220V dryer sparked on startup (3 wire) What to test?

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On 11/19/2013 5:27 PM, Danny D'Amico wrote:

Yes, some kind electricians leave a spare or two.
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On Tue, 19 Nov 2013 17:48:42 -0500, Stormin Mormon wrote:

What's weird, is that there are very few breakers on this, the main circuit panel. Most of the breakers appear to be for the Generac and not for the house (which HUGE black wires coming out of them).
Notice in this picture of the whole setup:
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3728/10952426693_f19ac69976_o.gif
There are three breakers with HUGE wires (for the generac-switched power, I think).
There are only four "normal" sized breakers, half of which are 220:
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5484/10951784553_afa8b636fc_o.gif
But, of those four normal breakers, only the top one of the two 220's on the left appear to be hooked up:
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3696/10951545765_ec38f77b97_o.gif
And, only one of the 120s on the right, seems to be hooked up:
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5522/10951546945_ff8bf91e4a_o.gif
Can it be normal that there are only two normal-sized breakers for the whole panel?
Note: There are two other panels *inside* the house; but this is the main panel where the power comes inside the house to start with.
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Not really. The meter-main is being used as a "distribution" panel while the sub-panels are being used as "load centers". It is much easier, while it is raining, to check a breaker inside than have to go outside and mess with things while it is storming. It is a modern convenience. Some places in your area still might have the method of having everything in the external panel.
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On Tuesday, November 19, 2013 6:06:28 PM UTC-5, Danny D'Amico wrote:

So the power comes in to this panel and then the other two panels have most of the breakers for the house. This panel has just a few breakers for a few circuits.
It's not the typical settup. But as long as it's done correctly, I don't see why it violates anything.
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It is more typical than you might think, nowadays. Some locales might be so old that you will not see this, but on most new construction over the past 20-30 years, this is quite common. The meter-main will supply to sub-panel(s) that will branch out closer to the area that is supplied. This is even more prevalent in multi-level housing. Usually a standard installation for an average house will have the meter-main, with only a circuit breaker, and a sub-panel located inside the house, usually a closet. Of course, the code requirements are soon broken since nothing is supposed to be in front of these sub-panels, but in a residential setting such things are overlooked.
Often times, as in Danny's case, and with 200 amp services, in general, the meter-main acts as both a distribution panel, and a load center for external devices. Some contractors like to keep all of the exterior outlets at the meter-main panel board, plus anything else that is outside of the residence. Detached garage, out building, gazebo lighting, garden/walkway lighting, miscellaneous outlets popped up around the yard, and sometimes irrigation. Though, usually this is kept in the garage, but still might be fed from the meter-main panel board.
My place is well over 40 years old and only has the meter and associated main breaker outside, with a sub-panel inside.
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On Wed, 20 Nov 2013 11:24:40 -0600, Nightcrawler® wrote:

Funny you should mention that, because I couldn't make out what the wording was in pencil for the one 120V baby braker, but, it might very well be trying to say exterior lighting in some way. Here's a picture of the pencil annotations.
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3743/10966916326_6b2517b616_o.gif
The one I can't make out is the bottom right 120V 15A circuit breaker:
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D> On Wed, 20 Nov 2013 11:24:40 -0600, Nightcrawler® wrote:

SPARE POND/D?N????
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On Wed, 20 Nov 2013 15:38:24 -0500, Dan Espen wrote:

Hmmm....
The top 20A 120V circuit is not connected, but, the bottom 120V 15A circuit, if it says "Pond", might then be for the external water feature, which, if you wanted to, you *could* call it a "pond" as it has a collection area for the pumps to pump from.
But, the pumps for that water feature, I thought, are 220V, and not 120V. I'll need to check them again with this cryptoanalysis in hand.
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Beats me. Turn it off and see what turns off or will not turn on, then turn it back on and observe for the same/inverse.
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On Mon, 18 Nov 2013 10:40:18 -0600, Nightcrawler® wrote:

I've never noticed one ...
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It may not project very far above ground level (or at all).
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On Mon, 18 Nov 2013 14:30:50 -0800, Oren wrote:

There is no cable where I live. There aren't enough people to make it worth running the cable here, I guess. The only wires we get from utilities are telephone and electricity. We all have to make our own water and find a place to put it when we're done. Plus we all have to figure out how to heat our homes and hot water heaters (most are on propane, but some are on wood).
But, there is a phone "demarcation" box (I had to look up "demark") inside the garage (in the center of my picture). There's also a hole in the garage wall, so, I'll stick a flashlight there and look.
If I find a rod going into the ground, I'll snap a photo of it.
I still am confused as to WHERE exactly the ground goes into the ground versus where the neutral goes into the ground.
I know some say they *both* go into the ground at the house, but, I really would like to see that, physically, in my panel to make sure that it is truly the case.
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On Monday, November 18, 2013 11:24:56 PM UTC-5, Danny D'Amico wrote:

