Lights Flickering

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Old 12-13-07, 06:54 PM
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Lights Flickering

Ok, I've had some strange problems with my outdoor garage lights. They are controlled by a wall timer device, but I dont think that has anything to do with it. Every few days we come home and the lights are doing this really strange, low level flickering. By low level I mean, they are barely lit. And they're flickering very fast. THey are regular 65W bulbs. The fixtures are normal sconce type mounted on the outside wall of the garage.

Also, I always used to think that the bulbs in these fixtures burned out way too fast. I didnt record anything to prove it, but I know I replaced the bulbs way too often in the past. Related to the above?

In general, how can I best go about testing these lights and the wiring to see if there's an overall problem?

I will add that Ive done a fair amount of novice electrical work in my house (not on this circuit to my knowledge) and Im always fearful I've messed something up and made things dangerous
 
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Old 12-13-07, 08:13 PM
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The wall timer likely places a small amount of current through the light bulb to operate. I suspect that the timer is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced. I had a similar unit, and this behavior is what mine did when it needed to be replaced.
 
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Old 12-13-07, 08:27 PM
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Oh! WOw, that would be great. I had this feeling that something really bad was wrong. Ok, thats great to know that you experienced something similar.

I'll check into replacing it then. And let you know if it fixed the problem.;

As usual, thanks for the help and guidance.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 08:22 AM
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Just posting an update on my project. Finally got around to replacing the device last week and it looks like its working fine now - the timer works and the lights go on and off as expected. Just like it was noted, it looks to be a bad device.

I will be, however, monitoring it when the lights are off. It looked like last night, when the lights were off, that I could still see some small flickering. The bulbs were using are the new compact flourescent 65W. When the switch is off it looks like the lights have a really low flicker. Is it possible that some power is still leaking through?
 
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Old 01-07-08, 08:56 AM
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Did you save the instructions for the timer? Make sure it is rated to work with compact fluorescent bulbs. Or just try some incandescent bulbs and see if you have the same problem.

I just installed a motion sensor for my garage light, and the light flickered when used a CFL, but works fine with an incandescent.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 09:37 AM
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If there is a neutral in the switch box or you can run a neutral to the switch box you could look for a timer that does not draw a trickle of power through the bulb when off. but instead uses a neutral for power. Some of your problems may be because the bulb is never truly off.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 01:42 PM
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CFL hardly take kindly to being used on run throw timers or lighted switches. They will revolt and cause you much grief . Trow in some regular bulbs.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 05:27 PM
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Unless those timers have a neutral CFL lamps. The flickering is common problem with this type of timer and CFL lamps. The timer instructions probably note not to use them with CFLs. The same effect can be seen with lighted switches and CFLs.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 10:19 PM
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Timer toast

My timer-controlled porch light just started flickering the same way. The timer was installed in 1993 and has run continuously since then, so I assume it has just given up the ghost. I tried a new bulb, and also cut power to the circuit for a minute to see if I could simply reset the thing, but to no avail. So I will replace the timer and see what happens.
 
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