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Old 02-15-2015, 08:08 PM   #1
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Hi, fairly new to the forums, but I feel like I need another set of eyes. I did a complete rewire with a 200A service about a year ago. Recently the customer has been coming home after work and finding several circuits off throughout the house. They aren't in the tripped position, they're off. It's a Siemens panel with seimens breakers. Both standard single poles, and arc faults. She also complained of certain circuits going out, and then power coming back on by itself. I went to troubleshoot, B phase was dead in the panel. Went to check the meter socket, and found that the meter actually wasn't plugged in all of the way. PECO had recently replaced the meter with a smart meter. Made sense to me. That leg wasn't getting a good connection which would cause arcing and possibly a surge causing breakers to trip into the off position. Problem solved. Customer calls me back a week later. Same problem, and now lights are dimming throughout the house on different circuits. Sounds like a loose neutral. Now I wired the panel myself, but I went back, checked all of the connections, everything is tight. Service is grounded properly. Taps are tight. So now I'm thinking that it's a PECO neutral problem. PECO went there today and tested the load side of the meter. Said everything checked out, but they didn't check the load side of the transformer. I'm going back tomorrow and I'm going to disconnect the service ground and then test for voltage at the meter. If they did lose the PECO neutral, we both could have been getting a false reading through the ground. If that turns out not to be the case, I'm at a loss. I don't know what else it could be. Can a bad arc fault cause other breaks to nuisance trip? I'd appreciate any suggestions. Sometimes a second set of eyes comes in handy.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:10 PM   #2
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Is she on municipal water or well?
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:15 PM   #3
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Municipal.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:16 PM   #4
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Does she have a restraining order out on anyone? If they are off and not tripped, that sounds funny. Is she lonely? Maybe she wants your company. We rented Gone Girl the other day. Good movie. Suspenseful. Get some fingerprints off the ones that are pushed off.

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Old 02-15-2015, 08:17 PM   #5
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That thought had crossed my mind. But the lights were dimming when I was there last.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:31 PM   #6
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That thought had crossed my mind. But the lights were dimming when I was there last.
So when you say circuits were off, you mean breakers were on, but circuits were not? Or, arc and ground faults were tripped? Maybe she installed some dimmers on her own from a Home Depot handbook for effect. btw, I am a sceptic on weird chit. You didn't explain if the breakers were in off position, or circuit from live breaker was off.

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Old 02-15-2015, 08:40 PM   #7
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Just last night I went to a lady's house who had the same problem. Some circuits off, some circuits dimmed, some circuits completely fine. Very very strange. Everything was tight. I had her call the PoCo. Turns out there was an issue on there end.

I thought the same thing, loose neutral, but if you checked everything on your end, it's gotta be on there end.

Have you check the voltage line to line, line to ground, line to neutral, and neutral to ground on your feeders in your main panel?
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:40 PM   #8
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No dimmers. Breakers are off and circuits are dead.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:44 PM   #9
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Just last night I went to a lady's house who had the same problem. Some circuits off, some circuits dimmed, some circuits completely fine. Very very strange. Everything was tight. I had her call the PoCo. Turns out there was an issue on there end.

I thought the same thing, loose neutral, but if you checked everything on your end, it's gotta be on there end.

Have you check the voltage line to line, line to ground, line to neutral, and neutral to ground on your feeders in your main panel?
Yes. I checked line to line, line to neutral, and neutral to ground. Everything checks out. The only thing I didn't do was disconnect the service ground and then test line to neutral. But I plan on doing that tomorrow. If I do that and then have nothing line to neutral, I know I was reading through the ground before and it has to be on Peco's end. Other then that, I got nothing.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:46 PM   #10
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Yes. I checked line to line, line to neutral, and neutral to ground. Everything checks out. The only thing I didn't do was disconnect the service ground and then test line to neutral. But I plan on doing that tomorrow. If I do that and then have nothing line to neutral, I know I was reading through the ground before and it has to be on Peco's end. Other then that, I got nothing.

Very strange dude. Mine was a 200A Siemens with the same issue.

I'm sure you tested the voltage output of each individual breaker as well?

well anyway, good luck. And let's hope it's PoCo.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:54 PM   #11
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Yep. Tested every breaker. Everything on my end tests out. In almost 20 years, I've never seen a problem like this. I've had open service neutrals before, but not with these symptoms. It's driving me nuts.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:58 PM   #12
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:00 PM   #13
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Ask the PECO to place a recording meter on the service. It will record voltage, amperage and surges for a week or so. They should do it for free. West Penn Power will do it.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:04 PM   #14
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Municipal.
I would bet there's an open or high resistance neutral at the xfmr. You're probably grounding through the water pipe grounding electrode conductor.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:11 PM   #15
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I would bet there's an open or high resistance neutral at the xfmr. You're probably grounding through the water pipe grounding electrode conductor.
That's what I think. I'm checking for that tomorrow.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:20 PM   #16
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How about the meter jaws. Have seen this problem when poco wants to change meter. Maybe the jaws are bent. Other than that I agree about the possible neutral issue.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:20 PM   #17
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Any deaths occurred in the premises. I'd recommend a qualified spiritual advisor.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:52 PM   #18
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Yes I agree with shock...


How are ya? Mike "the kid" ****, electrician and licensed spiritual advisor. Give me all your money $$$$$
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:25 PM   #19
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Does she have a restraining order out on anyone? If they are off and not tripped, that sounds funny. Is she lonely? Maybe she wants your company. We rented Gone Girl the other day. Good movie. Suspenseful. Get some fingerprints off the ones that are pushed off.
Very strange woman in that movie!
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:32 PM   #20
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