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#9619 - 05/07/02 09:19 AM Flickering lights
Hazmat Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/02
Posts: 26
Loc: IA
OK, I'm not an electrician, so before you smack me around (verbally) for being here, let me say, I've learned to be at least coherent in electrical discussions from you guys and mainly come to check out the safety stuff, and recalls. That being said, here's the issue:

Over the last few days, we've noticed a flickering of some of the lights in our home. We (last summer) raised the house and built a new basement, and the breaker panel is still hanging by the 2" conduit, with no connection to the wall. I know, that's not great, but until I get the basement finished this summer, it will have to do.

Regardless, my thoughts were that the main lugs had worked loose (aluminum). I shut of the power at the pole with the main disconnect (rural home) and attempted to tighten up the lugs. What the heck size are these allen screws? 3/8" is too big, 5/16" too small, and no one manufacturers a 9mm allen wrench, which is, I believe, the actual size. Specialized tool (torque wrench) or what?

By the way, I already untaped the acorn nuts at the mast and they were still clean well-lubed but I cranked them down and retaped them anyway.

REC won't come inside the house and they want me to confirm it's not a problem with the home wiring before they'll even check their system out. That seems lame to me, but oh well. Can't get and electrician at the place til Friday at the earliest.

Any thoughts, as I want this fixed because it's hard on equipment and a dangerous situation. Waiting til Friday seems tough.

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#9620 - 05/07/02 09:32 AM Re: Flickering lights
electrician02125 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/01/01
Posts: 90
Call a licensed or qualified electrician.

Who left the panel unsupported?

Who did the work on the addition?

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#9621 - 05/07/02 12:08 PM Re: Flickering lights
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
Hazmat,

There are many details that we cannot know and an exchange of any detailed information or instructions would beyond the scope of this Forum. We cannot advise you to attempt anything yourself in this situation either because it probably involves testing of live equipment. Perhaps a few more calls could get someone out there sooner. If you need some #s take a look at:
. www.Electrician-Finder.com and use your Telephone Area Code for a search parameter.

Good Luck,
Bill

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#9622 - 05/07/02 01:07 PM Re: Flickering lights
Hazmat Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/02
Posts: 26
Loc: IA
Who left it unsupported? I guess I did, knowing that I'd build the wall this summer (I'll have to temporary something for now). Who did the basement? House moving firm, but electrical was not part of their contract.

My main question is really what's up with these lugs and are they really 9mm, because even our maintenance men's sets don't have a place for 9mm, but skip from 8 to 10? Mostly just curiosity more than anythingelse.

Obviously, I'd rather have an electrician do this, but I've tried 3 and Friday's the best anyone would promise (and only maybe at that). I'm not asking for electrical advice, just had a question about this tool. If it's not the main lugs, then it's a problem at the pole or before, and out of even an electrician's league.

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#9623 - 05/07/02 01:28 PM Re: Flickering lights
dana1028 Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/02
Posts: 163
Loc: San Carlos, CA
Ok, Hazmat - to answer your question about the lug....I really don't know the actual size but American std. allens have always worked for any panel I've ever been in....maybe your lug is a little burred which causes difficulty in getting a standard size allen inserted.

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#9624 - 05/07/02 01:32 PM Re: Flickering lights
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
Hazmat,

I have not yet run across anything on a Residential service that required any special tools except for locks, etc. that was installed by the Utility. Is this equipment supplied by the Utility? If so, that may explain what is going on.

Maybe another inquiry to the Utility asking about claims if it is proven to be their 'fault' might get someone out there to take a look at things.

Bill

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#9625 - 05/07/02 04:14 PM Re: Flickering lights
jo Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 22
Loc: Oakland, California
Check the neutral bus

could be a burned wire is a j-box

also check the amps at the main
this will tell you if you have a loose lug

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#9626 - 05/07/02 07:37 PM Re: Flickering lights
Electric Eagle Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 928
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
Hazmat, what brand is this panel and the age? It is posible that some of the breakers or main breaker is arcing on the bus bar. This causes a dimming or flickering of lights. While it is arcing you can usually hear the "sizzle" in the panel. You may also get this sound if the lugs are loose. I also suggest you try a few more electricians, I know in my area someone will always come out to troubleshoot an emergency, which is what you may have.

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#9627 - 05/08/02 05:39 AM Re: Flickering lights
Hazmat Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/02
Posts: 26
Loc: IA
I did call REC again last night, and they are sending someone out this morning to check it out. However, they will not go inside the house, but only check out everything up to the meter (which is all I was asking them to do in the first place). Managed to get a 3/8 allen wrench to fit in the end, all though it took some gentle persuasion to actually get it seated in each lug. All seemed tight. Tried another electrician as well, to check everything else and he'll be there this evening or tomorrow morning.

I've been working in the basement constantly, while this has been going on, and have never heard buzzing, and I know what that's all about, from past experience. I'm pretty well convinced it's something between me and the transformer 2 poles down, or it could be that ancient throw disconnect on my pole. Either way, it's nothing I can handle, so I'll let the pros take care of it. Thanks to all for taking a few moments to try to help.

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#9628 - 05/08/02 06:35 AM Re: Flickering lights
Hazmat Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/02
Posts: 26
Loc: IA
I forgot...Square D, 10 years old? 150 Amp service.

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