cutler hammer 200 amp breaker

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From the meter to the top of the 200amp disconnect at the pole I have 240 v...in the home at the top of the main breaker I get 240v...only w/ the breaker off...when I turn the breaker on for the whole home, I get 120 across the main in the home panel box.
What.s the problem, the main breaker at the panel box? why? The fridge light is very dim, the a/c t'stat is not on at all, but it seems most of the house lights are ok...is only one side of the panel box good?
thanks for any 'light' you can share.
Mike
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On 7/16/2011 4:10 PM, MikeL wrote:

I'm not really sure what you're testing. The problem appears to be one dead leg, but I can't tell from your description, where that might be. If you have a 200 amp disconnect on a pole, and another main disconnect in the house, I would check the line side of the pole disconnect, for 240 volts, then the load side of the pole disconnect, then the line side of the house disconnect, then the load side of the house disconnect. In the mean time, turn off everything in the house that operates on 240 volts, so you don't burn anything out
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On 7/16/2011 4:55 PM, RBM wrote:

In fact, kill all motors. Obviously your fridge is operating through a backfeed, which is why it's dim. If you leave it on, it'll fry the compressor.
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As RBM said, cut most everything off. You are in danger of burning up the electrical devices in the house. Check across the breakers. That is with them on, go from the top of one to the bottom of the same leg. You should not have any voltage, well maybe a volt or two. If you get something like 50 or 120 volts, that is the bad breaker.
If you cut off the breaker at the meter, then you can set the meter up for ohms for the one at the house. Make sure there is no volotage on the house breaker with it on, then check across it to see if you have near zero ohms and not a very high (say over 10) ohms. It should be almost zero,but some meters and leads will show a small ammout of resistance depending on how hard you press the meter probes into the wiring.
It does sound like one leg is open and not the neutral this time.
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MikeL wrote:

Betcha it's the light company's problem. You've either dropped a leg or the neutral.
Call up your power provider. They'll be right out and fix it, or, unlikely, tell you where YOUR problem might be.
While waiting for the light company to appear, turn off everything with a motor (fridge, A/C, etc.).
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On 7/16/2011 6:42 PM, HeyBub wrote:

Every time someone gives this kind of reply, it amazes me. In my neck of the woods, NYC and it's environs, the two major electric companies, ConEd and NYSEG, won't give you the time of day until you hire an electrician to verify that the problem is on their end. "They'll be right out and fix it" ROFL

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Thanks guys for your input, it is very helpful.. I did call the power company and they did call back and say they do not show a drop of voltage from the meter....the power from the meter to the top and bottom of the 200 amp at the pole is 240v....in the house, at the breaker is 240v until you turn the breaker on in the panel box, and then it becomes 120 across the terminals of the power coming in from outside. I was thinking it might be the main breaker in the panel box in the house? Thanks again!
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On 7/16/2011 10:28 PM, MikeL wrote:

If you're taking a reading of the voltage on the line side of the house main breaker, and it's 240 volt with the main off, then 120 with the main on, the problem isn't the main breaker. If the line from the pole to the house is underground, your symptoms would indicate a leg that's broken underground. You can get the 240 volt reading through moisture in the ground, at the point of the break, but as soon as you put a load on it, by turning on the house main breaker, you'll lose it.
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RBM wrote:

There could also be a cooked connection somewhere before the pole mounted service disconnect breaker that is a high resistance and reading 240V unloaded but dropping under load.
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On 7/16/2011 11:17 PM, Pete C. wrote:

According to the utility company, they're not loosing voltage at the meter
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RBM wrote:

Perhaps I'm missing a post, but I don't see any mention of the utility checking anything. I see reference to the OP checking at the input side of the service disconnect breaker at the pole, but it's not clear if the house breaker was on or off at the time.
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On 7/17/2011 12:14 AM, Pete C. wrote:

He doesn't make the steps of his testing very clear. Here is what he said about the power company.
" Thanks guys for your input, it is very helpful.. I did call the power company and they did call back and say they do not show a drop of voltage from the meter.."
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but did they actually come out and make a measuerement, or are they just BSing you????
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RBM wrote:

Sounds like remote monitoring from an electronic meter. If there was not log of voltage drops then the problem would be past the meter, but if it was a one time check that was done while the OP had the house or pole breaker off if could be invalid.
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Thanks again for the continued suggestions...what I found today is at the main breaker 'coming in side', main breaker off, 210v. Turn breaker on, all breakers in panel in OFF position, Other side of Main breaker (at bus bar),220v. Turn 1st breaker on, on right 30amp double pole, = 210v...Turn on another breaker further up= no power..... So in essence, no power when main is turned on...I don't understand the less voltage on the other side of main w/ none of the breakers on....it would appear the main breaker is not doing what its suppose to do. thanks again!
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meant to say, 'more' voltage on the bus bar then on the coming in side of the main, with no breakers in the panel on.
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I agree with trader. It's not real clear what exactly your test scenario is.
One thing you need to be aware of is that modern hi impedance meters these days will show "crosstalk" voltages on dead lines. The only good test is with a load. So measuring things with it all off can be misleading.
If you have a regular resistive load like a conventional (not electronic controls) 240v stove you can test with it turned on. Turn everything off except the main and the double breaker to the stove. Turn a burner on at the stove. Put your meter on ac and make the following measurements.
Across the incoming leads to the top of your main breaker. Should be 240v. From each incoming lead to the main breaker and the neutral bus bar. Both measurements should be 120v. Across the output lugs on the stove breaker. SHould be 240v. From each output lug on the stove breaker and the nuetral bus bar. Both measurements should be 120v.
Your power company is not likely to be able to actually check the voltage at your incoming lines remotely. It's more likely that they have monitoring at the substation or neighborhood transformer. So you can't really trust them.
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Ok, final outcome on this post. Main line from pole to house was 'nicked'(under ground)...Replaced line....all is well!
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A suggestion. You need to be more clear on exactly what you are measuring. The above is self-contradictory. First you say there is 210V at the 30 amp double pole breaker. Then you say you turn on another breaker and conclude there is no power when the main is turned on? Yet clearly there was power with only the 30amp turned on, no? Based on what you described, the conclusion I would have reached was there was power with only the 30 amp breaker turned on, but then no power when you closed on more breaker. Which would not seem to make sense.
It would help if you could make it absolutely clear where the two meter leads are connected . And also if there is at least some load on the breakers that you are closing.
..

Neither do I

I can't conceive of a breaker failure that would result in that behavior.
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