electricity dips every 2 minutes 20 seconds

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by jazzfido, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. jazzfido

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 3, 2013
    I hope this is the place where someone may be able to help. Please bear in mind that: 1) I am in India, 2) in a location where electricians can be described as "not very good at their job", and 3) I have no particular skills in electricity, but can follow instructions.

    The problem: 1) Every 2 minutes and 20 seconds there is a small dip in the current in the building. Not enough to disconnect devices like, say, the wireless streamer, but enough to make the lights flicker. 2) High powered devices (like electric kettle and vacuum cleaner) cannot be used because when they are switched on, electricity output in the building plummets for all devices. Low powered devices are working as normal. So, it seems like only a certain amount of electricity can be used at any given time. Having tried out the different devices, it seems like the level is 500 watt. An input higher than 500 watt (from one device or the sum of devices) will result in a permanent dip.

    Obviously, this is a new situation. Previously, we could run above 4000 watt.

    The setup is that we have a digital meter. From the meter is a wire into the building to the switchbox. In addition, there is a step-up transformer attached to the switchbox. The problem exists irrespective of whether the step-up transformer is on or off. I have tried the following:

    1. Detached the step-up transformer. Unfortunately, it seems like I have to remove cables from inside the switchbox, which I am reluctant to do at the moment. I did open the step-up transformer to check for loose wires. Nothing seemed wrong.

    2. I have tried turning off all the switches in the switchbox except one (and in turn). The system error is still there.

    Based on this, my conclusion is that the problem is, most likely, in the meter. How else can the dip occur exactly every 2 minutes 20 seconds? It is the only item that has some kind of timer built in. Does this seem like a reasonable conclusion? Any other ideas?

    EDIT: it seems like the meter is outputting only 1 amp, but 230 volt.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
  2. #12


    Nov 30, 2010
    Some other nearby building might have a machine that cycles every 140 seconds. You likely have a dirty connection that makes the whole situation worse. Not surprising because I had a bad connection making the lights flicker and I live in U.S.A.

    You need to look at every connection with a skilled eye to find the loose or dirty connection.
  3. jazzfido

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 3, 2013
    Thanks for the reply.

    That doesn't explain why we cannot get an output over 500 watt, only the flickering. Plus it is 24/7, and in this area no one would have anything running constantly in 140 second cycles.

    That was my initial thought, and the reason I turned everything off, in turn, in the switchbox. So, unless all the switches have parts connected that are loose or dirty, this shouldn't be an issue?
  4. #12


    Nov 30, 2010
    Right. No single circuit breaker accounts for the whole building. You have to look at the main entrance cables.
  5. Ramussons

    Active Member

    May 3, 2013
    The problem is not likely to be in your building. There must be a new industrial machinery like a hi power A/C which on start up draws a high current overloading the EB distribution transformer.

    Work your way back to the EB transformer and measure the voltages there if you can

  6. gerty

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 30, 2007

    Look around at night. Do all of the lights in your building dim?, how about your neighbors?
    The more wide spread it is, the further away from your house it probably is.
  7. WBahn


    Mar 31, 2012
    Have you checked the neutral connection(s)?
  8. sheldons

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2011
    sounds very much like its either a cable fault where its entering your building or a poor neutral connection-with the cable fault it could be anywhere along the run from the substation that supplies you to where you power comes into the building,a bad neutral is fairly easy to spot but with the other fault you need your local electricity board to come have a look......
  9. jazzfido

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 3, 2013
    Thanks for all the replies!

    After three days of dip and dim, the situation is back to normal. Needless to say, I have no idea what changed. However, if the 2.20 situation returns, I will try to do some more investigation in the neighbourhood. I already did this, but the immediate neighbours didn't have any noticeable dip and dim incidents.

    I will post the answer if it materialises.