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AssuredElectrical, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4241
Experience:  Contractor-42+ Years in the ElectricalTrade
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# I have a circuit breaker that runs a few lights I have. All

### Customer Question

I have a circuit breaker that runs a few lights I have. All my lights went out at my house and now they only flicker and go out when I turn them on. I tested the 220v 15 amp breakers and not sure if I did it right but I'm only getting 6-7 volts.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Hello.....my name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. My goal is to exceed your expectations on Just Answer!
1) Flickering lights suggest a loose connection or termination.
2) Is the flickering impacting all of the lights in the home or only limited to one specific area or room?
3) Set the meter to the AC voltage setting and the range on your meter that is greater than 200 volts. Locate the 2 service entrance wires that come in from the outside and land on the panel main breaker. Measure across both of these wires. Should = approximately 240 volts. Then place 1 meter probe to 1 wire on the main breaker and the 2nd meter probe to the main neutral bus bar. Should = approximately 120 volts. Repeat the same for the 2nd service entrance wire on the main breaker. Place 1 meter probe to the 2nd service entrance wire and the other meter probe to the main neutral bus bar. Should also = approximately 120 volts.
4) Next, set your meter to the 200 volt range and still the AC voltage setting. Place 1 meter probe to an individual breaker and the other probe to the panel main neutral bus bar. Should = approximately 120 volts. Repeat this on each individual circuit breaker. All should = approximately 120 volts.
5) Lastly, set the meter to the AC voltage setting and use the 200 volt range. Place 1 meter probe to the main neutral bus bar and the 2nd meter probe directly to the panel metal enclosure or to a separate equipment ground bar (if you have a separate ground bar). This measurement should = 0 volts or very close to it.
Reply back to me and let me know the measurements and we can take it from there........Thanks.......Kevin!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Kevin thanks for your response. I have bare minimum knowledge about a multimeter but I set it to volt a/c and I put it on the red main wire and black main wire in the breaker box and got 6 or 7 volts. The main black wire which I am guessing is the ground showed 0 throughout my testing. Testing the breakers, I got the same results as I did on the main.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Testing the main neutral wire again I got it to give out 5 volts with one pointer on the neutral bar and the other on the neutral wire.
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the replies and confirmation.
1) If you are getting this low of a voltage, 50% of the home should be without power and any 240 volt appliances should also not be working, is this correct? I need to know what is working and what is not working in the home besides the flickering? Do televisions and the fridge work?
2) Do you have a Central Air conditioner or an electric dryer or an electric range? If so, check those and see if they are working. Need to confirm if the 240 volt appliances are working?
3) Based on your measurements (assuming the volt meter is working correctly), sounds like you may have lost one or both of the hot phases coming into the panel?
4) If testing the main neutral conductor, 1 meter probe needs to come into direct contact with the main neutral bus bar (where all of the white wires are terminated) and the 2nd meter probe directly to the panel metal enclosure. Touch the 2nd meter probe anywhere on the panel metal. Should = 0 volts or very close to it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Okay its not exactly my house breakers. I am using a dryer cord 240v with cable running to a circuit breaker box with an intermatic light timer. This breaker box setup has 6 plugs to run lights or any other equipment requiring more electricity. The cable with the dryer cable and plugged in currently hooked up to the intermatic timer shows 120 volts. So somewhere between the intermatic timer to 1/2" away in the breaker box, right?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Or could it still be the timer, just the wires in the cord are right
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the replies and confirmation.
1) Using a dryer cord connected from the panel out to the timer is not considered a safe installation and can present a potential safety issue. A permanent wiring scheme should be installed.
2) How is the Intermatic wired to the panel? Using the dryer cord? Does the Intermatic require 120 or 240 volts?
3) What voltage do you measure on the LINE side of the Intermatic?
4) Not sure what you mean by the breaker box setup has 6 plugs? Do you have 6 separate receptacles or some type of multi-output cable (1 input connection and 6 outputs) that was fabricated? Need more info on this area?
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
1) Can you provide me with the model number of the Intermatic timer?
2) Is the breaker box that you are referring to, a sub-panel that is fed off of the main electrical panel? I need to understand how things are connected and wired as I'm not sure of what you have in place?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Okay I have a 240 volt dryer cable connected to my dryer outlet relying off the house breaker for the dryer. That is all fine. That dryer cord is connected to a 240 cable that is wired into a Intermatic timer Model # ***** That timer is hooked into a breaker box with 6 breakers for 6 outlet plugs
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the replies.
A downstream sub-panel can only be fed from a panelboard via a double pole feeder breaker using permanent and code compliant wiring methods that contains a 4 wire circuit.
The wiring scheme (dryer cord) that is being used is not fine as it results in a code violation and presents a potential safety issue. Sub-panels are not wired in this fashion.
I will opt out of the question and place it back to the open board for other experts to review and chime in. No need to reply back to me. You will be notified once another electrical expert picks up the question.......Thanks!
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 2 years ago.
Welcome. My name is ***** ***** would be glad to assist.
The subpanel should be connected to the main panel by way of direct wire and not through a cord connection as was previously posted.
The below link to a diagram shows the wiring and connection (may be a little messy, tried to incorporate the timer with an existing file drawing):
Main to Timer to Sub:
http://tinypic.com/r/xm8tog/8
There should be no problems once completed, let me know anything further
Thanks