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Old 11-02-2009, 09:40 PM   #1
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Flickering Lights


I just moved into a house and have noticed some strange electrical problems with some of the light fixtures. Mostly either some bulbs with a short life span and ultimately some flickering of the bulbs.

Most noticeably, I was working on the living room ceiling fan lights where two of the four bulbs seem like they are not making good contact between the ground and supply. I tested the voltage and got a solid 120 from all 4 fixtures. I noticed some type of buildup on the positive electrode and scraped it a little to get shiny metal. When I put in a new bulb, however, they would still flicker or pop a little switching between dim and full brightness. There is one fixture that would only light the bulb for a half second when i first turn on the switch and I have to play with the bulb to get it to light. Unfortunately, I can find a position for the bulb to light but it will not stay lit once I take my finger off.

I am curious if there was a way to test the fixtures to make sure there wasn't shoddy wiring used or maybe just the fixture itself needs to be repaired? Would it be possible just to cut out the old socket and splice in a new one?

How would you guys troubleshoot this?

I am mechanically inclined but I am also not an electrician. I have a multimeter. Just lay it out in lamens terms and ill do my best to figure it out.

Thanks,

First Time Poster.

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Old 11-02-2009, 09:57 PM   #2
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Flickering Lights


Quote:
Originally Posted by grimmysnr View Post
I just moved into a house and have noticed some strange electrical problems with some of the light fixtures. Mostly either some bulbs with a short life span and ultimately some flickering of the bulbs.

Most noticeably, I was working on the living room ceiling fan lights where two of the four bulbs seem like they are not making good contact between the ground and supply. I tested the voltage and got a solid 120 from all 4 fixtures. I noticed some type of buildup on the positive electrode and scraped it a little to get shiny metal. When I put in a new bulb, however, they would still flicker or pop a little switching between dim and full brightness. There is one fixture that would only light the bulb for a half second when i first turn on the switch and I have to play with the bulb to get it to light. Unfortunately, I can find a position for the bulb to light but it will not stay lit once I take my finger off.

I am curious if there was a way to test the fixtures to make sure there wasn't shoddy wiring used or maybe just the fixture itself needs to be repaired? Would it be possible just to cut out the old socket and splice in a new one?

How would you guys troubleshoot this?

I am mechanically inclined but I am also not an electrician. I have a multimeter. Just lay it out in lamens terms and ill do my best to figure it out.

Thanks,

First Time Poster.
It appears that sometimes in your post when you say "Fixture" you really mean "Socket". The first thing I would look for is if lights in other rooms are "flickering", too. If they don't, then it's a local problem in your ceiling fan/light. Possibly some sockets don't make good contact with the supply wires. The best advice would be to replace the entire fixture. It's more trouble (and more expensive) repairing it. If the lights in other rooms have the same problems, you should call an electrician, because this might indicate a serious (and dangerous) problem in your wiring. (No matter what) Don't Drink and Drive, Ever !!!

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Old 11-02-2009, 10:07 PM   #3
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Flickering Lights


My apologies I meant the individual sockets. But it seems that this flickering is mostly isolated to the ceiling fan. I have noticed one in the kitchen out of the corner of my eye but I can never seem to catch it in the act. The bathroom has blown two bulbs in the past week alone. I can't figure out if it just change in temperatures or just air density etc etc.

The house was built in 2000 and has passed home inspections. Which doesn't mean that much besides GFI's checking good.
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:51 PM   #4
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Flickering Lights


Some times the center tab in an incandescent socket gets bent down after time , With the power off , you can take a screwdriver or paint can opener and lift the tab up .
If it is a common problem in a few rooms , you can check your panel for loose or burnt wires . Look at the neutrals too .
Unless it's an expensive fixture , I would consider just change the fixture .
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:20 PM   #5
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Flickering Lights


My first thought is exactly what electro stated, quite often I have had to pry the tab in the socket up to make contact with the base of the bulb. Something else, as it could very well be a number of things, have you checked the breaker for that circuit, such as flipped it off and on a couple of times, over time they have a tendancy to wear and go bad, as do light switches and outlets. You should recognize a little sloppiness in the switch when flipped, or compare how it feels to other breakers in your panel. Maybe a going bad breaker??

As for replacing the socket, pretty inexpensive and simple to do.
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:35 PM   #6
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Flickering Lights


Any chance did you use the screw in compect flourscent bulb ?

If so some case with newer ceiling fan they don't work very well due one of the wattage limiter gimzo keep screwing up I don't know why it don't work with some CFL but they put in the gimzo to limit the wattage due it too easy to overwattage them without any question.

Merci,Marc

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