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So I've recently purchased an ionizer from Walmart... going to withhold the name for now.

Since I started using it I've experienced many strange electrical phenomena. I've done a ton of troubleshooting, and narrowed it down to the device itself. I was tempted to try a different wall wart, but the manual specifically stated not to do that, and it's still under warranty. Normally I'd just get it exchanged and be done with it... but I'm now 100% sure it's what destroyed at least $200 worth of electronics, as well as possible damage to my PC and various other equipment. It's even gotten me electrocuted just trying to unplug it.

I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out the cause. Thought it was something more serious like mice chewed up the wires in my walls or a short circuit somewhere. This ionizer which draws less than 4 watts was the last thing I suspected. The manual even has an "important note" that the device was designed specifically for use around computer systems and other sensitive electronics, and unlike other ionizers it won't damage or interfere with them. Yet the one I got just radically wreaks havoc on electronics or basically anything that conducts or even just semiconducts lol

Aside from making dust settle, it seems to do the exact opposite of what an ionizer should do. Instead of neutralizing/dissipating static, it generates an insane amount of it. This is normal if you touch it, but this effect actually extends over a wide area. It's not as bad in the far corner of the room, but still an issue. I was constantly getting zapped by my keyboard and monitor stand. It also builds up in skin, so anything I touch after just being near the ionizer for less than a minute would get zapped with some nasty ESD.

At first I thought it was just dry air/skin, and started running an ultrasonic humidifier. Didn't help, and the wall wart crapped out after a few days. I'm guessing some IC got fried with ESD. Same thing happened with a replacement medical-grade power supply which wasn't even plugged in on the same circuit, though near it on a different shelf. I guess the ionizer got jealous lol

Up closer, it's like literally all conductive surfaces are electrified... Wall warts, surge protectors, outlets, buttons on my echo dot, even battery-powered devices... and I'm not exaggerating when I say electrified. It's literally like theirs current flowing out. The only way to shut it off is the circuit breaker.

That's not even the worst of it.

This electrostatic charge or whatever it is, not only radiates and couples with all nearby insulated or uninsulated conductive surfaces, but appears to builds up in mains, and then violently discharges into whatever is plugged into any outlet on the circuit - visible & audible as huge sparks of inrush current - usually destroying it, sometimes even flipping the breaker. It's even made a wall-mount surge protector burst into flames right as I plugged it in. This happens regardless of whether it's plugged into the same circuit, so it's probably not leakage current (adapter is ungrounded). It's definitely some sort of radiated emission or electrostatic coupling. The "emitter" appears to have st. Elmo's light on it's tip, if that's indication of anything.

I can go into more detail, but I think I'll stop there for now. My questions are:

Why the hell is this ionizer behaving more like some malfunctioning tesla coil?

If a device I purchased turned out to be hazardously defective, who would be liable? The reseller or the manufacturer?

This effect is reliably reproducible, and I've documented everything with pictures. Should I sue them?
 
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DPG

-
Arms
Esteemed
Advent Win
I suspect you have a problem with your installation. What happens when you leave this device unplugged for a while?
 

Megawatt

-
Arms
Advent Win
So I've recently purchased an ionizer from Walmart... going to withhold the name for now.

Since I started using it I've experienced many strange electrical phenomena. I've done a ton of troubleshooting, and narrowed it down to the device itself. I was tempted to try a different wall wart, but the manual specifically stated not to do that, and it's still under warranty. Normally I'd just get it exchanged and be done with it... but I'm now 100% sure it's what destroyed at least $200 worth of electronics, as well as possible damage to my PC and various other equipment. It's even gotten me electrocuted just trying to unplug it.

