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Author Topic: Mexico Resort Power Weirdness  (Read 518 times)

Josh Rawls

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Mexico Resort Power Weirdness
« on: August 02, 2017, 10:25:39 pm »

I was at a resort in Playa del Carmen a few weeks ago and ran into a weird power issue.

The outlets were mentioned as 110v in literature but not labeled directly and were something like this:



The weirdness was when I plugged my Apple iPhone 7 Plus in to an Apple charger with an Apple cable. The case felt energized as I rubbed my fingers over it. It's almost felt like the surface of the iPhone got more rough. I also noticed later that the charging cable got a slight black mark on it right in the middle of the Lightning connector. The phone did charge and it still functions without issue.

The same thing happened with a non-Apple multi-port USB charger and non-Apple Lightning cables.

I didn't have a meter with me to check the voltage or frequency.

Any ideas on what might have caused this?
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Josh Rawls

Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Mexico Resort Power Weirdness
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2017, 11:50:54 pm »

That looks like it would accept a Euro type plug as well as a NEMA plug. Euro plug on a device with a 100 to 240v power supply would/should work.
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Josh Rawls

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Re: Mexico Resort Power Weirdness
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 09:30:38 am »

That looks like it would accept a Euro type plug as well as a NEMA plug. Euro plug on a device with a 100 to 240v power supply would/should work.

It worked except for the weird energized iPhone shell and the burn mark on the cable.
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Josh Rawls

Tim Weaver

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Re: Mexico Resort Power Weirdness
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 09:58:18 am »

I have felt that feeling a number if times on different devices. Never could mail down why. Its not a shock, really it just changes the way we feel the texture of the metal.
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Bill Koonce

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Re: Mexico Resort Power Weirdness
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2017, 12:49:26 pm »

As a rule of thumb, if the outlet can accept European plugs, I would assume that it's 230V unless proven otherwise. Not a problem if you have checked and know that you have a "universal" power supply that can accept 100-250 VAC in.

As for the tingling and scorching, that's something that's between you and Apple. Even with a badly miswired outlet, the power supply should never allow high voltages into the low voltage side. Even boutique fashion goods should meet a minimum safety specification.

http://adaptelec.com/index.php?main_page=document_general_info&products_id=271
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Stephen Kirby

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Re: Mexico Resort Power Weirdness
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2017, 10:01:37 pm »

That's the same kinds of plugs I see in China.  There the voltage is 240.  Without a ground on the charger there is this weird floating potential on the case of my Mac Air that is very similar to what you describe.  Kind of a fuzzy feeling.  I've always meant to get a meter and measure what is on the case.  I recently traded in the Air for an X1 Carbon so there isn't the metal case issue.
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Daniel Levi

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Re: Mexico Resort Power Weirdness
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 03:01:50 am »

That's the same kinds of plugs I see in China.  There the voltage is 240.  Without a ground on the charger there is this weird floating potential on the case of my Mac Air that is very similar to what you describe.  Kind of a fuzzy feeling.  I've always meant to get a meter and measure what is on the case.  I recently traded in the Air for an X1 Carbon so there isn't the metal case issue.

from what I understand the weird feeling on ungrounded metal devices supplied from an adaptor of some sort is due to a capacitor in the PSU that helps to mitigate RFI and weirdly the better made the PSU the more likely there is to be a tingly feeling. My ASUS does the same and that is with 3 different power supplies (2 genuine and 1 Trust brand universal).

Putting one of the dangerous neon testing screwdrivers can sometimes cause it to light up, but we would be talking a very low current.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Mexico Resort Power Weirdness
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 11:21:17 am »

Kind of a fuzzy feeling.  I've always meant to get a meter and measure what is on the case. 

Basically, EVERYTHING leaks a little line current/voltage to the chassis. So unless you have a hard-wired ground plug to the EGC, the voltage on the metal chassis any iPhone or computer will tend to float up to around 1/2 of the line voltage. But that's at a very small leakage current level, way less than 1 mA, and typically around 0.1 mA. I think to be UL compliant it needs to be under 0.7 mA. I've used a very high impedance meter (5 meg-ohms) to measure my iPhone case on the charger, and it ends up between 40 and 70 volts AC, depending which way the non-polarized plug is in the outlet.
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