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lights go on and off by themselves after working properly for 3 yrs

lights go on and off by themselves after working properly for 3 yrs


  #1  
Old 03-14-03, 09:43 PM
katharina
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lights go on and off by themselves after working properly for 3 yrs

I moved in this house 3 yrs ago. Had an electrician install 3 additional lights on this breaker, one with a dimmer switch and another with a motion sensor. For 3 yrs everything worked fine. For last 3 months, I notice at first the lights on this circuit would flicker a little but stay on. Now when the any of the lights switches are on, all the lights that are on will go off and stay off for a while, then go back on. During this on/off period no other electrical switches were changed. (A couple of times I tried turning the swithes on then off, no luck).

I checked the frequently used switches and outlets on this breaker to see if there were any loose connections, but there were none.

Could the breaker wire be loose? Could a switch or outlet in the circuit be faulty? Or none of the above. I like to resolve it without hiring an electrician.

Thanks for any help/tips you have.
 
  #2  
Old 03-15-03, 12:27 AM
S
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Because it effects them all I would suspect it is a connection at an outlet box at the beginning of the circuit somewhere. If you could figure out which order it was wired it might help. You could plug a couple lamps in on recepts you figure are ahead of the lights and see if the same thing happens to them. If one stays on while the others go off its likely in the box of the one thats on or possible the next one. This is all a guess though. Something else that John pointed out in the next post is that if the recepts on that circuit are backstabed it is a likely cause. Pull one out of the wall and see if the wires are pushed in the back of the device or are they secured on the screws? The backstabs cause a lot of probs. Move them to screws if they are and remember turn off breaker before working on circuit.
 
  #3  
Old 03-15-03, 08:15 AM
J
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Perhaps a thermal cutoff. Are you sure you're not using higher wattage bulbs than the fixture recommends? Post back and tell us the wattage of the bulbs.
 
  #4  
Old 03-15-03, 10:14 AM
katharina
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The outlets are back-stabbed. I'll change them over to the screws to see if it helps.

How do I go about finding where the circuit starts and ends?

Also, as to the wattage of the bulbs. The recessed can lights are at 75watts and the other bulbs are 25watts which is recommended by the fixtures. I think I'm ok at the 75watt for the canned fixtures.

One odd thing which may or may not be related to my problem is that one of the recessed light fixtures in the circuit keeps burning out a bulb. I've replaced it at least twice in the past 3 years. It has been burnt out now for awhile, I haven't bothered to replace it. Only one of the other recessed lights needed replacement. They are all on the same switch ie. getting the same amount of use. Maybe I bought bad bulbs.

Thanks in advance for any info/help you can provide.
 
  #5  
Old 03-15-03, 02:45 PM
S
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I think if you move the wires off the backstabs you will cure the problem. Its probably one from a recept that feeds the rest of the circuit. Finding where it goes could be challenging,, there is some guessing involved and some logic. It probably runs away from the panel. The backstabs have been the cause of his same problem more than once.
 
  #6  
Old 03-31-03, 09:04 PM
katharina
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I changed all the switches and outlets to the screws. The lights seemed to work for a couple of days ..then then all went off permanently. I re-checked each recep to make sure that there were no loose wires and found none. Could the breaker be bad or could there be a loose wire in the attic? Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks
 
  #7  
Old 03-31-03, 09:29 PM
texsparky
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It could be any of several things. The most likely one (since you said that you have already checked all of the connections outside of the panel ) is a loose connection within the panel. It could be on the neutral wire, the breaker, or the breaker connection to the bussing in the panel.

Shut off the MAIN breaker in the panel and tighten all connections ( CAUTION---THE WIRES COMIMG FROM THE METER THAT ARE ATTACHED TO THE MAIN BREAKER WILL STILL BE ENERGIZED )
 
  #8  
Old 04-23-03, 03:24 PM
katharina
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The problem was resolved ... it was a bad breaker.

Thanks for your help in this matter.
 
 

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