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Thread: Lights flicker and things shut off randomly :(

  1. #16

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    Ok pulled the light fixture ,they are the regular incandescent bulbs not the spiral type.
    Checked the wire connections , all tight . Pulled both light switches and all connections tight inside nothing loose.

    I guess its time to call in an electrician to see what he can find ?

  2. #17

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    Had the local city electric come by and he checked their side and everything was good , so looks like its time to call an electrician to trouble shoot ...

  3. #18
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If it's only those new lights connected to the new dimmers, it may be that the dimmers are bad. If it is affecting all things in the house, then it's more likely a power problem than a control problem.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #19
    Electrician ActionDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abouthadit View Post
    Ok pulled the light fixture ,they are the regular incandescent bulbs not the spiral type.
    Checked the wire connections , all tight . Pulled both light switches and all connections tight inside nothing loose.

    I guess its time to call in an electrician to see what he can find ?
    Since it is not the lamps I will now go with Miswired Circuit and/or Problem Upstream of the Switchbox for $400 Alex.
    Last edited by ActionDave; 03-12-2012 at 06:51 PM. Reason: spellign

  5. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    If it's only those new lights connected to the new dimmers, it may be that the dimmers are bad. If it is affecting all things in the house, then it's more likely a power problem than a control problem.
    Its only on a certain circuit which I replaced lights on. IE; front porch light , dining light, kitchen lights (both dining/kitchen light switches to the dimer switches).
    The back door light which is a slider door off the dining room( I didn't touch that).

    This morning after checking what I could , I had the lights on for at least 2+ hours and nothing , then put a load of clothes in the washer turned it on and within a few minutes the kitchen lights to flickered.

    I have no idea if there was a problem before because when we bought the place it was a short sale and no way of talking to the previous owners.
    Last edited by Abouthadit; 03-12-2012 at 08:53 PM.

  6. #21

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    About the spiral light bulbs, be very careful of them, as we had 2, and they BOTH got dimmer and dimmer over a day or so. They began to glow with a dark orange, and I smelled something hot.
    I turned one off, and went to unscrew it and found it was extremely hot! I took it out with a pot holder and saw that it had some cooked looking places on the base.
    Then later on, another one failed and got hot. I threw them all away, even the unused ones.

    2 neighbors had this happen, and one caught on fire, the other one got so hot that it scorched their lampshade.
    So with my experience with these things, is not to ever leave them on if you are not in the same room with them. Or just get rid of them. And stock up on regular bulbs, we have a big box of them in our cellar.

  7. #22
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    When the lights flicker, do they ever appear to get brighter, or is it only dimmer? This is somewhat critical, as if they get brighter, this could be very costly and requires quick fix. Brighter implies a flakey neutral which could apply much higher voltage to things. Some can handle it, some will be damaged. The observation about the dryer is interesting, but may or may not be relevant. Electric dryers are almost all 240vac devices, and when on, they connect between the two power legs. If there's a flakey neutral, this connection could make what were normally 120vac circuits into 240vac circuits under some circumstances.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    When the lights flicker, do they ever appear to get brighter, or is it only dimmer? This is somewhat critical, as if they get brighter, this could be very costly and requires quick fix. Brighter implies a flakey neutral which could apply much higher voltage to things. Some can handle it, some will be damaged. The observation about the dryer is interesting, but may or may not be relevant. Electric dryers are almost all 240vac devices, and when on, they connect between the two power legs. If there's a flakey neutral, this connection could make what were normally 120vac circuits into 240vac circuits under some circumstances.
    The lights flicker/ go dim haven't seen any of them get brighter ...
    I put a load of clothes in the Wash machine not dryer when the lights flickered.
    I don't know if that was coincidental or not because it doesn't do all the time ?

  9. #24
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    WM are 120vac devices, but an electric dryer is almost certainly 240vac, which is using both legs from the transformer. Dimmer and not brighter brings us back to either a poor connection or a defective device. That poor connection could be anywhere from the power panel to the light fixture.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #25
    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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    i'm wondering if he is seeing the lights dim when a load is placed on them. eg, if outlets are hooked in with the lighting, you may see a 'surge' sometimes, like from a vacuum or washing machine turning on.

