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Old 11-05-2014, 02:49 PM   #541
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More fun with electricity ... my cleaner said the stove didn't work at the lake. The light worked but no burners. Had vacationers coming for the weekend so I grabbed a new one at the Depot threw it on my utility trailer and drove up expecting to replace the stove.

After unplugging the old and plugging in the new ... same result ... no burners. On closer examination of the outlet ... it was warped and COOKED. Killed the breaker opened the outlet. The red hot wire was melted. Apparently the connection was loose allowing it to arc. The arcing melted the box and wire. Easy fix once identified (new box; pulled a couple inches of new wire up ... thankfully there was some slack).

DW always hated the stove so I left the new one in place and will move the "old" to another unit when needed.
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:39 AM   #542
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Some more fun with electricity. Just took out some can lights and replaced them with low voltage pendants. Had to tear into the ceiling to rewire, add a transformer and wiring, and patch the holes. I need to replace a defective fixture, add a low voltage dimmer for a magnetic transformer and then I'm done
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:08 AM   #543
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
I have to go and look to see if my house A/C wiring has that neutral wire. And the result is ... my memory remains "superior"!

Apparently, the wiring standard may have changed over the years, and with copper being so expensive nowadays, new A/Cs all run off 230V to save on wiring costs.

But back to imoldernu's problem, in order for the loss of the neutral connection to cause the two outlets on two separate hot wires to cross-couple, the two outlets must have their neutral connected. If a circuit has its neutral connection loose at the box, that circuit will simply be intermittent.

So, I wonder if the house was wired wrongly in the 1st place. A way this can happen is if an outlet is wired with its neutral connection made to the neutral wire of another circuit. Again, each circuit must have its own neutral wire going all the way back to the box. Sharing a neutral wire between two hot wires can cause the problem like imoldernu observes.
Mmmm... just as I thought this was getting easier, it got more complicateder.

The outside Main Box has two leads... one to the park model (inside main box) and a separate one to the add-a-room (no box inside). In the beginning, when the problem first occurred, the inside main box (main) switch tripped. In the few times after that when the problem happened, the shut down was always at that inside box. The circuit to the add-a-room always stayed on, and I could bypass the inside box with an extension to keep the refrigerator cold. I could never use any combination of plugs/electrical load, or use of different appliances including heaters to duplicate the problem after resetting the circuit breaker.

The last time I had the problem, the main (outside) box shut down, and I had to wait for a half hour for it to cool... So now, the problem becomes more complex.

I was hoping some kind of test could identify a particular place where the problem could be fixed. If not, then it would mean tearing apart each one of the individual wall plugs. There's a total of 22 of them in the trailer, and they are not all easily accessible. (The trailer is not like the inside of a house... The walls and skin are built around the electrical system, and there is no "play" in the wiring).

My frugal self sees me supporting the local "approved" electrician for the entire winter, as he experiments.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:05 AM   #544
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Mmmm... just as I thought this was getting easier, it got more complicateder.

The outside Main Box has two leads... one to the park model (inside main box) and a separate one to the add-a-room (no box inside). In the beginning, when the problem first occurred, the inside main box (main) switch tripped. In the few times after that when the problem happened, the shut down was always at that insidebox. The circuit to the add-a-room always stayed on, and I could bypass the inside box with an extension to keep the refrigerator cold. I could never use any combination of plugs/electrical load, or use of different appliances including heaters to duplicate the problem after resetting the circuit breaker.

The last time I had the problem, the main (outside) box shut down, and I had to wait for a half hour for it to cool... So now, the problem becomes more complex.

I was hoping some kind of test could identify a particular place where the problem could be fixed. If not, then it would mean tearing apart each one of the individual wall plugs. There's a total of 22 of them in the trailer, and they are not all easily accessible. (The trailer is not like the inside of a house... The walls and skin are built around the electrical system, and there is no "play" in the wiring).

My frugal self sees me supporting the local "approved" electrician for the entire winter, as he experiments.

How big is this main breaker that tripped? 100 amp or bigger? If a main panel is getting so hot you have to wait to reset, I would get a capable electrician to troubleshoot and repair asap, before the whole place goes up in smoke...just imho.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:26 AM   #545
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Some more fun with electricity. Just took out some can lights and replaced them with low voltage pendants. Had to tear into the ceiling to rewire, add a transformer and wiring, and patch the holes. I need to replace a defective fixture, add a low voltage dimmer for a magnetic transformer and then I'm done
Very nice! Brave to cut into ceiling drywall...getting that flat again can be a challenge.
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:14 AM   #546
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Mmmm... just as I thought this was getting easier, it got more complicateder.

