Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 28

Thread: Ongoing problem with flickering lights

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Roodepoort
    Posts
    13
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Ongoing problem with flickering lights

    Hi Guys,

    I'm new to this forum and I'm hoping someone can shed some light (no pun intended) on the ongoing flickering of my lights at my home.

    I purchased my house about three years ago and ever since all my lights flicker almost constantly. The lights will be fine for about 5-10 minutes and then flicker like a disco for another 5-10 minutes.

    When I purchased the house all the downlights around the house were halogen GU10 50W globes with old style wire wound type dimmers. The switches were all Clipsal press button switches.

    I did a garage extension shortly after I purchased the house and thought I'd tackle the electrical issues as I go along. I reported the flickering to Council a few times and they eventually tapped up the transformer which seemed to help for some time (they also changed me from the blue phase to the red phase which had a lower load during peak times).

    But I think after a while the transformer had been serviced or someone worked on it and it was tapped down again.

    The electrician that was wiring my new garage suggested I install three phase in my house to better balance out my power and to get better supply. The house has one main DB in the original garage - this board then feeds a sub board for the pool pump which in turn feeds another mini sub DB board for the lapa. The main DB also feeds a sub board in the new garage.

    During the three phase installation and garage build I thought it would be wise to replace new electrical fittings and at the same time debug any issues that may be causing my lights to flicker. So I replaced all my plug points, light switches as well as all the old GU10 50W halogen globes with GU10 7W LED globes and new LED dimmers.

    The main cable from the power box outside feeding my house's power was also replaced with a brand new cable. I'm not an electrician and only know some simple basics but I knew that something was not right and at the time I thought that replacing new electrical fittings etc would solve my flickering lights.

    As I'm sure you've guessed by now (since I'm writing this post) the problem with the flickering lights has not been sorted. Some people I have asked, have told me that it could be the LED's and their dimmers, but I don't think that can be the case since since there previous halogen and old dimmers did exactly the same flickering. Even now, if I swap an LED downlight with a halogen bulb, it will flicker together with the LEDs.

    One or two rooms in the house don't have dimmers and the lights seem to not flicker there. But if I turn the dimmable lights all the way up, they also appear not to flicker, so I think that they're still flickering, it's just that at full brightness the flickering is not as perceptible to the human eye. The flickering is just more visible and obvious when the lights are turned down.

    If I had to post some video clips of my house lights, they would need to come with an epilepsy warning - it feels like you're in a club with strobe lights! Enough to drive anyone insane!

    Could the phase where the lights are connected have issues along the line from the main transformer? It seems all three phases are similar with one or two having more of a load during peak hours - I think this could be a factor to the flickering of my lights?

    I've given up and don't know what else to do... Do I ask the municipality to tap the transformer again on my light phase? Could it be an issue with the main transformer (my next door neighbour that uses halogens and dimmers says he does not experience any flickering). Could my cable connected from the power box outside be on corroded lugs? I have also looked into this and municipality says it looks fine?

    I've run out of ideas. I hoping someone has seen this before and can give me some advice or point me to the right direction.

    Many thanks and regards!

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Pietermaritzburg
    Posts
    10
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Goodmorning Tunes
    If I understand your post correctly, from my understnding it seems your problems is supply voltage related. It is ether you have under voltage supply or a floating nutral and it would be intresting to know the supply voltages into your premisses. Does anyone of your neibours complain about the same thing or is it localised into your property? Either way a fact finding by a qualified electrician is required.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Roodepoort
    Posts
    13
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SiyaM View Post
    Goodmorning Tunes
    If I understand your post correctly, from my understnding it seems your problems is supply voltage related. It is ether you have under voltage supply or a floating nutral and it would be intresting to know the supply voltages into your premisses. Does anyone of your neibours complain about the same thing or is it localised into your property? Either way a fact finding by a qualified electrician is required.
    Good morning SiyaM.

    Thanks for your reply. You could perhaps be correct when you say the issues could be voltage related. I can understand an under voltage supply - at peak times esp, the voltage drops in some or all three phases. I don't understand the floating neutral though? Does that mean a loose neutral wire and where could this be? I've asked my next door neighbour and he says his lights do not flicker but I see his neutral is connected straight to the neutral terminal where mine is connected to the earth bar (which should be the same but perhaps there is arching of some type?)

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Pietermaritzburg
    Posts
    10
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Afternoon Tunes
    The star or neutral point on a reticulation distribution trfr is earthed for protection purposes. On a three phase trfr on a reticulation distribution system it serves another purpose of anchoring the voltages. If there is a hot connection between the star point and earth this result to voltage imbalances depending on load charedctaristics. This situation on retic distribution systems we term it a floating neutral.. This is why I requested to check the nabours if are in the same situation as you. I also don't understand why your neutral returns to the earth bar this might come with its own consequences. Have you previuosly took the volatge readings?

