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Old 02-16-2013, 08:27 AM   #16
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Light Bulbs blowing all the time.


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Originally Posted by kevinb70 View Post
+1 on floating neutral .. or bad ground ... of note is the sparking when plugging in items.... could be load elsewhere on the circuit trying to find its way back to the main panel via the item you just plugged in.... that current will be much greater than the item you plugged in, hence the sparks

can we assume you know the sparking isn't because the receptacle is bad? 1) loose prongs inside or 2) not connected securely (wires should be screwed in, avoid using the push-in hole on back of the receptacle

the utility may have only checked 'their side'... not 'your side' which is your responsibility - not their job to provide you free diagnosis on your home wiring/main panel... otherwise we wouldn't need Electricians...
Sparking only occurs when a connection makes or breaks, such as when you plug something in or unplug it -- or you have a loose connection. Connections to switches and receptacles not held in place by screws are more likely to work loose but screws becoming loose are not out of the question. While you are at it you might as well go through the panel and check all the screws and set screws for tightness. (Flip off each breaker before touching its screw; someone with lots of experience should do the big screws that hold the service wires from the meter.)

Load elsewhere will not find its way "back to the panel" via the item in question (or item you just plugged in) except when you have a defect in the main feed or in a circuit referred to as a multiwire branch circuit (MWBC) and which consists of two hot wires generally colored red and black sharing the same neutral and where you have 240 volts between those two hot wires. Evidence of load elsewhere going through the item in question is overvoltage which in a light is seen as getting abnormally bright. The reason for load elsewhere going through the item in question back to the panel is a loose connection in the neutral path (white wires) anywhere downstream where both hot wires continue, or anywhere upstream in this circuit's path back to the utility pole.

(Load "from the panel" and "going elsewhere" can go through the item in question when a hot path is broken elsewhere and the neutral is okay but that shows up as undervoltage that would not burn out a lamp quickly but could electrocute someone.)

There are lots of places where loose connections can happen. Circuits up from the panel daisy chain through several outlet boxes.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-16-2013 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:40 AM   #17
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Light Bulbs blowing all the time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinb70 View Post
+1 on floating neutral .. or bad ground ... of note is the sparking when plugging in items.... could be load elsewhere on the circuit trying to find its way back to the main panel via the item you just plugged in.... that current will be much greater than the item you plugged in, hence the sparks

.
Any load that is on will cause a spark when plugged into a receptacle.

A missing ground would have nothing to do with the bulbs or sparking. It is there strictly in the event of a fault. It has no function in the normal operation of the circuit. If it was missing there would be no difference except for the safety aspect.

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