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House Lights Dimming (Voltage Drop)?


mcowger
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Hi Everyone,

 

I've got my first show up and running on 16 channels in my front yard, and it looks great:

 

post-13606-0-89750000-1386041690_thumb.j

 

However, I'm finding during my musical sequences, when all the lights turn on simultaneously on certain parts of the beat that my house lights dim briefly (< 0.5s).  It feels like a brief voltage drop.  Total draw of all lights+LOR+minidirector+FM xmitter is about 550W (aka about 7A, less than the capacity of the circuit by far).

 

My wife is not a fan :)

 

Has anyone run into this?  How did you solve it?

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Add a new 20 amp Circuit and put the LOR controllers and lights on it.  I live in an manufactured home and when I had the outside outlet on the same circuit as the master bath and bedroom, the load was actually slightly more than the circuit could really handle.  Added a new 20 amp circuit in an open area of my Circuit Breaker panel and ran the exterior outlet to the new circuit breaker.  No more dimming lights in the house!

 

Unfortuantely that's the only real solution I know that works 100%.   Not really sure if there is anything else you could with the exception of NOT turning on the lights or using those outlets inside the house that are connected to the outlet{s} you're using to control everything.

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Add a new 20 amp Circuit and put the LOR controllers and lights on it.  I live in an manufactured home and when I had the outside outlet on the same circuit as the master bath and bedroom, the load was actually slightly more than the circuit could really handle.  Added a new 20 amp circuit in an open area of my Circuit Breaker panel and ran the exterior outlet to the new circuit breaker.  No more dimming lights in the house!

 

Unfortuantely that's the only real solution I know that works 100%.   Not really sure if there is anything else you could with the exception of NOT turning on the lights or using those outlets inside the house that are connected to the outlet{s} you're using to control everything.

 

 

The lights are already on a dedicated circuit.....adding another dedicated circuit isn't going to help.

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One key question, are there any lights getting brighter at the same time? If so, it would point to a poor neutral bond between the service and the panel, which is a bad situation.

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The lights are already on a dedicated circuit.....adding another dedicated circuit isn't going to help.

Then like klb states: it is probably something with your incoming service.  It may not be up to the current electrical codes or as he stated, you may have a poor neutral coming in to the panel, either way, sounds like you're going to have to get an electrician out there to check out and fix your issue.

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I thought that the rule was that if your lights inside the house were pulsing to the music that you were getting close to having enough lights in your display. Once your neighbor's lights are pulsing you finally have enough lights. :)

Once I switched to LED lights the pulsing stopped which means I guess I need to add more lights to my display.

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A common issue is that the "main" lights of the home are on one or a couple breakers this is a common practice for an electrician to use, because you can put many lamp sockets on one breaker where as, plugs are different story (14 lamps vs. 9 plugs where I live), 

 

It might be that the breakers position in the panel is on the same AC line side (black or red) that most of the houses lights are on.

 

Try this... (temporary test), find the breaker that the house lights are on, then find the breaker the show is on, breakers are usually in a configuration in the panel that every 2 breakers are on the same leg of the AC line, SO, if there is an even number of breakers between the lights and the show, you have found your problem, plug the show into another outlet, that is known to be an odd number of breakers (this should put the show on the other side of the AC line, from the houses lights).

 

IF the lights don't dim, you have found the problem, 

 

IF the lights STILL DIM........... YOU have a condition that warrants an electrician NOW ! (neural as said above).

 

get an electrician to "load balance" your panel, and check for loose connections as well. tell him(her) that you would like the outlet for the show on the other side of the AC leg, so the houses inside lights don't dim........

 

Greg

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Ran into the same thing last year when I added a bunch of strobes in the mix.

The circuit was an isolated breaker from the house lights but still dimmed the lights.

IF your experienced in messing with breakers, then you might try this. 

The circuit/breaker I WAS originally using was at the bottom of the breaker box.

I switched the wires from a breaker up top with the show circuit wires. And connected the top wires to the bottom breaker.

Fixed it just like that. Haven't had a problem since.

Oh, and both breakers were on the left side of the box.

 

Good luck.

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Oh, and to add. Make sure you turn off the breakers before doing anything.

If your not comfortable with what I mentioned earlier or with what others here have mentioned, I would call an electrician. Burning down the house is not worth overlooking a problem, if there is one.

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The problem you are having i have had the same problem ,we found out that the neutral wire coming from the street was bad and causing a loss of the neutral to the house we called the electric company and they replaced the power lines to the house at no charge.but understand this a serious problem call your electric co. explain the problem and have a Lineman check the neutral to your house.

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I had a bad neutral connection from the day my house was built and never noticed it until I started animating. My first year animating I was drawing 12 amps (on a 200 amp service) and had horrible flicker in the house. After taking a lot of measurements I found a bad connection on my neutral in my meter base (potential fire hazard). Replacing the meter base eliminated the flicker. The next year I was drawing 48 amps and still didn’t have any flicker.

 

A general rule of thumb that I stumbled on when researching my problem was that a load change of 10% of the panel rating will normally cause visible light flicker. Here’s a good article on Voltage Fluctuation and Light Flicker from BC Hydro:

 

http://www.bchydro.com/content/dam/hydro/medialib/internet/documents/psbusiness/pdf/power_quality_a_guide_to_voltage_fluctuation_and_light_fl.pdf
 

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My first year our lights would dim to Wizard.

We would turn off everything we could in the house and it helped..

We are now over 95% LED and have no dimming

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One key question, are there any lights getting brighter at the same time? If so, it would point to a poor neutral bond between the service and the panel, which is a bad situation.

Yes, We have an older home, some of the breakers had aluminum contacts instead of copper; caused the similiar problem. Replaced breaker, problem solved

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The house lights tapping their toes to the music has been then norm around here for 9 years.

Agreed! You finally have enough lights when you can tell what song is playing while watching tv based on the dimming.

(I stole that from someone else)

And when that happens.......buy more lights!

 

My home is a 2007 home with 3 dedicated 20amp breakers for all my lights (that I could really run off of only one cause they are LED, but hey, while you're in the mister electrician.....) they still dim...........it is a K&B home though.

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Saving this thread for next year lol.  We only have 16 channels now and want to double the channels & lights next year but I noticed tonight that our lights dim a little to the beat of the music  :blink:   This way we can see what we need to do to fix this.  

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If the interior lights of your house flicker with the Christmas lights, and the controllers have their own dedicated circuits, you have a serious problem at the panel, meter or service drop. Call the power company or a licensed electrician.

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