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Old 01-29-2014, 09:11 AM   #1
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Breaker Tripping, help troubleshoot


So I have a breaker that keeps tripping. I recently replaced all of my traditional switches with the rockers. Everything worked fine for over a week then I came downstairs last night and the kitchen light wouldn't turn on.

I checked the breaker and it was tripped, I tried to flip it (off to on) and it immediately buzzed and tripped again. I replaced the breaker to see if it might be a bad beaker but the new one does the same thing. I've also looked at all the switches to make sure the ground wire isn't making contact with the hot/neutral screws, all looks good.

What is my next step for troubleshooting this? I'd like to do as much as possible before I call in the professional.

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Old 01-29-2014, 09:13 AM   #2
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Breaker Tripping, help troubleshoot


It is tripping, because you hooked up either an outlet or switch incorrectly, which is causing a short or over voltage condition, which the later would be two hot legs tied together. Start going back and looking at all of the switches and outlets. Most likely you have a outlet that has an always on side, and switched side, that you forgot to break the tang off on the Black wire side, between the screws.

The rule is that if it worked before someone worked on it, but it does not work now, that is where you start.

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Old 01-29-2014, 09:15 AM   #3
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Breaker Tripping, help troubleshoot


Do you have all of the new work pulled out of the boxes so you can inspect?

Are the boxes metal and grounded?

Sounds like a dead short---have you looked at all the wire nuts in the boxes? Loose nut---loose wire?
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:21 AM   #4
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Breaker Tripping, help troubleshoot


Since you replaced only switches the problem is likely to be either one of your connections came loose or a wire was compromised during the installation.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:52 AM   #5
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Breaker Tripping, help troubleshoot


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Originally Posted by PoleCat View Post
Since you replaced only switches the problem is likely to be either one of your connections came loose or a wire was compromised during the installation.
I'm leaning towards the wire being compromised. When I removed the original switches there was a portion of the insulation that was "scraped" away about 3" from the exposed end of the wire. I've narrowed the issue down to the same box in which I found the missing insulation.

Is wrapping the portion of exposed copper on the wire with electrical tape a safe and sufficient repair?
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:54 AM   #6
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Breaker Tripping, help troubleshoot


I would use heat shrink tubing over the bad spot.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:56 AM   #7
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Breaker Tripping, help troubleshoot


Quote:
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I would use heat shrink tubing over the bad spot.
I just so happen to have some of that!
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Old 01-30-2014, 05:59 PM   #8
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Breaker Tripping, help troubleshoot


If you can get a 100w/100 ohm resistor or rheostat from a surplus place or Hamfest for a few dollars
and substitute this for the turned off breaker
the voltage across the resistor will tell you how serious the downstream short current is without causing wiring damage.

PM me for the particulars.
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:08 PM   #9
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Breaker Tripping, help troubleshoot


Quote:
If you can get a 100w/100 ohm resistor or rheostat from a surplus place or Hamfest for a few dollars
and substitute this for the turned off breaker
the voltage across the resistor will tell you how serious the downstream short current is without causing wiring damage.

PM me for the particulars.
The OP already found the compromised insulation. There is no need to find out how serious the problem was. It was tripping the breaker and needed to be fixed.
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:50 PM   #10
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Breaker Tripping, help troubleshoot


Thanks for all the help guys, the insulation was compromised in two spots withing the box. The box is a 4 gang with A LOT of wire in it. Looks like the builder just got a little aggressive when they shoved all the wires back in.

All is well....let there be light!

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