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Old 07-26-2011, 09:31 PM   #1
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Lights Dimming and Outlets not running standard appliances


Everything was running fine, electrically, then one day I noticed that when I plugged in my radio, it wasn't powering but I was getting power to that outlet and correctly. I plugged in a drill and I noticed that the lights dimmed and some brightened when I tried to use it as well as the drill wasn't getting full power. Now the lights are the front side of my house won't work or test for power. I've checked multiple connections as well as the connections in the breaker box and I've narrowed it down to a breaker. When this 15 amp breaker is flipped off all the lights work and the outlets have power but will do the same when plugging in a drill and won't run small appliances. In fact when the drill is at different speeds, the faster its ran the lower they dim. Also with this breaker flipped the outlets in the master bedroom and light fixture won't turn on and have no power. Now when I flip this breaker back on, it kicks off the whole front side of the house. Can someone please help.

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Old 07-26-2011, 09:35 PM   #2
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Lights Dimming and Outlets not running standard appliances


You have an open service neutral. This is a BAD thing and can burn things up quickly. CALL YOUR power company NOW.

It might not be on their side, but then can at least narrow it down for you.

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Old 07-26-2011, 09:39 PM   #3
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Lights Dimming and Outlets not running standard appliances


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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
You have an open service neutral. This is a BAD thing and can burn things up quickly. CALL YOUR power company NOW.

It might not be on their side, but then can at least narrow it down for you.
Petey isn't being reactionary. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200$. Call your power company right away. This is a serious/hazardous situation.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:40 PM   #4
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Lights Dimming and Outlets not running standard appliances


thanks so much. what exactly does that mean. I'm remodeling like new drywall, vinyl, carpet, paint etc. Everything ran fine for months like tools, nothing in the house is running except a window ac unit which is on its own breaker, lights when I need them and small appliance like drill chargers, radio and a power saw occasionally. We also have been getting some bad rain storms so I was concerned something got bumped loose.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:46 PM   #5
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Lights Dimming and Outlets not running standard appliances


It means either the main service neutral (or the neutral on a circuit) is open, disconnected or compromised in some way.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:47 PM   #6
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Lights Dimming and Outlets not running standard appliances


which means in return its not closing the circuit and leaving it open and hot which can cause things to burn out as well as cause fires correct??
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:01 PM   #7
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Lights Dimming and Outlets not running standard appliances


Unplug all electronic equipment, including microwave ovens and including washing machines with digital readouts.

Measure voltage between each of the fat hot lines (one at a time) and the fat neutral in your breaker panel. If the two measurements are way off from 120 but add up to about 240 then most likely the power company needs to fix the problem or at least evaluate it.

If the measurements at the fat hot wires are pretty much 120 but you get voltages way off at lights and receptacles then the problem is somewhere in your own wiring.

Yes it is possible for electrical fires to occur, notably if a 120 volt light or appliance is subjected to way more than 120 volts.

With a properly operating system current flows from one hot wire through your light or appliance and returns using the neutral and is stablized at 120 volts.

WIth the neutral broken current flows from one hot wire through a light or appliance, then through another light or appliance and returns on the other hot wire. It is 240 volts and split, unfortunately usually not 120/120 (50%/50%), between the things being powered. The split can change wildly depending on what is turned on or off fed first by one hot wire and what is turned on or off fed first by the other hot wire.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 07-26-2011 at 10:10 PM.
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