power

Why can't I charge my HP laptop via USB-C?

HP Spectre

Episode 1539

Carmine from Chicago, IL

Carmine has an HP Spectre laptop, but his USB-C connector won't power the laptop using his OtherWorld Computing adapter. Leo says that he's supposed to be able to with this new model. It's a data port as well as a power port, and so it may be an authorization issue. Leo says that he may want to try the HP power dongle. He'll also want to be sure he's getting enough power through the Type-C connector. There may not be enough through the OWC, and the laptop may think it's just a data connector.

Why is my iMac rebooting?

Apple iMac

Episode 1338

Elizabeth from Long Beach, CA

Elizabeth is having an issue with her Apple iMac rebooting randomly. Leo says that overheating may be the culprit. Computers will shut down or reboot when it overheats. But if it happens when she's doing nothing, then overheating is unlikely. A buggy operating system may cause it if a process is running away. It could also be a power issue in her home. Power can be "dirty" and that could be causing it. Using an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) could prevent low power and power surges. The electrical cord being frayed and loose could cause this too. It may also be a failing power supply.

Why does my Dell keep shutting itself down while in use?

Windows 10 Start Menu

Episode 1288

Mike from Cerritos, CA

Mike has been having issues with his Dell Inspiron shutting itself off while he uses it. This started happening after he updated to Windows 10. One thing that Windows 10 has problems with is power, sleep, and hibernation. Mike might try disabling those settings in the Power Management control panel. The freeze up and shut down while he's working shouldn't be happening though, and it could be a driver issue. Leo suggests Mike try reinstalling Windows 10, because sometimes an upgrade over top of an old operating system can go wrong. He should back up all of his data first.

How can I cut back on my electric bill?

P3 P4400 Kill A Watt

Episode 1240

Phil from California

Phil is trying to cut back on his electric bill and his friends suggest powering down his technology, including his router and network every day. But his other friends say that could do more harm than good. Leo says that he'll stress the electronics less if he doesn't turn them on and off on a regular basis. He should just leave it alone. He can reboot things once in awhile, but all modern computers and networks are designed to sip power from a low power mode. If he's not using it for a few days or weeks, then it's OK to power them down.

Protect Your Electronics with a UPS

Lightning and power fluctuations can cause a lot of problems with electronics. Many people buy surge protectors to safeguard their computers, but that can only go so far to protect your devices and computers. For instance, if the power suddenly goes out, there's nothing keep your computer from potentially losing critical data and shutting down in an unsafe manner. Also, in the event of a lightning strike, there's so much power surging through that no surge protector will sufficiently save you. A much better solution is to get a UPS, or "Uninterrupted Power Supply."

Why do I keep burning out A/V receivers?

APC UPS

Episode 1159

John from Moorpark, CA

John has to replace his A/V receiver. He's lost two in the last few months. Leo says that sounds like an indication of "brown power" that's surging or spiking. Scott agrees, and says a power conditioner would be a good thing to get. It's not cheap, but it could help. Scott also says that if speakers are designed to use a specific receiver and he tries to plug them into a different one, it could strain the receiver more than it should.

Why won't my monitors work when I turn on my printer?

APC BE550G Back-UPS ES 8 Outlet 550VA 120V

Episode 1105

Fred from Redding, PA

Fred has a monitor that suddenly went out. So he replaced it with a TV and now it's gone out as well. Leo says that the original monitor may not be bad, it could be the cable. It could be a bad cable or the refresh rate settings in his computer may be incorrect. But since it happened when he turned on his printer, his power connections could be to blame and putting in an AV power supply could be helpful. They have surge suppression that will filter the power and keep it consistent.

Why won't my computer fully turn off?

Episode 1096

Brian from Santa Ana, CA

Brian built his own gaming PC a few years back, but now the power button won't work when he turns it back on right away. Leo says that indicates that the computer isn't shutting down fully, and it's a very common issue. Leo says he should try powering down the PC the proper way, wait a minute, and then unplug it. Then plug it back in and turn it on. If it comes on right away, then he'll know that the software isn't fully shutting his PC down. If he still can't turn it back on after doing that, then it's a hardware issue.

Dick DeBartolo

Episode 957

This week's gadget is the NewerTech Power2U USB outlet. What it does is that in addition to the AC plug outlets, the Power2U adds two convenient USB charging ports. The new version has safety for kids, has been boosted to 20Amp version for commercial use. Leo just installed them and he says they were easy to install and work really well! Note though - The Power2U USB device requires the 16 cubic inch electrical box. But they're only $15 at Amazon.