Anyone heard of a Mac Pro tripping a breaker when powered on?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by lokiju, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. lokiju macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    #1
    I have two Mac Pro's in my house. The first one I got would always trip the circuit breaker in my office almost every time I turned it on but I just always assumed it was due to wiring in my office. Then I got a second one and when I was setting it up it was down in my living room at the time and it never tripped a circuit. Then I moved that one into my office and removed the other one that had been tripping circuits and the new one has never once tripped a circuit plugged into the same outlet as the old one did.

    I then moved the circuit tripping Mac Pro to my living room and reloaded the OS and in the process tripped a circuit turning it on. I got it all built up and moved it to my bedroom and every time it comes out of sleep or gets turned on it usually trips the circuit.

    What in the hell is going on with this thing?

    Is this a known issue with the 2.66ghz Intel Xeon Mac Pros? If so, is there some kind of fix?

    This is the exact model http://support.apple.com/kb/SP30
     
  2. quantum003 macrumors 6502a

    quantum003

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Location:
    Superposition
    #2
    Do you have it plugged directly into the wall or into a surge protector first?
     
  3. lokiju thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    #3
    Tried both, doesn't matter.

    UPS, surge protector, direct into wall, different circuits, different cords. None of it matters. Just this one specific Mac Pro usually trips any circuit it's plugged into when it comes out of sleep or is powered on for the first time.
     
  4. gotzero macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Location:
    Mid-Atlantic, US
    #4
    What kind of graphics cards do you have in there?

    A Mac Pro should not be tripping a circuit. I think it is much more likely to be a wiring issue than a computer issue. Do you have something like a Kill-a-Watt where you can take a look at the quality of the power coming out of the circuit?
     
  5. -aggie- macrumors P6

    -aggie-

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    #5
    It's your power supply, I would think, that probably has a short somewhere.
     
  6. ThrawnTHX macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    #6
    What else is running on the same breaker? You could have it overloaded. Also, are you in an older house? You might have outdated wiring that can't handle some modern day punishment.
     
  7. Disc Golfer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #7
    That's what I thought when I read the title, I live in a 100 year old house and my kitchen breaker trips when I use the blender, oven, dishwasher and toaster oven at the same time. But if OP's tried it on different breakers.. :confused:
     
  8. lokiju thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    #8
    I don't see how that can be a factor. I have two of the same model Mac Pro's. One NEVER has tripped a circuit. One does almost every time.
     
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #9
    Startup and coming up from sleep mean a short duration (millisecond range), high current draw on the circuit (called ironically enough, startup current :p).

    The tripping of the breakers could mean that at that instant, the load is too high (other items on the circuit + MP = load exceeding what the breaker is rated for), or the breakers need replaced (they do wear out, and will trip prematurely).

    Another trick to tell if the breaker has gone bad (only works for the magnetic type found in the panel, not thermal types that would be in a surge suppressor), is does the switch on it feel "spongy/springy"; a properly working breaker has a solid "Snap" of a feel when moving it's position.
     
  10. -aggie- macrumors P6

    -aggie-

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    #10
    There is no way the extra 4-5 amps from "normal" starting of a computer is going to trip ANY breakers.
     
  11. elfxmilhouse macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Northeast USA
    #11
    the OP has TWO of the same model mac pros and only ONE of them trips the breaker in the same places. it looks like a problem specific to the one mac pro that trips the breakers.

    stop saying its the wiring in the house. unless the tolerance between power supplies is so wide that one can use that much more power on start up than the other, it looks like something isolated to one machine.
     
  12. agbot macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #12
    Of course it can. If you're on a, say, a 15A circuit near capacity and turn on any 5A appliance, you'll probably trip the breaker.

    Also, given the OP said that the problem machine works sometimes, it's not some flat out short in the power supply. If you have a clamp on ammeter and know what you're doing, monitor the current at breaker with and without the machine running, or see if it spikes > breaker rating for an instant.
     
  13. quantum003 macrumors 6502a

    quantum003

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Location:
    Superposition
    #13
    Yeah, that's true... when a small fish tank filter was added to the circuit in the kitchen at my old place, the breaker would suddenly trip whenever the microwave was turned on. The fridge and microwave were the only two other items on that circuit, but removing the fish tank filter from the wall permanently solved the problem.
     
  14. -aggie- macrumors P6

    -aggie-

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    #14
    Well, I certainly know that, but he already said the other computer works fine on the same circuit, so I don't think we're talking about a circuit with 11 amps from other stuff (which would be kind of silly for something with a computer on it...he'd need to have some pretty high amperage loads and light are not going to get there).

    I'm pretty sure the problem is what I said it was. But perhaps my experience as an electrician means nothing. (Unless something is shorting the secondary, which doesn't make sense if it doesn't do this on initial startup.)
     