I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out the cause. Thought it was something more serious like mice chewed up the wires in my walls or a short circuit somewhere. This ionizer which draws less than 4 watts was the last thing I suspected. The manual even has an "important note" that the device was designed specifically for use around computer systems and other sensitive electronics, and unlike other ionizers it won't damage or interfere with them. Yet the one I got just radically wreaks havoc on electronics or basically anything that conducts or even just semiconducts lol

Aside from making dust settle, it seems to do the exact opposite of what an ionizer should do. Instead of neutralizing/dissipating static, it generates an insane amount of it. This is normal if you touch it, but this effect actually extends over a wide area. It's not as bad in the far corner of the room, but still an issue. I was constantly getting zapped by my keyboard and monitor stand. It also builds up in skin, so anything I touch after just being near the ionizer for less than a minute would get zapped with some nasty ESD.

At first I thought it was just dry air/skin, and started running an ultrasonic humidifier. Didn't help, and the wall wart crapped out after a few days. I'm guessing some IC got fried with ESD. Same thing happened with a replacement medical-grade power supply which wasn't even plugged in on the same circuit, though near it on a different shelf. I guess the ionizer got jealous lol

Up closer, it's like literally all conductive surfaces are electrified... Wall warts, surge protectors, outlets, buttons on my echo dot, even battery-powered devices... and I'm not exaggerating when I say electrified. It's literally like theirs current flowing out. The only way to shut it off is the circuit breaker.

That's not even the worst of it.

This electrostatic charge or whatever it is, not only radiates and couples with all nearby insulated or uninsulated conductive surfaces, but appears to builds up in mains, and then violently discharges into whatever is plugged into any outlet on the circuit - visible & audible as huge sparks of inrush current - usually destroying it, sometimes even flipping the breaker. It's even made a wall-mount surge protector burst into flames right as I plugged it in. This happens regardless of whether it's plugged into the same circuit, so it's probably not leakage current (adapter is ungrounded). It's definitely some sort of radiated emission or electrostatic coupling. The "emitter" appears to have st. Elmo's light on it's tip, if that's indication of anything.

I can go into more detail, but I think I'll stop there for now. My questions are:

Why the hell is this ionizer behaving more like some malfunctioning tesla coil?

If a device I purchased turned out to be hazardously defective, who would be liable? The reseller or the manufacturer?

This effect is reliably reproducible, and I've documented everything with pictures. Should I sue them?
JC it sounds like you have a open neutral which can literally put 180vac on your receptacle which explains why things are burning up. I don’t think it’s the ionizer giving you problems. You desperately need to call an electrician before you get seriously hurt or killed
 

static zap

-
Advent Win
DC ionisers build up a Static charge on insulating surfaces ,
(and also cause dust /dirt to stick to walls (esp notice if white))
Pcs and psus with fans in gather a worse charge due to air flow !
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5
Installation is pretty fool-proof. Just plugged in the adapter.

New observations.... It makes every outlet connected in series on the circuit in the room it's in (along with the wiring) radiate a ton of EMI. I'll post a recording later. It also causes the frequency to spike by 2-3hz by intervals of around as many seconds. Ceases immediately as soon as I turn it off. Thought it was just ordinary line noise/harmonics, but this happens regardless of whether it's plugged into the same circuit. The build up still remains though... not sure how I should safely discharge it, so I won't be using any outlets in the room for now.

If it was an open neutral, would the outlets still work?
 

DPG

-
Arms
Esteemed
Advent Win
How are you measuring the frequency of the mains?
 

Megawatt

-
Arms
Advent Win
Installation is pretty fool-proof. Just plugged in the adapter.

New observations.... It makes every outlet connected in series on the circuit in the room it's in (along with the wiring) radiate a ton of EMI. I'll post a recording later. It also causes the frequency to spike by 2-3hz by intervals of around as many seconds. Ceases immediately as soon as I turn it off. Thought it was just ordinary line noise/harmonics, but this happens regardless of whether it's plugged into the same circuit. The build up still remains though... not sure how I should safely discharge it, so I won't be using any outlets in the room for now.

If it was an open neutral, would the outlets still work?
Installation is pretty fool-proof. Just plugged in the adapter.

New observations.... It makes every outlet connected in series on the circuit in the room it's in (along with the wiring) radiate a ton of EMI. I'll post a recording later. It also causes the frequency to spike by 2-3hz by intervals of around as many seconds. Ceases immediately as soon as I turn it off. Thought it was just ordinary line noise/harmonics, but this happens regardless of whether it's plugged into the same circuit. The build up still remains though... not sure how I should safely discharge it, so I won't be using any outlets in the room for now.

If it was an open neutral, would the outlets still work?
JC if you had an open neutral on that particular circuit the other outlets on separate circuits will work. If the open neutral is in your panel then they would all act up, have you got a meter to measure the voltage in your outlets ? I’ve been to houses like yours and seen radios that blew up, clocks fried, appliances fried. Any circuit having a open neutral. I can’t advise on the ionizer but from what I’m reading they seem pretty dangerous. I’ve worked on huge rectifiers and yes they put out a lot of EMF. Not sure about your situation. Good luck
Post automatically merged:

JC if you had an open neutral on that particular circuit the other outlets on separate circuits will work. If the open neutral is in your panel then they would all act up, have you got a meter to measure the voltage in your outlets ? I’ve been to houses like yours and seen radios that blew up, clocks fried, appliances fried. Any circuit having a open neutral. I can’t advise on the ionizer but from what I’m reading they seem pretty dangerous. I’ve worked on huge rectifiers and yes they put out a lot of EMF. Not sure about your situation. Good luck
Just what size of ionizer do you have since I just looked it up and I read it’s just used for a room purification. I wouldn’t think that it would cause such havoc on your electrical but I could be wrong
Post automatically merged:

JC if you had an open neutral on that particular circuit the other outlets on separate circuits will work. If the open neutral is in your panel then they would all act up, have you got a meter to measure the voltage in your outlets ? I’ve been to houses like yours and seen radios that blew up, clocks fried, appliances fried. Any circuit having a open neutral. I can’t advise on the ionizer but from what I’m reading they seem pretty dangerous. I’ve worked on huge rectifiers and yes they put out a lot of EMF. Not sure about your situation. Good luck
Post automatically merged:


Just what size of ionizer do you have since I just looked it up and I read it’s just used for a room purification. I wouldn’t think that it would cause such havoc on your electrical but I could be wrong
JC I’m sure it drys out the air which would cause static as it drops the dew point in the room but I worked in a plant that makes lithium and they built a dry room which maintained-35 degree dew point and they didn’t have that kind of problems
 
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8
I have a multimeter. Also a UPS where I can confirm some of the measurements. All outlets read a normal 120V(±1). I've actually thoroughly inspected all of them during the course of my troubleshooting, and all work perfectly fine... they only start acting up when the ionizer is near one.

This thing is tiny. 7 ¾" x 7 ½" x 1 ½", weighs little over a pound. I likewise find it hard to believe something so small can be so dangerous. I was previously using much larger and power-hungry air purifiers with noisy fans, UV-C lights, and HEPA filters. They also had integrated ionizers, but weaker compared to what this new dedicated ionizer is supposed to put out. Though I've run both of the old ones in the same room, along with an ultrasonic humidifier simultaneously without issue. No static, surges, interference, or even dust. They were just annoyingly loud and costly to run.

Some interesting info here Frequnecy Asked Questions - https://technology-ionization.simco-ion.com/resources/faqs

Wondering if it's a good idea to run an ionizer alongside a humidifier. They seem to contradict each other. After it fried those adapters for my ultrasonic diffuser I actually brought up a large whole-house humidifier, which I'm running in the other room. Trying to keep the humidity high to scare away coronavirus anyway. The static isn't as bad, but it's still there, and the other aforementioned problems still persist. So moisturizing the air seems like only a band-aid.

Perhaps I should try running it off the UPS on battery power? That should prove it's not a recently developed issue in my panel.
 

Megawatt

-
Arms
Advent Win
I have a multimeter. Also a UPS where I can confirm some of the measurements. All outlets read a normal 120V(±1). I've actually thoroughly inspected all of them during the course of my troubleshooting, and all work perfectly fine... they only start acting up when the ionizer is near one.

This thing is tiny. 7 ¾" x 7 ½" x 1 ½", weighs little over a pound. I likewise find it hard to believe something so small can be so dangerous. I was previously using much larger and power-hungry air purifiers with noisy fans, UV-C lights, and HEPA filters. They also had integrated ionizers, but weaker compared to what this new dedicated ionizer is supposed to put out. Though I've run both of the old ones in the same room, along with an ultrasonic humidifier simultaneously without issue. No static, surges, interference, or even dust. They were just annoyingly loud and costly to run.

Some interesting info here Frequnecy Asked Questions - https://technology-ionization.simco-ion.com/resources/faqs

Wondering if it's a good idea to run an ionizer alongside a humidifier. They seem to contradict each other. After it fried those adapters for my ultrasonic diffuser I actually brought up a large whole-house humidifier, which I'm running in the other room. Trying to keep the humidity high to scare away coronavirus anyway. The static isn't as bad, but it's still there, and the other aforementioned problems still persist. So moisturizing the air seems like only a band-aid.

Perhaps I should try running it off the UPS on battery power? That should prove it's not a recently developed issue in my panel.
JC I feel for you, I have never heard of anything like that going on with a room ionizer. I’m curious about the ionizer killing the corona virus. I hope you get this problem fixed, if you are getting bit by static why don’t you wear surgical gloves and I’m sorry I cannot help you. I been thinking and if you had a open neutral it would have showed up before you bought this product. I’m speechless. I hope you get your problem worked out. If you don’t mind let us know how it turns out.
 

freddo

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Arms
Supporter
Esteemed
Most ionizers just use a voltage multiplier made up of capacitors and diodes connected to the mains to generate high voltage, I've never seen one with a plug in power supply. What is the model?
 

DPG

-
Arms
Esteemed
Advent Win
Most ionizers just use a voltage multiplier made up of capacitors and diodes connected to the mains to generate high voltage, I've never seen one with a plug in power supply. What is the model?
Cockroft Walton multiplier.
 

static zap

-
Advent Win
I think you are getting your single polarity ioniser mixed up with dual polarity ones.
From Wiki
(ESD) ioniser (balanced ion generator) used to neutralise static charge ..!!!
..Simple single polarity one will build charge .. Especially if they hiss aggressively with -Co..-Discharge
(Co..== Unpopular phrase at the moment)
Vague memories that Negative ions were meant to give you a lift..
(Don't forget Ions are related to free radicals = if not the same)
.. That lead to the sudden disappearance of plenty of cheap ionisers ..
 

Lucien Nunes

-
Mentor
Arms
Esteemed
It also causes the frequency to spike by 2-3hz by intervals of around as many seconds.
This is basically impossible, since the frequency of all line power everywhere on the network is identical, and your ioniser cannot be speeding up the generation plants all over the USA. Therefore something is wrong with that measurement, and hence possibly with other measurements too.

Be sure to distinguish between static charge / discharge phenomena (e.g. sparks and shocks from isolated metal items and from your body to ground) and power line AC phenomena (e.g. other appliances burning up, breakers tripping). Since the ioniser is isolated from the AC line by the wall wart / adaptor, it cannot directly cause high power AC line problems. Likewise, charge cannot 'build up' in the AC line circuit. You may have a separate problem with your wiring that appears to have been caused by the ioniser but is actually unrelated.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15
I think you are getting your single polarity ioniser mixed up with dual polarity ones.
From Wiki
(ESD) ioniser (balanced ion generator) used to neutralise static charge ..!!!
..Simple single polarity one will build charge .. Especially if they hiss aggressively with -Co..-Discharge
(Co..== Unpopular phrase at the moment)
Vague memories that Negative ions were meant to give you a lift..
(Don't forget Ions are related to free radicals = if not the same)
.. That lead to the sudden disappearance of plenty of cheap ionisers ..
Thanks for clearing that up. Actually had a hunch that might be the case. The device does hiss and pop. Guess I should be calling it a negative ion generator. Wasn't cheap though.
 
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