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Old 06-22-2011, 03:33 AM   #1
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Blown circuit breaker?


Hey everyone! My first post here, and a bit of a "newbie" when it comes to electrical systems. Anyhow, we've been in the process of remodeling our kitchen and I've take it upon myself to replace all the electrical outlets and switches. No problems there...until I reached the one outlet that's connected to a switch. More specifically it's the outlet for the dishwasher and food disposal. I swapped out the old one, went to turn on the circuit breaker (has it's own) and POP. The circuit breaker blew out right away. After a little bit of investigating I realized that I never broke off the bridge connecting the two "hot" wires on the brass screws. But when I think about it, the red wire is only hot when the switch is turned on, am I not correct? I'm not sure how that would cause a breaker to blow, but if it's not that what else could it be? The breakers are $65 a pop so I'm trying to keep the number I blow to a minimum! Thanks for reading! W

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Old 06-22-2011, 03:48 AM   #2
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Blown circuit breaker?


Chances are this is a "multi-wire branch circuit" - two hots and a neutral, with loads between both hots and the neutral. Thus, the red (switched) wire is the OTHER hot from the black wire, not just a switched leg of the SAME hot. This allows a full 20A load on both the top and bottom halves of the outlet at the same time. Easy way to confirm this: the red and black will have 240V between them when both are live.

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Old 06-22-2011, 07:25 AM   #3
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Blown circuit breaker?


Breakers can be reset and do not have to be replaced everytime they"blow"
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:36 AM   #4
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Blown circuit breaker?


Mpoulton - thanks! I'm assuming the oh way to check the voltage is after I've replaced the breaker and actually have it working. If it really was the simple issue of not breaking the bridge, it sure was an expensive one.

Jbfan - When I say "pop", I mean a pretty big pop with a small flash of light. The breaker is pretty loose now where it won't stay in the off or on position. I can only assume that this means it has to be replaced?
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:05 AM   #5
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Blown circuit breaker?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Johng723 View Post
The breakers are $65 a pop so I'm trying to keep the number I blow to a minimum! Thanks for reading! W
If it is a MWBC then it is a two pole breaker you are replacing, correct? $65 for a breaker seems high. What brand of panel are you working with?
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:53 AM   #6
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Blown circuit breaker?


It is a 2 pole breaker, and it's an older Zinsco system I'm working with.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:03 AM   #7
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Blown circuit breaker?


when you pull breaker,check buss bars to see if they are burnt.zinsco is bad about that beacause buss bars in them are aluminum.the best thing to do if possible,is to replace the whole panel.if cost is prohibitive,you can re-buss with plated copper buss bars.i do it all the time.a rebuss is cheaper.

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