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Old 10-06-2017, 11:04 AM   #1
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Garage Breaker Box Problem


Hi all, I'm posting from NJ. Abour a month ago I started having odd problems in my detached garage. I have problems on multiple circuits that involve low voltage. LED lighting started flickering, fluorescent lighting would flicker but not light. A refrigerator's lights would light dimly, and the compressor/fan would not run. It happened earlier this year for a day, then it resolved on its own. Now the problems are back.

I've ruled out wiring problems and was testing voltage between the ground, hot and common lines in the box, and as soon as I made contact with the tester between (I think) the hot and common lines in the breaker box, all the lights came on, and the fridge started working. Unfortunately I had to leave for work, so I shut off the garage breakers, and left. This morning the problems are all back. Does anyone have an idea of what I'm dealing with? Thanks in advance for any help...
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:30 AM   #2
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Re: Garage Breaker Box Problem


Bad neutral connection. Either a connection at the garage or house end, or bad underground cable.

If you measure any voltage ground to neutral then that pretty much confirms it. Ground to neutral should be zero volts.
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:40 AM   #3
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Re: Garage Breaker Box Problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Bad neutral connection. Either a connection at the garage or house end, or bad underground cable.

If you measure any voltage ground to neutral then that pretty much confirms it. Ground to neutral should be zero volts.
My younger brother (R.I.P.) buried alum. wire from his house to his detached garage once. I warned him not to in advance, but what did I know? The ground was bare alum. Called me one day and said lights were dim and when he turned the bench grinder on everything came back on. I went over there and opened his breaker box, leaned my hand on the furnace near by and it knocked the crap out of me. He had to dig the lines up and replace them.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:48 PM   #4
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Re: Garage Breaker Box Problem


Stick to the simple stuff. Expect your garage has a 3 wire +gnd feed. Check
the tightness of these 4 terminations at both ends. Likely to be either a loose
hot(leg) or neutral.

BTW, it was likely the mechanical pressure you applied with your
tester that made things work so I'd suggest starting in that area.
DVM are very high impedance (when set for volts) so it's unlikely
the DVM had an electrical effect on the cct.

Last edited by CodeMatters; 10-06-2017 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 10-06-2017, 09:34 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone for your quick responses. It was a loose neutral connection coming in to the garage.
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