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Old 05-28-2007, 04:24 AM   #1
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Hey guys,

So today my wife and I were leaving the house and she pressed the garage door opener button to open the garage door. It opened the garage door 1/3 way and the motor of the opener started making sounds and then made a boom and smoke started coming out. I thought to myself what the hell was that and turned on the lights inside the garage. The lights(fluorescent) went on and were doing this really loud buzzing and all of a sudden they burned. So I went inside the house and turned on the lights (also fluorescent) there and heard the same noise from those lights, so I figured before these blow up I should turn them off. I went in the hallway and turned on the lights there and they were so bright, probably 4-5 times brighter than usual. I turned those off as well. Then I went to the living room and noticed a burned smell. I looked at my home theater area and all standby lights of the tv, dvd player, dvr and so on were off. I then smelled the power surge protectors (both monster with stage 2 clean power) were burned and smelled really bad. I unplugged the garage door opener from the wall and now everything is normal. The garage door opener is burned, two monster surge protectors burned pretty bad and my fluorescent lights in the garage are burned as well.

Can anyone tell me what caused this very long surge, it was not for a second or two, it was for at least a minute. And why didn't any of my other power surge protectors burn or trip? I have an office with two computers that are on all the time and none of them had anything. They are both on a UPS battery backup and the software of the battery backup showed in the logs that the voltage had been constant 120volts. So I have a feeling it was only one circuit that had the surge. Is it possible? And why didn't any of my breakers trip? This whole thing has me very worried because it was very dangerous. Both monster power surge protectors had left black marks on the floor which I know came from a burn inside the surge protectors itself. We got lucky it happened while we were home, I'm very worried this might happen when we are not home and the place will burn down.

Thanks for any help. Hopefully the electrician will have an answer for me when they come this week. And I hope you might have some ideas and I could tell him to check on the things you guys suggest.

Thanks!

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Old 05-28-2007, 08:06 AM   #2
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Sounds like a loose or open service neutral, maybe intermittent. When that happens, some things get undervoltage, and some get overvoltage.
Are the hallway lights (the ones that got REAL bright) incandesent? Sounds like they were getting overvoltage.
This is definitely something for a electrician to check, and maybe power company as well.

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Old 05-28-2007, 09:17 AM   #3
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I agree with John, this is most likely a neutral problem. Call your utility company NOW and tell them you may have an open neutral. 99% of the time the problem is on their side of the meter. They will usually respond quickly.
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Old 05-28-2007, 09:35 AM   #4
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Just a caution-I have often had the utility comp. say it wasn't their problem the 1st time around. Just had this problem the other day. I had to get on the phone myself and explain the problem, and what I found, and why I knew it was their problem. This seems to be a common complaint around here, the power company doesn't check very well, or just tries to shift blame.
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Old 05-28-2007, 11:35 AM   #5
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Hey guys,

thanks for your answers! Sorry I had forgotten to mention that I had called the local electric company which is SMUD here and they came out within 2 hours and checked everything, even the transformer on the street. He said that this sounds like a neutral problem and tied all the wires, even the ones on the ground more tightly. One of them was a little lose, but just a little. After that he said he couldn't find anything. He checked the voltages on each circuit and they were doing constant 120 no fluctuations. He did the microwave test to see if anything spikes, but that didn't help either.

John, yes the lights in the hallway that got really bright are regular bulbs that go inside the ceiling, like this one:
http://www.servicelighting.com/catal...m?prod=AL04678


I'm trying not to use too many appliances until an electrician can come out and check everything inside. Hopefully it'll be this week.

Thanks!

Last edited by schicki; 05-28-2007 at 11:41 AM.
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