Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Dimming lights - it is NOT always a neutral problem

    We've had dimming lights for a few years when various appliances are operated, microwave, my office printer, etc., but today the lights really started dimming and then going bright.

    I measure the voltage being 126 volts, then dropping to 116 volts (which mean the other phase went up to 136 volts), and I "knew" the neutral had "gone bad" (loose connection, deteriorated underground, etc.).

    I called the power company (FPL) and, to my surprise, they were out to the house within about 45 minutes.

    I watched him test it and the neutral was not bad, but ... the tester he plugged into the meter socket was not stable, it was "loose" in the meter socket clamps.

    After doing several tests and checking that the tester was plugged into the meter socket correctly, he determined that the neutral was not bad, and he used his Kliens to squeeze the meter socket clamps tight so the meter would make better contact with the meter socket.

    He then plugged the meter back in, sealed it back up, and left.

    AND THE LIGHTS HAVE NOT FLASHED SINCE! Even with my office printer printing, the microwave on, etc.

    I now know that I will need to replace the meter socket interior at some point (when the lights start dimming and going bright again) but ... I LEARNED THAT POOR METER CONNECTION to the meter socket can act the same as a bad neutral does.

    Keep that in mind for the future - it might not be a bad neutral, maybe just bad meter socket clamps and bad meter connections at the plug in.

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,446

    Default Re: Dimming lights - it is NOT always a neutral problem

    Good info, Thanks Jerry!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
    Posts
    4,311

    Default Re: Dimming lights - it is NOT always a neutral problem

    My Lights usually blink when I ask Just When Do Yo Think Dinner IS Going To Be Ready!!
    *then after the little stars go away I can see again.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Smile Re: Dimming lights - it is NOT always a neutral problem

    Jerry,
    I'm sure that was not an "approved" repair.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Dimming lights - it is NOT always a neutral problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    Jerry,
    I'm sure that was not an "approved" repair.
    Mark,

    Nope, that is what is referred to as an "emergency" repair.

    The "approved" repair will be when I start to have the problem again and I replace the interior meter socket in the meter can. Or maybe even replace the meter can outside with a combo service equipment enclosure with a 250 amp service panel outside with branch circuits and then sub-feed a replacement for the 250 amp FPE service equipment panel in the garage with a remote panel with a panel main (I like the additional safety of having a panel main). After all, the two locations are almost back-to-back.

    But, I learned something that I had not known before - that loose meter connections will cause the same problem that a bad neutral does.

    It all makes sense, though, as the loose meter connections are basically variable resistors without controllers and that, given the wrong set of variable resistance in those connections, especially under heavy load, there could have been a fire in the meter can ... and that would not be a good thing on a frame house with rough sawn cedar board and batten siding. It would be one of those "OH SHT!" moments.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Vancouver - Canada
    Posts
    221

    Default Re: Dimming lights - it is NOT always a neutral problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    .... and then sub-feed a replacement for the 250 amp FPE SUB-panel in the garage...
    go ahead and say it all ready, you know you want to



    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,777

    Default Re: Dimming lights - it is NOT always a neutral problem

    A little something to look at on meters..
    TESCO research on hot sockets Analog meters withstand “hot sockets” better than smart meters.
    http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-conte...ot-Sockets.pdf

    Found in :
    Smart Meter Fires and Explosions | EMF Safety Network


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: Dimming lights - it is NOT always a neutral problem

    Jerry

    Any explanation as to how the socket became loose since its a friction fit?

    Update, Thanks Gary I looked at your link and...

    Relatively small amounts of vibration can be the catalyst in the beginning and eventual catastrophic failure of a hot socket. Note: Other catalysts include but are not limited to power surges, debris, humidity, salt water.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia, electrical only
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: Dimming lights - it is NOT always a neutral problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    he determined that the neutral was not bad, and he used his Kliens to squeeze the meter socket clamps tight so the meter would make better contact with the meter socket.
    . . .
    Keep that in mind for the future - it might not be a bad neutral, maybe just bad meter socket clamps and bad meter connections at the plug in.
    NOT a model to follow in working with customer-side wiring.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    he determined that the neutral was not bad, and he used his Kliens to squeeze the meter socket clamps tight so the meter would make better contact with the meter socket.
    . . .
    Keep that in mind for the future - it might not be a bad neutral, maybe just bad meter socket clamps and bad meter connections at the plug in.
    NOT a model to follow in working with customer-side wiring.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    he determined that the neutral was not bad, and he used his Kliens to squeeze the meter socket clamps tight so the meter would make better contact with the meter socket.
    . . .
    Keep that in mind for the future - it might not be a bad neutral, maybe just bad meter socket clamps and bad meter connections at the plug in.
    NOT a model to follow in working with customer-side wiring.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Dimming lights - it is NOT always a neutral problem

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    NOT a model to follow in working with customer-side wiring.
    Except that you are forgetting one thing (and that one thing is important) - they were working within their meter can (which are now owned by the "customer" even though the customer does have access to the sealed meter can).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •