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Old 12-27-2014, 08:55 PM   #1
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Fllickering Lights


I just finished running a new line out to my shop.
I'd replaced the 15 with a 20 amp breaker and ran 12 gauge wire to my new outlets. All looked fine. Then I noticed that one light was pulsing. It would dim a bit and then brighten. I put my multimeter on it and I could see the voltage going from 125 down to 120 and back. I went down the line to all my connections, couldn't find anything and just cut the breaker for the night. Now I'm seeing two other circuits in the house doing the same thing. The last time something like this happened to me it was a tree branch on the line from the transformer to the house (another house). But it seems like too much of a coincidence. I'm figuring I messed something up. Could someone help me sleep better tonight . . .?

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Old 12-27-2014, 08:57 PM   #2
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What do you mean exactly by "ran a 12 gauge wire to new outlets" ????

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Old 12-27-2014, 09:02 PM   #3
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Fllickering Lights


Call the power company, sounds like a loose neutral. Serious fire hazard if that is the case.
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:04 PM   #4
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I installed an new circuit. The breaker was serving only one outlet. I disconnected that outlet, removed the 15 amp breaker, installed a new 20 amp breaker, attached a 12 gauge wire to the breaker, ran the neutral and ground to my single neutral and ground bus bar, continued the wire under the house and out to the garage locating outlets and switches along the way.
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:05 PM   #5
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could you tell me more about what a loose neutral is...
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:06 PM   #6
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you don't think it could have been anything I did . . .
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:11 PM   #7
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Could be all kinds of things. You sure the neutral/ground bar is bonded to the metal frame? You sure its not a sub panel? What other details you have?
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:18 PM   #8
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the box is 100 amps. it's an old house built around 1950 i'm guessing.
The neutral and ground bus bar is in a plastic housing within the box . . . a Square D.
All the neutral and ground go to that one bar. But except for my work it has been undisturbed for a long time.
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:19 PM   #9
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We did have one dussy of a rain storm two nights ago.
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:20 PM   #10
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And the flickering has stopped. . .
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonefooting View Post
you don't think it could have been anything I did . . .
Probably not, but the rain storm might have done something.
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jump-start View Post
Probably not, but the rain storm might have done something.
Yes, call your power co. It's free for them to check their side out.

A loose neutral from the power co causes fluctuations in your 120v lines. Some will dim, while others will brighten up.

Also, did you use the proper breaker? Properly seated.

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Old 12-27-2014, 09:29 PM   #13
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There is a tree branch . . . about half an inch in diameter sort of tangled with the neutral up on the outside of the house where the lines attach to the house, but the neutral, an aluminum stranded cable, does not seem damaged.
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonefooting View Post
There is a tree branch . . . about half an inch in diameter sort of tangled with the neutral up on the outside of the house where the lines attach to the house, but the neutral, an aluminum stranded cable, does not seem damaged.
may not look damaged but can be pulled loose at splice near house attatchement?
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonefooting View Post
There is a tree branch . . . about half an inch in diameter sort of tangled with the neutral up on the outside of the house where the lines attach to the house, but the neutral, an aluminum stranded cable, does not seem damaged.
Still, a splice can fail or it might be disconnected up at the pole. Call the POCO and tell them your lights are diming and brightening, and also make the mention of "I think it could be loose neutral" If they know what they are doing they will send out a truck immediately.

They can pull the meter and load up the service phase to neutral and see if it acts up in real time.

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