I have a main power box outside with two 50-amp breakers and one 30-amp
breaker. A voltage test shows 120 volts passing through them. Three of
my six 20 amp breakers in the inside box are not receiving any voltage.
They did not trip, just out of the blue for no apparent reason stopped
getting any power through them. The other three are working normally.
What is going on?
The 50's are single pole or double pole?
Coming into your house is 2 120vac lines and a neutral. It sounds
like one of those 120 lines is not getting to your subpanel with the 6
20amp breakers in it. What's on the 50's? Does one of them feed your
subpanel with the 6 20s in it?
I don't know the difference between single and double pole. That is
exactly what the problem is- power not getting to the subpanel. Half of
the breakers are receiving power, the other half are not. Everything was
working fine until yesterday when this problem arised.
While I agree with those preaching caution and get help I also feel a person
who asks a question deserves and answer.
If you will find this text "Finally, pick the breaker" about halfway down
this page: http://www.thewoodnerd.com/articles/circuitSizing.html
there is a picture of 3 breakers. They are 2 single pole 110V breakers and
a double pole 220V breaker (number 3). If you use your test probe from any
single screw at the right edge of the breaker to neutral buss you should
show 110V. For the 220V breaker to be working properly you would need to
get 110V at both of the screws. NOTE: than some one has attached a white
wire to one terminal of the breaker in this photo and if they took the time
to color code it correctly that does not show in the picture.
Quote from the page "Also notice how the DP breaker (#3) has just a single
toggle (the switch flipper)? Some DP breakers will actually have two toggles
tied together with a metal clip, same effect."
It sounds like you have lost one side of one of you 220 volt breakers or if
you have 220 at the breaker you have lost a connection between that point
and the inside panel. Breakers can and do go bad. Losing half of the load
on a 220 can and does happen.
Please come visit http://www.househomerepair.com
Thanks for the intelligent answer. Usenet will always have more than
its share of smart-asses and trolls. I didn't come here asking if I
should reach in there and feel around and see what happens and I didn't
claim to have any electrical knowledge. I thought someone who did have
the knowledge might be familiar with the symptom. I found out the
problem is a fried lead (or whatever the proper term is) where one side
of a 50-amp breaker makes the connection. That is why one side was
still working. The only way to fix it is to replace the entire service
Depending on the brand of panel it may well be possible to replace just the
bus portion, the fried part of the existing one.
This is not a DIY project for most people and you may have a hard time
finding an electrician who is will to do the repair. They all like to sell
You've lost a leg. There are three wires coming from the light pole: 2 120v
legs and a neutral.
This is almost always a power company problem - one of the secondary
windings in the transformer supplying your house has fried and gone open.
I don't know the exact answer, but something similar happened to me two
years ago when I bought a vacant bank-owned property. When I had the power
turned on in my name, I found that only part of the house had power and the
rest didn't. All of the circuit breakers were on, and I tried resetting all
of them anyway, but that didn't do anything. I called the power company and
when they came back out all they had to do was tighten one of the
nuts/connectors in the main panel. I think one side of the feed coming into
the main panel had a loose connection.
I don't necessarily recommend that you try this, but they do make insulated
screwdriver-like nut tightener that I found in the electrical department at
Home Depot. I bought one in case I had to retighten any of the connectors,
but I never had to use it.
So, maybe all you have is a loose connection in the main panel.
I had something similar happen once. I think it was a loose or bad
connection with one of the circuit breakers and it caused the contact in the
panel to melt. The family that was living in the property said that the
power tended to go on and off and they thought they may have noticed a burnt
smell near the panel. The good news was that an electric company had their
business next door. They came over, found the problem, and replaced the bad
breaker but connected it in a different slot in the panel. That fixed
everything and we didn't need to replace the whole panel. Your situation
may be different which is why they are saying the whole panel needs to be
replaced. But, maybe if you are lucky, an electrician will be able to
relocate the bad breaker without having to replace the whole panel.
If you don't plan to repair or replace the panel (or plan to do it
'someday'), please tape a note inside the door that position 'X' should
not be used, and why. And if you can find a suitable snap-in blank cover
for the position with the damaged lugs, you should fill the hole.
Just so the next poor SOB doesn't have to start from scratch, etc. Life
is what happens while you are making other plans, and you may not be the
next person in that panel. Not everyone will think to look, or be able
to recognize, that the lug is damaged.
Since you have to ask, and that's the most dangerous place there is to play
around power, you should get a pro in to take care of it. You have a breaker
problem, loose wires or a break further up the line.
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