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Old 08-01-2009, 07:04 PM   #1
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Breaker Keeps Tripping


i have a dedicated circuit to a swimming pool outlet. from the outlet is a transformer to a pool light. recently we had a thunderstorm and and it looks like we had a small bolt of lightning strike the ground and a nearby tree. since then, the breaker tripped and wont reset. (trips when i switch to "on" position) the transformer to the light looks old and beat up so i tried disconnecting the wires to it and capped them off. still nothing. it seems that the lightning could have hit the underground wire (but i can't see them in the holes left by the lightning) how do i check for continuity from the outdoor outlet to the panel to make sure there are no breaks? that's the only thing i can think of that may be wrong. (aside from a shorted outlet) any ideas??

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Old 08-01-2009, 09:52 PM   #2
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Breaker Keeps Tripping


Remove the wire from the breaker and remove the white wire from the bus bar. Now remove the outlet and take the white and black wire off the plug. Twist the black and white wire together and go to the panel and put the continuity tester on the white and black you should have continuity. Now untwist the wires and seperate them. Now test for continuity again and if you still have it than you have an issue.

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Old 08-01-2009, 10:20 PM   #3
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Breaker Keeps Tripping


Disconnect the wire from the breaker and then reset it. IF it still trips with no wire attached, you have a fried breaker.

If the breaker now holds, you probably have a bad underground wire. Lightning strikes near direct buried underground lines can wreck havoc with the integrity of the lines.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:14 PM   #4
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Breaker Keeps Tripping


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Originally Posted by kbsparky View Post
Disconnect the wire from the breaker and then reset it. IF it still trips with no wire attached, you have a fried breaker.

If the breaker now holds, you probably have a bad underground wire. Lightning strikes near direct buried underground lines can wreck havoc with the integrity of the lines.
Between Dsilanskas and Kb Sparky you have the answer (following the advice of both) But I'll throw in my Two Cents, anyway. Another way of finding out whether you have a damaged breaker or a short circuit is to put the breaker "ON". If it comes on for a split second but kicks back, you have a short. A damaged breaker wouldn't go into the on position altogether. (No matter what)Don't Drink and Drive!!!
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Old 08-02-2009, 06:58 AM   #5
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Breaker Keeps Tripping


Thanks guys! i will try that out today. i hope it's either the outlet or the breaker, i'd hate to have to run another line 70 ft underground. ugh!
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:46 AM   #6
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Breaker Keeps Tripping


ran the tests, bad breaker, but 60 bucks for a square d 20 amp gfci? no wonder you guys make so much money!! just kidding! Thanks again for the help!!
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Old 08-02-2009, 12:40 PM   #7
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Breaker Keeps Tripping


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Originally Posted by richs555 View Post
bad breaker
Your area has half the lightning strikes that my area has and I've never heard of lightning damaging a CB (there's no electronics inside) but I guess anything is possible.

Maybe the 30,000A destroyed the internal 2w 5 milliohm resistor that does the thermal trip.

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Old 08-02-2009, 06:13 PM   #8
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ran the tests, bad breaker, but 60 bucks for a square d 20 amp gfci? no wonder you guys make so much money!! just kidding! Thanks again for the help!!
Lightning can do strange things, and your fried breaker is but one example.

60 bucks for a square d 20 Amp GFI sounds about right, but the comment about us electricians making so much money is a bit excessive (I did see your disclaimer).

When I present a bill to the customer for repair work, often times they fail to realize that the bottom line includes such costly items as that breaker, thinking that I am "making all that money".

As you have discovered, our material costs can indeed be high, but those amounts have to be paid to the suppliers, leaving my pockets with less $$$ than most folks believe.
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Old 08-02-2009, 06:22 PM   #9
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Breaker Keeps Tripping


Didn't see the "GFCI".
There are electronics inside.
30,000A not needed.

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