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Old 10-07-2012, 04:33 PM   #16
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Locating Floating Neutral


A 12kv line 30 feet away would not be causing the bulbs to flash.

Anyway, now we have the turning on the porch lights causing the LEDs to brighten up. Is there anything else that does it. Dishwasher, refrigerator, kitchen lights, etc ?

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Old 10-07-2012, 04:36 PM   #17
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Nothing else does it. And they're on separate legs. So I'm not sure how that could happen, but I guess the neutrals are all shared.

Edit **connected at the bus.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:29 PM   #18
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When the POCO came out to meter your service, did you purposely repeat the steps needed to make the lights brighten?
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:33 PM   #19
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Locating Floating Neutral


All electrical systems will have spikes,dipps and surges,
they are usually only very breif.
Most of the older style lights do not respond quickly
enough for these surges to be noticed.
How ever with leds it is different !
they will respond very quickly,
so these surges are now noticed.
If your electrical systems neutrals and ground are all good
then these surges could just be normal.
The problem might be your lights are just too sensitive
to mains flucuations.
Therefore the problem is with the lights.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by k_buz View Post
When the POCO came out to meter your service, did you purposely repeat the steps needed to make the lights brighten?
I've read this over a few times and I still don't know what this means. I told him what conditions had to happen for it to occur. He didn't seem interested in them. I offered to induce it a few times for him. He seemed to think that his test meter would indicate anything out of the usual that was of importance to him. When it came back with two legs rock solid on 121V, he seemed surprised. He said that normally when somebody reports lights getting brighter in an older neighborhood, he has to go chase lines in backyard easements all night.

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Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
All electrical systems will have spikes,dipps and surges,
they are usually only very breif.
Most of the older style lights do not respond quickly
enough for these surges to be noticed.
How ever with leds it is different !
they will respond very quickly,
so these surges are now noticed.
If your electrical systems neutrals and ground are all good
then these surges could just be normal.
The problem might be your lights are just too sensitive
to mains flucuations.
Therefore the problem is with the lights.
If the lights are the problem, then I'll gladly overlook them. Having just come out of an electrical fire caused by a previous owner's negligence, perhaps I'm hyper-sensitive to such cues.

Is there any way I can test to know if it's within safe limits?
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:48 PM   #21
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Locating Floating Neutral


I can understand your caution !
Whilst it is true a dodgy neutral can cause problems,
that doesnt mean that all surges are because of bad neutrals !
If you have explained all your problems to the POCO people,
and they have checked there gear,
then this possibility becomes less likely.
Did poco know all the problems you where having ?
Did the poco linesmen seem confident that there system was ok ?
Next step would be to have an experienced electricain,
check all your system out.
If this still fails to find any problems,
Then it can only be the lights them selves !

I think as leds become more common,
problems like this will become more common,
And in due course they will solve these problems.
Changing the internal circuitry of the lamps so they
dont respond quickly to every little variation is the
most likely solution.
However this should not be done by the consumers
it will have to be done at design level.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:36 AM   #22
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Locating Floating Neutral


You stated that the POCO came out to meter your service and they found both legs to be 121V. You also said that you can make the lights flash by turning on ceiling fans and/or the porch light, did you do this while the POCO was metering the service?
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:22 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k_buz View Post
You stated that the POCO came out to meter your service and they found both legs to be 121V. You also said that you can make the lights flash by turning on ceiling fans and/or the porch light, did you do this while the POCO was metering the service?
Negative. He killed my service disconnect before removing the meter. It was not turned back on until the second linesman had the meter back in place the following day.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:25 AM   #24
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Thinking out loud...

As for the bad connection on the breaker lug, that would be a hot and can be caused by not applying anti-oxidation "goop" when using aluminum wire. Also those connections should be torqued with an "inch pound" torque wrench to the specifications for the breaker or panel (automotive torque wrenches are foot pound! 12 inch pounds equals 1 foot pound) Warning those wires are ALWAYS energized!!! Have the electric company remove power before messing with them!

Anyway if there was a bad connection to that one hot, the voltage may have been lower on the circuits that leg was supplying. Fixing that problem could have increased the voltage. Perhaps that made the LED lights suddenly have this problem? (This would have happened if there was not a problem with that lug?)

Then another thing is wire sizes being used for the fan/lighting circuit. And wire sizes from one device to the next. What are those wire gauges? (12 or 14 [or other]) And what is the breaker size in amperage? (15 or 20)

Next what is the total amperage or wattage of all the devices (fans + lights) on this circuit?

(My thinking here is that if the total wattage of all devices is close to the maximum the wiring or circuit will handle, that could be a problem???)

And then last, electronic* gizmos can do weird things. "Electrical noise" can be backfed into electrical lines. This can cause electronic gizmos like an LED light dimmer to do strange things. The solution for this this might be to place the lights on a separate circuit. Or also place the lights on the other "leg" of the panel on their own breaker/circuit. This makes it a long "distance" that electrical noise must travel through the wires to eventually get back to the lights. So less electrical noise.

