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Swansen 04-21-2008 06:51 PM

randomly dimming lights on one circuit
So, it only happens in a couple rooms, and at random times, like it doesn't happen constantly. The lights will dim, and then go back to normal, then sometimes they just flicker, but it comes and goes. I checked the connections on the breaker, and they are fine, tight, and no corrosion. So, i dunno, i know a little about AC power, but not that much, so any help would be appreciated. thanks in advance.

goose134 04-21-2008 11:00 PM

Sounds like it could be a loose neutral in the circuit. If you are comfortable looking at splices in the fixtures, find the loose one. Be careful when you do this because if the neutral is shared, you should kill BOTH circuits before messing with it.

I apologize if I don't answer the inevitable follow up questions right away as I am experiencing some computer issues.

220/221 04-22-2008 02:33 AM


Sounds like it could be a loose neutral in the circuit.
I am ALWAYS puzzled why people so often say "loose neutral" in cases like this.

If the only symptom is a dim/flicker there is no way to narrow it down between a hot and a neutral problem. No way that I am aware of anyway.

Enlighten me.

If the lights were to get brighter, you surely have a neutral issue.

Your circuit starts at the breaker and goes (hopefully in a somewhat logical route) from switch/outlet box to box. A loose connection anywhere in that path will cause dimming/flickering. It's a pain but you have to pull all receps and switches out to check connections. A likely source would be a connection where the wires stab into the back of a recep. Happens all the time.

Swansen 04-22-2008 06:24 AM

right, well, on that, the outlets are on the same circuit as the lights, so they are effected also, as in any light plugged into an outlet has the same problem. Hmm, just got what you were saying, yeah, that should be fun, good thing there are like forty receptacle and light sockets on this one circuit. Oh well, yeah, i should be fine, it will just take a long time to check everything, but i'll just be carefull/take my time. On a side note, the ground and neutral connections were really corroded, so i cleaned the wires a little, and moved the connection, but it didn't help, obviously. Just thought about this, but what about a receptacle tester?? would that help me narrow anything down or no??? again, thanks for the help.

goose134 04-22-2008 10:00 PM

220, you are right. It is not always the neutral. It very well could be the hot. I don't always say neutral, do I?

For the OP, while it seems a pain, it is a process of elimination. Think of it this way: if you do one a day, you'll be done in a little over a month. Or less.

220/221 04-23-2008 12:02 AM


I don't always say neutral, do I?

You won't anymore :laughing:

I wasn't referring to you specicically. It just seems to me that I read that a LOT on the electrical boards.

As you know, bad neutral connections sometimes have their own specific symptoms. If it's just a flicker it might be on the way in or on the way out.:thumbsup:

Swansen 04-23-2008 07:58 AM

ok, thanks again guys, at least i know what i'm looking for now.

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