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Old 10-25-2012, 09:14 PM   #16
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electrical gremlins


Bernie, the tech that came out was here for all of 10 minutes. my wife said the test he ran took all of 30 seconds.... no way to check for an intermittent. but he was kind to my wife, which means a lot in my book... but I digress... we take a lot of lightning strikes around our place. we have lost a direct buried CATV line along the same path as our electrical feed, at least one tree we can say for sure, and had a car take a strike in front of the house... that one left a hole about three by four inches and 3/4" deep... plus a dozen or so quarter and dime size pock marks in the asphalt.

I checked and tightened all the connections on the stove (man it gets dirty back there) and still having the same issue... I want to ask my electrician if he has a clamp on with recording monitor so I can get a record over several days. several years ago, when I first put in a small UPS for the computer, we logged over 100 power events in about 24 hours. I don't figure the supply has gotten any better since then...

I'm certain I'll be labeled a pest at the POCO before this is all over...

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Old 10-25-2012, 09:17 PM   #17
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It is going to be hard, but try to give them a call when it is giving you problems. That would be the absolute best time to troubleshoot the problem.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:50 PM   #18
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I had a friend call last week with the same symptoms. Went and did a visual and found the main breaker to buss connection was loose. I could see discoloration on the buss and the SE conductors showed overheating also. New panel was installed. All connections torqued and existing breakers minus the main were reused.
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Old 10-28-2012, 06:45 AM   #19
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well, after changing out a number of breakers a little at a time, we have been 24+ hours without the selective power loss. if I had to guess, I'd put my money on the breaker for the stove... I am still not convinced that the dirty power grid around here didn't have some cause, but for now, the gremilins were in the breakers.

again, thanks to all for all the good suggestions. the upside of the exercise is that we have upgraded breakers and the connections in the panel are tight. I'll be replacing the rest of the original breakers so hopefully the gremlins will stay away for a good long time...

David
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:14 AM   #20
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This is not a bad neutral condition.

It's not the stove breaker. Switching on a stove element only backfeeds the bad incoming line to make the lights appear to work again.

But during that condition, the stove burner should not get hot. And the lights that appear to be working again are not getting full voltage.

You have a bad main problem, either on the power company side, or at your main breaker.

The way to determine which is to test for 240 Volts on the main breaker lugs while the condition is manifesting itself.

If you have 240 volts there, and the lighting circuit is acting up, then calling the POCO is a waste of time. Check for a bad main breaker, or bad connection(s) on the main bus assembly.

OTOH, if there is not 240 volts there, then nothing you do with or in your panel is going fix it, since the problem is outside and under the POCO's jurisdiction.

Don't waste time and money changing out parts that may or may not be defective. Determine where the problem is first, and then address fixing it.
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:47 AM   #21
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KBSparky, thank you for your comments. I have a call into a local electrician to test the main.
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:28 AM   #22
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Sometimes, that is the best course of action.

I have been called in desperation by customers who have spent hundreds of dollars replacing working parts trying to fix things on their own, only to discover their repairs did not solve the problem.

I ended up calling the POCO who fixed the problem on their end for FREE.

But sometimes you have to baby-sit them to get `em off their butts and test all their connections. If you present them with prima-facia evidence of a problem on their end, that usually gets `em serious about finding/fixing it.
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:58 AM   #23
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replacing the breakers was the POCOs idea... I changed out the ones I did to show them that the problem was not in the house... I probably won't hear back from my electrician until all the damage from Sandy has passed. we are right in the main path and will be terribly surprised if we keep power through tonight. as far as the money spent so far, $50 in breakers is worth a little peace of mind... even if we still need to track down the cause of the problem...

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