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Old 06-06-2013, 01:22 PM   #1
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Light flickering/diming problem


I have moved into this house for 9 months and this problem keeps bugging me.

the house had a 100A panel when we moved in. and as soon as we moved in, we found that whenever equipment like garbage disposer, shop vac, power drill, mitter saw and air conditioner kicks off, all the lights inside the house blinked for a fraction of second.
the blinking caused by garbage disposer is less serious than it caused by air conditioner compressor. My guess is that compressor takes more current than the GD and anything else.

So we upgrade our panel to 200A, the blinking problem persists, but when we switch on GD, it doesn't blinks this time, while air conditioner still cause it to blink, just a little bit better.

So I get my plumber who installed my air conditioner here, we measured the current when a/c kicks off, it's 12A when started and 9A when running, far less than the 30A circuit breaker that supply the compressor.

Then I get PECO changed the line coming into the house, the problem persists!

Then two electrician came separately, they each inspected the connection from the meter to the panel, and everything was confirmed tight. We put an extra ground wire from the panel to my waterline, the problem persists!

I checked with my neighbor and he doesn't have an issue with that.

I plugged a lamp line directly to the main power line that coming into the panel, and when my air conditioner compressor kicks off, the lamp blinks.

I'm really tired of this and nobody can figure what's going on here.

anyone can save me??? it's really a headache.

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Old 06-06-2013, 02:32 PM   #2
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Light flickering/diming problem


Loose nutral wire someplace.
Undersize wire used to the A/C.
A/C should be on it's own circut.

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Old 06-06-2013, 02:37 PM   #3
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Light flickering/diming problem


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Loose nutral wire someplace.
Undersize wire used to the A/C.
A/C should be on it's own circut.
Hi Joe

I think there's somewhere loose, but just I have tightened everywhere that we can think of loose, still it blinks.
where else do you think can be loose? I'm trying to get PECO here again to tighten up everything.

and YES my A/c has a dedicated 30A circuit breaker for its own, it's a 30Amp orange line all the way to compressor.

Appreciate your help.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:51 PM   #4
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Light flickering/diming problem


That A/C is pulling way more than 12 amps on start up.
Install a hard start kit on the ac and see if that helps.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:54 PM   #5
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Light flickering/diming problem


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That A/C is pulling way more than 12 amps on start up.
Install a hard start kit on the ac and see if that helps.
hi jbfan
thanks for the reply. but 2 things prevent me from believing this.

1. my c/b for a/c is 30Amp, so it's more than enough for a/c to kick off.
2. if that's the reason for a/c, why it also happends to my my shop vac and mitter saw, they all plug into a 20amp outlet.
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:45 PM   #6
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Light flickering/diming problem


"So I get my plumber who installed my air conditioner here..." could this be the problem?
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:46 PM   #7
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Light flickering/diming problem


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"So I get my plumber who installed my air conditioner here..." could this be the problem?
i mean the a/c technician.
i didn't put my hvac compressor in my sewer, i'm pretty sure.

a million laugh on that.
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:59 PM   #8
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Light flickering/diming problem


I'd say a loose connection is possible. Just confirming tight isn't enough. If the feeder wires are aluminum, they should be removed, the wires and the lugs cleaned, and an oxide inhibitor added before putting it all back together.
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Old 06-06-2013, 05:32 PM   #9
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Light flickering/diming problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by martingale2012 View Post
I

I checked with my neighbor and he doesn't have an issue with that.

I plugged a lamp line directly to the main power line that coming into the panel, and when my air conditioner compressor kicks off, the lamp blinks.

I'm really tired of this and nobody can figure what's going on here.

anyone can save me??? it's really a headache.
Martingale... That's pretty interesting.... did i understand that you tested that lamp upstraem from your main?????

I'm not a sparkie... so just wondering guessing.... if it could be in your meter pan or even with the POCO supply and transformer... could you be at the end of the transformer line.... or a bad split bolt/clamp on your neutral.....

Does it occur late at night when neighbors on your transformer are not on load???

EDIT: Also did your technician have a good fluke that records highest A draw.

Interesting....
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:23 AM   #10
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Light flickering/diming problem


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Originally Posted by MTN REMODEL LLC View Post
Martingale... That's pretty interesting.... did i understand that you tested that lamp upstraem from your main?????

I'm not a sparkie... so just wondering guessing.... if it could be in your meter pan or even with the POCO supply and transformer... could you be at the end of the transformer line.... or a bad split bolt/clamp on your neutral.....

Does it occur late at night when neighbors on your transformer are not on load???

EDIT: Also did your technician have a good fluke that records highest A draw.

Interesting....
Thanks MTN
Yes, I plug the lamp into the feeder line before coming into the panel.

Yes, I'm at the end of the line and there's 2 other house in front of me before the transformer. the blinking happened not only at night. it happened all time round.

How do I find a bad split bolt?
and my technician used a clamp meter to measure the current feeding to the compressor when it kicks off, it read 12A.
it is similar to this one here
http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/2025212...ff&R=202521277

do you mean the peak may be more than 30A but we were not able to read it using the clamp meter?
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:00 AM   #11
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Light flickering/diming problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by martingale2012 View Post
Thanks MTN
Yes, I plug the lamp into the feeder line before coming into the panel.

Yes, I'm at the end of the line and there's 2 other house in front of me before the transformer. the blinking happened not only at night. it happened all time round.

How do I find a bad split bolt?
and my technician used a clamp meter to measure the current feeding to the compressor when it kicks off, it read 12A.
it is similar to this one here
http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/2025212...ff&R=202521277

do you mean the peak may be more than 30A but we were not able to read it using the clamp meter?
Martingale..... Again I'm a GC, not a competant Sparky... so I'm just conjecturing and hope some of our smart pro's will jump in....

AFAIK... flickering light is the result of a momentary voltage drop, which is a function of wire size, wire length, wire competancy (good connections), and Amp draw. (and possibly transformer issues which are above my head... no pun inteneded).

I looked up the Klein clamp meter and it says it has "data hold" capacity (not specifically high A) but I suppose you do not have excessive/abnormal startup draw as you note.

The fact that your flickering was noted upstraem of your main, makes me think it is a POCO supply connection... ie if 12A is causing a voltage drop in your service line.

You can't check your service drop connections (split bolt or "bug" connections)... POCO has to do that.

I asked whether you were at the end of the transformer line and if the flickering was a functiion of other households draw (time of day or night) wondering if your transformer line might be at / near capacity.

My non-professional and novice guess is that it may have to do with your service from pole to main (including meter pan, which is probably POCO's responsibility.)

Hopefully, we'll get some PROFESSIONAL input...

Best

Peter
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:09 AM   #12
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Light flickering/diming problem


He got professional input from Jbfan, and dismissed it.

Put a hard start kit on the a/c. See if that solves the problem with the a/c.

If it fixes the problem with the a/c, you are done. If not, then you can chase all the other possibilities.
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:11 AM   #13
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Light flickering/diming problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
That A/C is pulling way more than 12 amps on start up.
Install a hard start kit on the ac and see if that helps.
Thanks jbfan

which type of hard start kit shall i go with? I never use any of them before and have no knowledge about different type.
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Old 06-07-2013, 11:20 AM   #14
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Light flickering/diming problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by Oso954 View Post
He got professional input from Jbfan, and dismissed it.

Put a hard start kit on the a/c. See if that solves the problem with the a/c.

If it fixes the problem with the a/c, you are done. If not, then you can chase all the other possibilities.
Oso.... Just honest curiosity.... would that solution be consistant with:

1) Only a 12A startup draw by A/C

2) Flickering on all circuts with GD, shopvac, other loads creating same flickering symptom.

Best

Peter
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Old 06-07-2013, 12:51 PM   #15
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Light flickering/diming problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by MTN REMODEL LLC View Post
Oso.... Just honest curiosity.... would that solution be consistant with:

1) Only a 12A startup draw by A/C

2) Flickering on all circuts with GD, shopvac, other loads creating same flickering symptom.

Best

Peter
An a/c compressor will pull more than 12 amps on start up.
Unless you have a min/max function on your meter, you will not be able to see the max amps at start up.

Martingale, you have to know the size of the A/C, listed in tons, from 1 1/2 up.
You will have to get them from a supply house.

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