Troubling fuse problem

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My house still has fuses. The other day there was no power to the kitchen, so I went down and started looking at the fuses. One seemed somewhat burned and the nearby (almost useless) chart indicated that it was the dishwasher fuse, so I pulled it. That knocked out the light in the basement room that I was standing in. Nonetheless, I put in a new fuse, and my light came back on, and my Significant Other called down to say that I had fixed it.
Sure enough, the power was back on in the kitchen. But how can that be, when the same fuse controlled the lights in the room I was in, and those were on with that same bad fuse?
I have no idea what happened.
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dgk wrote:

Must have had just enough filament left to let a light bulb burn but not enough to power the dishwasher. Newer circuit arrangement would separate kitchen (particularly any appliance even if no more than a dishwasher) from a lights circuit.
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I never heard of such a thing but there it is. I just left a message for an acquaintance who is an electrician. As someone else wrote, it is past time to replace that mess with circuit breakers.
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dpb wrote:

And if you really believe that, dpb, come see me about a bridge I have for sale at a bargain price.
By the way, fuses don't have filaments, they have links.
Sheesh, where do some people get their ideas from. <G>
Might have been an adjacent fuse which had crept loose enough to open the circuit which the OP tightened without remembering doing so, or perhaps a "loose disconnection" of the kitchen feed line at the fuse panel which jiggled into contact through the OP's activities.
Whatever, remember that problems which go away by themselves usually come back by themselves.
It's probably time to give that fusebox and the connections inside it a thourough going over, or replacement with a breaker panel.
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

...
Actually, Jeff, I got that "idea" from an actual incident where a fuse did leave a tiny trace that made a connecting path through it and made a symptom quite similar to that described by OP. Only seen it once in some 60 years, and that was some 30 years ago, but it did occur.
Because what was left wasn't much more than a tracing, I used the word "filament" to describe it. I doubt it would have lasted much longer when I discovered it, but it did have enough of a path left to let a single bulb in the pumphouse burn (albeit somewhat dimly) for at least a short while when a drill I plugged into the outlet didn't have enough power to more than hum (which is what was the cause for finding it).
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dpb wrote:

Why would the drill not finish the fuse off?
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CJT wrote:

I'm sure it probably would have -- that's just the sequence of how I found the problem. Was an interesting/peculiar failure mode I've only seen the one time. Whether the fuse was initially defective and had a trace "sneak path" or the failure caused it I have no way of knowing.
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I'm going with the logic that screwing in the fuse fixed something else; something that I'm not happy about. I will get that thing replaced soon.
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I want to ask dgk if you and dpb are brothers?
mm
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wrote:

Must be different fathers though.
I just read through a thread on replacing fuses with circuit breakers and the answer was, no, not unless something is wrong. So I'll have an electrician just take a look at it and replace it if something is wrong.
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I agree. The problem with fuses is that each one costs money, but for every thousand dollars it costs to change from a fuse box to a circuit breaker box, you could buy more than 1000 fuses. It might take 500 years to use 1000 fuses.

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dpb wrote:

I did ponder that before I "grinned" and jumped down your throat, but since the OP didn't mention that the light which WAS on was burning dimly, I couldn't make what you said play.
I don't doubt that you saw what you did back then. I'd make a WAG that the fuse may have slowly evaporated off metal molecules from its link which deposited as a conducting metal film across the insulating portions inside the fuse until the link either opened and current flowed through the deposits, or the link itself got so thin its resistance increased to cause what you saw. But I'd expect that bulb in the pumphouse was a pretty low wattage one, huh?
I think it's possible, but on average, it ain't the way to bet.
Happy New Year,
Jeff
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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

Yeah, it's funny how those odd-ball events come back as possible scenarios. On the follow-up I got to really trying to recall the incident and do remember being able to see the filament in the bulb glowing as opposed to a full light output but wasn't thinking of that when I responded to OP, just that the fuse appeared blown but still had a voltage path w/ limited current capacity. I'm sure if it had been night instead of day or that there weren't windows in there so I had been tossed into the dark I'd have remembered more clearly! :) As for what was there at the time, I have no idea. Normally I keep a 100W'er in it as it is also the oilhouse and other storage as it's the only heated outbuilding other than the farrowing house which isn't too suitable for storing much other than pigs. :)
Would be interesting to know from OP whether if he went down and now removed that single fuse whether both the dishwasher and light go out or whether, as you noted (and I suspect you're probably right) he had a second fuse that was loose that he either tightened checking or inadvertently futzing around.
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I won't get home till late tonight but I will give it a try soon and post back. The same fuse also knocked out the computers on the second floor. As I mentioned in another reply, I'll contact the guy I bought the house from and see what he remembers.
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There was at least some power to the drill. The OP said the kitchen was "dead", but of course it might have only been comatose. Maybe there was nothing to hum, and not enough for a light to glow, but it was getting some current.
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dgk wrote:

Thats how it was wired when the dishwasher was installed.
Today it wouldnt pass code, back then it might have been OK or someone added a dishwasher and tapped power from a convenient place.
Its past time to upgrade to breakers and iunstall some dedicated circuits for heavy fixed loads
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I think you missed the fundamental question -- which was why/how the light was still burning but the dishwasher on the same circuit wouldn't start, not that both were on the circuit.

Unless has some other indication of a problem like blowing fuses consistently or similar, there's no indication of an actual safety issue here that would necessitate that.
Would need far more information on condition of wiring and so on before I would make any such blanket assertion.
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wrote:

Someone added a dishwasher. I lived down the block from the house I own now, and remember when several families bought dishwashers together. It was a big deal. I smeared peanut butter on a plate to see how it would clean. I must have been 10.
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Fuses are for igniting dynamite. If your house has fuses you are probably living in a home thats ready to explode. I'd suggest calling the Federal Bureau of Alcohol Firearms and Tobacco and telling them your house is armed with explosives. There should never be fuses in any home.
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its hard to find homeowners insurance if you have fuses. so a upgrade to breaker with main service is a good idea. talking heavy fixed loads off regular circuits is also a good move
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