ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#34963 - 02/29/04 02:25 PM Blinking lights
minangelo Offline
Junior Member
Registered: 01/29/03
Posts: 9
Loc: Ogunquit, Maine
I have a customer that when she places all the lights on at night they blink. They will not go out, but dim quickly. I called the power company and they said that everything was fine when they came out. I did notice that the SER cable from the disconnect to the panel was in bad shape and replaced that. And the problem still is there. The property is on the waterfront (ocean) and the meter is exposed. The meter has a disconnect and I could change the 200A breaker. But because of the age of the meter I would recommend to the homeowner to change out the whole disconnect. Has any one got any thoughts on this. I am going to have the power company come out and place meter on it to see if they measure any changes.

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
#34964 - 02/29/04 02:37 PM Re: Blinking lights
iwire Offline
Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4391
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
Bad neutral connection if some lights get bright and others get dim.

Bad hot connection if lights only get dimmer or go out.

A meter put across the line and load of the breaker should tell you if the breaker is at fault.

Any reading higher that a few millivolts between line and load would be suspect.
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
#34965 - 02/29/04 03:22 PM Re: Blinking lights
Electric Eagle Offline
Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 914
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
My first quess would be arcing between the buss bar and the breaker. Try pulling off the breakers to inspect the buss and connections. Often you can hear a sizzle in the panel when the lights are dimming if this is the case.
#34966 - 03/02/04 02:02 PM Re: Blinking lights
CRW Offline
Registered: 02/11/01
Posts: 159
Loc: Bethlehem, PA USA
I had a problem for at least a year or so in my own home, with lights dimming from time to time, for half a second or so.. The one that was most noticeable was in the bathroom, because when it would happen I'd notice the fan slow down for an instant. I checked the switch box in the bathroom, the circuit in the panel, and also looked for any splices in between--in the basement, or the kitchen drop ceiling, anything that could be affecting it. Also checked the main breaker connections, but not the meter connections. I looked at the bugs overhead, they seemed OK sightwise. I have an old FPE panel, and intend on changing out the whiole service in the near future, so even though everything looked OK there, I figured that once it was all new I'd be rid of any problems.
Then a couple months ago, I realized that I hadn't had any of that dimming problem for a while. So I can only conclude that the problem was outside of my house, because nothing I did changed anything. It must have been something with the utility.

Now I don't want to offend anyone if you work for a power company, but I think that in a way, we're at their mercy with this sort of thing. If they say, "It looks OK on our end," how do you know if it is or not? Unless you have a recording meter located on their side of your service, you have no way of knowing. Look at some of those newsltters over at, where they have problems with people getting shocked in their back yards from stray voltages, etc. The power company always claims their system is OK. But lots of people believe that there are safety issues connected with the grounding and neutral systems in the power grids. I just have my doubts when it concerns the utilities sometimes...

Hope it works out for you with that testing.

Member Spotlight
Member Since: 11/17/00
Posts: 2232
New in the Gallery:
SE cable question

2017 NEC and Related
2017 NEC
Now Available!

Shout Box

Who's Online
0 registered (), 59 Guests and 9 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
New in the Gallery:
SE cable question
Top Posters (30 Days)
Admin 47
HotLine1 43
gfretwell 19
Ruben Rocha 12
Trumpy 9
Newest Members
Freecrowder, clee512, Jdscott2005, FAIZAN, Regitest2

ECN Electrical Forums - sponsored by Electrical Contractor Network - Electrical and Code Related Discussion for Electrical Contractors, Electricians, Inspectors, Instructors, Engineers and other related Professionals