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Author Topic: Argh....Electrical problem.  (Read 2889 times)

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Offline Viking

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Argh....Electrical problem.
« on: November 25, 2003, 08:03:28 PM »
I bought a mobile home for $10,000 and 27 acres for 15,000 in July the guy made me a good offer. The property is nice all wooded with a pond in the middle and a creek running through it all. Also has a septic field and tank, along with a 160ft well. So anyway to the point. I heat the place by a wood stove. unfortunately that only heats the living room, dining room kitchen and the hallway. so I picked up 3 1500watts space heaters. put  on in each of the bed rooms, set them to low. and that was that. the mobile home is 74'x14'

So tonight i went to unplug one so i could move it to a different part of the bed room "someones sleeping over". so i goto unplug it and I got burned by the wall socket. it was really really hot. so I thought to my self for a second "all there of the bed rooms better not be on the same circuit" and sure enough when i checked the other plugs the ywere hot hot too. im really mad. what kinda company would do that. *sigh* guess ill have to get one of my buddys over to fix the problem for me.

Offline Jeff

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Re: Argh....Electrical problem.
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2003, 03:37:01 PM »
The problem is that you are plugging in electric heaters into circuits designed for lights or simple appliances. The only way to fix it is to run the appropriate size wire and then make sure you have the appropriate breaker for that wire. Apparently you have to heavy a breaker on that circuit or it would have tripped. This is not so much a problem with the design of the wiring system, but your use of it.

If you keep running a load like that yer asking to wake up dead. :o
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Offline DanG

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Re: Argh....Electrical problem.
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2003, 05:22:56 PM »
Mobile Home manufacturers get away with murder, literally. When you see all those government stickers, you assume the thing is built right....NOT!  In most places, there is no inspection process to follow up on the design approval. They have a bunch of minimum wage workers jam-slamming these things together with little or no supervision, except for someone to crack the whip and make'em go faster.  Betcha a buck(USD  ;D) yours was not actually wired according to the plan.
1500 watts is not an overload for a normal house circuit...it is only a little less than 12 amps, and the circuit should be rated for 15.  Check and see if you have aluminum wire. It has been outlawed in the States, because of the same problems you are having. The connections in the outlets won't stay secure, causing heat dissipation from the resistance in the connections. The wiring should be copper!!  Also check to see what all is on the same circuit by plugging lamps, etc into all the outlets, then turning the breakers off one at a time. Write down what is on each breaker.  If your outlets have the push-on connectors, replace them with the screw type.
Don't run the heaters any more until all this is checked out.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Argh....Electrical problem.
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2003, 05:39:39 PM »
Remember DanG he said he had 3 heaters on that circuit. I have worked on electical in several mobile homes and its common to have the all the bedrooms on a zoned circuit, especially in the north when the heating system is probably forced air, and if it is electric heat, its on its own circuit. The bedrooms generally would never have any thing else other then some lighting and light appliances so one circuit is plenty. They never expected you to weld in them.

I have to differ in opinion on some of the units I have seen up here. My mom and dad bought a Marlette mobile home in 1968. We just moved mom out and sold the place this last year. No problem finding a buyer. Not because it was cheap, but because it was nice.

If we are talking some of the new mobile modular homes, they are built better then most stick built homes. Mine, which is stick built is a cluster. I am finding that out as I tear our Kitchen out for some updating. So far I have found one set of live wires simply hanging inside a closet wall, and a buried receptacle box with live bare wires behind a kitchen wall.
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Offline DanG

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Re: Argh....Electrical problem.
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2003, 08:08:18 PM »
Jeff, I live in a mh and have owned several others. The wiring is about the only thing in this one that is up to snuff. Each room has it's own circuit for the outlets, but the overheads are zoned. Just because zoning of the outlets is common, don't make it right.
Obviously, Viking didn't know they were all on the same circuit. I'm sure he'll check next time. :)
I'm still bettin' on aluminum wire, though. A lot of mobile homes burned down around here because of it, before they outlawed it in the early '80s.
We have a couple of 1500w space heaters for occasional use, when we don't want to heat the whole place, and haven't had any probs. We also have 3 window AC units that haven't caused any outlets to heat up, or breakers to snap. I periodically take the cover off the breaker box and check for heated wires when things are running full blast, and have detected none. The only breaker that's ever popped was when the idiot stepson turned on a space heater and the AC  ??? both plugged into the same outlet.
Viking, did you prove the outlets to be on one circuit, or are you assuming it since they all had the problem?  Seems like, if they were wired together, the problem would have occurred at the breaker, or all along the wire. Since the outlets themselves got hot, I'd say that's where the problem is. Let us know what you find out. :P
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline Viking

