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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My lack of A/C electrical experience will show as you read. Thanks for putting up with me. I just can't believe a smaller battery charging transformer can cause a problem like this. Here it goes:

About three hours ago the wife, kid and I noticed some lights flickering. I blamed it on the wind, some folks in St Louis are actually without power because of it.

By two hours ago we had dimming/flickering of lights on two circuits, the heatpump's thermostat turned off and two tv's would not come on.

I got my handyman neighbor and my multi meter and went downstairs to see what was going on at the circuit breaker box. The lights on the circuit in the basement with my workshop and box the were dim also.

In a room next to it he noticed buzzing (he called it arcing) coming from an outlet with a transformer which charges my house alarm plugged into it.

He tapped the alarm transformer and the lights flickered in the other room. I unplugged it and everything went back to normal. I used the multi meter to test power to the outlet and it showed a steady 120.6. After turning on every light in the house and letting the heatpump come back on everything seemed to be working so we plugged back in the transformer. About ten minutes go by and the lights upstairs start flickering. Same tap test makes the lights flicker downstairs and unplugging it allows everything to work just fine.

The transformer is a UB1640W. Google shows it on Amazon for CHEAP. Unlike most of my A/C to D/C transformers I see it seems to turn 120VAC to 16.5 VAC @ 40VA. When I unplugged its output and just plugged it into a different outlet with no load on the transformer nothing went wrong. My meter showed 18.5 VAC output not under load.

I can accept the $10 transformer has gone bad, what could it be doing to mess with at least three different circuits in my house?


As a side note, I had a similar thing happen a couple months ago where the A/C circuit and garage door went dead. After switching around wires and making the garage and heater work we determined the center part of the copper contact strip which lined up with the A/C and garage circuits did not have 120 V of power. After a few moments of scratching our heads we put the circuit breakers back in and viola everything worked.

A/C current confuses me. Is it possible for this transformer to really be causing all this trouble? No circuit breakers tripped either time.

Thanks again for putting up with me.
 

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Senile Member
I make all the electrons line up for their Flu shots
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Call an electrician to come check right away. You could be about to have serious problems and it is not something you want to mess with by delay. I am 36 yrs of this stuff and I am serious.

Not a craigslist electrician, a legit one that you have to pay regular rates for. By that I mean fully licensed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Call an electrician to come check right away. You could be about to have serious problems and it is not something you want to mess with by delay. I am 36 yrs of this stuff and I am serious.

Not a craigslist electrician, a legit one that you have to pay regular rates for. By that I mean fully licensed.
Mac, do you mean tonight at midnight or in the morning?

How should I describe this problem?
 

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Senile Member
I make all the electrons line up for their Flu shots
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Mac, do you mean tonight at midnight or in the morning?

How should I describe this problem?
Just say "stuff is acting funny" The guy will know right away. Just don't use any major appliance and cut the lights to a minimum and you will most likely be ok, but no guarantee from me on that, how would I know what is going on exactly from way over here. I do know that I get calls like this alot, and it is real serious a problem sometimes with similar descriptions.

Electrician. Tomorrow. No kidding.
 

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I make all the electrons line up for their Flu shots
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I don't think this guy is asking us how to fix it, he is asking how serious it is. So no I don't think he needs to go asking diy re-tards how to fix it, he needs to have an electrician look closely at his panel and his breakers and figure out what is melting before it turns into a fire hazard.

Electrician. Tomorrow. Good night. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
To our sister DIY forum.
Got it.

I actually posted over there also. Anymore I browse so fast I just don't read everything.

With the cars experience tells me when I'm getting in over my head. Some of this A/C wiring just gets the best of me. I get limited joy out of doing this myself.

I need a "Does this sound like it could be the problem or do I need professional help" forum.
 

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Homer to Jebus
Electron Flow Consultant
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Largest problem: Chinese transformer :no::whistling2:
 

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I don't think this guy is asking us how to fix it, he is asking how serious it is. So no I don't think he needs to go asking diy re-tards how to fix it, he needs to have an electrician look closely at his panel and his breakers and figure out what is melting before it turns into a fire hazard.

Electrician. Tomorrow. Good night. Good luck.
Could be dire or could be minor, only an experienced electrician on site can make that determination.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yup, and no mention of light getting brighter so probably not a bad nuter.
After we tapped on and removed that transformer three hours ago the lights returned to normal and have stayed right ever since. The heat pump seems to be running a little longer than it should to keep the house at 73 when its 40 out but its still cycling off and on.

Thanks again guys for answering my questions. I have an Uncle in the HVAC business. Hopefully he knows a good electrician. Whatever they find I will come back and update you all.
 

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Thanks for posting on ElectricianTalk.com. However, working with electricity and electrical systems can be unsafe if not done by a professional licensed electrician. The moderators of this site would like to advise you to contact a professional electrician in your area.

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