stray voltage?

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  #1  
Old 02-10-06, 11:37 AM
fhorst
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stray voltage?

I have a circuit with about 10 outdoor lamps on it. It's controlled by 2 switches within the house. One night when it as below zero outside, I switched off the lights but some of them kept on glowing. Most of the bulbs are fluorescent but the glowing ones were incandescent bulbs. What's up?

Thanks, fred
 
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Old 02-10-06, 11:50 AM
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We would need to know a lot more about the circuit to be of any help. How is the circuit wired? what materials were used for the outdoor portion of the circuit? How many conductors in the circuit? What color are the conductors coded with?
 
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Old 02-10-06, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by fhorst
One night when it as below zero outside, I switched off the lights but some of them kept on glowing. Most of the bulbs are fluorescent but the glowing ones were incandescent bulbs.
Interesting.

First, the good news:
The lights are outside.

Now, the bad news:
If you are not seeing an illusion and your obvervation is correct as stated, then something is miswired.


What do you mean by "glowing"? (normal brightness, dim, faint?)
How many switches are there?
What else is in the switch box?
Have you checked that the hot is switched rather than the neutral?

From where is the power fed to the switch?

Who wired these lights?
 
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Old 02-11-06, 02:38 PM
fhorst
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Ha ha ha! Some very good questions, especially the last one.

The previous owner left me with lots of surprises including almost all house circuits with reverse polarity and some with the ground being hot. The bulb just faintly glowed for a long time. These lights are all connected through 400 feet of cable looping underground and above ground and thru the trees. (foun it when I was clearing overgrown bushes with a chainsaw.

One of the switches is in a gang of four. I realize the circuit is all screwed up, but I was asking mainly to see if this type of glowing is caused by a common wiring problem. I also got a small shock, or more of o buzz last summer when I touched a box even though the switch(not brreaker) was off.

Just what is stray voltage?

Thanks, Fred
 
  #5  
Old 02-12-06, 06:26 PM
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You got a shock because something is wrong. You need to find it and fix it. Stray voltage is unusual in a residential environment - but if you look up the definition of stray - it boils down to away from where it's supposed to be and likely uncontrolled. You have a lot of checking to do - and finding wire with a chain saw isn't the best way...
 
  #6  
Old 02-12-06, 08:44 PM
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permanent wiring supported by vegetation

Originally Posted by fhorst
These lights are all connected through 400 feet of cable looping underground and above ground and thru the trees.
Definitely not to code.
Disconnect it and remove it.



I realize the circuit is all screwed up
Disconnect it and remove it. It you want the functionality, you'll have to wire it afresh.

Just what is stray voltage?
What you have is not stray voltage but a risk of electrocution.


Stray voltage arises from electric following a path back to the transformer or transmission line other than via the neutral wire. Such is not the nature of the problem you have here.

The problem you have is energized parts which should not be energized and electric cable run is a manner that is inherently unsafe.
 
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