5
   

Bizarre Touch Lamp Behaviour..

 
 
jimli
 
Reply Sun 31 Dec, 2006 08:48 pm
Hi guys, Happy new year to you all.

Ive stumbled upon this well-informed forum and i have this problem which i just cannot get my head around. I hope some of you gurus here can advise me.

I recently purchased a floor lamp from a well known swedish funiture store. its a particularly nice design which is touch activated (on/off/dimmer).

Now, i took one home, assembled it and it just plain didnt work. In fact, it just randomly turned itself on and off with no aid whatsoever, touching it does nothing.

Thinking that it was faulty, i went back to the store and got a replacement. Took it home again and the same thing occurs, random on/off and touching it doesnt seem to make turn the lamp on or off.

I was getting a bit annoyed now so i got back to the store for a third time and asked an assistant if they could once again replace it for me and this time assemble the replacement and test the lamp before i take it home. Sure enough, they got another one, set it up and it works perfect, touch on, touch off, hold it to dim.

Soooo.. take it home again (bear in mind this is a 40mile round trip to the swedish funiture store), and to my shock horror it still doesnt work!!!

Grrrrr.... thinking that i might be damaging the lamp during transportation, i took the lamp to my parents house to test and it works beautifully there!!! I am on constant head shaking mode now.

Does anyone know about these kind of devices that might be able to shed some 'light' into this strange happening? Ive done a little bit of research into the design of these touch lamps and it seems that they work by using the capacitance of your own body to turn it self on/off etc. But surely your own capacitance doesnt change when in a different location?

Assuming the lamp is working fine, i have pinpointed a few variables that might be affecting the performance of this lamp from when its working at the store/parents home to when its not working at my appartment:

1) The location itself - the lamp worked when it was located on the ground floor at the store and my parent's house. My appartment is on the 3rd floor. Surely that wouldnt make a difference?
2) Mains supply voltage - normal household electricity supply in the UK is normally 230V AC at 50Hz. I havent had a chance to check the voltages at the appartment but would that make a difference? I plugged the lamp into every socket in the flat and that doesnt work.
3) Air quality - The appartment has been empty and un-lived in for approx 6 months so moisture in the flat is probably quite low. would that make a difference?
4) Ghosts/Paranormal acts?!?!?!

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Many thanks in advance.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 21,241 • Replies: 34
No top replies

 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 Dec, 2006 08:55 pm
Hiyya. Welcome Smile


Quote:
I havent had a chance to check the voltages at the appartment but would that make a difference?


Absolutly.

So could a loose plug.
I have an outlet in my home that does this to my appliances.

It is near my stove and if I plug in my coffee pot, then walk across the floor, the vibrations from my walking make the coffee pot turn off and on.
Mind you , I live in a 35 year old building.

frustrating .
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 Dec, 2006 09:08 pm
Some information on a touch lamp and how it works...
http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/may98/893276774.Eg.r.html

It could be the lamp is grounding out so it isn't reading much change when you touch it. (Try placing it on a rug or on a piece of cardboard, A rubber mat would work best then try touching it again.)

I'm not sure if voltage spikes would affect it but you can try plugging it into a surge protector to see if that could be the problem.
0 Replies
 
jimli
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 Dec, 2006 09:39 pm
shewolfnm wrote:

Absolutly.

So could a loose plug.

Hi shewolfnm,

Thanks for your reply, im unsure that the plug could be the issue because i used the same plug at the working location but it will check it out anyway.

parados wrote:

It could be the lamp is grounding out so it isn't reading much change when you touch it. (Try placing it on a rug or on a piece of cardboard, A rubber mat would work best then try touching it again.)

I'm not sure if voltage spikes would affect it but you can try plugging it into a surge protector to see if that could be the problem.

Hi parados,

Thanks for the link. From the information, it too doesnt seem that grounding would cause a malfunction, the antenna/switch is isolated from the base of the lamp but i guess i can try placing it under some cardboard. Your suggestion with regards to a surge/spike protector sounds plausible. I will try using one of them and see if that helps.

Any more advice would be greatly appreciated.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 Dec, 2006 09:51 pm
Have you tried it in a different outlet , in a different part of the apt?

Maybe it is just that one particular circuit?
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 Dec, 2006 09:54 pm
Sounds like a classic ground looping problem. Your whole flat could be wired incorrectly, especially if you are using polarity grounding. Go to the hardware store and buy a tester - they cost about $5 US.
0 Replies
 
jimli
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 Dec, 2006 10:15 pm
shewolfnm wrote:
Have you tried it in a different outlet , in a different part of the apt?

