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MakeItWork 09-27-2005 12:28 AM

Breaker blows during the rain.
I run a seismic research station in S Korea with the Air Force, we have a site that has had chronic power problems, every rainstorm for several weeks we would need to drive out and reset the input power breaker. The last few times the other techs noticed arching damage in the box but could not determine if it was new or historical. Most of the power at these sites is old some as old a 10 years. The last time I reset the breaker there was a very obvious arc and the breaker was locked out for later replacement. I went back out with a new breaker box with Square D 20A GFCI breakers (all we had on stock) replaced the old box with the new box and all was well, until the next storm. At this point every time there is a storm that breaker pops. The power is run from a transformer down in two phase AC one leg is plugged into the box, the output is to a ALPHA brand UPS, output of that is to a VICORE brand 110VAC to 24VDC converter then to the 24VDC input of our equipment.

Any Ideas are appreciated

Teetorbilt 09-27-2005 09:35 PM

Report it, someone will fill out the paperwork and pass it on to the engineers, they will establish a priority to the repair and if your grandson is ever posted in Korea the problem may have been fixed. LOL

Sorry, I was never posted there. I'm Navy, same crap though.

earl hall 09-28-2005 06:45 AM

water intrusion
you all got some water dripping in there from somewhere. sounds as if you need to be watching it during the rain next time or do a leak test on the wire and box.
the water could be wicking in along the wire. or the box is not sealing right.

if all else fails rtv it!

how is korea these days? I was there back in 1990 -1991 at kwang-ju and Osan had some good times.. belive it or not i miss the kim-chie and so-ju.

ahha good ole days


Mike Swearingen 09-30-2005 07:23 AM

Sounds like there may have been a loose or corroded connection out there connected to a standard breaker, causing arcing that finally blew it out. From time to time, with the power OFF, re-tighten all connections. Heat passing through electrical wiring can cause expansion and contraction, and can loosen a connection, causing arcing.
I have my boathouse on a 20 amp GFCI breaker, and lightning in the general area will trip it every time. It doesn't even need a close strike, just more electricity flashing around in the air. (It's an inconvenience from tripping once in a while, but that's better than getting hit with 240v through an aluminum pontoon boat hanging on steel boatlift cables in the water.)
If you had a standard 20 amp breaker before, replace the GFCI with a standard. Even heavy fog or a drop of water can trip a GFCI breaker connected to an outdoor service.
All of my outdoor outlets are on another GFCI breaker (code). High moisture in the air can cause condensation build-up, and also trip out an outdoor GFCI circuit. I use a hair dryer on high heat to dry them out, and they start working fine (you can actually see steam coming out of the receptacle when I use the hair dryer).
The GFCI breaker is your problem now.
(I just replaced my 10-year-old boathouse GFCI breaker. The 1995 breaker cost me about $135 and the 2005 breaker cost me about $172. A standard breaker is much cheaper, and maybe they'll get one for you.)
Good luck!

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