Sigh... It's been explained many times that the neutral and ground don't both go into the ground. You even took a pic of the 3 insulated service conductors where they enter your house. It was pointed out to you that the smaller one is the neutral. It runs back to the power transformer.
The neutral is connected together with an earth ground at your panel and at the transformer. Or as Doug says, at least they should be.....
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On 11/19/2013 08:15 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

If this is an older house there may not be a ground rod only a heavy bare copper wire connecting the ground/neutral bus of the panel to the water service entrance.
Any gas piping should also be bonded to ground, but that better not be the *only* connection...
nate
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On Tue, 19 Nov 2013 08:33:55 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:

The gas pipe does have this painted wire connected to it:
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5522/10951712884_3e0cdc1059_o.gif
That wire heads in the direction of the breaker panel.
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On Tue, 19 Nov 2013 16:08:36 -0800, Oren wrote:

Well, knowing that the Huckleberries were in season, if I only knew where to look for them ... I stuck my big fat head back into the hole in the garage wall to snap this picture for you:
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3706/10953465065_b0e21a1bce_o.gif
The steel pipe in the middle appears to be the incoming water. The plastic conduit to the left and right appear to hold the electrical wires as they come out of the main breaker box (which is just above them, but on the outside of the house).l
However, the other side of that water pipe, around ground level, had an old enclosure on it, which, when removed, revealed *this*:
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5533/10953698743_c7b082d70e_o.gif
So, you *were* right. Now what I don't get is how did you know the huckleberries were in season, but hidden under the enclosure that I removed, which was right on the other side of the rectangular hole in the garage wall?
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On Mon, 18 Nov 2013 10:40:18 -0600, Nightcrawler® wrote:

It turns out that I *am* the only customer on the feed.
The power shoots off from the distribution at the road, and it feeds only me.
So, I have a dedicated transformer (lucky me) that they always come onto my property to clean up around.
How does that change anything for me? Is it good? Bad?
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On Mon, 18 Nov 2013 10:40:18 -0600, Nightcrawler® wrote:

You seem to understand this muuuuch better than I do.
Can you give me any insight as to how these two boxes work:
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3816/10933073015_e0c5ff74c3_o.gif
(they're for the generator which kicks on automatically whenever the power it out).
The generator doesn't run the whole house, but most of it. But, why the two huge boxes?
Note: the main breakers are on the other side of this wall.
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They are what they state on the cover. Not knowing how your house is wired, I can only speculate. Do you have more than one sub-panel? Meaning more than one enclosure in your house that has circuit breakers?
Essentially your back-up generator has a circuit that monitors utility voltage. It appears that you have at least two 2-pole circuit breakers leaving your meter-main enclosure via the same raceway. How things turn out after this, I cannot say. I would suspect that at least one of these circuits goes to one of the transfer switches,I can only speculate.
What happens is that when the power goes out the monitoring circuit of the generator will activate the transfer switch. How the logic of this function is carried out is still speculation. Some simple circuits just use a relay powered by the utility, and when the utility fails it closes contacts that activate the transfer switch and starts the generator. When the transfer switch activates the lines to your sub-panels are cut off from the meter- main and the output of the generator is isolated from back feeding the utility.
Since you have two transfer switches you might have two sub-panels, or one transfer switch cuts off the meter-main while the other transfer switch engages what are considered essential loads in your house. I cannot say with what information I have. There are interlocks that will prevent an accidental back feed of the utility and when the utility comes back on the transfer switches will cut-off the generator output, re-engage utility, then turn off the generator instantly or after a specified time period to maintain rapid switching capability in case the utility just cuts in and cuts back out again.
Once again, not knowing the control logic of your system or the power distribution of your system only allows me to speculate. It looks like you have a good set up, though.
What part of the Santa Cruz Mountains do you live in? I grew up in the San Lorenzo Valley and I used to live on the Santa Cruz side of Los Gatos. A few miles south of Summit Road. Its a fun drive to take Summit to Skyline, and then up to 92. Hang a left and hit 1 then head North.
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On Tue, 19 Nov 2013 00:02:10 -0600, Nightcrawler® wrote:

Yup. There are three, actually five, no, seven, if I count the wells and pool equipment.
But, inside the house, there are only three (counting the main panel).
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