lights pulsing when toaster oven turned on

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:? I have a customer complaining of her lights pulsing when the toaster oven is on. They are on different circuits. The lighting is on a arc fault breaker. I am going to check their phase's tomorrow. Is it possible it's just coincidence with a power surge/drop? I wouldn't doubt that other lights might be pulsing as well. It is an older toaster oven? Thanks for reading, and any input you might have.
 

Npstewart

Senior Member
I would say it's a loose neutral connection as well, but dont be surprised if you check the neutral and it doesent solve the problem. I have a family member whose lights constantly flicker when any appliance is running, and they still flicker slightly when a appliance isn't running. I called the power company out and they told me it was birds landing on the wire. I brought them outside and showed them that it was a underground service and thye had no comment. The neighbors have the same problem on a smaller scale. So my answer would be that it's either the neutral, or a problem on the poco side.
 
The lights do not really flicker, they do not turn off and on quickly. They are pulsing, like dimming down 20% then back to full repeatedly and relatively quickly. I agree that a loose neutral would cause the lights to flicker, but that would be at any time, not just when the toaster oven is working.
 

Volta

Senior Member
Location
Columbus, Ohio
The lights do not really flicker, they do not turn off and on quickly. They are pulsing, like dimming down 20% then back to full repeatedly and relatively quickly. I agree that a loose neutral would cause the lights to flicker, but that would be at any time, not just when the toaster oven is working.
Unless they are part of a multiwire circuit. But using a different appliance in the toaster outlet should change the dimming pattern/intensity. Or ruin the other appliance...
 

augie47

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee
Is the toaster oven the only culprit ?
Do they dim (not pulse) when a conventional oven is turned on on when the A/C turns on ?
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
Have you checked the voltage on this circuit when the toaster oven is being used? There is the possibility of a bad connection or bad place in the wire feeding the home. Is the home fed with an underground service? Could be a bad underground service. Check the voltage and see if it falls below 100 volts.
 

captainwireman

Senior Member
Location
USA, mostly.
Yep, probably a neutral but I think it is at the transformer on the city side if other housed fed from this transformer are pulsing also. I wouldn't be surprized if the transformer is going to blow soon. Got to love the "birds landing on wires" explanation! HaHa, right.
 

mivey

Senior Member
...I called the power company out and they told me it was birds landing on the wire.
How did you resist asking: "Do you have a tendency to just blurt out whatever pops into your head?"

There is no AC and the oven is gas, but it doesn't happen when the dishwasher, microwave, vacuum...
They dim and return to normal repeatedly and quickly.
Have you tried a hair dyer in the same outlet? Maybe the toaster oven is about shot.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
what is voltage and current of the toaster doing while this pulsing is taking place? Maybe rapid cycling of the heating element for some reason and this is bringing voltage down enough to be noticible in the lighting. Undersized or excessive length of service conductors and/or even undersized POCO transformer will contribute to the problem. Most loads will cause light to dim when load is turned on but something that frequently cycles will be noticed easier because of how often it cycles.
 

ACE1970

Member
Location
California
You probably have the lights and receptacles on the same leg/hot conducter or why else would the lights flicker change ethier to a different phase or check the neutral or breaker itself for a loose connection good luck. But this is a simple fix. Childs play. Both breakers should be next to each other on the even or odd side of the panel not seperated by on breaker. That would make them falling on the same leg/phase or conducter.
 

Volta

Senior Member
Location
Columbus, Ohio
You probably have the lights and receptacles on the same leg/hot conducter or why else would the lights flicker
There are many reasons the lights could flicker, don't you think?
change ethier to a different phase or check the neutral or breaker itself for a loose connection good luck. But this is a simple fix. Childs play.
No, it's not.
Both breakers should be next to each other on the even or odd side of the panel not seperated by on breaker. That would make them falling on the same leg/phase or conducter.
 

ACE1970

Member
Location
California
Let us know how it was fixed. So this guy see's it fit, of course their are many reasons again this seems to be a new or recent problem. It could have a broken conducter on the circuit years ago I replaced a switch thinking it was a bad switch since it had some traces of arcing and tye switch was loose and very old so the next thing I did was replace the switch tested it about ten times left it on a few minutes later I noticed it started to flicker so I said to myself it is not a dropped neutral it was a broken conducter also this house was about 50 years old and had some older romex so I fix the problem and that was that. Glad the little old lady never lost her house to fire from arcing it was in the dining room so she needed some light from above not just lamps moral here is pay attention to some of my words not all so some people never get their feelings hurt and burn down a house for not listening.
There are many reasons the lights could flicker, don't you think?

No, it's not.
 

PEDRO ESCOVILLA

Senior Member
Location
south texas
is the service overhead or underground ? the reason i ask is, i've seen this in OLD aluminium underground services, where a conductor, or the conductors actually desintegrate. It will happen on occasion, sometimes where the wire was bent during installation.they (in my instance) the grounded conductor just turned to dust. check connections in panel also, good luck, let us know what you find
 

mbednarik

Member
Location
central iowa
i have been told from our poco guy that a utility transformer getting ready to fail can cause lights to flicker like that. We were finishing a new house, 200 amp underground service, and the basement lights were just barly dimming as you mentioned, i could see about a 3 volt variation at the panel, both line to line and line to neutral.
 

WIMaster

Senior Member
Location
Wisconsin
is the service overhead or underground ? the reason i ask is, i've seen this in OLD aluminium underground services, where a conductor, or the conductors actually desintegrate. It will happen on occasion, sometimes where the wire was bent during installation.they (in my instance) the grounded conductor just turned to dust. check connections in panel also, good luck, let us know what you find
There can be similar issues with the overhead service. I had a similar situation at my old house. It was at the point the poco transitioned from their aluminum to my copper, they cut their wire back, replaced the crimps and my problem was fixed.
 
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