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Old 11-29-2011, 07:21 PM   #1
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10/3 to TWO breakers


Had a situation in the kitchen with a wall box and two outlets mounted side by side. One outlet worked, the other was dead. So I opened it up to take a look and see two circuits coming in, and two leaving. Oddly, I see a red cable wiring to one of the outlets.

Downstairs in the breaker box I see an old tandem breaker, all rusty and bad looking, and there's a red cable going into it! So I get a new tandem breaker and wire it up and now both outlets work.

Further examination in the breaker box shows the red lead goes to breaker 2, the black goes to breaker 18.

How common is this? How do you get the neutral (white) to both runs?

Just curious! And I have a followup, which I will put in a new thread.

Thanks!

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Old 11-29-2011, 07:34 PM   #2
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10/3 to TWO breakers


(well I meant for this to be a separate thread, wasn't thinking clearly I guess)

This is sort of a followup to my thread about a 10/3 cable feeding two different circuits. In the kitchen is this box with two outlets mounted side by side, but each one on it's own circuit. Circuit comes in, feeds outlet, leaves to feed other outlets.

So let's call the left circuit 1 and the right circuit 2.

Plug the microwave into circuit 1 and run it. Microwave dims badly, spins erratically, comes up to speed, sputters, keeps doing this. Other appliances seem to be fine (mostly checked with an elec can opener). Circuit 1 before it gets to this outlet comes off a 15a outlet, even though the run is 20a back to the box and it's all 12/2. Could that have anything to do with it? I wouldn't think so, since all 4 wires are wired into the screws on the preceding outlet, so the amp rating of the outlet seems kind of pointless.

The microwave in circuit 2 performs just fine all the time.

In checking the tandem breaker, there was some corrosion where the breaker attaches to the hot rail. But if this were an issue, seems like it would affect both circuits, yes? In moving cables in the breaker box, one of them popped right out of the tandem breaker, obviously I had not tightened enough. I am wondering if that's it?

My only other test will be to swap the wires on the tandem breaker. If the problem now shows up in circuit 2, then I have a bad run of cable somewhere?
(circuit 1 and 2 run to this tandem breaker).

Whew, that was long-winded! Appreciate any insights!

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Old 11-29-2011, 07:44 PM   #3
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10/3 to TWO breakers


In the first post you said breakers 2 and 18, now you say both come from the tandem breaker.

Why 10/3, then you say 12/2.
Are we talking about more circuits.
Are you sure it is a tandem breaker, and not a 2 pole breaker?
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:15 PM   #4
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10/3 to TWO breakers


Sorry for the confusion!

I call it a tandem breaker and so did Siemens that made it. To me, it's a way to fit two breakers into a spot that would normally hold only one.

It's late, I thought I had this all documented, but in re-reading my posts, I am going to have to pull that outlet box cover again, and see where all the wires are going!

Sorry for the confusion, but yes, the 10/3 has it's red on circuit breaker 2, and it's black on breaker 18. To me that is hard to understand, but I am just a DIYer learning!
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:31 PM   #5
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10/3 to TWO breakers


Quote:
Originally Posted by dougp23 View Post
Sorry for the confusion!

I call it a tandem breaker and so did Siemens that made it. To me, it's a way to fit two breakers into a spot that would normally hold only one.

It's late, I thought I had this all documented, but in re-reading my posts, I am going to have to pull that outlet box cover again, and see where all the wires are going!

Sorry for the confusion, but yes, the 10/3 has it's red on circuit breaker 2, and it's black on breaker 18. To me that is hard to understand, but I am just a DIYer learning!
Sooo....are they half sized (skinny) breakers? If they are occupying one spot why the 2 different location numbers? (2 and 18)

This is a normal configuration for two 20 amp kitchen circuits but usually with 12/3 wire and not the half size breakers. What amperage are the breakers?

And yes, a wire falling out of the breaker could very well be your problem. Did you check for the problem after you tightened the wire?

Last edited by zappa; 11-29-2011 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:59 PM   #6
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10/3 to TWO breakers


Tandem breakers...2 circuits on the same pole need to have individual neutrals....they cannot share a neutral as you describe. This has the potential of seriously overloading the neutral. Youentioned 12/3...but you also mentioned 4 wires.....whch is it?
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:22 PM   #7
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10/3 to TWO breakers


Quote:
Originally Posted by dougp23
Further examination in the breaker box shows the red lead goes to breaker 2, the black goes to breaker 18.

How common is this? How do you get the neutral (white) to both runs?
The neutral does not connect to either breaker but rather goes over to a terminal strip (neutral bus bar) usually at one side of the panel.

Up to date code requires that when a single neutral accompanies the red and black wires for two circuits respectively in the same* cable or conduit, then the red and black have to go into the respective halves of a double wide double breaker with handles rigidly tied together. This breaker unit must be positioned in the panel so you get 240 volts between the breaker terminal screws.

In addition, to be up to date, kitchen counter receptacles need ground fault circuit interrupters. The GFCI units can be special panel breakers or can be special receptacle units. WHen installing a GFCI breaker, the neutral from the circuit cable goes to a terminal in the breaker and a white wire that comes with the breaker is connected to the neutral bus bar.

Depending on severity, corrosion on the hot rail under the breakers can make that breaker slot unusable. At any rate it must be sanded clean before using. Check the underside of the breaker too; deformation or considerable corrosion there means you need to discard that breaker.

* Called a multiwire branch circuit.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-30-2011 at 06:29 AM.
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:56 PM   #8
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10/3 to TWO breakers


[quote=AllanJ;781767]The neutral does not connect to either breaker but rather goes over to a terminal strip (neutral bus bar) usually at one side of the panel.

Huh?

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