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Old 02-16-2009, 11:32 PM   #16
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


The voltage drop should be negligible if there are no loose connections and the system is not being overloaded. Therefore a profound voltage drop you measure means something is abnormal somewhere.

If you get a profound voltage drop when testing, quickly read off the measurement and quickly turn off the dryer or other load you used to conduct the test. This minimizes overheating of any possible loose connections. That test is now done; move on to the next test.

It is not a goal of the test to compute how much the voltage drop should be, the goal is only to verify that a problem may be upstream of a given location.

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Old 02-17-2009, 12:33 PM   #17
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


Just spoken to my electrician and he told me that when fitting the new panel he checked voltages and they were all good into the house. He did tell me though that some of the service wires were quite short and hard to fit, he remembers one being the neutral, he is going to come by tomorrow and double check everything for me including the voltage leaving the panel. If the service neutral was short how would I get it extended?
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:58 PM   #18
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


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Originally Posted by wedge22 View Post
Just spoken to my electrician and he told me that when fitting the new panel he checked voltages and they were all good into the house. He did tell me though that some of the service wires were quite short and hard to fit, he remembers one being the neutral, he is going to come by tomorrow and double check everything for me including the voltage leaving the panel. If the service neutral was short how would I get it extended?
Replace the cable coming into the house from the meter. Do you have your panel cover off? Have you looked at the connection where the service neutral comes in? It kind of scares me that he said it was hard to fit and not you have symptoms that could indicate a problem with the service neutral.

If this is infact the problem, you could replace the cable yourself, you need a few basic tools, and you need to have the power co cut the power at the pole while your doing the work.

I would strongly suggest the cable be replaced if there is an issue with it reaching to the proper terminal, as opposed to trying to splice it.

Jamie
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:20 PM   #19
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


I personally have not looked at the service coming into the panel, I can try and do that tonight, I will get the electrician to replace the neutral, its not a job I want to try myself. My service is underground would this make replacement alot harder?
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:35 PM   #20
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


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I personally have not looked at the service coming into the panel, I can try and do that tonight, I will get the electrician to replace the neutral, its not a job I want to try myself. My service is underground would this make replacement alot harder?
I suspect it would be a lot hard with under ground service. I have no experience with underground feeds and have to defer to someone else on this.

If you open your panel;
1. I suggest you turn off the main first before taking the cover off. (have flash lights ready and on)
2. Remember, even with the main off, the service cables coming into the panel are still LIVE, and you must avoid touching them with your hands or with tools / parts such as the cover.

Take some photos any post them if you can, people here can defiantly offer some education opinions on how you panel looks and what should be done.

Jamie
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:18 AM   #21
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


So my electrician came round and checked the service coming in which was all good, then he checked the amps being used on each one, 20amps on one and 34 on the other. He said he would like this to be a 50/50 spread really between the two. He also checked the load on some circuits and the one I had mentioned before also had a washing machine on it, he seperated this out and then checked the amps, all good. Still having issues with lights dimming so turned on alot of appliances and tried to see which it was. My basement kitchen sockets are not very well wired. 3 wire serving one and then a wire from that branches off to the other. On these sockets are a toaster oven ,microwave and a coffe maker, not good. Lights dim when toaster oven is on. He wants to rewire this area so we are going to try and sort this out soon. I am still having lights dim this evening but have to put this down to the wiring thats already here and the amount of items on each circuit.
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:51 AM   #22
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


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Originally Posted by wedge22 View Post
So my electrician came round and checked the service coming in which was all good, then he checked the amps being used on each one, 20amps on one and 34 on the other. He said he would like this to be a 50/50 spread really between the two. He also checked the load on some circuits and the one I had mentioned before also had a washing machine on it, he seperated this out and then checked the amps, all good. Still having issues with lights dimming so turned on alot of appliances and tried to see which it was. My basement kitchen sockets are not very well wired. 3 wire serving one and then a wire from that branches off to the other. On these sockets are a toaster oven ,microwave and a coffe maker, not good. Lights dim when toaster oven is on. He wants to rewire this area so we are going to try and sort this out soon. I am still having lights dim this evening but have to put this down to the wiring thats already here and the amount of items on each circuit.

I don't feel like 20A on one leg and 34A on the other leg is going to cause a problem like this or really have anything to do with it.

Is the flicker / dimming your seeing now really pretty minor?

Jamie
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:59 AM   #23
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


I am still not happy with the issue but I am also tired of trying to work out the cause of it. Tonight the flickering not too bad but as I just turned on my kettle several other lights increased from being dim to alot lighter, including my bathroom lights which were fine last night. I know that the kettle is not even on the same circuit as these lights so I do not understand why turning it on increases the brightness of lights on another circuit.
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Old 02-20-2009, 01:09 AM   #24
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


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I am still not happy with the issue but I am also tired of trying to work out the cause of it. Tonight the flickering not too bad but as I just turned on my kettle several other lights increased from being dim to alot lighter, including my bathroom lights which were fine last night. I know that the kettle is not even on the same circuit as these lights so I do not understand why turning it on increases the brightness of lights on another circuit.
I still think you have a loose or bad neutral at your service entrance. I think you need to get a different electrician out there at this point. A loose service neutral can end up destroying everything in your home that is plugged in. This problem is NOT caused by uneven loads on your panel. Lights going brighter on a different circuit really makes me think of a loose / bad service neutral.

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Old 02-20-2009, 01:11 AM   #25
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


I was there with him last night when he checked the service, he checked the connections and they were all tight. I guess another opinion would be a good idea.
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Old 02-20-2009, 01:38 AM   #26
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


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Originally Posted by wedge22 View Post
I was there with him last night when he checked the service, he checked the connections and they were all tight. I guess another opinion would be a good idea.

The cable could be bad. Outside water can get in and it can corode. What does a digital volt meter read at the panel when this happens?
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Old 02-20-2009, 01:39 AM   #27
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


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I was there with him last night when he checked the service, he checked the connections and they were all tight. I guess another opinion would be a good idea.
Did he check the connections at the meter also?
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Old 02-20-2009, 01:42 AM   #28
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


No he did not check the meter connections just the panel itself.
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Old 02-22-2009, 03:33 PM   #29
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


So today we have nearly every light upstairs and downstairs flickering, the major appliances turned on are, my washer dryer upstairs on its own dedicated new circuit. The washer and dryer downstairs, dryer on its own but the washer is attached to another circuit, I guess thats causing the issue and needs its own circuit asap.
I also have a switch upstairs that appears to turn nothing on or off, but I pulled the cover panel and its wired up I just have no idea what to.
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Old 02-22-2009, 06:47 PM   #30
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Lights flickering between dim and normal


The fact that there is or is not a 50% spread or that you have 20 amps on one side of the line and 34 amps on the other side does not help to find loose connections and is completely different topic from possible loose connections.

You need voltage measurements to help find the loose connection that is the reason for voltage drops. Current (amperage) measurements won't reveal anything.

Temperature measurements too will help if they reveal a warm spot that is the consequence of a loose connection but I don't have any idea how to make them other than poking a glass non-mercury thermometer around here and there and holding the bulb against suspected surfaces.

Now that you noticed some lights getting brighter as you turn on more appliances elswhere, that is a dead giveaway of a neutral problem somewhere.

Connect a foot or so length of #20 or smaller gauge insulated wire to one voltmeter probe and tape evertying so only the far end is bare. With this you can poke around and make measurements upstream of the main breaker just as safely as measuring at a receptacle with the power still on. Connect the other probe to neutral normally but at least several inches away from the hot terminals or wires.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-22-2009 at 07:01 PM.
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