TV Flickers Complaint

 
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Old 06-16-2006, 11:53 PM   #1
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TV Flickers Complaint


Service call today, lights were flickering and other problems, found some loose connections in panel and a very loose neutral coming in from the meter. No big deal. Customer also tells me his TV's flicker slightly when he adjusts the speed on any of the adjacent ceiling fans, not on same circuit. I didn't spend much time attempting to troubleshoot as I am not convinced this is an actual problem that can or warrants correction. I came home this evening and noticed my TV also flickers briefly when I turn on or adjust the speed on my ceiling fan. I'm thinking this is completely normal and the customer just never noticed it before just like I haven't noticed it at my house. OR, by chance, is this specific to Lutron fan speed controllers and possibly changing brand controllers may eliminate this? Anyone ever ran into something like this before? 3 fans all on different circuits, 2 tvs on different circuits, all Lutron controllers including my own.
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Old 06-19-2006, 10:09 PM   #2
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Re: TV Flickers Complaint


Perhaps his service is overloaded???

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Old 06-19-2006, 10:25 PM   #3
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Re: TV Flickers Complaint


What about his TV input? A simple loose connection can cause bad reception problems Our gata. running around the the wiring has caused more than one problem.
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Old 06-20-2006, 12:35 PM   #4
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Re: TV Flickers Complaint


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky Joe
Perhaps his service is overloaded???
Not sure why you would say this Joe. It's a fairly new 200 amp service with no unusual residential loads. I called Lutron and they suggested a filtering device sold through Radio Shack for the TV's. They told me it may be the inrush current from the ceiling fans, c'mon now . Well anyhow, I'm not that concerned about it but was just wondering if anyone has really delved into a "problem" like this. All the basics are there, connections tight, grounds are good, etc. Turns out the switch in my house is also a Lutron and it does the same thing to my tv. Just can't help to wonder if swapping it for a different brand switch would do the trick. Maybe Lutrons give off more interference than other brands. If nobody else has any suggestions, maybe I'll just go ahead and try that on my house and see if it helps. I just wan't to know what I'm talking about when I finally call the customer with the info.
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Old 06-20-2006, 01:40 PM   #5
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Re: TV Flickers Complaint


First off. I am by no means an electrician. But I had to poke my head in since this sounded very familiar to a problem I just solved in my house. This may or MAY NOT be the case in your situation.
My problem was that when the A/C kicked on the lights flickered. When you turn on the hood fan the t.v. popped. When I turned on the humidifier in my son's room the t.v. popped. When I turned on the lights in my shop, the lights flickered. I can list more, but you get the picture I'm sure. These were all seperate circuits causing problems with each other. Previous to this when I gutted the "finished" basement I found overloaded circuits, overloaded being an understatement. When my washer finally popped a breaker the breaker nearly came off the pole by itself. Apparently when a circuit is heated up it expands the copper jaws connecting it to the pole. I replaced all my breakers and have not had a problem since.
Bryant panel if that is a needed info.
Consult an electrician though.
Please don't take this as a green flag to race. As I said, I am not an electrician, just hoping this can steer you in another direction of a resolve.

If not the service "IS" overloaded, the service "may have been" overloaded at one time.
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:03 PM   #6
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Re: TV Flickers Complaint


Quote:
Originally Posted by ATS
Turns out the switch in my house is also a Lutron and it does the same thing to my tv. Just can't help to wonder if swapping it for a different brand switch would do the trick. Maybe Lutrons give off more interference than other brands. If nobody else has any suggestions, maybe I'll just go ahead and try that on my house and see if it helps. I just wan't to know what I'm talking about when I finally call the customer with the info.
You might have answered you own question, just change the switch to see what happens, you might surprise yourself and be right.


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"When you have two competing theories which make exactly the same predictions, the one that is simpler is the better."
"If you have two theories which both explain the observed facts then you should use the simplest until more evidence comes along"
"The simplest explanation for some phenomenon is more likely to be accurate than more complicated explanations."
"If you have two equally likely solutions to a problem, pick the simplest."
"The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct."
. . .or in the only form that takes its own advice. . .
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:08 PM   #7
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Re: TV Flickers Complaint


What I can say for a fact regarding solid state fan speed controllers... many of these do create enough disturbance on the line to trip many brands of AFCI breakers. It takes some trial and error to find a fan speed controller that won't trip AFCI's. Oddly, Lutron has done the trick for me lately. Having said that, it seems reasonable to conclude that if fan speed controllers create disturbances that will trip AFCI's, it seems logical that they'll put a little sparkle on the TV screen while you're adjusting the fan. Ever see what your TV does when someone runs a mixer in the kitchen or the vacuum sweeper in another room? It doesn't take much to put a little bit of static on the TV. The EMI/RFI filter from Radio Shack is a popular solution for this sort of trouble.
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:35 AM   #8
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Re: TV Flickers Complaint


Electronics, like a TV, are sensitive to voltage. Any change in the voltage will produce a flicker. Case in point, my moms house, the A/C= a brief flick. She says, the steel mill, 1 mile away will cause the lights to dim, 45 min to an hour. I meantion she might have a problem, she responds, its the steel mill. My stepdad agrees, he's an electrican there, they have heavy, cycling loads there.



Case #2 In my last house( built 1978, different circuits), the microwave, the only thing that would do it, would cause my computer moniter to flicker horriable. I think the EMI / RFI filter would help on this.

I use the Lutron dimmers / speed controls. I have not had any complaints on them yet. I haven't had a problem with the AFCI's either.

To ATS, you might have a loose / bad connection still, after the panel.

On an apartment service call, we could not figure out the problem. 120v from hot to neutral, the entire apartment seemed like no neutral. Finally put the DVM from the hot to the neutral busbar, not the lug. What do you know, loose lug! The lug, not the wire connection.

Last edited by brian11973; 06-21-2006 at 01:42 AM.
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Old 06-21-2006, 06:19 AM   #9
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Re: TV Flickers Complaint


Thanks for the input guy's. I didn't tear the house apart looking for a loose connection because I wasn't convinced this was an actual electrical problem, more of an interference problem. The customer readily admits that it may have always been like that and he just never noticed it. I'm thinking about suggesting a filtering device but I don't want to get egg on my face if it doesn't solve the concern. Guess I'll just spend the $$ and buy another brand controller first and see what happens. The possibility exists that this issue may never be completely eliminated so I'd hate to get the customers hopes up either.
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Old 06-21-2006, 07:37 PM   #10
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Re: TV Flickers Complaint


Brian, I'd recommend you put in a TVSS for your mom, especially if she has any expensive electronics.

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