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Old 12-17-2010, 06:53 AM   #31
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Power loss


Still sounds like an open neutral. Your extension cord circuit is completing the circuit for some other circuits by creating a MWBC. An open neutral could be just about anywhere, not just in your panel. You need to create a systematic approach and go through all your wiring and check for bad connections. This means every outlet box.

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Old 01-07-2011, 12:35 PM   #32
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Power loss


I had a GFCI outlet in the bathroom that wasn't working - it would read 120v until I connected a load, then it would drop to 20v. I replaced the outlet with a standard duplex, same result.

Today I removed the breaker for that circuit and put it in a known good slot of the box, and took the breaker from that slot and put it in the old GFCI slot. The bathroom outlet now works properly but the other circuit now shows the same voltage loss.

I had one open slot in the box so I put the bathroom breaker there and returned the other breaker to its regular slot. Everything now works ok.

So I guess I need a new box? If so, do you think this is the source of my other problems? Thanks.
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Old 01-07-2011, 12:40 PM   #33
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Power loss


What Mfg panel ? How old ?
Do you need that slot ?
Do you see corrosion or anything where you removed the breaker ?
Any sign of rust....
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:04 PM   #34
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Power loss


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
What Mfg panel ? How old ?
Do you need that slot ?
Do you see corrosion or anything where you removed the breaker ?
Any sign of rust....
Mobile Home - 1982 - I assume the box is original - it says Gould ITE Mobile Home Load Center.

I don't see any corrosion anywhere. The slot (copper colored) reads 120v, as does the outlet, but the voltage loss happens when a known good breaker is on that slot. The slot looks the same as the others. Right now I have several slots and breakers that show voltage but I don't know where they're connected - I'm planning to run down all the circuits eventually. I have no power at the front of the trailer, which I'm not currently using, so I'm fine for a while, but would like to get all circuits working. My stove has never worked, but I haven't checked yet to see if there's voltage at the outlet(hard to reach) - though there is 240v at what I think is the breaker for the stove.
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:22 PM   #35
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Power loss


When you moved to a new slot was it adjacent to the non working breaker?

Have you tested for 240 volts at the main breaker?
Sounds like you may have a mising leg, either because of a bad breaker, or issues from the poco.


After rereading the thread, you have issues that are beyound a normal diyer.

Troubleshooting the problems you have take experince and understanding of how electrical systems work.

It may be time for you to find an electrician.
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Last edited by jbfan; 01-07-2011 at 01:28 PM. Reason: more info.
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:22 PM   #36
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Power loss


Yeah, given the problems you have I'd install a new panel
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:19 PM   #37
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Power loss


I have replaced about 30 meter boxes on mobile homes with loose and or corroded terminals.
Especially with bad neutral connections behind the meter.

The bad meter socket connections caused all sorts of weird problems. Lights flickering, half a trailer works intermittently.

Do all of the problems seem to be on one side of the mobile home?

I would have all the connections checked all the way back to the transformer.

Does the mobile home have aluminum wire.

Do you have or have you had trouble with mice.






Bob

Last edited by Hourglass52; 01-07-2011 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:37 PM   #38
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Power loss


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hourglass52 View Post
I have replaced about 30 meter boxes on mobile homes with loose and or corroded terminals.
Especially with bad neutral connections behind the meter.

The bad meter socket connections caused all sorts of weird problems. Lights flickering, half a trailer works intermittently.

Do all of the problems seem to be on one side of the mobile home?

I would have all the connections checked all the way back to the transformer.

Does the mobile home have aluminum wire.

Do you have or have you had trouble with mice.






Bob
All the wiring I've seen is copper including the heavy duty cable from the meter to the box, the hot wires, ground and neutrals in the box and 3 outlets I've opened.

When I first moved in and for about 2 months there were 2 different incursions of mice which I ended with some poison - haven't seen any for about 9 months. The trailer was empty for a few months before I moved in.

Do you think I should install a new load center?

Edit: I don't have power to the front of the trailer - 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. Only four circuits right now are active though I show the correct voltage at the breakers that I don't know the service they're for. 2 or 3 slots are empty in the box, including the one from which I just pulled the breaker.

Last edited by carlko; 01-07-2011 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:21 AM   #39
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Power loss


You need to reread my post and answer the questions I asked.
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:59 AM   #40
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Power loss


OK, You asked for IT.