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Re: Argh....Electrical problem.
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2003, 08:30:46 PM »
yeah i made sure all of the wiring was copper, which it is :), and its from '74 guess i got lucky on the wiring :)

Offline Jeff

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Re: Argh....Electrical problem.
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2003, 08:40:46 PM »
About 5 years after we had this house built we had to have a new sevice put in. The wire coming in was copper, but the lugs in the panel were aluminum. We were always noticeing the lights dimming when the frige cicked on, or sometimes they would flicker for no apparent reason. We had the electric company out and they found nothing. Well, one night I went out to have a cigarette in the garage. I had the front door open but the lights off. I happened to see a blue flash from the corner of the garage where the panel Box was.  The Aluminum lugs had melted enough that the cpper wire was loose in them. this was on the meter side of the box.
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Offline D._Frederick

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Re: Argh....Electrical problem.
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2003, 09:16:45 AM »
Most of the new breaker boxes are rated for both aluminum and copper, you should use Luminox (sp) on the wires before clamping them to terminals if aluminum. If you do not go over the current rating of the aluminum wire, there should be no heating problem. Aluminum does have a problem in that it will(cold flow), after a period of time, recheck/retorque the terminals.

Offline etat

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Re: Argh....Electrical problem.
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2003, 05:08:51 PM »
I have never heard the term 'cold flow' before.  Can you tell me what it is?
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Offline Minnesota_boy

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Re: Argh....Electrical problem.
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2003, 06:37:04 PM »
Most metals are pretty ridgid at room temperature.  You can expect to tighten a set screw on a steel shaft and have it remain tight for years.  Aluminum is different.  If you tighten that same set screw on an aluminum shaft, you will need to tighten it again next week and the week after and .....
Aluminun will deform under load at room temperature, hence cold flow.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Argh....Electrical problem.
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2003, 02:18:42 AM »
At the mill I worked at in the 70's, they had pulled aluminium wite for some of the larger machines. Debarker chipper, etc. When ever you started those machines, the wire would "rattle" the length of the conduit.
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Ezekiel 22:30

Offline D._Frederick

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Re: Argh....Electrical problem.
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2003, 08:28:10 AM »
Jeff,
The regulations for wire size calls out larger diameter (gauge) for aluminum than copper for the same amount of amperage. The weight of aluminum is less than a  third of copper, and when a current pulse hits, it moves. If the mill wrights installed the correct gauge of aluminum, the wire should last as long as the rest of the equipment. The main problem is that aluminum requires maintenance to check that connectors are tight and know heat build-up is occuring.

Offline Jeff

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Re: Argh....Electrical problem.
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2003, 11:38:44 AM »
That was probably the problem that would cause the bus panel to blow out on occasion. Under neath the disconnects was a large bus duct where wieres tyed together with the bolt type lugs, that were then, heavily taped. Occasionally, that door would get blowed right off the duct as the wire would "Pulse" and where the tape off the lugs, which in turn eventually ground out on stuff. That was back in my younger days when I thought I knew everything about everything but really nothing about nothing. About 20 years old.
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Commercial circle sawmill sawyer in a past life.
Ezekiel 22:30

Offline slowzuki

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Re: Argh....Electrical problem.
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2004, 01:27:37 PM »
Aluminum wiring generally is a poor choice on vibrating machinery.  Aluminum has a fatigue life, every time it cycles it gets weaker and will eventually fail.  

The cold flow is technically called "creep"

Wiring goes through heating and cooling cycles depending on the current flowing in them which makes the wires change dimensions, panels are supposed to be retightened every year they say!


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