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Old 01-13-2011, 10:47 AM   #1
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electrical problem


I live in a 100 year old house and have 2 panel's 1 panel has 30amo screw in fuses 6 of them and the other panel has 2 big 50 amp shotgun shell fuses , is what they look like . So we were sitting downstair's with the light's on and a plug in old 1500 watt heater and tv going and after a couple hour's all the light's went out downstair's , Iv'e changed the fuses and still nothing ! what else can i do without calling an expensive electrician ...........Paul

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Old 01-13-2011, 10:55 AM   #2
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Have you had to ever replace the fuse on that circuit before?

Is it JUST that one circuit that is out or multiple ones?

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Old 01-13-2011, 11:13 AM   #3
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A 1500w heater is a large load. You could have blown a fuse or the high current draw might have caused a connection to fail.
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Old 01-13-2011, 05:23 PM   #4
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Are you sure you have checked the correct fuses?
Have you re- installed the old fuses correctly ?
Are they making good contact ?
Perhaps there are other fuses somewhere,
that you are not currently aware of ?.
If its not fuses, and its an old house,
then its time to call an electricain in.
Because old wires means trouble and danger.


Quote:
Originally Posted by paulpaquette View Post
I live in a 100 year old house and have 2 panel's 1 panel has 30amo screw in fuses 6 of them and the other panel has 2 big 50 amp shotgun shell fuses , is what they look like . So we were sitting downstair's with the light's on and a plug in old 1500 watt heater and tv going and after a couple hour's all the light's went out downstair's , Iv'e changed the fuses and still nothing ! what else can i do without calling an expensive electrician ...........Paul

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Old 01-13-2011, 07:44 PM   #5
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electrical problem


A concern that is unrelated to you loss of power.

If your screw in fuses are all 30 amp, you have over fused your branch circuits. The wire rating for general lighting and receptacle circuits in old houses is either 15a or 20a. It's very common to see up sized fuses in these old houses because the circuits are overloaded.
This is a dangerous situation.

Fuses should only be sized to the wire in each branch circuit.
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulpaquette View Post
what else can i do without calling an expensive electrician ...........Paul
Call a cheap electrician?
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:47 AM   #7
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While you are at it, the 30 amp fuses on general purpose circuits should be immediately replaced with 15 amp fuses. But you can use 20 amp fuses on circuits you are sure are wholly 12 gauge or fatter wiring.

It is also dangerous for lights and appliances equipped with standard 2 and 3 prong 120 volt plugs to be connected to a source not protected for 20 amps or less.

Do it yourself means, well, do it yourself. You will want to check for loose connections in all the receptacles daisy chained on that circuit including the last receptacle that is still alive. If you are at all squeamish about coming close to live wires and terminals, then you will have to forget the do it yourself part.

Use the continuity or ohms function on a multimeter to check the shotgun (cartridge) fuses too. Always turn the power off before using those functions. Also, to do continuity or ohms tests, all wires going to places not part of the test subject must be disconnected except wires may be left attached to exactly one spot on the test subject.
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:46 AM   #8
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I would strongly advise you to call a licensed electrician. As was said in other post, your fuse sizes are probably wrong. You need to determine the size of the wiring on each branch.

There may be corrosion on the bottom contact of the fuse socket. After cutting power, you can use a piece of sandpaper (fine) to clean the contact.

There should be a means of disconnect between the large fuses and the meter. You would need to pull this to cut power to the panel.

Again, I strongly recommend you get an electrician! The cost will be well worth the benefit, and may save your house, or even your life!
But first thing you need to do is change out those 30A fuses! The only branch that can have 30A fuse is #10 or heavier wire.
There are only specific appliances that require 30A fuses.
#12 must be protected by 20A fuse, and #14 wire must be protected with a 15A fuse.
As said before, the size of the fuse is determined by the SMALLEST wire in the branch circuit.

FW
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:53 AM   #9
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With some panels of that vintage, you pull a handle attached to a plastic block perhaps 2x3 inches and it comes out, disconnecting the power and the cartridge fuses are in the block. Some panels have two such blocks, one of them disconnects one 30 to 40 amp branch circuit only, that circuit for a stove or water heater.

Other panel installations have a shutoff switch often in the form of a bent fat wire sticking out of the side of the box that holds the cartridge fuses.
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulpaquette View Post
I live in a 100 year old house and have 2 panel's 1 panel has 30amo screw in fuses 6 of them and the other panel has 2 big 50 amp shotgun shell fuses , is what they look like . So we were sitting downstair's with the light's on and a plug in old 1500 watt heater and tv going and after a couple hour's all the light's went out downstair's , Iv'e changed the fuses and still nothing ! what else can i do without calling an expensive electrician ...........Paul
Were any of the fuses blown when you changed them or did you just figure it was a blown fuse? I know that sounds like a stupid question but If you are not sure if a fuse was actually no good, it would help trouble shoot better. 2nd, unplug the heater. 1500W is a lot of electrical load plus whatever else is on that circuit. 3rd, these guys are correct and I won't beat a dead horse but, don't oversize your fuses. It's a fire hazard. My suggestion would be to call your utility and report a part power if you don't want to get an electrician out (advised). They usually do it for free (make sure) and can at least verify you have full potential outside your home. At that point, and it's a STRETCH, you may get lucky and they can help you out. Again, it's a STRETCH, but doesn't cost you anything...
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:58 PM   #11
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Measuring the voltage at the cartridge fuses in place can give a better idea whether you have a part power situation (one of the two incoming legs dead) out in the service lines coming in from the utility pole. You should get 240 volts across the two hot lines coming in and 120 volts hot to neutral for each hot line.

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