then the AC current goes thru a full wave bridge rectifier
to convert it to DC. Then it gets filtered to get smooth DC.
I would think it wouldn't matter which way the
primary side of the transformer was hooked up to AC.

Anyone care to confirm or correct any of this?

Pooh Bear


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RE: reverse polarity and computers

Reversed polarity affects personal safety in certain situations, but will not cause the equipment failure and fire.


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RE: reverse polarity and computers

A surge protector need a ground to work, but a GFI outlet may work.


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