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Roodepoort
    Posts
    13
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SiyaM View Post
    Afternoon Tunes
    The star or neutral point on a reticulation distribution trfr is earthed for protection purposes. On a three phase trfr on a reticulation distribution system it serves another purpose of anchoring the voltages. If there is a hot connection between the star point and earth this result to voltage imbalances depending on load charedctaristics. This situation on retic distribution systems we term it a floating neutral.. This is why I requested to check the nabours if are in the same situation as you. I also don't understand why your neutral returns to the earth bar this might come with its own consequences. Have you previuosly took the volatge readings?
    Hi SiyaM

    Yes indeed. I had an engineer take voltage readings with a data logging reader a while back before I installed and upgraded to three phase. This was also done in summer time (where I still have lights flickering - so in Winter it seems to get much worse. The report was as follows:

    "We have conducted three tests with the Data Logger. Test 1 conducted on the boundary (Council Side), Test 2 Conducted on Mains Board before Main CB (Consumer Side), Test 3 Conducted in the House on a Lighting Circuit.

    Test Period 1 (16 January 15:41 to 21 January 11:09) at 10 Second Sample Rate
    Peak Voltage 228.4V at 00:02:07 on the 17th January
    Average Voltage 7pm to 7am 222V
    Average Voltage 7am to 7pm 214V
    Lowest Voltage 212.5V at 08:19:37 on the 17th January

    Test Period 2 (21 January 11:21 to 22 January 10:56) at 1 Second Sample Rate
    Peak Voltage 225.1V at 23:09:31 on the 21st January
    Average Voltage 7pm to 7am 221V
    Average Voltage 7am to 7pm 216V
    Lowest Voltage 205.1V at 04:57:17 on the 22nd January

    Test Period 3 (22 January 11:14 to 23 January 15:01) at 1 Second Sample Rate
    Peak Voltage 225.7V at 03:47:57 on the 23rd January
    Average Voltage 7pm to 7am 220V
    Average Voltage 7am to 7pm 212V
    Lowest Voltage 208.5V at 10:18:47 on the 23rd January

    We can report that the voltage does indeed peak at over 225V once or twice throughout the day but the average daytime voltage is consistently below 215V with regular voltage readings below 210V.
    This is a relatively small sample of the overall performance of the network concerned but we must point out that this is a summer reading and that higher load periods may demonstrate significantly lower readings which could negatively affect some consumer devices.

    This report is provided as a reference for City Power to determine if the network warrants further investigation or possible action such as tapping up the mini sub feeding this segment."

  6. #6
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    21,311
    Thanks
    3,090
    Thanked 2,489 Times in 2,093 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by tunes View Post
    I see his neutral is connected straight to the neutral terminal where mine is connected to the earth bar
    Who is the supply authority?
    Do they supply a separate earth and neutral?

    It would be interesting to see the test report for the COC that was issued when you had all this electrical work done.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

    Alcocks Electrical Services | Alcocks Pest Control & Entomological Services

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Roodepoort
    Posts
    13
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Who is the supply authority?
    Do they supply a separate earth and neutral?

    It would be interesting to see the test report for the COC that was issued when you had all this electrical work done.
    Hi Dave,

    The supply authority is CityPower.

    What I can see in the way my three phase was installed by CityPower at the supply box outside my gate - they connected my Neutral coming into the house to the earth bar in the supply box and is not connected in the same rear terminal of the supply box (the neutral left terminal) I see my next door neighbour has his neutral wire/cable connected to the neutral rear side of the supply box - I'm not sure if that makes any difference that my neutral is connected to the earth bar?

    I still haven't received a COC on my three phase DB board installation as the electrician is still balancing out the three phases and connecting circuits to the Earth leakage. He had (unknown to me) left everything off Earth leakage until I was done with renovations. He is now sorting out circuits (and is wanting to charge me more for that since he says the three phase installation and DB board installation only includes the circuit breakers and the balance of the phases - he says to sort out circuits he has to spend more time and thus is charging me more?)

    What is weird is that previously when I had just bought the place and it had only single phase, nothing used to trip - but again I'm not an electrician and can't argue and say that nothing was wrong and I'm taking his word for it. Obviously the flickering of my lights is a different issue altogether as I had this from the start...

