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I apologize for the long post, but I wanted to provide as much info as possible.

Recently I started a DIY home electrical project to replace a lot of light fixtures, the light switches, and the sockets in my house. I changed out all the light fixtures and everything worked as it did before. I changed out the light switches/dimmers and everything worked as it did before. I started to change out the sockets and I have hit an issue. Before I call an electrician I am looking for some troubleshooting advice.

I am working on a circuit (#18) that controls the load on 2 upstairs bedrooms and an upstairs hallway. In the upstairs hallway there are 2 sockets. Also there are 2 light fixtures controlled in a 4-way configuration; two light switches in the upstairs hallway and 1 light switch in the downstairs by the bottom of the stairway.

When I turn the 4-way light off/on from any of the switches it makes some lights on a different circuit (#2) "blink" as it they turn off and then immediately back on. They only blink when I turn the switch off/on from any of the 3 switches in the 4-way. They don't dim or flicker or blink randomly(that I have been able to observe).

Circuit #2 is a load of light fixtures that span 3 different rooms (entryway[2 fixtures]/dinning[1 fixture]/kitchen[2 fixtures]). The light fixtures that are "turned on" on circuit #2 and are closest to the bottom stairway switch on circuit #18 in the 4-way configuration will blink. I.E.: if the 2 entry way fixtures (circuit #2) are on, they will blink (nothing else); if the 2 entry way fixtures are off, and the dinning room (next in line on the load on circuit #2) is on, that fixture will blink. If the entryway and dinning room are off, and the kitchen fixtures (next in line on the load on circuit #2)are on, that fixture will blink.

These are all LED lights on circuit #2, and Lutron MACL-153M-WH Maestro 150-Watt Multi-Location CFL/LED Digital Dimmer or Lutron MA-R-WH Maestro Companion 120V 8.3A Designer Digital Dimmer Switch. These all worked fine for some time. They are using approved LEDs.

There are CFLs on the 4-way on circuit #18, and Lutron MACL-153M-WH Maestro 150-Watt Multi-Location CFL/LED Digital Dimmer or Lutron MA-R-WH Maestro Companion 120V 8.3A Designer Digital Dimmer Switch. These all worked fine for some time. They are using approved CFLs.

The light fixtures, LED bulbs, and dimmers work fine on circuit #2 unless the light on circuit #18 is turned off/on. Everything on circuit #18 works fine (no observable issues).

This problem only started after I replaced a wall socket on circuit #18 that feeds the 4-way (2 light fixtures/3 Lutron dimmers).

From my research so far I am in fear that somewhere along the load of circuit #18, there is arcing to circuit #2. The "blink" does not happen repetitively or randomly though.

I am also worried that the "blink" in the light is my breaker box or digital dimmers warning me of something mis-wired. There are no issues on the individual circuits (that I can observe) as both circuits (#2 and #18) operate fine independently of each other with only the 3 switches in the 4-way configuration causing issues when turned off/on.

Is it possible for a circuit to impact another circuit without arcing somewhere (in the wall or at the breaker box)?

Any help or advice is appreciated. Has anyone else had issues like this with LEDs/CFLs and digital dimmers?

Thanks. Brad

  • 1
    I doubt that you have something mis-wired. Does the light you're turning on have a large bulb, or otherwise use a lot of power? – Daniel Nov 12 '15 at 1:40
  • No. Each ceiling fixture has 3 GU24 CFL 13 watt bulbs. Each fixture has 39 watts or a total of 78 watts in the 2 fixtures. – BradB Nov 12 '15 at 22:14
  • I would replace the switch. – Daniel Nov 12 '15 at 23:43
  • And while you're at it, buy some LEDs to replace those horrid CFLs – Daniel Nov 12 '15 at 23:43
  • I will replace those CFLs one day. The fixture requires them unfortunately. And I bought the fixture less than a year ago. I still don't understand how those switches work fine and don't effect the circuit they are on, but will cause lights to blink on another circuit. – BradB Nov 13 '15 at 2:24
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LED bulbs are extremely susceptible to voltage spikes. Mine flicker whenever I adjust incandescent dimmers on the same circuit. Welcome to the new world of energy efficiency.

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