....

My frugal self sees me supporting the local "approved" electrician for the entire winter, as he experiments.
imoldernu, this shouldn't be complicated. From all signs, you have a bad neutral or ground connection. I highly recommend a licensed electrician, not some handy man who is going to 'experiment'. Cough up the bucks, this isn't an area to apply false economy - how many appliances are you going to blow up, plus risk fire and shock hazard? A loose neutral can cause parts of an appliance that would normally be at zero volts to reach 110V - that is a potentially lethal shock hazard.

A licensed electrician will (OK, 'should') go through a logical procedure to find the fault. It should not involve experimenting, just measuring, and then repairing.


edit/add: I see I cross posted with bld999, well, it isn't just his opinion, it's mine too! I'll go so far to say it isn't opinion, it's fact!

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Old 11-14-2014, 12:50 PM   #547
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Got extremely lucky today - twice. I entered the utility / store room to find a pipe leaking at the well / tank interface, but as luck would have it, the spray was onto a wall, then into a floor drain.

Generally, when these galvanized fittings leak, they are a rusted mess and I chase the leak from fitting to fitting as I try to replace the bad fitting, but disturb the other fittings. So, I went to Home Depot and bought one of every single fitting that made up this junction. To my amazement, the bad fittings just unscrewed and all I had to do was wrap them with Teflon take and resemble.

I think this calls for a beer.
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Old 11-14-2014, 01:02 PM   #548
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I think this calls for a beer.
Beer? This calls for a drive to the Stop-N-Rob for purchase of a lotto ticket! These things come in threes, don't waste it!

Galvanized pipe--you know you're just buying time until the next disaster. A changeover to PEX would be a great wintertime project!
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Old 11-14-2014, 01:15 PM   #549
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..........Galvanized pipe--you know you're just buying time until the next disaster. A changeover to PEX would be a great wintertime project!
Yea, but......it is a one inch line with a T fitting, a ball valve and a connection to a 3/4" copper line. I'm not sure how to do that in PEX .
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Old 11-14-2014, 01:32 PM   #550
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Yea, but......it is a one inch line with a T fitting, a ball valve and a connection to a 3/4" copper line. I'm not sure how to do that in PEX .
I'm no expert. If the rest of the internal pipes are copper, I'd probably just try to stick with copper as far back toward the well as I could go (dielectric union to the galvanized, with a good bridge for grounding assuming that the pipes serve as a ground right now).
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Old 11-14-2014, 01:41 PM   #551
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For my friends who are concerned... Thank you!
My camp is shut for the winter, and won't be opened again 'til spring. Since I don't really trust the "approved" guys who are authorized to work in the campground I'll bring in someone from outside.
Both of the men I asked for quotes seemed confused about where to start, and indicated that it might take a very long time to find the problem... One said it might be necessary to tear off some of the siding. I don't mind spending money for work being done... just don't like the thought of paying for "experts" to learn. So the question... "at most, what do you think this could cost?" $500?, $1,000? more and the answer "could be more" didn't inspire confidence. Since there isn't much work in the campground in the winter, giving an open-ended OK, doesn't work with me...
Still, it seems to me that there must be a way of putting a test meter on the circuits to find where the problem may be.
Will let you know in the spring...
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Old 11-14-2014, 03:21 PM   #552
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Electricians doing service work charge by the hour. I had a guy find a loose neutral inside a panel, he charged me $65, but he had done the original installation so he knew how it was wired. That eliminated uncertainty about how competent and "standard" the work was to begin with.

There are troubleshooting techniques and tools they use, including using branch circuit breakers to isolate as you suggest. Their thinking caps are the most important tool as usual. Shops that do mostly service work instead of new construction are usu. the best bet. If your buildings were wired by somebody who didn't follow the rules and bootlegged it, or there is hidden damage from some alteration, it may take considerable time to find the fault. If no damage, and done per nec, it shouldn't take long. Have you polled the utility? They might help narrow it down.

I try to ask others in the area of the job who is capable and fair, and you can reduce much uncertainty that way. You may have to buy a few beers or cups of coffee, but you know the drill. An electrical supply might be one place to start.You do have some time to work it.
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Old 11-14-2014, 03:35 PM   #553
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Yea, but......it is a one inch line with a T fitting, a ball valve and a connection to a 3/4" copper line. I'm not sure how to do that in PEX .
These fittings are pretty versatile, and will come back apart with a special tool.

