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[Build Log] Apartment Network and Security

Well, decided to run this build log here for the apartment as I explore networking and security.

I will be referencing both @Biky @PhaseLockedLoop as a guide while I learn and implement home security as well as self hosted services.

I did run into a small hiccup in my network in my office. I was limited to 100mbs (Fast ethernet) speeds… I had to do some digging through my network interfaces, devices, cables etc… Turns out it was a “Fast ethernet” run to one of the network ports in my office. I wondered why there was two cable and ethernet ports in each room… seems that it was originally wired for fast ethernet…then instead of replacing the cable with better cat 5e, they installed new ports… on opposite sides of the rooms. I got lucky in the livingroom I guess with placement of my TV, but not so much with the placement of the desk in my office…lol 50/50 shot.

I now have to limbo beneath a ethernet cable…lol

I discovered this when I was using my main pc for game updates and downloads. I only have 100/120mbs down to 10mbs up connection. I noticed when I tried to run plex and stream a video it wouldn’t buffer and was stuttering. This is what got me looking into a problem. I knew my gear was all at least 1G, so I went snooping for the problem.

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Well hiccup number two… I have gfi breakers in my office rated a 15 amps for every outlet and the ceiling fan. When gaming on my pc with the 1200w psu OCed 8086k and 2080ti it trips the breaker…
So I have two possible solutions. 1.) I have a short in my pc (somewhere?)
2.) The breaker is weak and old and doesn’t like the changes is current spikes etc.

Notes: This is not a instant fault. It only happens after playing a game or doing demanding workloads for random periods from 4 hours to 30 minutes depending on how it feels.

I’m leaning towards the breaker being weak because it is random and not instant. I’ve checked over components in my pc 4 times over for heat or smells that shouldn’t be there…and any possible water leaks (I also considered a uv dye in the future after a loop is sealed for just such occasions…but I digress) and have found nothing wrong.

As a test I am running my “Blackout” build with the 750w psu, 2070 Super and 3600xt as a test to see how long it runs.

I may attempt to run my Intel Beast on a different 20amp non gfi circuit to see how it runs.

Unless something got damaged in the move (which I doubt) I can’t see why all the sudden my pc would take a dump…

Another note…the PC seemed to game fine for a few days till we got some rain… I know Gfi breakers can be finicky, especially with humidity, so maybe that contributed. Also, this building is OLD…so I doubt these breakers we changed anytime recently…

Either way, testing is in progress… we will see how it goes.

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I’ll second the breaker. I had the exact same problem in my old apartment and it was the breaker.

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I have no idea how easy it is to replace a US breaker, but it is probably easier than to blindly diagnose the PC.

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It’s quite easy

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It’s easy if you have the master off in the unit… I do not or I’d just buy and swap one.

So far “Blackout” hasn’t tripped the breaker and I have everything else plugged in. I got some gaming a benches going a while and no issues.

Really hope it’s not the Intel Beast. I may put in a work order for a replacement of the breaker if I can. I may also try my wife’s hair dryer to see if it’s a issue.

A 1200w psu should only pull 10 amps max at 120v according to ohms law. And that MAXXXX. So I should have room there with the 15amp breaker. The ceiling fan is probably a amp and the rest is low power like a switch and a pi…

I bounce back and forth, but I can’t see the hardware having a fault as it worked flawlessly till the move then about a week at the appt… and the appt I know is older. I see teamed fuses for laundry etc. instead of larger fuses. The whole kitchen is on a single breaker… glad I didn’t bring my stereo… I’d be popping breakers in the livingroom lol

So still up in the air, but I do have a rig up and running so that’s progress.

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Some of these places are wired wierd or just plain wrong. The issue I had in my old place was that the breakers weren’t tied to rooms. A single run off a breaker would traverse like three different rooms and have seemingly random outlet drops.

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Definitely replace the breaker. US breakers are shit.

is it the gfi or the breaker that’s tripping? If breaker, it’s the breaker. If gfi, replace ideally, or remove the gfi outlet.

