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Old 03-05-2013, 01:08 AM   #1
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Circuit Breaker Arcs, Buzzs and Lights Flicker HELP!


I should set this up. I just moved back into my parents house, into my old room in which I had the excact same setup, minus a tower computer. (Im only staying here for a month with my wife until we finish our house BTW!!!)

My room has a 32 LCD, Onkyo Amp/Receiver, XBOX super nintendo (badass right), TIVO, and my computer. Of course the tv and reciever are always on, but usually only 1 other component is on at the same time. The computer is plugged into a small monster surge protector made for computers. Everything else is plugged into another HUGE monster surge protector which is plugged into a seperate outlet from computer.

I will also say that tied to this room is the next room over, which has some celing lights and small mini (dorm type) fridge. My estimates by what my surge protector says I am using plus the other room, I am maybe using 10 amps of the 20 amp breaker this is attached to.

Anyway, from day 1 the lights in the room would flicker. The fans in my computer I can also hear slowing down and then spinning back up. I told my father and he said I was drawing too much power. As I stated before everything is the same from when I lived here 5 years ago aside from the computer. Also I had the same set up at the condo I lived in and never once had any light flicker or any kind of an issue. This can not be right also because one night I had everything off in my room aside from a small desktop fan while I was sleeping. I kept hearing the fan slowdown and then spin back up like it was losing power and then powering back up! Also there have been times the lights have flickered when nothing else was on, so I do not believe it has to do with drawing too much power.

The breaker never trips when this happens, although it has before when my wife decided to use a blow dryer and straightener in the room while everything else was going. However, normal use, it never trips. But I noticed one day I could hear this generic sparking, buzzing arcing noise coming from the breaker box as I saw the lights flickering.

This is a video of that is happening in the breaker box, while the lights are flickering.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEmiA...ature=youtu.be

Sorry my hand is a little shaky, I was holding my phone next to it and was a little spooked. The spark is coming out the end of the breaker where the wire goes in. I notice he has it double tapped which I know isnt up to code, but it was like that before. Could it be the screw isnt tight enough? Or would you say I might need to make him buy a new breaker?

He is kinda blowing me off like it doesnt matter because Ill be gone soon and there wont be any kind of power draw from this room, but I feel like its a safety issue that needs to be addressed. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 03-05-2013, 05:30 AM   #2
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Circuit Breaker Arcs, Buzzs and Lights Flicker HELP!


I think you answered your own question. And for Gods sake, do something. Fire flying is BAD if you don't know why. Shut the breaker off and put a screwdriver on the screw. If it is/was loose, you are probably good to go. If it was not loose, have the circuit breaker changed out; it has failed.

It looks to me like a loose connection though. Do something about it now, or have it done if you are not capable.

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Old 03-05-2013, 08:58 AM   #3
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Circuit Breaker Arcs, Buzzs and Lights Flicker HELP!


Theres your problem right there. Your panel has been recalled....

It's a Federal Pacific.
https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...EJDE0AGamIG4DA

Your lights are probably flickering and the breaker arcing because they have a known issue for not tripping during a short circuit/overload, and not making a good connection to the bus bars to the breaker, causing heat and arcing.

I suggest you call an electrician. If not for your sake, and putting your electronics aside, for the safety of your parents. Whether you do that or not, I feel I had to suggest it anyway so I don't beat myself up if something was to happen and a fire started. These panels are ticking time bombs waiting to happen, and many fires have started.

If electricity is used and wired properly, there will never be a problem, and it can be your best friend. Give it a chance to "escape" or cause a problem, and all hell breaks loose......

Last edited by seansy59; 03-05-2013 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:09 AM   #4
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Circuit Breaker Arcs, Buzzs and Lights Flicker HELP!


The house was built in the 50's. Is this recall even on a house this old?
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:13 AM   #5
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Circuit Breaker Arcs, Buzzs and Lights Flicker HELP!


All Federal Pacific panels are recalled. They cheated on UL listing back when they were manufactured just so they can sell. Therefore, they were manufactured improperly and are not safe.
Nowadays, they found out they are serious problems

You can read the entire article here if your interested,
http://www.allabouthomes.com/FedPacPan.pdf
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Circuit Breaker Arcs, Buzzs and Lights Flicker HELP!-fed-pac.jpg  

Last edited by seansy59; 03-05-2013 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:35 AM   #6
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Circuit Breaker Arcs, Buzzs and Lights Flicker HELP!


I think I have fixed the issue. It seemed the screw was loose. I tightened it. And when I turned everything on in my room the light didn't even flicker like normAl.

As for the panel, I think my father knows because he was looking to up the power for a hot tub I remember him being surprised of te price for a brand new box.

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