Push-Fit Coupling Fittings: SharkBite U004LF, U006LF, U008LF, U016LF, U020LF
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Old 11-14-2014, 04:05 PM   #554
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I'm no expert. If the rest of the internal pipes are copper, I'd probably just try to stick with copper as far back toward the well as I could go (dielectric union to the galvanized, with a good bridge for grounding assuming that the pipes serve as a ground right now).
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These fittings are pretty versatile, and will come back apart with a special tool.

Push-Fit Coupling Fittings: SharkBite U004LF, U006LF, U008LF, U016LF, U020LF
It is kind of a mess between where the 3/4" copper line to the rest of the house exits and the well tank. I have a shut off ball valve, a T fitting to the well 1" PVC, a connection for a 1/2" NPT pressure gauge, a 3/8 NPT connection for the pressure switch plus a drain valve, then the connection to the tank. I can kind of see why it was originally plumbed with galvanized, as I don't see a clean work around. The pipes do not serve as a ground, there are separate ground wires terminating in two 10' grounding rods.

Good point about the dielectric coupling - that is missing and may be the problem.
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Old 11-14-2014, 04:48 PM   #555
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It is kind of a mess between where the 3/4" copper line to the rest of the house exits and the well tank. I have a shut off ball valve, a T fitting to the well 1" PVC, a connection for a 1/2" NPT pressure gauge, a 3/8 NPT connection for the pressure switch plus a drain valve, then the connection to the tank. I can kind of see why it was originally plumbed with galvanized, as I don't see a clean work around.
I've got a setup that sounds similar: PVC from the well-> rubber couplings with hose clamps to more PVC elbows-> copper to the pressure tank and house, but a small galvanized "T" to the pressure switch. Lots of corrosion evident on the galvanized, but so far it's not leaking. I'm moving the pressure tank, switch etc in a few months (away from my garage door, deeper into the garage so I can get 2 cars in there and the pipes are less likely to freeze). As part of that, I'm going to replace a lot of the copper with PEX, look into a replacement for the iron pipes to the pressure switch, etc. I'll be lucky to get it all done in a day.

I'm sure you know this, but if a house is old and subject to previous alterations/"good ideas", it's possible somebody did just clamp onto a copper pipe for use as a ground at some branch circuit, appliance, etc. I've got some of that in my house, am adding a separate ground wire whenever I can.
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Old 11-14-2014, 05:42 PM   #556
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Some more fun with electricity.
Nice work, Ronstar.

I've also found that good liquor cabinet placement is crucial for a job like yours.
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Old 11-14-2014, 06:55 PM   #557
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Nice work, Ronstar.

I've also found that good liquor cabinet placement is crucial for a job like yours.
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:01 PM   #558
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Nice work, Ronstar.

I've also found that good liquor cabinet placement is crucial for a job like yours.

Thanks - working in the liquor cabinet was a great incentive. And now I have to go in there periodically to check transformer temperature.


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Old 11-15-2014, 08:00 AM   #559
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I've got a setup that sounds similar: PVC from the well-> rubber couplings with hose clamps to more PVC elbows-> copper to the pressure tank and house, but a small galvanized "T" to the pressure switch. Lots of corrosion evident on the galvanized, ...
Thanks for mentioning this. As I was reading this thread, I was thinking that what I thought were the only two pieces of galvanized I had have leaked. One of them being at the well junction, and it cost ~ $800 to have dug up and replaced (plus my pump running 24/7 before I realized it). It really PO'd me that they would use galvanized below ground for that - didn't they know 35 years ago that galvanized corrodes? It was replaced with brass.

The other leak was the piece going into my pressure tank - but a slow leak that I caught early, no big drama. Was time for a new tank anyway. I used regular black pipe this time (the lady at Menards actually seemed to know her stuff, and told me galv was not right for this application).

But now I realize there is galvanized at the pressure switch - and I have that all wrapped with insulation to avoid condensation in summer, so I'll peel that back and check it out.


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Very nice! Brave to cut into ceiling drywall...getting that flat again can be a challenge.
Drywall is my scourge. I can get it done, but it takes me so many tries it really gets frustrating. Apparently, DD has 'the knack', she did some patching at the home she bought, and she said it was easy and came out perfect (and she is picky like me). I should have had her doing it all along!

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Old 11-15-2014, 12:22 PM   #560
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ERD50 - drywall is my scourge as well. It took me a lot of tries and I'm starting to get it now. I found that thinning the drywall mud with water really helps. Its tough to get the knack of feathering out the compound. Also use the mesh tape.
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