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Old 01-19-2009, 08:41 PM   #16
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Bedroom lights dim w/microwave


Oh, ok, sorry

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Old 01-19-2009, 11:02 PM   #17
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Bedroom lights dim w/microwave


The stove is a gas stove, pluged into a 20amp circuit. The microwave was hooked up to a 15amp light circut. Its much better now thats its on the outlet circuit, then the previous way.
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Old 01-20-2009, 12:10 AM   #18
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Just get an electrician already.
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:34 AM   #19
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In my township a HOer residing in their primary residence for more than 6 months may do all their own electrical work, pull rough-in permits, and final permits. I am re-wiring the entire house room-by-room and now consider myself competent to run the new wiring to NEC 2008 requirements. I'm not a weekend DIYer (but cheers to them!), I work full time renovating my home.

However, I am not an experienced electrician so troubleshooting an existing problem with ten decades of hybridized electrical lines is beyond my ability. That's why I posted here, because I can tap into (get it?) the extensive experience of the folks who share their time and expertise.

Bottom line: I'm here to learn something.
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:30 AM   #20
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Bedroom lights dim w/microwave


It may just be a bad neutral connection on a mwbc.

Any other loads (space heaters, ac, furnace, etc.) cause dimming/brightening?
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:53 AM   #21
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Given the electrical in this house I would count on multiple points of failure. I will check on what sides the neutrals are on and report back.

Also, we have run a fairly high draw space heater on the same circuit as the lights and it does not cause the lights to dim.
Very soon you're going need a voltmeter, and perhaps a clamp-on ammeter, in addition to a 1A load (a ~120w bulb) and a ~10A load (a toaster or hair dryer). Don't get a tester with a neon bulb inside. If your meter includes a capacitance measuring range, so much the better.

If this stuff costs $100, and the cost of an electrician's service call is $300, you should do it yourself if your odds of finding the problem, with or without the assistance of forums, are better than 100/300.
If you want to raise your odds, get a "nerd" from a nearby high school or college to help you. For some stuff, you kind of have to be there.

But emer. room visits are costly, so research electrical safety first. Everyone knows about shock danger, but watch out for arc flash. At a minimum wear eye protection.

Wearing sneakers (think "insulator") I stood on an aluminum ladder on top of dry WW carpet on top of dry wood and was touching the hot (black) lead of an energized 120v conductor.
A guy walks in and says, "Aren't you touching the hot lead?"
I said, "Yes, and since I'm not getting a shock I must not be grounded."
It's the same reason birds can sit on a power line.

But I still could have passed current through my fingers, not through my chest; how?

/signed/
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and proud of it.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 01-20-2009 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:49 PM   #22
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Bedroom lights dim w/microwave


One fairly simple test would be to by-pass the dimmer completely. Turn off the breaker that feeds it, remove it from the box, wirenut the two wires in the box together, turn the breaker back on.

The lights will be on, and directly across the lines, just as if a standard switch were on. Now start the microwave. If the lights still dim, you'll need to keep looking. If not, then it's just the dimmer not being able to handle the slight voltage drop.

Rob
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:12 PM   #23
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One fairly simple test would be to by-pass the dimmer completely. Turn off the breaker that feeds it, remove it from the box, wirenut the two wires in the box together, turn the breaker back on.

The lights will be on, and directly across the lines, just as if a standard switch were on. Now start the microwave. If the lights still dim, you'll need to keep looking. If not, then it's just the dimmer not being able to handle the slight voltage drop.

Rob
Good call
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:21 PM   #24
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Bedroom lights dim w/microwave


Quote:
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One fairly simple test would be to by-pass the dimmer completely. Turn off the breaker that feeds it, remove it from the box, wirenut the two wires in the box together, turn the breaker back on.

The lights will be on, and directly across the lines, just as if a standard switch were on. Now start the microwave. If the lights still dim, you'll need to keep looking. If not, then it's just the dimmer not being able to handle the slight voltage drop.

Rob
Ok, Sounds like fun. But I am not quite sure how to do this. Currently, what is in the 'box' is a remote controlled, battery operated control for the ceiling fan [dimmer switch for light, low, med, high for fan]. Hot and neutral feed into the box from the source and fan operates on a switch leg. It's been 18 months since I've had this box open, so I'll take a peak tonight to see how it's currently wired.

I feel like CSI: Electrical (cue music!)
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:45 PM   #25
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CSI: Electrical......I love that one! In reality, that is exactly what it is. I really enjoy troubleshooting. My favorite is huge industrial systems with tons of wires, many different voltages. lots o' fun!

My mistake, I thought it was a wall switch. When you get the box open, you'll see a hot feed from the ceiling. It'll likely have a black and white. If it's knob and tube, they might both look kinda black, and this might be part of the problem. More on this later.

The white (neutral) will go to the white of the fan/light, and the controller. The controller will have three more wires coming out of it (4 total, maybe a ground as well). It's been a while since I've put one of these in, so I don't remember the color code, but you'll need to find which wire goes to the light fixture, remove it from the controller, and wirenut it to the hot (black) in the ceiling box. Make sure that the light wire you disconnected from the controller is isolated. You can leave the fan wire connected.

This will by-pass the controller completely, and the light will be on anytime the breaker is on.

If both wires in the ceiling box are the same color, it's possible that the hot has been spliced to the common of the fan/light, and the neutral is being controlled. If this is the case, it's possible that once properly connected, the dimming problem will be less noticeable.

Rob
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:59 AM   #26
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Thanks for the help. This is fun.

K&T, yes. Is there an newbie proof way to make sure I didn't misconnect the hot/neutral?
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Old 01-21-2009, 06:13 PM   #27
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Bedroom lights dim w/microwave


Ok, so I went to look at my Master bedroom switch.

See the remote box with the face plate removed: http://www.diychatroom.com/members/l...er-removed.jpg

This is the wiring as it currently exists: http://www.diychatroom.com/members/l...453-wiring.jpg

SO -FYI my Santronics AC tester does not light up at the wire-nutted connection regardless of whether the light is on or not. And, yes, I tested my tester first - it's working.

Pros, the ball is in your court. What in the name of Volta is going on?
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:49 PM   #28
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Bedroom lights dim w/microwave


Very likely the switch in the wall box is a battery powered remote control. Just like the handheld type. It should work whether it's in the box or not.

The 2 wires in the wall box are called a 'switch drop'. Here's how it was originally wired up. The power wires (hot and neutral) are in the ceiling box. There may be more than one; one feed in, and one or more feeds out to other boxes. The other end of the wires in the wall box are in the ceiling box as well.

Usually, the white to the switch is spliced to the blacks (hots) in the ceiling box. (This is one of the few times a white wire can be made hot, more later). Therefore, the white in the switch box is hot. The white and black are tied to the switch. This way, (here's the more later stuff), in the ceiling box there's the whites from the power feed, and a black controlled by the switch. Easy to splice a fixture onto.

Most likely in your case, the switch wires were disconnected in the ceiling box, hence no voltage reading. The fan/light controller gets its power from the existing feed in the ceiling box.

Rob

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