Maybe it is just that one particular circuit?

Yes i have tried it at every socket in my apt and it doesnt work properly on all of them! However i havent attempted it at a neighbour's apt so i will attempt to do that also.

cjhsa wrote:
Sounds like a classic ground looping problem. Your whole flat could be wired incorrectly, especially if you are using polarity grounding. Go to the hardware store and buy a tester - they cost about $5 US.

Hi cjhsa, thanks for the info, I have a Fluke tester that i use for work (i only deal with 24v DC circuits though so this will be a new area for me), i will sleep on it and then try it in the morning.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 Dec, 2006 10:20 pm
How odd.

Maybe you just have a ghost who doesnt like that particular lamp. Laughing
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jan, 2007 08:16 am
You don't need anything fancy. Something like this will do the trick - just uses LED's to indicate faults (or pass)

http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=C6842
0 Replies
 
jimli
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jan, 2007 11:54 am
Right, ive done a few more tests yet im still nowhere nearer to finding a solution.

1) I have borrowed a surge protector and that has done nothing, lamp still faulty.

2) Isolated the base with a think piece of cardboard, no difference.

3) I checked out the plug, all looks ok, live to live, neutral to neutral. However there is no ground/earth wire on the lamp, hence nothing to connect it to the main earth lead. Im slightly worried by this fact, is this common practice on these kind of lamps?

4) Decided to check out some AC voltages, live-neutral - 240V, live-earth - 240V, neutral-earth - 0V. Also checked it to a regular water pipe: live-pipe - 195V, neutral-pipe - 10V, earth-pipe - 10V. Out of curiosity, i had a look at the resistance across neutral-earth and it was only 11 Ohms.

Any conclusions?

I'll have a look at getting one of those AC Outlet testers cjhsa.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jan, 2007 03:00 pm
Is it possible that one house is more humid than the other?
0 Replies
 
jimli
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jan, 2007 03:24 pm
jespah wrote:
Is it possible that one house is more humid than the other?

Hi jespah,

Yes it is possible that one location is more humid than the other, the appartment that the lamp does not work in has not been lived in for approx 6-9 months (just purchased it recently) whereas the other locations where the lamp has worked, they have been lived in and been in constant use for many many years. Do you think that the difference in air quality has a significant influence into whether the lamp is turned on/off by hand or through no apparent reason?
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jan, 2007 03:53 pm
Sounds more like the quality of electrical flow in the place. Cijha's suggestion is a good place to start. Also ask other tenants in the building if they have had similar troubles.

Have you been having trouble with any electronic appliances since you've been there?


I live in an apartment too. We fluctuate between arid, hot weather and damp, cold weather in any given year. Humidity doesn't seem to make a difference in my touch lamps. I have 3 of them in the apartment.

I have noticed that if I have something metallic touching the base of the lamp and touch the wood table it sits upon, it sometimes makes the lamp turn off and on. Might check that out.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Jan, 2007 04:19 pm
jimli wrote:
Right, ive done a few more tests yet im still nowhere nearer to finding a solution.

1) I have borrowed a surge protector and that has done nothing, lamp still faulty.

2) Isolated the base with a think piece of cardboard, no difference.

3) I checked out the plug, all looks ok, live to live, neutral to neutral. However there is no ground/earth wire on the lamp, hence nothing to connect it to the main earth lead. Im slightly worried by this fact, is this common practice on these kind of lamps?
Most lamps in the US don't have a ground wire either. The US is one of the few countries that has the third grounding leg on its outlets. I'm not sure if Britian has a ground or not. In most cases the ground is connected directly to the neutral at the breaker box.
Quote:

4) Decided to check out some AC voltages, live-neutral - 240V, live-earth - 240V, neutral-earth - 0V. Also checked it to a regular water pipe: live-pipe - 195V, neutral-pipe - 10V, earth-pipe - 10V. Out of curiosity, i had a look at the resistance across neutral-earth and it was only 11 Ohms.
I am a little troubled by the 10v nuetral to pipe reading. My understanding is both should be grounded and you should get close to 0v. If you are getting a 10v reading on your water pipes it could be acting like a large antennae broadcasting a signal. You might want to check with an electrician in your area if the 10v is normal.