Turn the breaker off and yank it. It’s how electricians do it. I’ve done it probably a dozen times.

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How much do you know about the inner workings of a breaker? It’s pretty much just a nichrome wire that when overdrawn, completes a circuit causing the breaker to trip. A sufficiently old breaker could wear down and be effectively operating under spec.

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Honestly not too much. Relays, yes and automotive fuses, but not breakers, well besides the ones we well “modified” overseas to make things work in a pinch…lol

I did learn a ton and pick up a “uglys” guide for my knowledge back then using mixed 120 and 220 with multiple different phase generators, but in the move its buried in the garage. I figured it can wear out like a contact… it can only have so much current so long before electricity or chemical reaction does wear.

I may follow your advice and just yank the thing. I know what’s hot and what’s ground and I can insulate what I don’t want to touch. Then just line it up and jam it in with it open, then close it. I must be getting more wary in my old age lol… or my nuts shrunk. Lol :laughing:

It’s the breaker that has gf built in. I may have used the wrong terminology, brains a bit fuzzy. :flushed:

If you’re concerned or uncomfortable, you could call the building manager and say “hey, my breaker keeps tripping at current levels well under what it’s rated for, can you get someone out here to replace it please” and they’ll do it for you.

Ahh. I’m not super familiar with those. Dont have em in my house. Just the GFCI outlets.

If it started happening after rain, I can share the following tale: we had GFCI in the garage that kept going every time it was rainy. Garage, right so no big deal. Well, the core switch for the whole house is on that unit, and the storage freezer. We thought it was a bad GFCI, so we replaced it. Alright, sweet. 2 weeks later, right back to it, so we killed the breaker and started searching for the mystery load that was tripping it. Turns out, after 3 weeks of searching, a prior owner had run a line off that breaker to the outdoor lights and one of the junction boxes (supposedly waterproof) sit below the flood line when it rained, causing the breaker to trip due to an actual short. The strange thing is it wouldn’t pop immediately, it took a couple days, so we didn’t really put 2 and 2 together.

Electricity is a cruel mistress.

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If a contractor can do it I am sure you can manage lol

Also, just call the building manager

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I had a breaker issue for my hot water heater circuit - last place i checked, and of course I replaced my hot water heating element first.

My house at the time was 60 years old. The breaker just snaps out so you can take it to HD or LWs and match - if it is available still. When you look at the breaker you may see some white powder indicating corrosion.

My house had a fair amount of DIY activity from former owners - as SgtAwesomesauce points out DIY and electrical mods can lead to frustration. I also found a series of outlets that were not grounded from a DIY wiring run.

With a GF breaker it may not be due to old age, but may just be defective in some way.

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I’m starting to re-think some of my infrastructure.

Right now I have the fractal 804 asrock rack x470d4u that’s a file server and VM machine. I also have the Dell T420 that has the same function and redundant data copy.
I’m thinking I should have a dedicated NAS for file serving to VMs and the like and have one machine as the back up.
I was really hoping to build a itx system, but the cases are stupid expensive. As is any small form factor case with 6-8 3.5in bays, add in the hotswap feature your looking at $250 plus US.
I keep going back to the node 304 as the cheapest option and the problem I run into is I have a amd x470 itx board I can use, but I’d need a “G” amd chip to not require a discret gpu. I might like that pcie slot avaliable for a 10g card I have but it has to be low profile to fit in the 304.
I considered the SilverStone Technology CS380 that’s 8 bays and hotswaps…again $250.
I guess the option is to not be cheap and just get a case that will last. I also considered a 2.5in case for a ssd nas, but that’s a bit overkill for my needs just starting out.
I have to figure out more processes for redundancy of data that’s automated like rsync, as well as updates. I’m still learning networking and picked up a book on “cisco networking” for dummies that is much more detailed than the previous book that includes cli commands for setup. As I have two cisco switches it’s been fun to learn.
I still am waiting in a new breaker in my office and don’t want to use any high dollar equipment till that’s fixed and stable.
Which brings to mind wanting a good consumer grade UPS that can send a power down signal to my equipment to shut down.
And I still need to centralize and set up my server messages so I can get alerts to problems…

All in all I’m ADDing it a bit for some reason… I’ll have to focus to get something done soon I hope. Till then I’m continuing to read and learn.

