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Old 10-22-2010, 01:12 PM   #1
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House light dimming Part II, had Power company come out


So.. this is a continuation of another thread, I was complaining about the whole house dimming when light switches are plugged in, vacuums plugged in, it happened across all circuits all through the house.

It was highly recommened I have the utility company come out and check things out.

I did that, my wire was old from the pole to the house, and they said it was one rainstorm away from falling down, they swapped it with a new wire, while they were there, they swapped the wire coming from the connection up on the roof, through the pipe down to my box. They also switched any large conducting wires inside my box with copper vs. aluminum and retightened it down.

It is still happening. If you start something like a microwave, or the dryer, or plug a vacuum in, it takes the lights down. Sometimes if you turn on a light in the other room, it'll cause other lights to flicker for a second.

We went through the house. Tightened every light, replaced all the outlets and switches with new ones. (was going to do it anyway, this prompted me to do this, I just bought this place) I twisted the wire together, then did the wire nut, and taped it after that to make sure.

Any suggestions on what else I can do?

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Old 10-22-2010, 02:08 PM   #2
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House light dimming Part II, had Power company come out


try this,connect a volt meter one lead to neutral,other lead to one buss bar.while watching meter see if voltage drops.write down drop.do same on other buss.should be close to the same if load is some what ballanced.you might have a bad main breaker if voltage drop is high.

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Old 10-22-2010, 03:31 PM   #3
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House light dimming Part II, had Power company come out


What did your utlity company charge to inspect the drop from the pole to the house? I have a similar problem at my place and wonder if the PO put in a 200a panel without having the utility company address the drop to the house.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:34 PM   #4
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House light dimming Part II, had Power company come out


it didn't cost anything to get it inspected, they do it as part of your service..

So you are saying that I should put a volt meter on the neutral and each bus bar and see if it drops when things get used? See if it does it for both sides? Can I just hit the neutral bar and the bus bar with the other lead?
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:00 PM   #5
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House light dimming Part II, had Power company come out


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Originally Posted by ibjames View Post
So you are saying that I should put a volt meter on the neutral and each bus bar and see if it drops when things get used? See if it does it for both sides? Can I just hit the neutral bar and the bus bar with the other lead?
One lead on the neutral, the other lead on one hot bus bar at a time, hold it for several minutes as someone else goes and plugs things in and turns things on.

Be careful that each lead touches only one spot. Otherwise you can get a big short circuit with a big spark.

Also you can try one lead on each hot bus bar (nothing touching the neutral) and observe whether the 240 or so volts also drops.
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:38 PM   #6
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House light dimming Part II, had Power company come out


While testing you are looking for the loose neutral. One leg of the panel voltage will go up while the other leg of the panel goes down by the same amount. For example, leg a goes from 120v to 180 volts, leg b will go from 120 to 60 volts.

This flucuation will occur when motors start up or other high draw appliances are used. 240 volt unit will not be affected since they do not use the neutral.
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Old 10-22-2010, 05:30 PM   #7
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House light dimming Part II, had Power company come out


what is the best way to do this? Do you think I should shut off all the breakers and then only enable certain ones and and run the vacuum on that one and see if it drops? Or is it ok for them all to be on?

Sorry for extra questions, I like to make sure I'm 150% understanding before I mess with electrical
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Old 10-22-2010, 05:55 PM   #8
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House light dimming Part II, had Power company come out


leav them all on.run vac test voltage.while vac is running turn breakers off one at a time.keep watching voltage.when vac goes off mark breaker.test will take time so get some help.move vac to a diff ckt and repeat.

Last edited by oleguy74; 10-22-2010 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:42 PM   #9
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House light dimming Part II, had Power company come out


You may need an analog meter to see voltage dips. Most digitals take a couple of seconds to stabilize. Of course a digital will read correctly if the voltage stays low.
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:35 PM   #10
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House light dimming Part II, had Power company come out


It much easier to read with Anlog meter due the flunctioing of voltage level and it can react quicker to see how low it dropped.

Electronic voltmeter can catch it but most case slight delay so you may not catch the excat number of volts drop but once it stablized it will read pretty good.

The other thing it did click in my mind is that the distance from your house to transfomer keep in your mind the POCO do not follow the correct conductor size at all they have diffrent set of rules to deal with it.

If the transformer is pretty small like 10 or 15kva size expect to see the lights flicker a bit more than normally but with larger transfomer something like 25Kva or larger genrally should not flicker very much unless it feeding serveal homes / commercal building.

Merci.
Marc

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