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Electrical Question...

Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by Matt, Jan 21, 2004.

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  1. Matt

    Matt Guest

    I just put in a dedicated circuit with an isolated ground for my computers
    and electronic gadgets. My main reason was because when I would turn on my
    laser printer the lights in the room would dim... I found that even with the
    dedicated circuit and a non shared nutrual back to the panel I still get a
    little flash in the lights for a second when it turns on. It isn't as bad
    as before, while in was on it would constantly flicker and such, but I don't
    get why I still am recieving this. Any word?
  2. Matt, what sort of room lighting are you talking about? Incandescent, CF,
    LV Halogen?? It makes a difference..

  3. Matt

    Matt Guest

    They are Florissant lights... which are on a completely different cicuit.
  4. ...and they are??

    (A Google search draws a blank at that one - just a few entries on problems
    with them flickering!)

  5. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Tighten the lugs on your panel and meter can. Alco check to see that you
    have ALL other connections in your panel tightened.
  6. Bert Hickman

    Bert Hickman Guest


    This is a common problem with laser printers, and it's due to the high
    wattage heating element (fuser) that's used to fuse the toner to the
    paper. Whenever power is applied to the fuser the sudden jump in current
    demand causes a brief lighting flicker. Most folks end up putting up
    with it or they add another branch circuit. Another option might be to
    power the printer off a beefy UPS.

    -- Bert --
  7. SomeGuy

    SomeGuy Guest

  8. daestrom

    daestrom Guest

    Perhaps just a poorly spelled 'flourescent'??? That's my guess.

  9. Louis Bybee

    Louis Bybee Guest

    Might even be a poorly spelled "fluorescent" light. :-]

    We should be at least minimally forgiving of various creative spellings and
    sentence structure, as many forget that the Internet is a world wide forum,
    and English is often not the primary language in many posting areas.

    I often wonder what level of amusement/disgust native English speakers
    would/do provide to people of areas where the primary language of choice is
    other than English when their language is butchered?

    Remove the two fish in address to respond
  10. Matt

    Matt Guest

    The odd thing is that my computer and printer are on a new dedicated
    circuit, the lighting is on a different one, and a sudden quick flicker
    occurs on the lights when it is turned on and warms up. How can a printer
    on a different circuit effect lights on another one?
  11. Louis Bybee

    Louis Bybee Guest

    As another responder indicated a LaserJet Printer usually has a high current
    heating element, and when the element cycles it can apply quite a load. This
    can result in voltage drop that manifests its self most visibly as blinking
    where lights are part of the equation. You experienced this where the
    printer was on a branch circuit common with lighting.

    The fact that you continue to experience the phenomenon after installing a
    separate branch circuit for the printer could indicate issues with the
    supply panel, or service. It could also indicate a problem with the printer.
    I have seen similar printers with anomalies that result in very brief
    cycling current draws as high as 30 amps short enough to leave the breaker

    I would begin your investigation by having the printer evaluated for
    excessive, or inappropriate current draw. If that checks out I would then
    monitor, and record voltage levels during these dimming events. Start at the
    receptacle supplying the printer. Then at the light fixtures that are
    blinking. Next move to the panel supplying these circuits, and so on.

    An electrician, or technician would then use the readings to determine the
    possible cause, and narrow the area responsible.

    An excessive current draw (motor starting, defective printer, intermittent
    short, etc.) could manifest its self as blinking of lights even if the event
    happened on a separate, or different branch circuit. A minimal level of
    blinking will occur with a motor start even on a system where everything is
    well designed, and in proper operating condition.

    Without the voltage drop information listed above one could only guess as to
    the possible cause if in fact the blinking is excessive, and the printer is
    functioning correctly.

    If the blinking is determined to be excessive, and the equipment being
    served is functioning correctly, some of the causes could be a utility
    service drop undersized in relation to the load it serves, poor or resistive
    connections in the service equipment or service supply, neutral anomalies,

    More in depth investigation by an electrician or technician should quickly
    pinpoint the cause.

    Remove the two fish in address to respond
  12. sQuick

    sQuick Guest

    Volt drop.

    Either get a bigger tranny/feed cables
    or move on to a system that provides
    the power for modern electrical household
    devices [240v]

    [awaits flames]

  13. Matt

    Matt Guest

    I do notice when I plug in a volt meter into an outlet that that is on the
    same feed as the lights that when the printer goes on my voltage goes from
    about 121.3 - .5 down to about 120.5 - .7 for a few sec and climbs back up.
    New circuit or not for the printer...

  14. Mark or Sue

    Mark or Sue Guest

    In many cases a flicker is futile to fix. My lights would dim whenever the furnace oil pump or
    washing machine would kick in. Each of those are on dedicated circuits and all of the lights are on
    other circuits. I replaced my whole electrical service and now have 400A service, 100' of new 1/0
    Aluminum triplex, and a 50 KVA transformer just for me. I properly torqued all the service entrance
    conductors (did them twice even, the second time being a week later). And the lights still flicker,
    although not as bad and for less time. I blame the 100' of 1/0 triplex, but that is all the power
    company was willing to put in. I would have preferred 3/0 or 4/0, but they didn't want to do it.
    Looks kind of weenie where it connects to my 400 KCMil service entrance conductors....

    A flicker is easy to notice. As long as its not a sag (very noticable voltage drop lasting a second
    or more), I wouldn't worry.
  15. In many cases flicker can be quite useful! I know of at least one
    industrial site where the operators make use of a flicker of the lights in
    the lunch room to tell them one of their product pumps has started and that
    they better get back out there and get busy..

  16. Louis Bybee

    Louis Bybee Guest

    It's a numerical representation of the wire size. Sometimes the letters AWG
    (American Wire Gauge) are included.

    With 4/0 (pronounced four-aught) being the largest of the numbers you

    Remove the two fish in address to respond

  17. Mark or Sue

    Mark or Sue Guest

    Wire sizes are like shotgun pellets and start at big numbers for small wires (like #40) and go down
    as the wire gets fatter. House wires are typically #14, #12, and sometimes #10 or #8. As you keep
    counting down and the wires get fatter you get to size 0 (same a 1/0). Then it goes 00 (2/0), 000
    (3/0), and 0000 (4/0) just like buckshot. By now the wires are big and the number of zeroes getting
    long, so sizes are switched to circular mils. Actually thousands of circular mills, and abbreviated
    MCM or KCMil. These start at about 200 KCMil and keep getting bigger as the wire gets fatter.
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