That's where you have to do your homework. I made sure the panel I
purchased would fit. A few applications of the greenley punch - I
didn't have to move a single wire - and all the wires were long enough
to reach, after sorting out what went where.
If I had let the electrician supply the panel he usually uses there
would have been a few junction boxes involved - and that I did NOT
Or install a "stretcher box" - a surface mounted junction box to
splice the wires. Nasty - but it works, passes code, and is not
This is where I differ. I say fix it while it is fixable - and on your
schedule. Letting the panel decide when it has to be replaced never
works out in your favour.
On 12/3/2015 8:10 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Of course it's do-able. The question is one of where that sits on the
list of things that *must* get done and *should* get done.
The decorative lintels over the garage and all windows will need to
be replaced. Cracks in the stucco need to be patched. Both of these
before I can paint the house.
We'll need to give some serious consideration to replacing the roof
in the next year or two.
SWMBO wants to replace some more windows in the front of the house.
I want to install a french drain along the back side of the house
to harvest rainwater -- and a large cistern to store it.
We've yet to select the water softener.
And, I still have a lot of automation to design and install.
Replacing an electric panel that isn't causing any problems
sure seems like ASKING for work!
We've seen one panel "fail" in the neighborhood -- due to corrosion
on the feed. Every other panel-related activity has been "elective"
or mandated by tariff changes from the utility. All the homes
were built within a year or two of each other so all "suffer"
the same sort of wear. If there was a pending problem, it;s
likely we'd be seeing some signs of it *somewhere* in the
[I walk the entire neighborhood -- 3.8 mile loop -- daily. So,
interact with folks in enough different areas to have a pretty
good feel for what sorts of problems people are having. I can
tell you who's had plumbing problems, who's had their furnaces
replaced, who's had problem with their PV arrays, who's water
meters have failed, who's had pipes freeze, etc. While some
folks are interested in the salacious trivia, I'm more concerned
with things that are likely to cause me problems down the road;
things I can anticipate before they force me to act! :> ]
On 12/3/2015 2:40 PM, email@example.com wrote:
"Stupid" may be a bit harsh. But, if you're not doing this sort of
thing on a daily basis, it's easy to get focused on WHAT you are
trying to do and forget HOW you should be doing it!!
When I was in school, I had to make some wiring changes to a
friend's vehicle. Had soldering station sitting out on his
vehicle (hood or trunk, I can't recall).
Realized the tip I was using was too small to convey enough heat to
the work. Not keen on waiting for it to cool off...
Didn't have a rag handy to grasp it...
So, lifted my leg to use the fabric of my jeans (down by my ankle)
to grab the tip and unscrew it. Then, holding the tip in my
pant leg, lifted my ankle even higher to drop the (hot!) tip
on the bumper. Set my leg back down -- tickled that I'd managed
to do this without falling over -- and promptly picked up the tip
with my right hand to place it in my *pocket*!
Of course, it never made it *to* my pocket. The sound of searing flesh
My buddy just looked at me and said, "I can't believe -- after that
elaborate *dance* that you just did (to avoid touching the hot
tip) -- that you just grabbed that!"
<shrug> Too preoccupied with trying NOT to fall over that I'd
forgotten WHY this had been necessary! :<
On Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 3:31:45 PM UTC-5, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
breakers are designed to get more sensitive as they age. to prevent fires..
I spent at least 15 years repairing machines in the westinghouse vanport in beaver pa breaker plant. aa truly fascinatining place
On 12/2/2015 1:15 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Did you miss the point where I said I replaced the breaker?
TWO bad breakers? But the other three located within inches
in the panel are all OK? Swap one of those in for the
bad circuit (wanna bet that would be a wasted effort??)
On 12/2/2015 6:36 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
The same amount that has been out there and on the spool for the
last ~decade. I can swap to another spool. I can unwind it all.
But, none of those seem like reliable alternatives (do I then
start considering trimming the length of the cord, etc.?)
Well, that's sort of obvious! :> The trick is figuring it out
before trying the last possible option!
Bolt on or snap on? I've seen a lot of issues lately on the old CH
panels - (I'm talking from the '70s) - failing breakers and no direct
replacements - so guys put in the new ones and butcher the panel cover
to make them fit.