FIRST OF ALL. Is this a rental or do you own it?
If this is a rental. You are assuming all liability for your work, and the property when you work on a rental.

If this is a rental you need to RUN AWAY FROM IT!!!

Here is what I have found in mobile homes with the symptoms you are telling me. Wish I was there to help you.
Mobile home wiring in the 70's and 80's was garbage rite off the line.
The good news is that you found copper wire.

What I would do is get a notebook. Renters/ fire insurance. Eight smoke detectors and 2 Carbon monoxide detectors. Two or three boxes of tamper resistant receptacles a box of switches, and about 30 feet if 14/2 wire. I am assuming that the mobile home is wired with #14 wire. I have not seen a mobile home with #12 in it. Cut the 30 feet of 14/2 into 10 inch lengths. You are going to need a bunch of pigtails and yellow and red wire nuts..

I would start in a room. Label it room #1, or A, or what ever. Inventory all of the receptacles, switches, and lights in the room.

Kill the power to the room. Then one by one check each electrical box in the room. They used cheap stab lock receptacles in mobile homes and the stab locks were junctions to other rooms.
They also used shallow fiberglass electrical boxes. Get yourself some old work plastic boxes. When you pigtail the hot, neutral, and grounds some of the fiberglass boxes won't be deep enough.
You will find some of the boxes will be so crammed full of wires it will scare you.

When you pull a receptacle look for burned or loose connections. Just cut the stab locked wires as close to the receptacle, or switch as you can.

The neutrals were crimped with junk crimps and not even crimped correctly.
All of the ground wires were crimper incorrectly also. Just cut the crimp off and use a pigtail connection on the neutral and ground wires.

"IF", I say "IF" your mobile home is wired correctly. It is wired with an isolated equipment ground. Even your mobile home frame is bonded to the ground buss in your main panel ( I hope).
In your main panel there should be two buss bars. One will have all white wires bonded to it and the other buss will have all bare wire bonded to it.

As I suspect, in the past someone might have hacked some modifications in the mobile home. If you find white and bare wires on the same buss they will have to be separated.
The buss that the bare wires go on will have a green bonding screw on it somewhere. It is a screw that grounds the buss to the box itself.
The buss that the white/neutral wires go on will be mounted in/ with plastic brackets.
If you have to switch a bunch of wires in the main panel it is mandatory that you turn off the main disconnect outside. I am assuming there is a main switch out side on a pole or pedestal.

Mobile homes can be strange. I have found junctions that feed a bathroom in a ceiling light box in the kitchen 30 feet away from the bath.

************************************************** ****
BEFORE YOU TURN A ROOM BACK ON. CHECK CONTINUITY BETWEEN THE HOT AND NEUTRAL SLOTS IN ALL OF THE RECEPTACLES AND LIGHT BOXES.
************************************************** ****

You stated that the mobile home was vacant for 2 month before you moved in. Mice love mobile homes this time of year, and they love to chew wires.
I have gone out on a mobile home where the rats or squirrels chewed off the main neutral coming in to the mobile home. Yes it was hacked without conduit.

Be sure to check for hack work under the mobile home. Under a mobile home is where you will find most of the hack work.
(I found a wire nutted junction sitting in water under a mobile home once.) The person told me that sometimes this breaker trips.

This is not as hard or as confusing as it sounds.

#1 check your main panel for white and bare wires on the same buss.
Turn off the main, and take your time if you find the wires are wrong.
Make sure all the bare ground wires are on one buss and all the white wires are on the isolated ( mounted it plastic) buss.

#2 Pick a room, any room. Kill the power to that room.
Look to see what else gets turned off. On the other dead rooms/ hallways unplug everything, and remove the light bulbs.
Get your note book, and keep track of which boxes you have repaired-- receptacle, switch, and light boxes.

Check continuity on the receptacles before you turn that room back on.
Be sure to take out any light bulbs and unplug anything before you do the continuity check.

Take your time. Note where wires are connected.. Do one connection at a time.
Do one connection at a time and pigtail all the wires back the same way. Before you hook up the new receptacle you can check continuity between the white and black pigtails. Pig tail connections http://electrical.about.com/od/wirin...ilwireconn.htm

Take your time. It sounds like allot but it is repetitive repairs on each box.
DON"T use the stab-lock connections on the new receptacles.

When I do work on mobile homes I just shut off the main. It is easier and safer.

If you understand what I am describing here, good.
If you don't understand, get some help. The connections in a mobile homes can be a mess.

