Circuit breaker keeps tripping

Page 8 of 9  
In typed:

I just wanted to mention that the symptoms that you originally described are no longer present, apparently as a result of you following the above steps. But, as you indicated, that doesn't explain why the problem occurred in the first place.
So, at this point, we don't really know what caused the original problem and symptoms.
I had similar situation and set of symptoms once with the electrical panel in a tenant occupied single family home. The complaint was that one of the breakers would trip every once in a while and that the tenant would reset the breaker and everything would be okay. Then, the current problem became that she sometimes had problems getting the breaker to reset and finally she was unable to get the breaker to reset at all. She also mentioned smelling a faint odor of something burning near the panel (which I know was not one of your symptoms).
I went there and, like you, I wasn't able to reset the breaker. I could switch it to "off", but on reset, it would just trip again. And, like you, I noticed a slight spark on one of my reset attempts. When I turned the main breaker off, I could reset the problem breaker, and when I turned the main power back on the problem breaker stayed on and everything worked. But, I wasn't convinced that the problem was resolved even though the breaker did reset and didn't trip.
So, I turned off the main power and I removed the breaker. That's when I saw that the center terminal to which the breaker attaches was melted.
Apparently, there was some type of loose contact between the breaker and the center terminal and it must have been causing some type of arcing that heated up the terminal to the point that it melted.
What I did then was take that breaker completely out. I bought a new breaker for that circuit but I moved the new breaker to a different position in the panel box where it would connect to a perfectly good center terminal. I put a snap-in cover plate in the space on the panel cover where the original breaker had been located (I forget what they are called) to cover the hole that was created by removing the original breaker.
That completely solved the problem and there has been no problem since then.
So, even though the symptoms that you experienced are now gone, you may want to try unsnapping that breaker and one or two nearby and look to see what the terminals underneath look like. Of course, turn the power off first and be sure to use all of the necessary precautions regarding any part of the panel that may still be live even with the main circuit breaker off.
Maybe your problem is now fixed, or maybe you will see evidence of arcing and burning where the breaker contacts the center terminal.
It is worth a look just in case.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:12:22 -0500, TomR wrote:

Wow. Just wow.
It's guys like you and a few of the rest who put to shame those guys who told me 'go get an electrician, you idiot!'.
This is *fantastic* real-world advice!
Thank you very much. I will report back if I find something (gotta run right now though)...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In typed:

By coincidence, today I happened to be at the property that I was referring to in the above scenario about the burned and melted terminals inside the panel that I discovered when one of the breakers could not be reset. I was there today to install an over-the-range microwave with a new dedicated circuit. So, I had an opportunity to open up the panel and I took a couple of photos.
The links below are photos showing some of the burned terminals that I found in the past: http://tinypic.com/r/72ypau/9
http://tinypic.com/r/2hp6jjq/9
The second one shows a red wire nut on the right where I spliced in a wire to move that circuit down to a new location on a new breaker further down in the panel.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In typed:

Sorry, the tinypic.com links do not seem to be working. I'll try again later tonight or in the next day or so. I have a hunch that it is the tinypic.com website that is having the problem, so if anyone knows of a better, or easier, and free photo upload site please let me know.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That was a fairly common failure mode on the old CH panels. That is an old Cutler Hammer, right??

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
typed:

Good call! I think you are correct about that. The panel says "Challenger" and the old circuit breakers in the panel say "Challenger" on them. But, when I went to an electrical supply place to buy new circuit breakers they said they are Cutler Hammer breakers and that's what I bought and used to replace the old bad breakers.
I didn't know that this panel was known for that problem.
I also just discovered that when I right-click on each of the photos that I posted, it shows an option for me to make the image larger. Then, on the larger image, I can left-click on the image and it gets even large. When I do that, I can read the print on the circuit breakers and also see the burned and melted parts more clearly.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/21/2016 4:12 PM, TomR wrote:

Good catch. and thanks for reminding us that some times the contact between the breaker and the bar corrodes.
I saw some thing similar in a house, where the double 100 breaker brings the power in was corroded.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 21 Jan 2016 17:00:40 -0500, Stormin Mormon wrote:

I'm gonna replace the 15 amp breaker, no matter what. Not worth worrying about it *not* tripping when it needs to trip.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 21 Jan 2016 23:39:31 -0000 (UTC), "E. Robinson"

Excellent call!! You have a few extra "slots" available if the buss is burned.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/21/2016 6:39 PM, E. Robinson wrote:

I've learned to have the old one in hand while going to the hardware store. "I'd like one of these" is a good approach. BTW, if they are not too expensive, buy two and put the spare in the panel for next time.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload


Things like that are not in most books. It is a good idea to tighten all the screws while the panel is off also. I remember stories of the aluminum house wiring that would hapen to and could cause a fire.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 21 Jan 2016 17:28:15 -0500, Ralph Mowery wrote:

The wires are copper but the huge feeds are aluminum.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Most homes are fed with large aluminum wire and that does not seem to be a problem. The problems seem to be the smaller # 12 and # 14 wire to the lights and recepticals.
Sometimes the range will be wired with aluminum wire. The reason is that aluminum wire is less expensive than copper, or was at the time. To use aluminum instead of copper you have to go up a couple of sizes larger as it is less conductive.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 21 Jan 2016 23:40:02 -0000 (UTC), "E. Robinson"

Can't remember if you said before, but what brand is the panel?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't recall what the brand was.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/21/2016 6:40 PM, E. Robinson wrote:

That's perfectly fine.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't think he can do that.
He has empty spots where a new breaker could be placed, but it clearly says "Do not remove this twistout". I think he's stuck.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 22 Jan 2016 08:28:00 -0500, Micky wrote:

I noticed the same thing. It seems to be full.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Friday, January 22, 2016 at 9:25:47 AM UTC-5, E. Robinson wrote:

I'm not looking up thread, so I may be missing some details. I am only responding to this post...
If I saw a panel cover with a marking that said ""Do not remove this twistout" I would want to know why. I would pull the cover and look at area behind the twistout to see if I could determined why it was labeled that way. I would not assume the panel was full.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Friday, January 22, 2016 at 8:45:37 AM UTC-6, DerbyDad03 wrote:

...I would also check. But I think that's a precautionary label...OSHA has you put in covers/escutcheons if you have any openings from removed breakers.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.