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  1. #1
    BudgetPlan1's Avatar
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    No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    Winter storm rolling thru, power out but turn on a non-flourescent light and bulb has the faintest of red glow.

    Any electrical folk have an explanation? Never seen this before.

  2. #2
    LEDetailng's Avatar
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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    Weird, no electrical background. Quite the opposite, electrically challenged

    Could someone be feeding the grid with battery back up or a generator?

    I had some CFL’s bulbs that would glow when I turned the switch off. Creeped me out, then I realized the switch always has power with the illuminated switch feature

  3. #3
    dansautodetailing.com Stokdgs's Avatar
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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by BudgetPlan1 View Post
    Winter storm rolling thru, power out but turn on a non-flourescent light and bulb has the faintest of red glow.

    Any electrical folk have an explanation? Never seen this before.
    Im thinking you have just a little bit of power coming in but of course, not the 240 vac at the meter breaker to your panel..

    I say this because once I had a neighbor on another street call me and said he had power but it was acting weird and tripping his GFI breakers a lot..
    After a little time spent trouble shooting the GFI outlets, I went to his electrical panel, removed the cover and put my Fluke on the leads from the Utility and it was only 120 vac...
    He was getting half power.. Was supposed to be coming in at 240 vac
    Called the Utility, they found the Transformer box that had the problem and fixed it..
    All better..
    Dan F
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  4. #4
    BudgetPlan1's Avatar
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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by LEDetailng View Post
    Could someone be feeding the grid with battery back up or a generator?
    Neighbor 2 doors down has whole house, natural gas generator. Possible...i too am electrically challenged. Wish I understood it, have tried but no go.

    I`m a lazy, spoiled lout. This Little House on the Prairie stuff ain`t for me.
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  5. #5
    dansautodetailing.com Stokdgs's Avatar
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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by BudgetPlan1 View Post
    Neighbor 2 doors down has whole house, natural gas generator. Possible...i too am electrically challenged. Wish I understood it, have tried but no go.

    I`m a lazy, spoiled lout. This Little House on the Prairie stuff ain`t for me.
    No you`re not, it`s just that no one has explained it to you before..

    When I lived in the Pacific Northwest for 11 years, I HAD to figure out how to provide power for my wife and her 3 kids or we were going to be freezing when the usual power outages came and everyone was without power for sometimes a couple weeks..
    And this was in the city of Bellevue, WA., not out in the countryside of giant trees falling down on power lines...

    What you can do and probably what your neighbor did is get a couple new breakers in your power panel that allow you to cut yourself off from the Grid power and then supply power to the rest of the power panel with a generator..

    It can be a very expensive natural gas generator set up to come on when it senses the grid power is out and in his case, burn natural gas, or you can do the same thing except you manually have to turn off the breaker to isolate you from the Grid, go start up your gas generator, plug it into the NEMA Plug that is wired to the 2nd Breaker I spoke of that feeds the rest of your power panel, and now your whole house has power from the generator until the Grid comes back..
    I did it like this for years and even fed my next door neighbor power...

    Everyone needs to know that your gas or oil fired furnace fan blower will not work without electricity for the fan blower, and to run the thermostat on the wall, so that can also be an issue..

    About the only thing that I can think of that will work in a power failure will be a gas fired fireplace with a pilot light; hopefully it has a big CERAMIC Glass Front that allows the heat to go through it and that can help keep things a little warmer in a power failure...

    I chose option nbr-2 because I did not want to spend the I think it was around $10k for that natural gas generator option, and instead spent almost $2k to get a new, bigger power panel, and a good 66.6amp gasoline generator that I kept in a shed outside..

    Depends on how much the Grid fails you and how much you want to eliminate that and keep your house running through those bad winters...

    Interesting to note about this problem and how it works with Solar on the roof, etc...

    Here in CA., if you have Solar panels supplying you power and the Grid goes down, guess what - so does the Solar... I cannot believe that they have not figured out how to work around that - with the process I used above... They will not allow the Solar to work when you would need it the most... They do not want you to back feed the Grid...Duh...

    I have tried to explain this to many Solar people when they knock at the door, and they just look at me like I`m from outer space or something... "You mean you want your Solar to work when the Grid is down?" YES ! especially when the Grid is down during the day..

    Someday I hope they will have actually put thought and money into battery back up for Solar so perhaps maybe then (?) one can have energy when the Grid fails or especially at night when the Panels are not working..
    Dan F
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  6. #6

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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    I would agree that it`s probably someone who has illegally hooked up a generator to there wiring system without isolating it from the transmission system.
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  7. #7
    BudgetPlan1's Avatar
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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stokdgs View Post
    No you`re not, it`s just that no one has explained it to you before..

    It can be a very expensive natural gas generator set up to come on when it senses the grid power is out and in his case, burn natural gas, or you can do the same thing except you manually have to turn off the breaker to isolate you from the Grid, go start up your gas generator, plug it into the NEMA Plug that is wired to the 2nd Breaker I spoke of that feeds the rest of your power panel, and now your whole house has power from the generator until the Grid comes back..

    Dan F
    Thanks for the info. Yep, around here a whole house generator install is around $10k, with about $2500 of that being the proper electrical hookup. Been meaning to do it for, oh...about 20 years now. Live amongst the trees so every storm is a toss of the coin on power outages.

