Need Some Breaker Box Help? - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-29-2009, 08:06 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 4
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


While sitting in my living room I can see all the lights in my kitchen and living room both flash. This happened once before and I tightened all the neutral wires in my box and it went away. I tried tightening all the wires again and the lights still flash. If I run the microwave you can see the draw in the lights. When the lights are flashing I can hear the arcing in the box but I have taken all the neutral wires out cut them down to make new ends and returned them to the neutral bar, I have tightened all wires hot, neutral and grounds but still have the problem.

I had my wife turn on the microwave and air while I was standing down by the box and I can see the arcing by the neutral bar.

Can a neutral bar go bad?
If not is there anything else that it can be?

Advertisement

Horner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2009, 08:12 PM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


The arcing is where the loose connection is. Fixing it is another matter entirely.
A high resistance neutral connection will expose half your house to overvoltage and shorten the life of your stuff.

Advertisement

Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2009, 08:30 PM   #3
Electrical Contractor
 
kbsparky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Delmarva
Posts: 3,368
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


Where is this arcing occurring? At a junction point of the neutral bar assembly? The main incoming wire/lug? Or at one particular wire termination?

I have seen neutral bars literally burned through at a junction point where the screw joining 2 different sections of the bar was loose.
kbsparky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2009, 09:16 PM   #4
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 4
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


It is hard to tell exactly were the arcing is occurring. I turned the lights off and saw the arcing move across the neutral bar but do not know where it starts.
Horner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2009, 09:22 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Horner View Post
It is hard to tell exactly were the arcing is occurring. I turned the lights off and saw the arcing move across the neutral bar but do not know where it starts.
This is out of my league, for sure. That guy in The Exorcist might help.

If you have a main breaker, I'd start by turning that off. You could bolt down all suspect loose connections on the neutral and ground connections, but you're risking your appliances, and maybe more. I'm not sure load centers are repairable.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2009, 10:20 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Iowa
Posts: 1,543
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


The main lugs probably need to be tightened, you should have an electrician check it out. The meter might need to be pulled for the electrician.
rgsgww is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2009, 10:36 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nashua, NH, USA
Posts: 6,976
Rewards Points: 2,048
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


Can you see a large connection to the neutral bar, perhaps a thick stranded wire, perhaps a metal strip, connected somewhere and ultimately to the usually bare neutral going out with the main breaker feed wires to the meter? Is this tightly attached to the neutral bar (check for looseness)?
__________________
Forget super sized fries. The Washington Redskins could promote healthy eating with First Lady Obama by choosing a (red skinned) turnip for a mascot.

Last edited by AllanJ; 03-29-2009 at 10:41 PM.
AllanJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2009, 03:25 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,294
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


Quote:
It is hard to tell exactly were the arcing is occurring
Look harder/closer. Inspect it carefully with the power off please
220/221 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2009, 09:36 AM   #9
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 4
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


O.k. I had an electrician come out yesterday and look at the problem. He said that he thought it was because for whatever reason I did not have grounds coming to my box. He said that I needed a ground going to the main water pipe street side and one going to a ground rod. He also told me to have the power company come out and look because I have aluminum wires feeding my box and they could be corroded on the outside. He had a meter on the box and said that the voltage did not change when the arc in the the box happened. He also said that all the breakers looked good, and it did not look like it was a problem on the hot side of the box so there was no safety hazard.

So after he left I ran a ground to the water pipe and attached it with a grounding clamp. First I sanded the pipe down to make sure the connection was nice and clean. This did not change anything.

Than I called the power company out and they looked outside. They took the Meter of and looked at the connections and the wires feeding the meter and said that they looked clean and tight. He did say that the wires leaving the meter and feeding my box looked a little green like some corrosion was beginning. But of course the wires leaving my meter are my responsibility. He also said that the arcing is not major because his meter does not even show a change in voltage when it occurs. He said that you will see it in the lights because the filaments are so small.

After he left the flickering has seem to improved, I mean it is still there but not as often and the lights do not dim as bad. This leads me to believe that when he was pulling on the wires feeding my house to show me the green that it may have improved the connection a little, and if I have these three wires changed to copper it might solve my problem.
Does this sound like a correct theory to anyone?

I am an electrical engineer not an electrician so I really only work on electronics and do not really have any experience in electricity
Horner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2009, 10:02 AM   #10
Licensed Pro
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: SC
Posts: 1,545
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


Your "electrician" is FOS. The ground, or lack therof, will not cause arcing. An arc occurs when electrons jump across a gap, as in a loose connection. It may be an individual wire, it may be the neutral feeder for the panel. I would suspect the feeder. Since you have experienced arcing, the Al wire and the connection have corroded and you are no longer getting good contact between the two.

Since you have Al wire, your electrician should have have cut power to the panel, removed the neutral feeder (hots too since the power was off), cut back the wire, cleaned it and the connection, applied NoAlOx, and properly torqued the connection.
__________________
"Life is hard. Life is harder when you're stupid." John Wayne
HouseHelper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2009, 11:29 AM   #11
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nashua, NH, USA
Posts: 6,976
Rewards Points: 2,048
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


Please get it fixed quickly. Wherever arcing happens, self destruction happens and you could have to replace the panel if arcing goes on too long.

When there is a loose neutral connection, voltage swings happen and will damage electronic equipment.

Until it is fixed, keep electrical usage to a minimum so arcing is not as intense.
__________________
Forget super sized fries. The Washington Redskins could promote healthy eating with First Lady Obama by choosing a (red skinned) turnip for a mascot.
AllanJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2009, 11:34 AM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


If you put a 10A load on an outlet and the voltage at that outlet decreases more than 3vac, you have a high resistance connection upstream. 10A through 50' of #14 copper Romex = 2.6vac.

If you monitor the voltage at the panel, either by removing the cover or by using an electric dryer outlet as a voltage sensing terminal, the 240vac should change less than 100 mVac when you switch on your 10A outlet load.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 03-31-2009 at 11:37 AM.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2009, 03:50 PM   #13
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 4
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


Just to let everyone know what was found. After everything that the electrician thought it was did not work he actually saw the arc come from the main breaker. He did not have a breaker so I went looking for one. Since My house was built in 79 no one had the square D main breaker I needed because it was a long one that went from one side of the box to the other.

So I just bought a newer square d box and all new breakers and replaced my main box. I did this on Saturday and everything seems to be working great. I will keep my fingers crossed that the problem has been solved.
Horner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2009, 03:59 PM   #14
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,294
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

Need some Breaker box help?


Quote:
He said that he thought it was because for whatever reason I did not have grounds coming to my box.
Get your money back


The old "add a ground rod" routine.

Advertisement

220/221 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Circuit breaker panel - Advice needed justtired Electrical 15 12-13-2007 06:55 AM
20 Amp Breaker tripping with GFCI panhandlion Electrical 7 12-12-2007 09:59 PM
Problem with circuit breaker. HELP! spartanic Electrical 2 10-28-2007 04:09 PM
Outdoor breaker panel questions lhoney2 Electrical 12 07-19-2007 06:44 PM
Breaker Buzz SkipI Electrical 2 07-13-2007 08:48 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts