Insane electrical problem

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  #1  
Old 06-17-12, 08:07 AM
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Insane electrical problem

For weeks we've been having this crazy electrical problem. It started off with all of the lights in the house dimming and brightening back up. The first time we called the power company, they told us the power coming into the house is fine. Our house is 112 years old, so after replacing the main switch, checking all of the ground wires, and about every other possible solution, we decided to re-wire the entire house. Everything that wasn't on a power strip or a surge protector, is ruined. We had an electrician come out and re-attach the neutral coming into the house, but he said that there was no problem with it at all and to call the power company back. We did that and they re-spliced the wire.

We are currently only using a couple brand new circuits in the house and we're still having the same problem. When the fridge compressor kicks on, whatever lights (which is very, very few) dim then return to their normal brightness. When we tried to run the AC yesterday (which is brand new, out of the box because our other one that was used for 2 months was ruined), as soon as the compressor goes to kick on, it shuts off and turns back on. It is on a brand new circuit with absolutely nothing else running off of it. We've been using a meter to check the volts and everything is exactly where it should be. No surges whatsoever.

We are going crazy and our electrician can't come back out until later in the week and he still doesn't have a clue what could possible be causing this. We spoke with another electrician and after 30 years, he has never heard of anything else like this before.

What could possible be the problem?? The ground wires have been taken off, cleaned, and attached with new clips, the new circuits and wiring is up to code and has been inspected.

If anyone can provide some insight, any at all, we will be extremely grateful!!
Thank you!
Colleen
 
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  #2  
Old 06-17-12, 09:15 AM
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We've been using a meter to check the volts and everything is exactly where it should be.
That means you are checking between each hot and neutral and getting 120v and 240 across both hots? Have you tested it while the AC compressor is running and when it's off?

There can't be too many different things causing this. I would lean towards the following:

- You said you had a new 'main switch' installed? A new main breaker? Is the electrical panel really old?

- How about the meter can? Is that reasonably new? Did the POCO and/or the electrician look at the connections there?

- The aerial wires coming to your house. Do they look in good condition? Are they noticeably frayed? Is it triplex (two insulated wires wrapped around a bare one?) or is it three separate wires (old?) (Look at it from the ground or through binoculars. No ladders near these wires)

- When it gets out to the street, trace the wires to the transformer. Are any neighbors on this same transformer? Are they experiencing any of these issues?


Maybe some answers would help us point you in the right direction. Basically, with a house that old, something in the path is old and loose... it's just trying to figure out which piece.
 
  #3  
Old 06-17-12, 11:48 AM
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so after replacing the main switch, checking all of the ground wires, and about every other possible solution, we decided to re-wire the entire house.
A rewire starts with a new service, did you do this? If the service is new and installed by a competent electrician, the problem is outside your house and the power company's problem. Has the electrician installed a power monitor to check for swells or sags in voltage? Has the integrity of the neutral been checked? You may have to prove to the poco it is their problem, electronic data would help.
 
  #4  
Old 06-17-12, 12:50 PM
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It is necessary to take accurate voltage-readings across the Service-Conductor terminals of the Service panel with a "heavy" load on the Service Conductors. There are three combinations of voltage - values as there are three Service Conductor terminations; two of the terminations are the Line-terminals of the Main circuit breaker and the third is the Neutral terminaton. ( White conductors ).

"Normal" voltage-values would be -- (1) Line 1 - Line 2 = 240 volts = the voltage across the Line terminals of the Main breaker , with the left circuit-breaker terminal = "Line 1" and the right circuit-breaker terminal = "line 2"--- (2) Line 1 -to - Neutral - 120 volts--- (3) Line 2 - to - Neutral = 120 volts.

You must have a load on both Line 1 and Line 2 , say a hair-dryer, ,toaster , and dishwasher on circuits supplied from Line 1 , and an similar load on circuits supplied from Line 2 .
 
  #5  
Old 06-17-12, 01:41 PM
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Just to be clear on something...

we called the power company, they told us the power coming into the house is fine
Did they say that over the phone...or did they send someone out who actually checked everything both at the meter and the pole?
 
  #6  
Old 06-24-12, 08:14 PM
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It sounds like a loose or momentary neutral connection before your main breaker,don't run anything until this is corrected or you'll loose everything electronic.
 
  #7  
Old 08-03-12, 11:22 AM
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So have you been able to figure this out yet? I helped a farmer once with bright bulbs. Turned out to be a bad neutral connection on the barns drop. So, I am just curious what this ended up being. My guess would be a loose neutral in the meter box (if the POCO actually came and checked the drop).

 
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