Electrical surges??

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  #1  
Old 09-16-12, 09:35 AM
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Electrical surges??

In the kitchen, microwave kinda surges(?) when running on the outlet nearest to it. We can use an extension cord & use the microwave on another outlet in the kitchen & it doesn't surge like that. I have changed the receptical & it still surges. Should I look at the breaker or the wiring itself.
I'm not a very good electrical guy & I don't really know how to use volt amp meters with all the different settings, dials, voltages, amps etc.

There is one small light above the sink / kitchen window that is also on this circuit & it dims off & on with the surge of the microwave.

We have ruled out the microwave by buying a new one & changing outlets as well as the receptical at the microwave.

Now when I say, surging, its kinda cutting off & on. Not the power to the unit. Its not completely shutting off, its just the light in the microwave cuts on & off & the power that cooks the food cuts on & off. Its like a car (which I do know about) that is missing randomly. Like a loose electrical connection in the distributor or something. Its not anything consistent or steady cutting out. Its completely random. It may do it twice per minute or it might do it 20 times a minute. When it cuts off its usually a quick on & off. It does not cut off for more than a second or so.

I know its probably basic situation for you guys that you have answered a million times & us "noobs" keep coming here asking the same questions. I would have searched but I don't know the electrical terminology enough to know what to really search for.
Thanks for any help & patience
 
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Old 09-16-12, 09:52 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

It sounds like a loose connection someplace, which could be dangerous. (loose connections create heat, heat creates fire) The connection could be anyplace the circuit goes. Turn off the breaker/fuse and check every thing that goes dead starting at the electrical panel. Check both the hot wire (black or red most cases) and the neutral wires (white). Receptacles, lights, switches, everything. Make sure all connections are good and tight. This will be kind of an Easter egg hunt but it is really the only way to find the problem.

It is also possible that this is a multi-wire circuit. You can tell this in the panel by tracing the wires of the microwave circuit and it is part of a 3 wire circuit. (Two hots with one neutral) If that is the case then turn off the other breaker or fuse of that circuit as well.
 
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Old 09-16-12, 10:56 AM
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If you can't find a loose wire another thought:
There is one small light above the sink / kitchen window that is also on this circuit & it dims off & on with the surge of the microwave.
There should be nothing but receptacles on the circuit if this is a newer house and it is a kitchen counter top receptacle circuit. No lights, nothing else but other counter top receptacles and it should be #12 cable (or wire in conduit) on a 20 amp breaker. If you have an older house this may not be true and the wiring is grandfathered so it is okay but as you ate finding out it isn't adequate for modern kitchens especially if the light or other counter top receptacles are not the only things on the circuit.

You say you changed the receptacle. Assuming it was not a GFCI were the wires around the screws. If it is not a GFCI is it protected by a GFCI? It should be. Did you check the connections there? Did you try replacing the GFCI? When checking connections check if it is fed by the light. If so remove the wire nuts and redo the connections with new wire nuts.
 
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Old 09-16-12, 11:17 AM
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First, Tolyn, thanks for your input. Its appreciated. I see that I cant give rep..?? Anyway thanks

Ray, It is an older home, built in the late 70's or early 80's.
It is a counter top receptacle, at least its on the wall just above the counter top / snack bar.
GFCI
receptacle? Hummmm, I don't know. I know it was just like the one I took out. It is a 2 outlet receptacle with 5 screws to connect the wiring. Two black on one side & two white on the other side with a ground at the bottom. I connected it just like the old one was connected. There was romex in the wall. The only difference in the way it was connected before & after is that the wires were inserted in little holes in the back of the receptacle. I connected mine with the screws for two reasons. First, I couldn't get the wires to pull out of the old receptacle, which I am sure it was designed like that. Secondly, I couldn't get the wires in the holes in the back of the new receptacle... ofcourse I don't have a lot patience with things like that either.

I didn't notice any wire nuts on the romex or any wire connections other than to the
receptacle.

This help any?
Thanks for your input as well. Rep to ya
 
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Old 09-16-12, 01:29 PM
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You did good using the screws when you replaced. One of the common problems is that the holes in back are questionable at best because only a small spring contacts the wire. Now you need to go into every receptacle on that breaker and move any back stabs to the screws.

The wire nuts would be in the light's junction box or the switch box for the light. We need to know everything on that breaker and the breaker size (number on breaker handle either 15 or 20).

We'll discuss GFCI receptacles later.
 
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