Keep us informed.
0 Replies
 
jimli
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Jan, 2007 04:47 pm
Right, Ive done a little bit more investigation work. However the lamp is still inoperable.

Ive managed to acquire an AC socket tester (the one with the 3 lights to show any faults) and according to the tester, every socket in my apt is showing no fault (all 3 lights are lit).

I also decided to isolate every circuit in the apt except for the sockets that the lamp is connected to (disconnected them at the apt's breaker box). I opened the breakers for the lights, cooker etc. and also disconnected their relative neutral wires that go to the common neutral bar. Therefore, the only thing that power can goto is the sockets. Applied power again and the same incident occurs.

I unplugged every plug that an appliance connects to except for the lamp and no joy.

Ive also reversed the live and neutral wires on the lamp plug aswell and no difference.

Butrflynet, Ive been unable to test the lamp at another tenants appartment but when i have an opportunity to do so, i will try that. As far as trouble with other appliances is concerned, every other appliance functions normally. My new plasma TV seems to humm when it is on but its very quiet (you can hardly hear it over the TV's sound output) and it doesnt seem to be an effect of ground looping as the humm noise does not originate from the TV's built in speakers, the HiFi does not humm.

Its getting to the point now where im thinking:
1) Get a refund and purchase a non-touch lamp.
2) Defeat the touch control electronics and just modify the lamp to fit in a manual dimmer switch.

Before i do that i just want to test the lamp in another apt and also ask an electrician about those 10V AC readings i got when going from neutral-pipe and earth-pipe.
0 Replies
 
NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Jan, 2007 10:00 pm
Regardless of the voltage of your apartment, assuming all other appliances in the home work correctly, this should work properly also. I would not dismiss the ghost hypothesis so quickly!
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jan, 2007 12:28 am
I assume you have tested the lamp in another power outlet in you appartment and/or another appliance in the power outlet you have been using.

Now I know this is dumb but... Is it turned on at the power point? yeah but have you actually checked? dont tell me you have, go and check first.

Do things logically and slowly

The lamp works in another home so we know the lamp works ok.
Does the lamp work anywhere in the suspect appartment?
if no
Do other appliances work in the suspect power outlet?

I'm willing to bet its a voltage drop type thing applicable to that one power outlet which means a short and possible fire risk.

I would reccomend a sparky have a look at the appartment.
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jan, 2007 07:06 am
Did you ever think that maybe you are dead?
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jan, 2007 09:16 am
I've had problems when someone on the same circuit is using a halogen lamp with a dimmer. Have you tried at different times of day?

Or does the apartment complex use halogen lamps?
0 Replies
 
jimli
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Jan, 2007 10:16 am
dadpad wrote:
I assume you have tested the lamp in another power outlet in you appartment and/or another appliance in the power outlet you have been using.

Hi dadpad, yes, i have tested the lamp in all the sockets in the appartment and it does not operate properly on any of them. I also have other appliances such as TV, HiFi, Microwave, Radio etc all on the same socket line as the lamp and they all work fine.

dadpad wrote:
Now I know this is dumb but... Is it turned on at the power point? yeah but have you actually checked? dont tell me you have, go and check first.

When you mean power point, i assume you mean the socket switch itself? if so then yes it is switched on, there is power to the lamp, its just that it randomly switch itself on and off.

dadpad wrote:
Do things logically and slowly
Ok thanks Smile

dadpad wrote:
I'm willing to bet its a voltage drop type thing applicable to that one power outlet which means a short and possible fire risk.

If theres a voltage drop type thing happening, wouldnt other appliances that are connected to the same line as the sockets also suffer as a consequence?

dadpad wrote:

I would reccomend a sparky have a look at the appartment.

I think that is probably the most logical idea seeing as im beginning to run out of other avenues. Smile
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Recording Detector - Question by gollum
Bad picture on my Sharp LCD TV - Question by hydroplant
LCD TV. Help! - Question by kolinos4
iPhone vs Android Platform - Discussion by Seed
p3 or 360 and why - Question by XxGWOPBOYZxX
Post your latest gizmos - Discussion by Chumly
IPOD OR ZUNE HD? - Discussion by detroittou
Giving up my iPod for a Walkman - Discussion by djjd62
Digital audio in your home sound system - Question by hingehead
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Bizarre Touch Lamp Behaviour..
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 08/17/2019 at 04:43:18