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Old 09-20-2012, 01:22 PM   #1
t60
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Flickering Light Issue


I have lights flickering in my house (mostly in the evening), on two circuits (100 amp panel). The flickering happens most noticeably when my OTR microwave is on, but can happen sometimes even when there is no appliance load.

I have had the electrical company come out three separate times, with three separate servicemen, and have watched them check my weatherhead connection, the transformer (which is new) and its connections, and the connection to my panel. They have all said the connection appears to be clean and there are no issues on their end.

I have opened up my panel and re-checked all of the neutral connections along the busbar (only have one in this panel for both neutral and ground). I found one neutral wire that was a bit corroded so I pulled the wire back and re-did the connection, but everything else was fine. I even checked all of the breaker connections, too.

Here is what my panel looks like (this is an exterior facing panel):


As I understand if the panel connections appear to be ok, it is probably a loose connection inside of my house (maybe a bad branch circuit or loose outlet). Is that correct?

I can check the connections, but it will be a pain as the wiring is in my attic and there is blown-in insulation everywhere

Is there anything else I should check in the mean time?

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Old 09-20-2012, 01:26 PM   #2
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Flickering Light Issue


Do lights in several rooms flicker at the same time? In unison?

(most easily noticed with incandescent lighnts)

Have you actuially checked the panel connections for tightness? (Turn off each breaker beofre touching the screw terminal, also unsnap and snap back into position to help clean the connection to the fin underneath. Tighten if necessarey the set screws holding the white wires and ground wires onto the terminal strips (bus bars) also.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 09-20-2012 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:59 PM   #3
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Flickering Light Issue


Whats your location?

One thing I see(or don't see) is an insulated neutral.

Have you always had this problem or is it new?
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:14 PM   #4
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Flickering Light Issue


To answer your questions:

Do lights in several rooms flicker at the same time? In unison?
I haven't done any specific testing on this, but they are around the same time. When I turn the microwave on, my wife tells me she sees the flickering in the room when I see it in the kitchen. Not sure if it's at the exact same moment, but it's very close.

Have you actuially checked the panel connections for tightness?
Yes I have -- I first got all the breakers out of the way, checked and torqued the neutral/ground wires on the busbar, then checked the wiring connected to each of my breakers.

Whats your location?
I live in Pacifica, CA. It's constantly 55 degrees outside (even in summer), and foggy most of the year. I had my panel replaced about three years ago (by a licensed electrician) because one of the legs was shot.

One thing I see(or don't see) is an insulated neutral.
Here's a closer look at the busbar just in case -- I am not sure whether or not there is an insulated neutral, but I guess that's why I'm here asking the pros



Have you always had this problem or is it new?
It's been on and off for the past two years (a year after the panel was replaced). It's not a terrible problem, just annoying to be watching TV and see the lights flicker for a split second every 20-30 minutes.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:58 PM   #5
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Flickering Light Issue


I don't see a neutral from the power company.
How many wires are going into your weather head ?
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:59 PM   #6
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Flickering Light Issue


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I don't see a neutral from the power company.
How many wires are going into your weather head ?
There are three -- two which appear to be the hot wires going to my panel, and one which I presume to be a ground. I looked over at all three of my adjacent neighbors, and they have the same wires on their weatherhead.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:28 PM   #7
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Flickering Light Issue


hey, are any of the lights getting brighter when the dimming lights dim? What brand is that breaker box? three years old and there is surface rust showing. Where is the box located, outside, basement. garage. etc. If you turn off the breaker that controls the lights that are dimming, what else goes out?

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Old 09-20-2012, 06:39 PM   #8
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Flickering Light Issue


Lights do not get brighter, lights only flicker (I wouldn't even call it "dimming" since it happens so quickly). Breaker box is a Murray, and is located on the exterior of my home. Rust is not preventable since the box is outside and I live in a foggy area.

I haven't tried turning off the breakers that control the lights -- there are two circuits this is happening on.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:54 PM   #9
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Flickering Light Issue


hey, is the microwave on either circuit?

I would shut off one breaker on an affected circuit and see if the other continues to have a flickering problem. then reverse the process.

sounds like a loose connection, more than likely a loose connection in a junction box.

are the two circuits on the same leg?

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Old 09-20-2012, 08:13 PM   #10
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Flickering Light Issue


Did they open and check the connection in the meter pan? You mentioned everything else, but loose connections in the meter pan are just as common.
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:35 PM   #11
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Flickering Light Issue


The flat bar on top of the neutral bar, may lead to a lug above.
If you look at the first picture again, you will notice that it may be covered.
I didn't look hard enough the first time.

You, as others have stated, may have a loose or corroded connect.
Might need to have someone check it out for you. Could always call power company first, have them check their end of things.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:55 PM   #12
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Flickering Light Issue


Poor guy, everyone's giving him suggestions he's already done. Question though. When poco was there did they peel the top off that panel and check the neutral as well or just the hots. It may be a corroded main neutral. Other wise you'll have to start checking all your device connections which is unfortunate. I don't see a whole lot of single branch circuits there so its highly probable the your house has a lot of near capacity circuits in it. It could just be an issue of someone putting way too much stuff all together and deciding to throw a otr on there too.
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:51 PM   #13
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Flickering Light Issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew79 View Post
Poor guy, everyone's giving him suggestions he's already done.
I'm glad I wasn't the only one that noticed this

I figure that's why they call it DIYChatroom and not DIYSolutions. I provided as much info as possible, but it seems people want to ask questions that have either already been answered in the original post, or will not help with triaging the issue at hand. Bit of a catch-22 as I know people will need to know the entire situation in order to provide guidance, but when is it too much? Anyway..

Yes, they checked the neutral and they didn't see any issues. There are two 30/30 amp circuits going into my kitchen for an oven, range, OTR, dishwasher and refrigerator. We never use the oven or the dishwasher.

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