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As stated by Hermione- the fact that electricity does not work at Hogwarts is described in "Hogwarts: A History":

"Aren't you two ever going to read Hogwarts: A History?"

"What's the point?" said Ron. "You know it by heart, we can just ask you."

"All those substitutes for magic Muggles use - electricity, computers, and radar, and all those things - they all go haywire around Hogwarts, there's too much magic in the air.

How was this fact established?

Wizards are pretty oblivious to technological devices, so they would not care bringing one at Hogwarts.

There is no electrical power supply in Hogwarts so actually most of the devices will not work due to lack of power. Eventually battery-powered devices could be tried but still this would not be a conclusive proof that all electrical devices don't work.

Note: I realise that this "magic disturbs electrical devices" is most probably caused by the wish of Rowling to keep the magical world "clean" of technology. So an out-ot-universe answer is also OK.

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    Arthur Weasley dropped by with his collection of spark plugs. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 27 '16 at 14:03
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    I wonder what would happen if you rubbed a balloon in your hair at Hogwarts? – IllusiveBrian Feb 27 '16 at 17:26
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    @vap78 namfuak that is already addressed on this site scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/33963/… – Skooba Feb 27 '16 at 17:33
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    to quote Ricahrd - scifi.stackexchange.com/users/20774/richard - I think this is a case where the tail is wagging the dog. There's no sensible explanation because the reason (worldbuilding-wise) is that JKR didn't want modern electronics in her magical school of wizardry – Skooba Feb 27 '16 at 17:45
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    How did they find out? Well all Muggle-born wizards are likely to bring something electrical, and they'd find out. It doesn't say on the welcome letter "Don't bring electrical items," and I'm sure they aren't banned. People like Harry, Hermione and Dean Thomas are bound to shove a portable radio or a Gameboy or something in their luggage - it is probably a lesson learned on a regular basis by a new generation of those from a Muggle background. – ThruGog Feb 27 '16 at 21:28
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Imagine this: a muggle born student comes to Hogwarts near the end of the ninteenth century. The lightbulb is just becoming a thing, and they can't help but think that surely a magical school would have them. Heck, Mr. Edison was even called "The Wizard of Menlo Park". That's seems to be a big hint!

But then they arrive. There is no hint of electrcity. They are surprised, but not too much. After all, it is an old castle. They might casually mention it to their friends, who realize that they have a good point. Eventually, the teachers find out. They look into it, and it seems cool, even though Edison is merely a really clever Muggle. They decide to try it out. One of them buys a couple of lightbulbs and some sort of hand-cranked electric generator (I'm sure they could find one somewhere). They bring it to Hogwarts, everyone all excited, even the snobbish purebloods, and try to get it to work. For second, the lightbulb glows prettily. Everyone oohs and ahs. Then, it promptly explodes. Just in case it was a fluke, they try it again. Still doesn't work. Convinced that electricty will never amount to a thing, they give up trying.

Zoom ahead to a few years. People pretty much accept there's no electricity at Hogwarts now, as even if it would work, they somehow would have to casually subscribe to an electric company to provide it with power without anyone noticing; after all, muggles only see a decrepit ruin saying "Danger! Do not enter, unsafe!" (GoF Chapter 11 pg 166). It would be hard to explain to a muggle contractor that you need to wire a decrepit ruin, and furthermore, that the ruin would run up a high electric bill monthly.

However, they do notice the presence of electric things. As seen in this: https://web.archive.org/web/20060316221619/http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/faq_view.cfm?id=81

archived FAQ with Rowling, the camera and radio are both adapted to work around magic. Therefore, they must have realized at some point that magic messes with electricity. As electricity mainly is ruined by the overbearing presence of magic, it would only really matter in places like Hogwarts or the Ministry of Magic, which is why it would only be included in text such as "Hogwarts: A History", explaining why Ron wouldn't realize that bugging Rita Skeeter (GoF, Chapter 28, page 547 in my edition) is pointless.

Still, only children who are aware magic exist would know that electricty doesn't tend to work around it. Muggle-borns would probably bring all their electronics with them, blissfully unaware until their iPhones explode, much to the entertainment of their wizard/witch friends. This is how at least wizard children are kept aware of progressing technology in the world. As far as adults go, most don't care, but there is always the occasional Arthur Weasley who will go and collect plugs and batteries (GoF, Chapter 4, page 46 my edition) and whatnot.

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    It's a valid theory, but we're always looking for actual references from source material here, not speculation or fan theories. Can you provide any citations for your theory? – Singular1ty Mar 2 '16 at 2:06
  • @Singular1ty with the absence of a clear canon source it is ok to make logical assumptions. – vap78 Mar 4 '16 at 15:57

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