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Costco has a decent UPS for $99. You can even set up automatic shutdown with them if you are so inclined.

In fact I would get one first before you buy anything else. A lot of PSU deaths can be solved by just having clean power.

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Many UPS don’t really do much to condition the power beyond what a cheap surge protected power strip will do.
Normally they just pass through whatever comes in until they detect weirdness, which is when they flip a relay to switch over to output from the battery inverter.

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Are the “signwave” UPS worth it? I think I’d be looking at needing 6 outlets protected by battery backup… but just long enough to gracefully shut down everything. I would have to learn how to do this on each machine I’m figuring with SMTP? Maybe I got that wrong.

Also, a follow up on the power situation. It appears to be the breaker. My Intel Beast with the 1200w psu (Over Kill I know) works fine on another circuit, and the 750w "Blackout ssf PSU has yet to trip the breaker under the same loads. So it appears the breaker is to blame.

ASUS ROG X570-i with the 3600XT is pretty snappy… and I dont know if 3000’s got a new chip driver, or windows optimization but after I switched one of the bios settings shes running nice and cool at roughly 34C on a custom loop that might be too small for the CPU and GPU on a 280mm 54mm thick hardware labs rad in push with 2 140’s and pull with 2 120x15mm notuas (case constraints I had to compromise but adjusted curves for a negative air flow though the rad but positive for the case :slight_smile: and I run the air flow totally different from recommended diagram…AND the front cut bezel from ModMyMods.com is amazng for allowing more flow. (which seems to be rectified in the 2nd version they have out now, not just the Air mesh version, but a redesigned chassis. lol But it’s been a champ. Now I can just get a Linux distro to play nice with it…when it first came out it was really hit and miss but it’s been over a year so I’m sure it’s more likely to work properly.

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[ Not a professional/trained electrical engineer, I just grew up with one and had 2 semesters of it at university that i barely remember in pursuit of a software engineering degree ]

True sine wave doesn’t cost anything extra to make these days.

It’s all just SMPS designers reading poorly written specs with poorly specified tolerances messing with other SMPS designers doing the same.

You’re not going to be attaching an old school AC motor directly so it doesn’t really matter.

It just means there’s a microcontroller somewhere in there that adjusts some pwm duty cycle in order to shift some reference voltage on some vrm or transistor in order to compensate for voltage sag swells on the inverter output to make the voltage looking like a sine wave.

Very old designs used to have analog circuitry to correct sag/swell, and output was a trapeze.

Doing these oscilator + op amp based designs at scale used to result in cheaper products up until 20 years ago. These days, it turns that for a particular application, you can punch in different parameters into a microcontrollers that can do this simple math on the fly 99% as well, and cost like 10c, and it’s cheaper that hiring a company to do ICs or components for you, it’s often cheaper than hiring engineers to do this in house.


Chances are, you’re feeding this more-or-less sine-wave-y output, into a power supply that’s been tuned to be most efficient taking in anything between 30-90 Hz and between 70 and 400V.


You should get a sine wave one, if you can.
Because it’s newer and likely more efficient/better behaved than whatever left over ICs someone pulled from a free parts bin 10years ago to make the non sine wave design.


The APC ups I used was serial over USB.

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Hey bro,

If you need any help with the network configuration/ architecture just @ me.

I used to be a software engineer in the networking industry. and will be happy to help you!

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Is this able to send out a network message to shut down all my equipment? 3 to 5 pcs?

Thanks for this, I am just learning and kind of ADDing it at the moment, but once I settle in I will start working on my priorities and seek advice on my priorities. Again thank you.