    Hope that makes some sense

  8. #8
    Full Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Port Elizabeth
    Posts
    80
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 22 Times in 15 Posts
    Hi

    I can understand why SiyaM is moving towards a neutral issue - In our workshop we believe that as soon as an electrical problem seems unsolvable it will generally be a neutral problem.
    If you did have an incoming neutral issue than I would expect appliances , electric clocks and PC's to be misbehaving to the extend of being replaced on a regular basis.
    On the descriptions above , I do not believe you have an incoming cable/voltage problem , unless there is a loose neutral in the DB on the light circuit only

    In my opinion the halogen GU10 lamp must have been one of the worst lamps to have ever been brought out and the cheaper makes did all sorts of interesting things to dimmer switches. I see you mentioned Clipsal pushbutton style switches and the same breathe wire wound type dimmer switches - I am not aware of a clipsal push button wire wound type dimmer.
    Without knowing the extend of your knowledge , and with the chance of putting my foot in the wrong place, were the lamps not GU5 lamps with wire wound transformers and Clipsal push button dimmers ?
    If they were then it could possibly explain the flicker as there was confusion around leading and trailing edge dimmers with the Clipsal product which did create the flicker you describe.
    If they were GU5 lamps and the LED lamps are also GU5 lamps then the transformers will still be there and the new LED dimmer will not work as the induction is still in the line.
    Not sure if I am maybe over thinking and misinterpreting what has been said

    If you have now changed to the GU10 LED lamps , all transformers removed and installed new LED dimmers the problem should be gone - But - depending on the dimmer make - You would need to set the LED dimmers to dim no lower than the lowest permissible point of the lamps.In other words just before they flicker.

    Not all LED lamps are dimable and I will not supply LED lamps that are not from recognized manufactures and that state dim on the lamp itself.

    If my electrician phoned from site I would ask - Lamp make, ratings and dimmable or not, make of dimmer switch and type , Do the switches have LED indication on the actual switch

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Roodepoort
    Posts
    13
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Quote Originally Posted by GCE View Post
    Hi

    I can understand why SiyaM is moving towards a neutral issue - In our workshop we believe that as soon as an electrical problem seems unsolvable it will generally be a neutral problem.
    If you did have an incoming neutral issue than I would expect appliances , electric clocks and PC's to be misbehaving to the extend of being replaced on a regular basis.
    On the descriptions above , I do not believe you have an incoming cable/voltage problem , unless there is a loose neutral in the DB on the light circuit only

    In my opinion the halogen GU10 lamp must have been one of the worst lamps to have ever been brought out and the cheaper makes did all sorts of interesting things to dimmer switches. I see you mentioned Clipsal pushbutton style switches and the same breathe wire wound type dimmer switches - I am not aware of a clipsal push button wire wound type dimmer.
    Without knowing the extend of your knowledge , and with the chance of putting my foot in the wrong place, were the lamps not GU5 lamps with wire wound transformers and Clipsal push button dimmers ?
    If they were then it could possibly explain the flicker as there was confusion around leading and trailing edge dimmers with the Clipsal product which did create the flicker you describe.
    If they were GU5 lamps and the LED lamps are also GU5 lamps then the transformers will still be there and the new LED dimmer will not work as the induction is still in the line.
    Not sure if I am maybe over thinking and misinterpreting what has been said

    If you have now changed to the GU10 LED lamps , all transformers removed and installed new LED dimmers the problem should be gone - But - depending on the dimmer make - You would need to set the LED dimmers to dim no lower than the lowest permissible point of the lamps.In other words just before they flicker.

    Not all LED lamps are dimable and I will not supply LED lamps that are not from recognized manufactures and that state dim on the lamp itself.

    If my electrician phoned from site I would ask - Lamp make, ratings and dimmable or not, make of dimmer switch and type , Do the switches have LED indication on the actual switch
    Hi GCE,

    Thanks for your input. Much appreciated. The older lamps were GU10 50W and not GU5. The older lights flickered all the time. The new LED GU10 also flicker - I have some halogen lights still in the house - they also flicker. All my lights flicker. I'm not an electrician as I've said but with the ongoing "debugging" I have come to a conclusion that the issue is either with the inside wiring or the utility power coming in. It also seems to get worse at peak times which leads me to think there is an issue with my connection somewhere outside or the noise in the power coming in seems to only affect my house because my neighbour doesn't experience this. So i'm baffled. Like I said in my original thread - CityPower tapped the transformer once and it seemed to have the issue sorted. I don't know what else to do and hoping someone could point me in the right direction..

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Roodepoort
    Posts
    13
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    All the lights flicker at the same time and timing is exactly the same flicker too - whether it's in the lounge or the room or the toilet. If I had to switch on all the lights in the house, the whole house would flicker in sync. And my lights are all in about 4 or five circuit breakers. I have new circuit breakers, new DB board and new four core cable coming in from the distribution box outside my house

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. [Question] Down Lighters flickering
    By Glynn McGregor in forum Electrical Contracting Industry Forum
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 23-Mar-15, 06:48 PM
  2. Problem with outside lights
    By SparkyScott in forum Electrical Contracting Industry Forum
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 02-Jul-12, 10:23 AM
  3. Monitor flickering colours
    By Streamline Imports in forum Technology Forum
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 09-Jun-12, 12:05 AM
  4. Flickering LED problem
    By skatingsparks in forum Electrical Contracting Industry Forum
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 23-May-11, 07:27 PM
  5. And the lights go out again.
    By Dave A in forum Electrical Load Shedding Forum
    Replies: 71
    Last Post: 25-Feb-08, 04:38 PM

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •