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Old 02-21-2008, 04:59 AM   #11
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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Country: United States
Incandescents are typically immune to any frequency changes in AC supplies. The lamps don't care if AC or DC. Noise, or 'bumps' in the smooth sine wave expected from "clean" AC will have little to no effect on incandescents as long as the peaks or troughs don't exceed the typical high voltage peak. A residential "110 volt" system refers to the RMS (root mean square) or roughly 'average' voltage above or below earth potential. The true voltage on a "110" AC line flows from zero to +190 volts to -190 volts and back 60 times a second.
When the mid point of that sine wave isn't zero volts there can be problems. Check your ground, whether it's a rod into the earth, or a connection to a water pipe and then the pipe is to earth. The typical 220 volt single phase supplied to US residential homes uses one leg and earth to provide 110 volts (RMS) at an outlet. Check a few outlets in different rooms for the voltage present.
A poor ground connection will make a voltage difference between the neutral (larger) slot and the ground connection. Normally the difference between neutral and ground is zero. Depending on the severity of the difference can be 30+ volts, more than enough to be dangerous. The voltage of hot (small slot) to ground might be over 110 on some outlets. Outlets supplied by the other incoming supply leg will be lower than the nominal 110. A cheap volt meter can tell quickly if your home is suffering from that condition.
If it is, call your power company, it's their responsibility.
I've had this happen to me. Half the lights in the house brightened, half dimmed each time a high 110 load was applied to one leg, like when the fridge started up. All was fine when a large 220 load (clothes dryer, oven) allowed equalization.

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