Buzzing, Blowing Breaker

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wrote:

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kicking contest, but have never heard of such.
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wrote:

Zinsco has spring clips similar to "real" circuit breakers
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On Tue, 22 Feb 2011 16:30:51 -0600, Michael Dobony wrote:

Well, it tripped tonight. I reset it and it is still on. Will check in the morning to see if it stayed on all night. As far as we can determine only the one set of outdoor security lights are on that circuit. Nothing else seems to be off when it trips. It has a new light sensor on it, so probably not the culprit. Only 5 bulbs on the run.
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On 02/22/2011 11:33 PM, Michael Dobony wrote:

Do you have an ammeter?
nate
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replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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On Wed, 23 Feb 2011 06:00:58 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:

I have a clamp-on ampmeter
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On Wed, 23 Feb 2011 06:00:58 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:

With the lights off it is pulling 12 amps. 5 lights at 100 watts each (I think there are 75's in all the sockets) that is only a little over 4 watts. That gives me 4 amps excess capacity. I have no idea what is pulling those 12 amps.
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On Wed, 23 Feb 2011 13:42:53 -0600, Michael Dobony

Leave the breaker off for a few days. You will find out what the 12 amps are going to.
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no, 5 lights @ 100W is 500W divided by 120V is 4.2A so if with the lights off you are already pulling 12A that puts you over 15A (or is this a 20A breaker? I forget.) You ought to be able to neglect photocell switches etc. as they draw next to no current. Something is putting a load on that circuit. leave the breaker off; time to start checking to see what doesn't work... I dunno how accurate a clamp meter is anyway, I have no experience with them. But if the lights are the only thing on the ckt. and you're drawing noticeable current w/ lights off... summat ain't right.
If nothing else, if it is some kind of fault (partially shorted photocell switch or something) that is causing the 12A draw, you want to fix it so you're not paying for wasted electricity...
What happens if you pull the photocell and disconnect the wires there? Still have draw?
nate
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If that is the case you need to open up the circuit at the points you know about and make similar measurements at those places... Your circuit has additional load on it and you must figure out what it is...
Can you trace any exposed wiring to see if there is a junction box where it is tapped ?
~~ Evan
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Michael Dobony wrote:

My money's on a neighbor.
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HeyBub wrote:

12A is a *lot*, 1,440W and likely about $0.17/hr or better than $120/mo if it's a continuous load. Certainly a load that large shouldn't be difficult to track down.
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On Wed, 23 Feb 2011 19:55:26 -0600, Pete C. wrote:

You would be surprised. It is totally impossible to get to all the outlets in one room. Will run a trace on it tomorrow.
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Well, something dissipating 1440 watts should be geting hot. An electric iron only draws about 12 amps/1440 watts, so image something getting that hot somewhere in your walls??? To check your meter, puit it on a circuit with no load, then turn on some known light loads on that circuit, and see if the meter agrees. Once you are sure of the meter, then you have to try to find the closest point on the line in question and open it.
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On Thu, 24 Feb 2011 07:53:13 -0500, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Nobody complained when the breaker was off before. Why would that be any different this time?
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you need to know what that breaker is powering. perhaps a hot water recirculating pump or point of use water heater
if you have lived there for awhile without a problem whatever that breaker is powering has a problem and might be a fire hazard.
i would rig a work around on stuff your using till i find out what the mystery load is........
it might be a fire hazard and in any case is running up your electric bill
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You have gotten some excellent advice on how to diagnose this issue... Normally operating breakers shouldn't buzz...
The larger issue here is your "extreeeeeeeeeeemly old style breaker" and this issue might just be the tip of the iceberg... Circuit breakers and the panels they are installed in don't last forever, this might be the first early warning that you should consider planning to replace your entire electrical panel with a new one in the next couple of years...
Good luck...
~~ Evan
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On 2/21/2011 11:47 AM, Michael Dobony wrote:

My breaker or panel in the garage buzzes when I turn on the fluorescent lights. Twelve 2 bulb 32 watt fixtures on three switches. For each row of lights I turn on, the buzzing gets a little louder. Although at it's loudest, it's not that easy to hear but once I noticed it, I hear it. My breaker doesn't trip.
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Good morning all:
Just a thought......depending on where you live.........mabey a heat tape on a water pipe somewhere? check for EXTERIOR heaters roof, pipes, the line running to you engine block heater... While I live in sunny southeren Calif, I ran into something similar at a family members house in Canada years back. The breaker would only blow overnight when the temp got gawd-awful low.
I could be wrong, I have lots of practice at being wrong.
Herb Harrison

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On Mon, 21 Feb 2011 10:47:15 -0600, Michael Dobony

A Buzzed breaker is a Drunk breaker. Buzzed driving *IS* DRUNK DRIVING.
Do not let this breaker drive !!!! It can and likely will get arrested,
Of course, it sounds like it 'Needs' A-REST
Now, lets begin the procedure to determine the problem at hand. Your breaker is trying to tell you something is bothering it. Are you listening? The poor thing is in pain. Please be patient and treat it with love and tenderness. Otherwise it could commit suicide.
Gently and safely remove the breaker from the panel, and take off the wire. Place the breaker in a soft padded box, and wrap it well in soft linen or silk, so it's not injured during transport. Quickly take it to a breaker psychiatrist, and have it analyzed. It's crying out for help, so please have a full examination performed, regardless of cost. Remember, this breaker is your friend, and is there to protect you. You owe your life to it. The psychiatrist will determine why it's hurting, and may prescribe medication or therapy. Do whatever the doctor advises, and allow time for your breaker to heal and recover.
During it's recovery period, which may take considerable time, you may want to buy or rent another breaker to help you out and keep you safe during this time of sadness and sorrow. It's ok to love the new breaker too, but dont let you old breaker down. Love it like you always have, and spend a lot of time with it. Take it on a vacation, buy it good meals, and it would be advisable to sleep with it so it knows it loved. If the psychiatrist determines that it's condition is critical, and it may be old and dying, please make it's last days warm and cozy. It may leave you soon, so be sure to enjoy your last days together. If you are unable to provide this love, there are special breaker nursing homes that will assist elderly breakers that buzz, and will make their last days comfortable while providing their needs.
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