  15. lokiju thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    #15
    THIS!
     
  16. agbot macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #16
    So swap the power supplies between both machines and test again.
     
  17. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #17
    If it was a GFCI circuit, i'd blame the wiring ... since some are very sensitive to fan and electric motor starts.

    If the machine does this with only the main box plugged in, and nothing else hooked to it ... i'd say the machine.

    If the computer only does this with monitor, external i/o, i'd say one of the power bricks, monitor, or i/o devices is creating a short of some sort. Which can happen if a couple power bricks get mixed up.
     
  18. -aggie- macrumors P6

    -aggie-

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    #18
    Good idea!
     
  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #19
    I was just trying to get the OP to think about the load. If the load is close to the breaker's rating, it can trip during startup.

    There are variances with PSU's even if it's the same make/model, and even batch (think transformers, caps,... from multiple suppliers for example), and the resulting QC tends to be spotty.

    I've seen bad batches before (a bit too common lately IMO), as they're in a hurry to fill orders (they have a habit of missing lead times, and other sources have to be used to keep the assembly line operational). New units may not even meet ATX/EPS spec OTB. :eek:

    Given the OP mentioned a UPS, it seems brown outs aren't the cause either (this does assume the UPS is functioning properly, and at least uses a mulit-tap transformer for voltage correction in undervolt conditions when the supply is still high enough to prevent the battery from being used).

    I do suspect the PSU BTW, but want to be able to eliminate other possibilities.

    It can though if the nominal load is high enough (not at the breaker's rating, but close). I just don't have any real idea of the load, including if both systems are on the same circuit.

    Only one is suspect it seems, and the mention of a PSU swap is the best way to isolate the PSU.

    Definitely not a dead short. But a bad transformer can cause the behaviour, as can bad caps (common btw, as electrolytics can leak, and/or swell causing shorts under specific temp conditions before they're totally shot).
     
  20. Phantom Gremlin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Location:
    Tualatin, Oregon
    #20
    get a kill-a-watt

    Someone already mentioned the kill-a-watt. It's very inexpensive and would be of great use in diagnosing problems like this. It doesn't just read Watts, it can also display voltage, current, power factor, etc.

    Using the kill-a-watt to compare the behavior of the two Mac Pros at startup will probably be sufficient to make a proper diagnosis.

    We don't know if the OP has a "modern" circuit breaker. But if he does, startup current should never be a problem. Breakers allow a huge amount of surge for a brief period. I looked this up a while ago and am far too lazy to Google again, but IIRC the numbers work out to something like 1000% of rated load for at least a significant fraction of a second. So that's 150 Amps! The breaker will even allow something like 200% of rated load for about a minute.
     
  21. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #21
    Not unheard of... My old apartment building in LA was built in 1955 and had equally ancient wiring. I would trip a breaker (causing half the apartment to black out) from time to time powering on my MP if a lot of other stuff in the house was on (like A/C, microwave, living room TV, stereo, etc.). I couldn't even run the A/C and microwave simultaneously without tripping the breaker. Very annoying.

    I don't miss that place at all.
     
  22. elfxmilhouse macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Northeast USA
    #22
    yes good idea!


    yes exactly! i think the variance between the psu could be a cause. Its just frustrating to see people not read the entire original post and respond.
     
  23. lokiju thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    #23
    My house was built in 2005.
     
  24. JacaByte macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    #24
    Dudes, this is a simple black and white problem; he has two Mac Pros, one which trips circuits and one that doesn't. Yet you draw the conclusion that his house wiring's at fault.

    Two and two don't add together; Apple's been using (pretty much) the same make and wattage of power supply since they built dual processor G5s. There's not enough disparity between two models of Mac Pros to say that one draws 4 or 5 amps more than another model, which is what is being suggested by saying his house wiring's the issue. There has to be something wrong with his power supply, and/or a component inside the computer that's drawing more current from the power supply than need be.

    I suggest opening up the MP that trips circuits and unplugging everything except the hard drive with the OS installed on it and the motherboard. If that still doesn't work, you can try unplugging everything, pull up a wire diagram of the logic board connector for the MP and try crossing the "Power ON" pin with a COM pin using a paper clip or something. (and insulated gloves; don't zap yourself) This will power up the power supply with essentially zero load on the power supply itself and will isolate any problems with the power supply itself. Some power supplies can't run without any load and will short themselves out, but I think the MP power supplies are new enough to prevent that from happening.
     
  25. -aggie- macrumors P6

    -aggie-

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    #25
    I lolled when I saw this. :)

    I'm still banking on the power supply being the issue. I've had problems with them before, and if anything they're one of the main failures one gets with a computer (besides RAM and the CPU). So, have you switched them yet?
     

Share This Page