GE Digital Timer Buzzing Breaker Box

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Old 03-28-13, 09:02 PM
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GE Digital Timer Buzzing Breaker Box

Good evening everyone,

I apologize if I am not in the right section. I purchased a GE indoor digital wall timer - 15313 the other evening from Home Depot because I wanted to put my front lights on an automatic timer. I installed the timer but while it is on, the unit itself and my breaker box buzz which I take is not normal.

the timer is in a 3 mount wall panel with 2 toggle switches that work fine. My house was built in '96 and I did not connect the ground wire. For the record, I disconnected the timer for safety until I can figure out the issue.

My question is, does anyone know by chance what might be causing them to buzz?. My possible ideas are below

1) I connected the line and load with Wire nuts but the load line is not a single copper wire, it is a connected wire that is bent as a circle so it does not fit all the way into the wire nut. It sticks out a bit so arching possibly? Can I cut the wire and use one end?

2) The timer says not to use CFL light bulbs but I currently have CFL lights installed. Would that cause a buzzing sound or do they only say not to use CFL because it will shorten the life of the light?

3) Do I have enough juice / power coming into the box to power the timer? Is it being under / over powered?

4) Combination of all 3 of the above.

Thank you for any and all responses I get. I am a novice DIYer that is learning as I go.
 
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Old 03-28-13, 09:16 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

The timer says not to use CFL light bulbs but I currently have CFL lights installed
Ummmm.....ok.

Well.....that certainly could cause a noise problem. Take the timer back to the depot and get the sunpro model. It says "can be used with cfl lamps" right on it.
 
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Old 03-28-13, 09:16 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

1) I connected the line and load with Wire nuts but the load line is not a single copper wire, it is a connected wire that is bent as a circle so it does not fit all the way into the wire nut. It sticks out a bit so arching possibly? Can I cut the wire and use one end?
Can you explain this differently or post a picture? It doesn't sound safe the way it is.

See How To Put Pictures In Your Post.

2) The timer says not to use CFL light bulbs but I currently have CFL lights installed. Would that cause a buzzing sound or do they only say not to use CFL because it will shorten the life of the light?
The instructions probably say not to use fluorescent lamps either because the unit won't operate them properly or using them could damage the timer. Regardless, this is the likely cause. Have you tried replacing the lamps with incandescent or halogen lamps?

3) Do I have enough juice / power coming into the box to power the timer? Is it being under / over powered?
This can only be determined by using a test meter. That said, it is extremely unlikely.
 
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Old 03-28-13, 09:35 PM
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Thank you very much for you reply! I just swapped out the bulbs...it was the bulbs.

Always go with what the package says haha.

Thank you again
 
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Old 03-28-13, 09:39 PM
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Thanks PJmax,

I went with this model since it did not require a neutral wire to be installed. I don't know if the panel has a neutral wire in it so I didn't want to take the risk. Thanks for the help as it is the bulbs causing noise.
 
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Old 03-28-13, 11:23 PM
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Glad you got it fixed, and thanks for letting us know.

I don't know if the panel has a neutral wire in it so I didn't want to take the risk.
I think you're referring to the switch box. Your panel is where the breakers are. It has all the neutrals in it. With three switch circuits in it, the wall box you were working in almost certainly has neutral in it too. Did you see any white wires while you had it open?

One additional thought: If you like CFLs and would like to use them with the timer you have now, you could look for dimmable CFLs. Those might not set off the buzzing.
 
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Old 03-29-13, 06:50 AM
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Hi Nashkat1,

Thank you for your reply and please accept my apology for my ignorance as I'm still learning the right electrical words. Yes, I was referring to my switch box and yes, I did see about 3 white wires that had a wire nut on the end of them in the switch box. They were not connected to anything.

Would I just take the wire nut off, take one of the white neutral wires and then put the wire nut back on the other 2? I have not connected a neutral wire before.

Thanks again for your help
 
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Old 03-29-13, 07:46 AM
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Would I just take the wire nut off, take one of the white neutral wires and then put the wire nut back on the other 2?
No. You would add it to the bundle.

Tech Note: If a white wire is connected to a switch instead of bundled with other white wires it is not a neutral. Those wires are actually being used as hots. By code they should be remarked red or black or any color but gray or green using colored tape or felt tip marker but often aren't.
 
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Old 03-30-13, 03:39 PM
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I did see about 3 white wires that had a wire nut on the end of them in the switch box. They were not connected to anything.
except each other. That's the neutral splice in that box. When you install a device in that box that needs a neutral, you add it to that splice.

If the new device has a white wire for neutral made into it, you just add it to that splice. If it only has a screw terminal for the neutral, you have to cut s 6" - 8" piece of white wire the same gauge as the other wires in the circuit, strip both ends, connect one end to the screw terminal on your device and connect the other end to the neutral splice.

In AC electrical systems, the neutral can be thought of as analogous to a plumbing drain. Without it, no device that takes in 120V power will work.
 
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