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  • receptacle or line issue?

    We just bought a house and we found two of the receptacles are very strange. If we plug a lamp to them, the light is not so bright and it will flicking. I have plugged TV and Internet Modem to it. Sometimes the TV and Modem just turned off by itself. Those two raceptacles are close to each other. All other receptacles are fine.

    Also lights on the hallway are not working properly and always flashing just like the wire doesn't being connected solidly somewhere. And I can hear small noise from the control board when it happened.

    I think those two issues may related to each other and I think they may use the same line.

    My electrical panel is 200 AMP breaker.

    Any idea on how to diagnosise it and fix it?

    Thanks,

    James
    Last edited by lmei007; 10-15-2007, 01:34 PM.

  • #2
    Re: receptacle or line issue?

    Turn off the breaker to kill the hall lights and receptacles. If one breaker kills all the problems then you know you are dealing with one circuit. Sounds like a bad connection and can cause a fire due to arcing. If you are not skilled in the basics of electrical wiring I would suggest you hire an electrician. If you are skilled just trace the connections for the circuit until you find the problem. Hope there is not a buried connection box in a wall/ceiling. Hint, if the basement was finished by the previous owner that is likely where the problem is.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: receptacle or line issue?

      WBrooks answered this very well. Have you ever had a case where you plugged in something and had lights become brighter? If yes, you may well have a loose neutral connection.

      Always practice safety and know when to get professional help. Please don't get in over your head only to have a disaster result.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: receptacle or line issue?

        Originally posted by wbrooks View Post
        Hope there is not a buried connection box in a wall/ceiling. Hint, if the basement was finished by the previous owner that is likely where the problem is.
        Thank you for your reply. Yes, that portion of basement was finished. I will have a look at it. There shouldn't have any sparking noise from the electrical panel if everything is good, right?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: receptacle or line issue?

          If you have a sparking noise in the panel you have likely found the fault. There should be no noise in the panel. Check the connection to the breaker that controls the bad circuit if that is tight follow it to where it exits the panel so you can find its white neutral wire. Follow that wire back to the neutral buss to see if it is loose there. If you find any loose wire you will need to pull it as the noise you are hearing is arcing and will blacken the connection, even if you tighten it now it may not make proper connection. Remove the loose wire cut off the arced part strip some sheathing to expose new wire and attach. You should do all this with the main breaker off. If you find a loose screw it would be a good idea to do a screw audit on the panel (make sure all the screws are tight). If you do not find a loose wire it is remotely possible that the breaker is bad.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: receptacle or line issue?

            I looked at my main panel, some of the breakers are labelled 15 and some of them are labelled 20. Why is that? is it correct?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: receptacle or line issue?

              Depends on the gauge of the wire going to the breaker, 20A is common in a panel. 15A breaker needs 14 AWG copper or 12 AWG aluminum, 20A breakers need 12 AWG copper or 10AWG Aluminum

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              • #8
                Re: receptacle or line issue?

                Sorry for the interuption, but if you don't know why there are different size breakers, then you have no business in that panel. Call an electrician!!!!!!
                info for all: http://www.hoistman.com http://www.freeyabb.com/phpbb/index....wwtoolinfoforu --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: receptacle or line issue?

                  Originally posted by papadan View Post
                  Sorry for the interuption, but if you don't know why there are different size breakers, then you have no business in that panel. Call an electrician!!!!!!
                  Thank you Papadan. I will call an electrician when we needed. I have some basic knowledge about electrical because I was an (engineering) engineer before. At least I have learnt something in the college. But I am not an electrician. So there are lots of things I don't know in this field.

                  I think I am able to fix some small things which can be done with common sense. And the most important fact to me is that I can learn things very quickly if I have enough background knowledge.

                  For example, after read WBrooks' reply, I realize the wire size may be different from different circuits because those circuits may be added at different time. My house is an old house. The original wire size may be bigger and new addition may be smaller. Same voltage, the smaller wire could has bigger current and the bigger wire could has smaller current. That is why the breakers are different. But at the time I post the question, I didn't think about that. Maybe I am wrong.

                  I learnt a lots from you guys. Really appreicated.

                  thanks,

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: receptacle or line issue?

                    Thank you guys, I fixed it but it may not be a permanent fix.

                    Yesterday I found there were sparking light came from the breaker I changed the breaker (plug in type). But I found that breaker was very difficult to be removed. I was able to remove those breakers around him very easily. With the help of my screwdriver, I removed it and found the bus was melt partly with the breaker. The bus part where the breaker was plugged in was no longer rectangle. It was melt like a half moon (better than half).

                    Maybe that circuit, which is the first one of the panel, takes too many lights and outlets or maybe something wrong happened before.

                    I don't know how to fix it permanently. It is ok for now. But I am worry about long term because of the damage of the bus pole plane. That panel was full and no empty space for an extra breaker. Can I share one light loaded circuit with that circuit by using one breaker? or do I need a subpanel?

                    thanks,

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: receptacle or line issue?

                      Originally posted by lmei007 View Post
                      I don't know how to fix it permanently.

                      i do...... replace the panel. by the time you just replace the buss bar (power must be shut off at the meter either way you go) you will find it more cost effective to just have the whole box replaced.
                      9/11/01, never forget.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: receptacle or line issue?

                        1. Let me guess, you have a Murry brand panel and a Square D Homeline breaker in the bad slot.

                        2. Replace the panel.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: receptacle or line issue?

                          Originally posted by drsparky View Post
                          1. Let me guess, you have a Murry brand panel and a Square D Homeline breaker in the bad slot.

                          2. Replace the panel.
                          1. No, it is a EQ Load Center panel. But I cannot find its model number. There are 40 spaces on that panel; Here are some photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lmei007

                          2. Is it really so bad and replace the panel is the best solution?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: receptacle or line issue?

                            i would say yes if a buss bar is half way melted. just for the peace of mind knowing that it would be safe for many more years would make it worth it to me. but keep in mind that i am not a sparky so i don't have a soild answer for you, i just know you have had a major prolem with this box, and a new box is cheaper than a new house
                            9/11/01, never forget.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: receptacle or line issue?

                              any suggestion about the maker and model of the main panel?

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