blinking lights

Originally Posted By: mjones1
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I received a call today about an inspection i did last month. Now that my client has taken possession she is having electrical problems.


She says that when she opens the garage door the outdoor lights on the garage blink on and off until she lowers the door a little. And also that some of the outlets in the basement are doing the same thing and that her son plugged 2 different tv’s into these outlets and now they don’t work at all, after blinking on and off for awhile.


Any ideas? I told her that everything was fine at the time of inspection but as a curtsey i would look at it for her tomorrow.


Any help is very much appreciated.


Thanks
Mike


Originally Posted By: psabados
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Hey Michael


Overhead or underground wiring? Since it sounds like a multitude of circuits acting up, most likely its a bad connection at the neutral. Could be at the panel, masthead or even back at the pole. Could also be a loose service feeder on one of the phases. Most likely nothing that you can repair. You should have a licensed Sparky go out to the location.

Paul


Originally Posted By: mjones1
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http://www.nachi.org/bbsystem/usrimages/more/Picture%20087.jpg ]


[ Image: http://www.nachi.org/bbsystem/usrimages/more/Picture%20007.jpg ]


Originally Posted By: Joey D’Adamo
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That kinda looks like tandem breakers feeding multiwire circuits. There are a bunch of them with a red and black wire on them, and presumably a common neutral? If this is the case, that could result in an overloaded neutral since tandem breakers connect to a single phase only… It might be worth a look.


Although i'm not too too familiar with Square D, so I might be wrong.

Thoughts from others?


Originally Posted By: mjones1
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Well I went out there today and they could not reproduce the problem.


So I double checked everything and it looks fine.


Oh well what can you do. icon_wink.gif


Thanks for your input guys.


Mike


Originally Posted By: jpeck
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That is a split bus panel.


Could be a bad neutral in the underground service lateral.

My service lateral neutral corroded through and was grounding out to earth underground. When FPL came out and replaced it, they were surprised that the neutral was doing anything, it had corroded all the way through and was 'broken'.

This creates a 'floating neutral' condition, and the voltages on the two phase legs can be at any voltages which equal 240 volts. Instead of 120 / 120, you could have 80 / 160, 60 / 200, 90 / 140, any voltage combination. The lower voltage burns things out (and dims lights) and the higher voltage burns things out (and brightens lights).

Both are equally bad.


--
Jerry Peck
South Florida

Originally Posted By: Joey D’Adamo
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jpeck wrote:
That is a split bus panel.


Explain ![icon_smile.gif](upload://b6iczyK1ETUUqRUc4PAkX83GF2O.gif) Does that affect what I observed with multiwire circuits on what appear to be tandem breakers?

Thanks. I wanna learn lol


Originally Posted By: mjones1
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I plugged in my volt meter and watched as the kids opened and closed the garage doors and turned on and off the lights etc. and there was no fluctuation in the voltage at the outlet that supposedly destroyed there tv.


She seems happy that I came out to look things over.

Mike


Originally Posted By: jpeck
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Joey,


Split bus panel.

![](upload://dhakp858JcMOGCKRcqBY8qBsQ3e.jpeg)

Regarding multi-wire circuits: I suspect they are NOT multi-wire circuits as there is a neutral (grounded) conductor for every hot conductor.

My guess is the red and black is just to help the electrician identify the conductors, if so, it was not done as I normally see it, all Phase A is black and all Phase B is red. Here, there are black and red on Phase A and Phase B.

Of course, they ALSO have that nasty little white wire going that breaker ... and what looks like cut off nails being used as handle ties ... and ... but this is beyond what we were discussing.


--
Jerry Peck
South Florida

Originally Posted By: bbadger
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Never seen anything near this in a dwelling. icon_confused.gif



Bob Badger


Electrical Construction & Maintenance


Moderator at ECN

Originally Posted By: jpeck
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bbadger wrote:
Never seen anything near this in a dwelling. ![icon_confused.gif](upload://qv5zppiN69qCk2Y6JzaFYhrff8S.gif)


You haven't?

I see it now and then is some of our older dwellings, but not in something newer (say around the 70s-80s and newer).


--
Jerry Peck
South Florida

Originally Posted By: tallen
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I was faced with a similar problem back in the 80’s turns out it was a severed neutral (landscaping). I am with Jerry.


N is compromized.



I have put the past behind me,


where , however, it now sits, making rude remarks.


www.whiteglovehomeinspections.net

30 Oct 2003-- 29 Nov2005

Originally Posted By: jfarsetta
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I see split bus panels all the time. I agree that neutral mau be the problem, but was the problem isolated to a group of circuits only?


If it didnt affect the entire house, I'd start looking for some other commonality between the affected receptacles...

I'd also suggest they contact a licensed electrical contractor if the problem is not that obvious.


--
Joe Farsetta

Illigitimi Non Carborundum
"Dont let the bastards grind you down..."