Bob

Last edited by Hourglass52; 01-08-2011 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:22 AM   #41
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Power loss


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hourglass52 View Post
OK, You asked for IT.

FIRST OF ALL. Is this a rental or do you own it?
If this is a rental. You are assuming all liability for your work, and the property when you work on a rental.

If this is a rental you need to RUN AWAY FROM IT!!!

Here is what I have found in mobile homes with the symptoms you are telling me. Wish I was there to help you.
Mobile home wiring in the 70's and 80's was garbage rite off the line.
The good news is that you found copper wire.

What I would do is get a notebook. Renters/ fire insurance. Eight smoke detectors and 2 Carbon monoxide detectors. Two or three boxes of tamper resistant receptacles a box of switches, and about 30 feet if 14/2 wire. I am assuming that the mobile home is wired with #14 wire. I have not seen a mobile home with #12 in it. Cut the 30 feet of 14/2 into 10 inch lengths. You are going to need a bunch of pigtails and yellow and red wire nuts..

I would start in a room. Label it room #1, or A, or what ever. Inventory all of the receptacles, switches, and lights in the room.

Kill the power to the room. Then one by one check each electrical box in the room. They used cheap stab lock receptacles in mobile homes and the stab locks were junctions to other rooms.
They also used shallow fiberglass electrical boxes. Get yourself some old work plastic boxes. When you pigtail the hot, neutral, and grounds some of the fiberglass boxes won't be deep enough.
You will find some of the boxes will be so crammed full of wires it will scare you.

When you pull a receptacle look for burned or loose connections. Just cut the stab locked wires as close to the receptacle, or switch as you can.

The neutrals were crimped with junk crimps and not even crimped correctly.
All of the ground wires were crimper incorrectly also. Just cut the crimp off and use a pigtail connection on the neutral and ground wires.

"IF", I say "IF" your mobile home is wired correctly. It is wired with an isolated equipment ground. Even your mobile home frame is bonded to the ground buss in your main panel ( I hope).
In your main panel there should be two buss bars. One will have all white wires bonded to it and the other buss will have all bare wire bonded to it.

As I suspect, in the past someone might have hacked some modifications in the mobile home. If you find white and bare wires on the same buss they will have to be separated.
The buss that the bare wires go on will have a green bonding screw on it somewhere. It is a screw that grounds the buss to the box itself.
The buss that the white/neutral wires go on will be mounted in/ with plastic brackets.
If you have to switch a bunch of wires in the main panel it is mandatory that you turn off the main disconnect outside. I am assuming there is a main switch out side on a pole or pedestal.

Mobile homes can be strange. I have found junctions that feed a bathroom in a ceiling light box in the kitchen 30 feet away from the bath.

************************************************** ****
BEFORE YOU TURN A ROOM BACK ON. CHECK CONTINUITY BETWEEN THE HOT AND NEUTRAL SLOTS IN ALL OF THE RECEPTACLES AND LIGHT BOXES.
************************************************** ****

You stated that the mobile home was vacant for 2 month before you moved in. Mice love mobile homes this time of year, and they love to chew wires.
I have gone out on a mobile home where the rats or squirrels chewed off the main neutral coming in to the mobile home. Yes it was hacked without conduit.

Be sure to check for hack work under the mobile home. Under a mobile home is where you will find most of the hack work.
(I found a wire nutted junction sitting in water under a mobile home once.) The person told me that sometimes this breaker trips.

This is not as hard or as confusing as it sounds.

#1 check your main panel for white and bare wires on the same buss.
Turn off the main, and take your time if you find the wires are wrong.
Make sure all the bare ground wires are on one buss and all the white wires are on the isolated ( mounted it plastic) buss.

#2 Pick a room, any room. Kill the power to that room.
Look to see what else gets turned off. On the other dead rooms/ hallways unplug everything, and remove the light bulbs.
Get your note book, and keep track of which boxes you have repaired-- receptacle, switch, and light boxes.

Check continuity on the receptacles before you turn that room back on.
Be sure to take out any light bulbs and unplug anything before you do the continuity check.

Take your time. Note where wires are connected.. Do one connection at a time.
Do one connection at a time and pigtail all the wires back the same way. Before you hook up the new receptacle you can check continuity between the white and black pigtails. Pig tail connections http://electrical.about.com/od/wirin...ilwireconn.htm

Take your time. It sounds like allot but it is repetitive repairs on each box.
DON"T use the stab-lock connections on the new receptacles.