On 12/3/2015 2:36 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Meter center has KWHr meter and mains input on left side
(power feeds from below grade). Right side is just a
Two bus bars run the length (height) of the panel, interleaving
the two "hot legs" (i.e., a double wide breaker ends up straddling
Bus bars have large "tongues" that protrude at right angles above
the bars. Underside of breakers have a tight slot that grabs onto
this tongue. (other "end" of breaker has a lip that clips over
a metal/grounded mechanical support).
So, lift side of breaker that adheres to the tongue, pivoting on
the other side that is clipped behind that metal lip. Breaker
is then free to be removed -- save for any conductors that
are tied to it (e.g., neutral pigtail, neutral load and hot
load for GFCI; hot load for regular breaker)
Panel is at least 35 years old (so, I've been chasing down
NOS spares before they become unobtanium). But, everything is
The GFCI's were purchased "new" many years ago. Note that
there are 5 in the panel; three of which see everyday use
(kitchen countertops plus bathrooms) and have never complained
(despite large loads -- toaster oven, electric frying pan,
hair dryers, etc.).
Fourth GFCI has just been "stored" in the panel. It was the
candidate that I exploited to replace the GFCI for this
outlet branch circuit.
I.e., too many coincidences wouold have to occur for me
to conclude it was a GFCI (*breaker*) problem.
<shrug> I'll look at it this weekend. I've got some candy
that I've got to make, today (while SWMBO is "away")
On 12/1/2015 7:46 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Appears not to. OTOH, it won't trip with smaller loads.
The problem is, I can't tell if it is tripping from a momentary
"over current" condition *or* a "leak". The fact that the
circuit *holds* on the second attempt suggests it is related to
the turn on transient (all those ice cold filaments now having
had a chance to warm up -- even only momentarily -- to higher
Note that the other GFCI breakers have operated flawlessly for
exactly the same length of time -- with more frequent usage
(the outdoor circuit is rarely used) located in the same
(outdoor) electrical panel. That, coupled with swapping breakers
suggests the problem isn't in the breaker (or panel).
I'll try moving the load to a different receptacle and isolating this
portion of the branch circuit. That will require a "longer" extension
cord (actually, the current cord is long enough; I'll just have to
unwind it from its "storage spool") so I will first verify the
"bad" outlet fails with that lengthened cord before trying the
lengthened cord in an upstream outlet.
Try just unwinding it from the spool and trying it again. You may just
be coupling current into the grounding conductor.
Because of that, they do have specs for different wiring methods and
the total length of the circuit.
On 12/1/2015 8:55 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Again, nothing changes on the spool between the first breaker closure
(that trips) and the second (that holds).
Same extension cord used in previous years. Tree is in the same location
that it was -- as is the electrical outlet (i.e., so, no more or less
cord on the reel than in past years). Same strings of lights (though far
FEWER of them). Same ambient temperatures. etc.
I'll have to play with it some more to get a better characterization
of how it behaves (different size loads, different TYPES of loads, how
long the circuit needs to "rest" before the problem will reproduce, etc.)
Since you are swapping stuff around, try it on a non-GFI circuit. That
will tell you if it is a ground fault.
Usually this tracks back to water/bugs in a box.
I have one nightmare GFI circuit here that is longer than the design
spec for GFIs but it works when everything is dry. When it fails, I
end up splitting the circuit up to isolate the failure. Bear in mind,
it can be a ground fault on the neutral.
On outside boxes, make sure all of the wirenuts are pointed up, near
the top of the box and that they are not too close to the box. It
mitigates the water they all collect eventually.
On 12/1/2015 7:57 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Moving the strins of lights to another circuit would take the
existing wiring *and* GFCI out of the calculus.
OTOH, I could see if there's a breaker nearby that I can
"borrow" onto which to move the existing wiring. I.e.,
I've tried changing JUST the GFCI breaker with another
GFCI breaker (keeping everything else constant); this would
allow me to try nonGFCI vs. GFCI (again, keeping everything
Trick will be to see how far I can reach in the electric panel
to pick up a different breaker.
Boxes are recessed into block/cement walls. Faces sealed with
foam gaskets. Outdoor "in use" covers keep out direct rain/water.
Bugs, OTOH, can always crawl in through the hole in the cover intended
for the cords to exit.
But, bug would lead to suspected GFCI issue. And, would persist
(not "clear" itself after the first breaker trip/reset)
Again, see above. IMO, it has something to do with the initial
transient. I need to find a load that is more PURELY resistive
to see what it's like when the load is X from the moment the
breaker is FIRST closed.
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.