    Power came back a few hours ago...just in time to get ready for work. Figures. Thanks again for the info...
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  8. #8

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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    Stokdgs- "Thanks for the info " from me too. Hard to get reliable info when the people supplying it have a dog in the fight.

    Our power used to go out for days on end quite regularly, but recently it`s been much more reliable (only goes out a few times annually now, and seldom for more than a day). We *almost* sprung for a backup generator but decided we could live without it. A pal has one of the 5-figure ones (way more than $10K though) that would be the absolute minimum for us, and its need to be run regularly seems to be more of a PIA than I would`ve expected...I gather they can`t just sit unused for ages without developing issues.
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  9. #9
    dansautodetailing.com Stokdgs's Avatar
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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Accumulator View Post
    Stokdgs- "Thanks for the info " from me too. Hard to get reliable info when the people supplying it have a dog in the fight.

    Our power used to go out for days on end quite regularly, but recently it`s been much more reliable (only goes out a few times annually now, and seldom for more than a day). We *almost* sprung for a backup generator but decided we could live without it. A pal has one of the 5-figure ones (way more than $10K though) that would be the absolute minimum for us, and its need to be run regularly seems to be more of a PIA than I would`ve expected...I gather they can`t just sit unused for ages without developing issues.
    Mi Hermano El Accumulator,
    You are welcome ! I am very happy to help !

    I think any motor that sits outside in the elements for ages would have the potential for needing something sooner, than one that was sheltered or better still, in a temperature controlled humidity controlled environment.

    Think about a gas powered lawn mower that has a shed vs one that is outside in the rain and snow, heat, etc., and how long they can last through this.. It is sometimes amazing the crap lawnmowers go through and they still work !

    One thing I forgot to mention on those expensive natural gas generators, they should come with a program that automatically starts them up I believe once a month, and they run a few minutes, to test themselves and keep all those mechanical parts good..

    I forgot to mention that the oil in the generator needs to be changed now and then, especially if they get used a lot..
    This would also have to be factored in if going for it..

    My little, well, not so little 8,000 watt, (13,500 watt start up power), generator has synthetic oil in it, and I fire it up every so often just to make sure the little battery is good and I keep it plugged in all the time..

    In my experience with generators, if you just keep a new air filter and fuel filter in if its used a lot, keep clean fuel with a stabilizer, and change the oil every now and then, it will last decades..
    Dan F
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  10. #10
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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    Yes the natural gas whole home generators are controlled by a computer. The one we had in our house in Michigan. It ran for I think it was fifteen minutes every Sunday. The screen for it reminds you when its due for oil change. It also tells you if there`s a problem. My sister and brother in law also have one. It does the every Sunday run too.
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  11. #11
    Coleroad's Avatar
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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    As far as some moron back feeding the power grid . Hopefully no linemen got hurt or killed by them. I wish people would educate themselves before doing stuff like that. At bare minimum they should have at least shut the main breaker. So that they weren`t back feeding. Next time anyone sees this , call the power company so they can protect their workers.

  12. #12
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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    I know ehough to be dangerous

    ground current
    flows from ground or neutral (they are bonded)
    thru the bulb to the grid and back to the grid source

    capacitive devices discharging onto the line then seeking ground thru the bulb very low impedance


    doubt is residential generators
    the are required to be isolated when in use
    ////AMG

  13. #13
    Coleroad's Avatar
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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by artm3 View Post


    doubt is residential generators
    the are required to be isolated when in use
    just wTch YouTube. There`s many videos showing people back feeding power to their home. Just because code says you have to have a automatic isolator. Doesn`t mean some people don`t abide by it. All it takes without it is to forget to shut off the main breaker, because you were your too worried about getting everything up and running.

  14. #14
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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coleroad View Post
    just wTch YouTube. There`s many videos showing people back feeding power to their home. Just because code says you have to have a automatic isolator. Doesn`t mean some people don`t abide by it. All it takes without it is to forget to shut off the main breaker, because you were your too worried about getting everything up and running.
    it`s called a automatic transfer switch

    the generator would overload and shutdown if it tried to supply a neighborhood
    and likely cook if the power came back on when connected
    ////AMG

  15. #15
    Nizmo's Avatar
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    Re: No power but light bulbs faint glow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stokdgs View Post
    Im thinking you have just a little bit of power coming in but of course, not the 240 vac at the meter breaker to your panel..
    This is the likely scenario; you likely lost a leg of power (IE only 110 or 120 depending on your part of the country). It`s happened to us before at the old house in Mississippi, it killed several of our CFL`s, but not the incandescents.

    This is a really bad scenario in plants that use 3 phase, infact this happened to us today while we were trying to test run the building of conveyors. Lost 1 leg out of 3 and things went haywire! Luckily our lead technician was there, us mechanics have limited knowledge with problems like that. I can fumble my way through it, but when things fry, it ain`t good. With the weather being bad they had a large generator on standby. FedEx don`t play when it comes to down power!
    2017 VW Golf GTI 6 Speed Manual - 2015 Toyota Camry SE - 1999 S10 5-Speed Manual
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