Instructables

Can flipping a circuit breaker causes a laptop to fry?

My friend is blaming me for frying his laptop because i supposedly flipped the circuit breaker... I know from a basic knowledge of electronics and electricity that when you turn the breaker off and then back on, you just cut the electricity and it is restored...so this shouldn't cause any problems for electronics... but is it possible that the power block for the laptop can't handle the sudden off and on of the current, and then short, sending more current to the laptop, causing it to "fry"?

Your friend's laptop is not likely "fried." There's something wrong with it, I presume, and it's most-likely fixable. I don't know the symptoms their machine is experiencing, but some (like my own) aren't too tolerant of sudden loss of power. Like if he had the battery out or it was nearly drained and the AC power was cut. If that happens, my machine will refuse to come on again until the battery is in and recharged to about 25%, whether or not it is plugged in. There are other scenarios, but again... I don't know the symptoms.
basically it won't turn on...beyond that i have no idea... he is demanding that i pay for a replacement...like hell i will... he didn't even have it on a surge protector, and no warranty...
A quick trip to the repair shop should identify the problem . Look for a small private computer repair shop that deals in laptops, preferably someone who deals in mostly laptops. Have your friend drop in down there and let them diagnose the problem. Odds are, it's something simple.
110100101105 years ago
if there was big inductive load (fridge / air conditioner / big transformer etc) on the same circuit it might make a high voltage kick at the moment you flipped the breaker off this kick cannot be created if there are no such loads on the same breaker the laptop power block is designed to stand (remain ok itself and protect the computer) against such kicks i dont think you could make any harm to it with the breaker
Mighty Mackinac (author)  110100101105 years ago
He has a fairly nice sound system, a tv, and PS3 on the same wall fixture...would that cause some damage? i think that stuff is on a surge protector...i don't know why he did have his laptop on one...
other electronics cannot make it. there has to be fridge / working washing machine / air conditioner / etc on the same breaker to make a surge of high voltage surge protector should protect everything downstream from it against kicks that go thru it. it does not protect against kicks made after it the laptop itself is still protected enough against surges like that (they are not that powerfull) thought - fuses in power blocks sometimes blow on their own (usually when plugged in) without actual reason (there was no short or something). if he continued to run on battery after that he emptied the battery and now there is no power in the computer. thats very rare though
NachoMahma5 years ago
. Due to inrush current, a LOT of electrical items die when first powered up. . As BinaryBoy points out, cycling power to inductive loads can cause a transient voltage spike in the wiring. . So, yes, there is a chance that you hastened the demise of his computer. :( . But as BB also points out, most (expensive) equipment that is sensitive to such things has some protection built-in. . If cycling the breaker caused his laptop to crap out, it was probably, but not certainly, going to fail soon anyway, but he has good reason to suspect that you did the damage. . . If "frying" means the computer will turn on but not boot, then there is a VERY good chance that you corrupted his HDD.