We've had a problem for the past year or so where every so often one
circuit in our house starts to brown-out intermittantly. This circuit is
the newest one in the house, and I believe was inserted on it's own
breaker. In addition to the brown-outs, evidenced by light flickering as
well as phone, TV and VCR turning on and off sometimes (one can hear some
relay in the TV clicking repeatedly), a static-like noise can be heard
coming from the breaker.
An electrician told us that the problem was corrosion in the breaker or
in the wireing in the entire electrical box, which showed up first on the
grounding strip. He said that to fix it the entire box would have to be
rewired, but that there *wasn't*
any risk of an electrical fire.
The odd thing is that it ONLY occurs with this one circuit, and that if
all the lights on the circuit (about 260W load) are turned on, the
brown-outs will go away in about 10 seconds. If they are turned off, the
problem comes back, but if left on for about half and hour, the problem
seem to clear up (at least for anywhere between a day to six weeks).
Now for the questions: Why would current flowing through the circuit
seem to stabilize it (reverseing the corrosion to some degree, or causing
changes in the wire metal which temporarily bypasses the resistance
created by the corrosion?) Is there really no risk of electrical fire?
Why would it only occur on one circuit, if the entire box had corrosion
Indiana University CS