An example of electrical noise is the TV might show lines on it when running the vacuum. Here is a bit more on that...
http://www.ehow.com/about_5102013_is...ansformer.html

*Electronic - as in has circuit boards with chips, transistors, etc - light dimmers, remote controls, occupancy sensors, GFCI outlets, etc. Electric would be old fashioned on/off mechanical switches.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:57 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thadius856 View Post
Is there any way I can test to know if it's within safe limits?
I'm thinking along the same lines as dmxtothemax. As a test, is there an easy way to switch out one of the the LED's with a plain ole incandescent light? Maybe a rubber socket work light or something quick and simple.

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Old 10-08-2012, 12:25 PM   #26
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I think this maybe getting overanalyzed. No problem before painter. Problem after painter. Your problems in the attic where he was working. Go up and visually inspect everything where he was working and see if anything looks like its been beat up.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:43 PM   #27
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Also keep in mind that the voltage required to drive an led is much smaller than normal system voltage. Say for instance a normal individual led requires roughly 4v to fire up. All it would take is about a 1v surge to notice a change in brightness. that same surge would be undetectable in a 120v invandescant.
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:54 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
And then last, electronic* gizmos can do weird things.
With LED and fluorescent lighting, especially cheap consumer-grade stuff, and other things driven by power supplies, this might become a big problem. Home power is becoming more and more distorted.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:38 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
Thinking out loud...

As for the bad connection on the breaker lug, that would be a hot and can be caused by not applying anti-oxidation "goop" when using aluminum wire.
Nah. I was removing the home run of an abandoned circuit and the neutral slipped out of my hand and landed on the lug. One in a million chance for THHN to land perfectly in that spot.

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Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
Also those connections should be torqued with an "inch pound" torque wrench to the specifications for the breaker or panel (automotive torque wrenches are foot pound! 12 inch pounds equals 1 foot pound) Warning those wires are ALWAYS energized!!! Have the electric company remove power before messing with them!
Meter was pulled. thanks for the kind words though!

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Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
Anyway if there was a bad connection to that one hot, the voltage may have been lower on the circuits that leg was supplying. Fixing that problem could have increased the voltage. Perhaps that made the LED lights suddenly have this problem? (This would have happened if there was not a problem with that lug?)
Doubtful. The POCO pressed it fairly firmly and tred to jiggle a voltage drop on the old one, but wasn't able to. Dimples on the hots FTW. That's when he pointed out the lug as a possible cause. Figured I might as well play it safe and replace it.

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Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
Then another thing is wire sizes being used for the fan/lighting circuit. And wire sizes from one device to the next. What are those wire gauges? (12 or 14 [or other]) And what is the breaker size in amperage? (15 or 20)
All 12-2 Southwire Romex on that circuit, all fresh. On a 20A dual pole Square D Homeline. Previously mentioned kitchen circuit also 12-2 nm on 20a dual, porch fans 12-2 UF on 20A, living room lighting 14-2 on 15A single.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
Next what is the total amperage or wattage of all the devices (fans + lights) on this circuit?
22 LEDs at 14.5 watts ea, 3 fans at 65 watts ea plus 120 watts for lights ea, one fan at 85 watts plus 120 watts for lights. Don't have a call on me, but way below 20A. We don't use the light kits on the fans, or I'd have replaced the bulbs with LEDs too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
(My thinking here is that if the total wattage of all devices is close to the maximum the wiring or circuit will handle, that could be a problem???)

And then last, electronic* gizmos can do weird things. "Electrical noise" can be backfed into electrical lines. This can cause electronic gizmos like an LED light dimmer to do strange things. The solution for this this might be to place the lights on a separate circuit. Or also place the lights on the other "leg" of the panel on their own breaker/circuit. This makes it a long "distance" that electrical noise must travel through the wires to eventually get back to the lights. So less electrical noise.

An example of electrical noise is the TV might show lines on it when running the vacuum. Here is a bit more on that...
http://www.ehow.com/about_5102013_is...ansformer.html

*Electronic - as in has circuit boards with chips, transistors, etc - light dimmers, remote controls, occupancy sensors, GFCI outlets, etc. Electric would be old fashioned on/off mechanical switches.
Wish I could separate them out but 14.5" of fiberglass just went in up there. I can live with the flashes if they're not a safety issue.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:32 AM   #30
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I get 1079 watts total, so that is not anywhere near the capacity of the wiring or circuit. Rule that out!

As for shorting the lug with the neutral, that would cause a "voltage surge" and voltage surges can damage some electronic devices.

So the question is, did this shorting happen at the same time the painter came? (Or did the problem crop up right after the shorting occurred?)

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