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Why Do The Fluorescent Lights Flicker When My Air Compressor Runs?

Why Do The Fluorescent Lights Flicker When My Air Compressor Runs?


Old 02-07-10, 01:55 PM
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Why Do The Fluorescent Lights Flicker When My Air Compressor Runs?

I have a 240 volt portable air compressor (FLA = 15) in my basement workshop that is on a dedicated 20 amp circuit. In fact, its been set up on the same circuit for 10+ years with no problems.

Beginning about 6 months ago when the compressor was running the overhead fluorescent lights in my shop started to flicker. In order to isolate the problem I tried moving the compressor to two different dedicated circuits to see if it made any difference which it didn't. These overhead fluorescent lights are the only lights in the house that flicker when the compressor runs.

Could a failing run capacitor in the compressor motor cause this flickering?

Is there a way to test the capacitor?

If its not the capacitor what else could it be?


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Old 02-07-10, 02:40 PM
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I would start with the simple possibilities first. Light flicker is sometimes caused by a loose wire connection somewhere on the circuit.

If the lights in question are the only lights on the circuit and they all blink, you might check the connections at the panel to ensure they are all tight. Check the switch box connections as well.

I have also seen flicker with fluorescent lights when the ballasts or bulbs begin to fail.
Old 02-07-10, 06:35 PM
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i may be going a little over board but the flouresent lights i believe create what is called harmonics, and the compressor being that it is an inductive load. The two might interfere with eachother.
Old 02-07-10, 07:08 PM
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I would suspect the service drop and/or the power company connections at the service head or transformer. Could even be the transformer if additional load was added to it recently. If you have any other fluorescent lights in the house, I would bet they are flickering too.
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