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Old 10-29-2011, 11:37 AM   #1
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Circuit Breaker


Hi All,

I'm building a room in my basement and successfully wired five female sockets to the service panel with a new circuit breaker. Everything worked fine.

I then decided to add two more female sockets and I turned off the power by flipping the one circuit breaker controlling the room power. The power was "off" or so I believe?

I cut into the wire and there was a tremendous spark which I couldn't understand. The circuit breaker was in the "off" position and there was no power in the line.

I speculated that the system acted like a charged capacitor so I continued with my work and finished the wiring. However, when I was done and I flipped the circuit breaker to "on", there was no power in the line.

Before I start to troubleshoot this problem, I'm speculating that it is probably the circuit breaker that is at fault.

Please give me your thoughts on this.

Regards,
Bob

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Old 10-29-2011, 11:41 AM   #2
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Circuit Breaker


Maybe you cut the wrong wire, or the wire you cut had two circuits in it sharing a neutral. In that case you would need to turn off two circuit breakers.

Also did you use one of those no contact testers to test the power? Make sure to use a volt meter or a wiggy to actually check for voltage.


Last edited by Sine; 10-29-2011 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:43 AM   #3
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Circuit Breaker


From what you've posted I can only guess the breaker. Maybe you shut the wrong one off?




Having a spark with the power off is not normal at all
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:43 AM   #4
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Circuit Breaker


I think you're lucky to be alive.

Are you sure you flipped the correct breaker "off?" Always, always, check the circuit before working on it.

It could be a defective breaker. Can you check for power at the breaker with a meter?

There is no "stored charge" on a household circuit.
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Old 10-29-2011, 12:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AandPDan View Post
I think you're lucky to be alive.

Are you sure you flipped the correct breaker "off?" Always, always, check the circuit before working on it.

It could be a defective breaker. Can you check for power at the breaker with a meter?

There is no "stored charge" on a household circuit.
Yes. I'll get back with you.

Also, thanks for the response.

Bob
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Old 10-29-2011, 12:22 PM   #6
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Circuit Breaker


Quote:
Originally Posted by AandPDan View Post
I think you're lucky to be alive.
I don't know if i would go THAT far I don't think 120v has killed very many people with no water involved
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Old 10-29-2011, 12:32 PM   #7
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Circuit Breaker


Maybe it was a bit much.

But, the OP did ask for thoughts and that was one of my thoughts.
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:03 PM   #8
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Circuit Breaker


Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy21 View Post
I don't know if i would go THAT far I don't think 120v has killed very many people with no water involved
I imagine that if you held one wire with your left hand and the other with the right hand, thus allowing current across the chest (heart), death could occur.

Bob
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:06 PM   #9
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Circuit Breaker


Wow!

I switched the wrong breaker off and I really thought that I had checked for power before I cut into the wire.

I'll never make that mistake again.

Thanks to all who replied to my post.

Bob
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:00 PM   #10
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Circuit Breaker


It is a good idea to turn off the main breaker before doing any electrical work if possible. For this very reason!

Also there are 120 volt circuits called MWBC which use 2 breakers for the same wiring. Then there can be multiple circuits in the same electrical box. Like 3 or 4 switches in a box. Split receptacles. Then a malfunctioning appliance can be placing a voltage on the grounds. A ground wire can be "hot" in certain situations.

Anyway best to turn off the main power, then you are sure everything is off.
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Old 10-29-2011, 03:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Guercio View Post
I imagine that if you held one wire with your left hand and the other with the right hand, thus allowing current across the chest (heart), death could occur.

Bob

Its possible and im sure its happened, but i still wouldn't go as far as to say "your lucky to be alive" I think every electrician i know has been shocked by more than 120v. I think almost all have been shocked by 277 at one point or another if they do much commercial or industrial. Not to even mention the stuff we used to pull in apprenticeship class


By no means am i saying electricity should be taken lightly

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