  11. #26

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    Yep , I've checked a few , need to keep checking along the circuit to see if I can find the bad connection /or defective device...

    I've had the lights on pretty much most of the day and they have not dimmed /flickered once !

    Maybe wasting my time doing this, but I know on working on electrical problems with cars in the past you did a wiggle test (GM actually has a warranty code just for that) I've gone around tapping on wall sockets/switches etc and cannot get the lights to flicker/dim...

  12. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad Schloss View Post
    i'm wondering if he is seeing the lights dim when a load is placed on them. eg, if outlets are hooked in with the lighting, you may see a 'surge' sometimes, like from a vacuum or washing machine turning on.
    With nothing working that is plugged in IE : wash machine , . The lights still went dim and actually went out for a second then came back on. The lights going completely out only did that Sat night , they haven't gone completely out since just dimmed/flickered .
    When the front porch light flickered/dimmed low then went out , I tried the back door light off the dining room and it came on then went out and came back on.

  13. #28
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; Get an electrician to pull your meter and inspect the clips the meter goes into......

    Do that here, and you could be given a $10,000.00 fine for tampering with the meter seals. If it were an open neutral, things would burn out rather than flicker.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  14. #29
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by capecod12 View Post
    About the spiral light bulbs, be very careful of them, as we had 2, and they BOTH got dimmer and dimmer over a day or so. They began to glow with a dark orange, and I smelled something hot.
    I turned one off, and went to unscrew it and found it was extremely hot! I took it out with a pot holder and saw that it had some cooked looking places on the base.
    Then later on, another one failed and got hot. I threw them all away, even the unused ones.

    2 neighbors had this happen, and one caught on fire, the other one got so hot that it scorched their lampshade.
    So with my experience with these things, is not to ever leave them on if you are not in the same room with them. Or just get rid of them. And stock up on regular bulbs, we have a big box of them in our cellar.
    More FUD. Brand name, and model number? Should be fairly easy to track down complaints on specific bulbs with such a problem. Here's a snopes link: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/cflbulb.asp The ballasts can burn out with the sweet acrid burnt wiring smell something I've seen once in the past 7 years or so, but that's a far sight from actually catching fire.

    Wanna catch something on fire or scorch a lampshade? Place an incandescent up against it. Wouldn't want that fire hazard in my house. Time to break out the candles...oh...wait a minute, those are the waxy things with open flames that our fire marshall will talk your ear off about wanting to ban sale and posession in the city limits.

    As an experiment: run an incandescent for 20 minutes, then try to unscrew it with your bare hand. I'm betting you will discover that it is "extremely hot!" Hmmm...that must be why we've used incandescents as heaters in well houses and the like.

  15. #30
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad Schloss View Post
    i'm wondering if he is seeing the lights dim when a load is placed on them. eg, if outlets are hooked in with the lighting, you may see a 'surge' sometimes, like from a vacuum or washing machine turning on.
    Lived in a house that had issues like that. When the washing machine was agitating the lights dimmed in time. I could read about a 10+ volt drop at the outlets on different circuits when this was happening. It also coincided with loads in the neighborhood at times, and our neighboors commented on the same thing happening in the evening. My UPS would cycle in and out periodically when the swings were wide enough. I wasn't sure if it was a shared transformer or the local grid behind some of the problems.

    At least that house had a few circuits...I lived in one a few years later that had only two fuses for lighting and outlets, one for one end, one for the other. It did have dedicated fuses for the major appliances. Nobody had labeled most of them in the ~50 years they had been there of course. As with every other home I've lived in that job fell to me. It's one of the first things I do when I move in. Comes in handy too, like when the oven element burned out during the first meal cooked in a home, and then began melting down spectacularly without burning out the screw type fuse. That oven never was right...shoulda let the thing burn long enough to replace the whole piece of crap.

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