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At the risk of starting a major war, as electrical questions often do, curiosity demands that I turn to the experts.

First, the background: I recently installed a new laser printer/copier in my office at work, and it had a tendency to make the lights flicker when it kicked on, and about once per minute in standby mode. None of our other laser printers or copiers do that. A little research revealed that this was because this particular machine employs a different method of keeping the fuser hot, which tends to create a spike in power demand.

On a hunch, I plugged the machine into one of the surge protected outlets (not battery-backed-up) of my UPS, and the problem ceased. I can hear the UPS trip periodically, but no more effect on the lights.

Now the question, and how all this relates to woodworking:

My Ridgid TS3660 table saw, wired for 110, causes the house lights to blink a bit when I turn it on, and this seems to irritate SWMBO. Would going through a surge protector help, and would this have any negative effect on my saw? I know the primary purpose of a surge protector is to keep surges from getting to your equipment. But my experience at the office suggests they also limit surges from your equipment. Is that so?

Electricity is a mystery to me, so I'm looking forward to your comments.
 

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no it will not - but that's a great excuse to use why you NEED to setup shop and upgrade electricity ;)

the problem with the copier is indeed surges, or busts, but with the table saw it's peak amp request from the motor. if any - it'll trip off your surge protector but will not fix the dimming lights. well, I guess if it'll trip off the surge protector everytime you'll turn your saw on - it WILL help with the dimming lights problem, but I don't think your saw will cut too well with the blade not turning.

Another option is to move your saw to your office- since everyone there is already used to the dimming lights ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
LOL!

An electrical upgrade is definitely in the future anyway. I'm just not sure exactly how far in the future. Our house is about 35 years old, and the swimming pool, with all its related equipment were added later, so the panel is pretty well maxed out in its current (no pun intended) configuration.

The best thing in my favor is that Lynda knows she can't have a hot tub without the upgrade. :)
 

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When a motor starts, it briefly draws considerably more amps than when it is running. This is the reason people run higher HP motors on 220, as the required amps is cut in half. When you start your table saw, you hear it change in pitch briefly. That first sound is when it basically wants more amps than is available. If you have enough amps, you start right up with that steady sound. The easiest way to get more amps is to double the voltage.
 

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You should ask your power company to put a recording devise on your meter.

You may be getting low voltage from your transformer.

I had a dimming problem at our lake home, & burned out two saws.

The power co. put a recorder on my line, & they ended up changing my transformer.

No charge to me, & no more dimming problems.
 

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Charlie, If you can go to 220 on the saw it may stop it and may not. How do you have UPS without a battery back up?
 

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Charlie, My first question would be, is your table saw on the same circuit as your lights? A solution might be to run a seperate circuit for your saw. A surge protector for your saw probably would not help. A whole house surge protector wired into your electrical panel is always a good idea.
 

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It sounds like you have to many things plugged into that line for the size of breaker you have in the box. You might see if you can put a little bit larger one in there. If not unplug a couple of the other things on the curcuit, even the are turned on they still draw power. There is a item that you can get that you plug in between the item and the power outlet to test how much power it is drawing when it is not being used. Then you can see which one is drawing to most and then unplug it when not using it. I personally unpulg all my tools at the end of the day, and flip the breaker for my 220 also.
 

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You could try balancing the loads in your breaker box.
Make sure you are pulling off both sides of the circuits evenly.

You may have all of your heavy loads on one side.
Every other 120 v. breaker is on the same pole.

Switching your table saw to 220 v. should help.

What size is your service ran at? 60 amp? 100 amp? 200 amp?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
WoodSparky; The momentary dimming occurs on lights that are not on the same circuit.

Tim: I know that things like TV's and computers draw power even when they are turned off, but I didn't think that was the case for power tools, and that's all that is plugged in to the same circuit. Correct me if I'm wrong on that.

John: I'm pretty sure I have 200 amp service since my house is 2,500 sq. ft. living area and has two central air units. I must confess, though, I've never looked in the main panel that closely, since there is a subpanel inside with all the 20 amp breakers for the house lights and outlets.
 

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I still think you should have your incoming line voltage monitored.
 

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The power company should cooperate if you ask.

They could have too many customers on one transformer.

They want their customers to be happy.
 
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