cabin wiring problem

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  #1  
Old 09-06-00, 11:08 AM
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We have a 30 yr old cabin that was wired with romex (without a ground) and have noticed some strange problems recently.

*The lights in the kitchen get brighter when the microwave is turned on and they are on separate circuits.

*We have a 125 amp main panel inside the cabin with another 70 amp disconnect located on the pole outside just below the meter. This disconnect is a 2 pole breaker that will shut off power to the cabin.

Could this disconnect be limiting the amount of amperage coming into the cabin and be causing the surging problem? Please help!

[This message has been edited by rhand63 (edited September 06, 2000).]
 
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Old 09-06-00, 03:23 PM
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hello rhand63,
first off if im inturperting your post correctly u have a 70 amp main disconect on a pole and a 125 amp main breaker in the cabin. if this is indead the fact your main is under sized, it shuld also be a 125, and it shuld be corrected.
to answer your ? as to wheather the main could be limiting the current and causeing the surges the answer is no. it will limit the current for say by blowing a fuse if u were to pull over 70 amps.
my best educated gess as to what your problem is a loose connection in the panel, disconect, or 1 of the outlets on the circuit.
 
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Old 09-06-00, 06:03 PM
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Others have answered most of what you are seeking.
However, since your lights are getting brighter, this is idicative of a neutral problem. It will not be on a circuit because several circuits are involved. It will be ahead of this which puts it in your panel, disconnect, meter or online from the power company.
To save you a little cost, have the power company come out first to check their connections and the meter connections. If you still have the problem, it will be yours, internally.
 
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Old 09-06-00, 08:19 PM
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Hi. I agree with the rest. That's usually a pretty safe bet though because they're generally right. There's a loose connection in the service that you'd want to get checked out. Get an electrician and/or the power company to look at it. It would not be the kind of thing to let go. It has the potential to cause premature equipment failure or other kinds of grief. You could also find out from them if your existing service will support more than 70 amps.

Pete
 
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Old 09-06-00, 08:24 PM
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I agree with David B about the neutral. A neutral is usually the culprit when a light becomes brighter when another load is applied. I also agree that the loose neutral should either be in your panel, meterbase, or utility company connections. The fact that you said the microwave was on a different circuit indicates the problem to be in the main connections or panels, not a branch circuit.

I question the safety if you increase the main breaker size outside in your 70 amp disconnect. It is allowed that you could put a 125, 200 or even a 400 amp rated sub panel on the load side of a main disconnect as long as the overcurrent device on the line side of the feeder serving the sub panel is not larger than the ampacity of the feeder allows. Even if you had a 125 amp sub panel, the maximum connected load that can be applied to the sub panel would be dictated by the 70 amp main breaker or fuse. A main overcurrent device [fuse or breaker] is not even required in the 125 amp sub panel because it is a sub panel relying on the main breaker located outside. This is true because the main disconnect is located on the building that the sub panel is located in. You may have a 125 amp rated panel, but you only have a 70 amp rated SUB PANEL, limited by the main overcurrent device serving the sub panel.

Good Luck

Wg
 
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Old 09-06-00, 08:40 PM
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Red face

Sorry I was thinking the 70 amp breaker was mounted to the same structure. A pole is considered a structure and your dwelling is considered a separate structure. If you have four conductors coming from your pole to your dwelling and are using the grounding source from the pole main disconnect what I said was true, you have a sub panel.
If you have only three wires coming from the pole to the dwelling and you have a new grounding source not connected to the grounding source at the pole disconnect, then you have a main service in the dwelling, and the main disconnect with an overcurrent device is required and must be like Sparky said sized by the feeder serving the dwelling, suspected to be 70 amp rated, treating that dwelling as a separate structure.

Sorry I remembered what I thought that I read and not what I read in the question.

Wg
 
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