When I do work on mobile homes I just shut off the main. It is easier and safer.

If you understand what I am describing here, good.
If you don't understand, get some help. The connections in a mobile homes can be a mess.

Bob
I do own it so that's not a problem. Thanks very much for so in depth a reply - I will attempt to do all you say.
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:40 AM   #42
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Power loss


It sounds like a whole lot of work. It really isn't that bad. I can do a whole mobile home in two easy days.
The reason that is suggest you go through the whole mobile home is that the mobile home is at the age where it will drive you nuts with receptacles/connections going bad one after the other.

Bob
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:38 PM   #43
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Power loss


Quote:
Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
When you moved to a new slot was it adjacent to the non working breaker?

No, it's 2 or 3 slots down.

Have you tested for 240 volts at the main breaker?

Yes - each leg has 120 and there's 240 at the main.

Sounds like you may have a mising leg, either because of a bad breaker, or issues from the poco.


After rereading the thread, you have issues that are beyound a normal diyer.

Troubleshooting the problems you have take experince and understanding of how electrical systems work.

It may be time for you to find an electrician.
I'm on a very limited budget. If necessary I can just leave it as is - enough works well enough for the home to be liveable. Because I have a lot of time and because I may want to sell someday, as well as safety issues, I want to do as much as I can. An electrician may be in the future but only if there's absolutely no other option.
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:13 PM   #44
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Power loss


Quote:
Originally Posted by carlko View Post
If necessary I can just leave it as is - enough works well enough for the home to be liveable.
You still don't get it. There's a reason the power company showed up in 15 minutes when you called in with a "loose neutral" complaint: it's an emergency. This is the second-most urgent electrical problem you can have, second only to an electrified grounding system... and if you loose the neutral completely then that's what you'll have. Just because it seems to work most of the time DOES NOT MEAN it is OK to leave it alone.

As others have tried to explain, there are two serious problems that result from a loose neutral. The first problem is that the neutral current will travel on other return paths to the transformer. Any metal path that leads from the neutral/grounding bus in the panel back to the power company's transformer will carry the unbalanced load from your house. This can be a lot of current - enough to melt things and start fires easily. There are many possible return paths. It sounds like your cable TV line was one, and it overheated (this is a common first indicator of a lost neutral). Somehow the grounding wire for your water heater is another, and it surely will overheat soon.

But what happens when all those alternate return paths overheat and fail? First, your appliances instantly fry from the elevated voltage. 240V will do bad things to most of your electronics. Even worse, your grounding system (all the metal in your house) becomes electrified with a voltage up to 120V. Then you've got a real problem on your hands.

If I had any symptoms of a loose neutral, I'd turn off my main breaker until I had the problem completely solved. Spending any amount of time living with a loose neutral is just asking for fire or death.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:01 PM   #45
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Power loss


Quote:
Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
You still don't get it. There's a reason the power company showed up in 15 minutes when you called in with a "loose neutral" complaint: it's an emergency. This is the second-most urgent electrical problem you can have, second only to an electrified grounding system... and if you loose the neutral completely then that's what you'll have. Just because it seems to work most of the time DOES NOT MEAN it is OK to leave it alone.

As others have tried to explain, there are two serious problems that result from a loose neutral. The first problem is that the neutral current will travel on other return paths to the transformer. Any metal path that leads from the neutral/grounding bus in the panel back to the power company's transformer will carry the unbalanced load from your house. This can be a lot of current - enough to melt things and start fires easily. There are many possible return paths. It sounds like your cable TV line was one, and it overheated (this is a common first indicator of a lost neutral). Somehow the grounding wire for your water heater is another, and it surely will overheat soon.

But what happens when all those alternate return paths overheat and fail? First, your appliances instantly fry from the elevated voltage. 240V will do bad things to most of your electronics. Even worse, your grounding system (all the metal in your house) becomes electrified with a voltage up to 120V. Then you've got a real problem on your hands.

If I had any symptoms of a loose neutral, I'd turn off my main breaker until I had the problem completely solved. Spending any amount of time living with a loose neutral is just asking for fire or death.
Would it make sense to test by pulling all the circuit breakers except the main feed and one breaker, checking for any power fluctuation, then doing the same thing for each leg of the box and each breaker? The idea is to see if any circuit is causing the problem. In other words, if a circuit is completely disconnected from the system and that's what is causing the problem, the problem should disappear, correct?

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