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Old 09-30-2010, 01:02 PM   #1
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Lights dimming then going back to full power


So.. my friends and I started to work on electrical, we've done this for two other houses with no problems, put in fans, rewired outlets, put in recessed lighting, new circuits, etc..

We've never run into this

After working on the house last night, two circuits have to be turned off or the entire house lights will fluctuate from dim to high, fans speeds will also go from low to high, it is like there isn't enough electricity, if I disable those circuits, everything is fine

What causes this? We rewired a receptacle, it had two old runs to it, each had a black and white, no ground. They had the black from one wire (we checked it, that was the power and neutral, when you put a meter on it, it gave you 120 the other didn't do anything) on one side of the receptacle, the white from the other wire (that ran to the switch) on the other side of the receptacle, it then was connected to the light switch and then back down, where its black was tied to the white on the other wire. We wanted that receptacle to be powered. So we untied them, pigtailed the black from the wire that had power to the one side and then pigtailed the white from the same wire run. We did this for the switch also

was this wrong?

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Old 09-30-2010, 01:44 PM   #2
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Lights dimming then going back to full power


You probably have a problem with the neutrals, either a loose connection or an incorrect connection.

About the receptacle with two old runs coming to it, are you sure that the non-live cable goes only to a switch?

The wiring described in the first half of your last paragraph is incorrect but might not be related to the dimming problem. The hot wire connects to the switch and the black wire coming back from the switch connects to the gold screw side (small slot side) of the receptacle. The white wire (neutral) accompanying the hot wire connects directly to the receptacle silver screw side (larger slot side).

Did it work properly when the receptacle was controlled by the switch as you first wired it?

I don't understand the second half of your last paragraph. Notably, what was pigtailed to what?

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Last edited by AllanJ; 09-30-2010 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:38 PM   #3
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Lights dimming then going back to full power


sorry..

Everything disconnected.. we have 2 runs, each has a black and white in them, one has power, the other doesn't, and runs to the switch

We took the livewire, created pigtails. Connected one live pigtail to the outlet, connected another live pigtail to the black wire that leads up to the switch. From the live run, created pigtails on the neutral, connected it to the other side of the outlet, and tied another pigtail to the white leading up to the switch. Essentially we wanted to just make that wire live with a hot and a neutral that led up to the switch, we took the switch out and want to drop another wire so we can add a light, making that one a regular live run seemed like the easiest solution
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:44 PM   #4
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Lights dimming then going back to full power


is it possible the other was a live run taken from a split receptacle? "We rewired a receptacle, it had two old runs to it, each had a black and white, no ground." you may be shorting line a to line b? what does the voltage on these circuits do as the loads are cycling?
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:32 PM   #5
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Lights dimming then going back to full power


Quote:
Originally Posted by ibjames View Post
sorry..

Everything disconnected.. we have 2 runs, each has a black and white in them, one has power, the other doesn't, and runs to the switch

We took the livewire, created pigtails. Connected one live pigtail to the outlet, connected another live pigtail to the black wire that leads up to the switch. From the live run, created pigtails on the neutral, connected it to the other side of the outlet, and tied another pigtail to the white leading up to the switch. Essentially we wanted to just make that wire live with a hot and a neutral that led up to the switch, we took the switch out and want to drop another wire so we can add a light, making that one a regular live run seemed like the easiest solution
From the live wire the black is your hot the white is neutral, pig tail the hot with 2 black wires, 1 wire will go to 1 side of switch the other black will go to gold terminal on recep, the neutral pigtail with 2 wires, 1 wire will go to silver terminal on recep, the other neutral (white wire) will go to neutral coming from light ( switch leg wire, should be 2 wires black and white).. white is neutral! the other black wire coming from light will go to other side of switch
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:32 PM   #6
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Lights dimming then going back to full power


lets just say that I have everything correctly wired, what can cause dimming?

I think I have the fluctuations taken care of, but when you turn on lights, irons, electric stove, things dim still, any ideas?
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:56 PM   #7
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Lights dimming then going back to full power


That is what I did, I think I read somewhere that this can happen when you have a loose neutral somewhere, so I'm going to open up every outlet and light socket and tighten everything down.

Anything else that can cause dimming issues?
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:18 PM   #8
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Lights dimming then going back to full power


this is what I did for one room.. power was coming into a switch, I took the switch out
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:06 PM   #9
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Lights dimming then going back to full power


An iron places a high load on the circuit. What you are seeing is voltage drop. When the heating element turns off the voltage goes back to normal.
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Old 10-01-2010, 08:26 PM   #10
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Lights dimming then going back to full power


If the whole house is dimming (surging) call you power company to check for a loose neutral at the service drop or transformer. Then you tighten all the neutrals in the panel. If it is still happening all over the house call an electrician to check the meter base for loose connections. You can ask the POCO to check the meter base, but in my jurisdiction, they won't check the line side of the meter.
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:42 PM   #11
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Lights dimming then going back to full power


On a normal switch there is no need for a neutral to be connected. You do not need the neutral pigtail.

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