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Old 01-12-2012, 11:52 PM   #1
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GE Main Panel discolored Main lug bar


Have a GE TM 2020 Loadcenter. I put the panel in several years ago just for the additional CB spaces as I have been correcting problems and splitting each room into their own breakers. I recently started working again in the basement apartment, took panel cover off and saw what looks like an overheated bar where the main lugs attach behind the main breaker.

Wondering if using the compressor in the garage continuously for 5-6 hours a day sandblasting could do that? (2-hp Quincy 30 gallon tank fed into 80 gallon tank) never had a problem in 31 years with the compressor
or with old panel.
Also there are black like arc marks on the face of the left SE lug and some rodent debris in the panel, could one of those critters bit the dust in there and caused that?

Thanx in Advance!

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Old 01-13-2012, 12:03 AM   #2
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GE Main Panel discolored Main lug bar


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Originally Posted by Amazingglazier View Post
Have a GE TM 2020 Loadcenter. I put the panel in several years ago just for the additional CB spaces as I have been correcting problems and splitting each room into their own breakers. I recently started working again in the basement apartment, took panel cover off and saw what looks like an overheated bar where the main lugs attach behind the main breaker.

Wondering if using the compressor in the garage continuously for 5-6 hours a day sandblasting could do that? (2-hp Quincy 30 gallon tank fed into 80 gallon tank) never had a problem in 31 years with the compressor
or with old panel.
Also there are black like arc marks on the face of the left SE lug and some rodent debris in the panel, could one of those critters bit the dust in there and caused that?

Thanx in Advance!
It would be difficult for a main lug on the line side of the breaker to overheat from using the compressor. More than likely that connection with the service entrance is loose or not torqued correctly. The cumulative current flow thru that lug from being loose is causing it to overheat. The compressor would be part of that current flow.

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Old 01-13-2012, 12:40 AM   #3
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Thanks Stubbie! I kinda thought of that too when I saw it. Is there a different torque figure for copper than AL SE cable? With the Main breaker off, no flow standing on 2 sheets of plywood I should be ok torquing the lugs? Will wear my POCO gloves too as I had the meter out when I put the panel in , but they put a new bolt on seal on the meter. Will blow the mouse crap out and seal the holes that are open that I didn't use in the main box. Thanks for the help!
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:54 AM   #4
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Thanks Stubbie! I kinda thought of that too when I saw it. Is there a different torque figure for copper than AL SE cable? With the Main breaker off, no flow standing on 2 sheets of plywood I should be ok torquing the lugs? Will wear my POCO gloves too as I had the meter out when I put the panel in , but they put a new bolt on seal on the meter. Will blow the mouse crap out and seal the holes that are open that I didn't use in the main box. Thanks for the help!
Please don't do that , your scaring the bejesus out of me.

I'm getting too old for this stuff...

You might get away with it and then again you may die.

You need to get the meter pulled and investigate just how bad the bus and possibly main breaker have been effected.

There are insulated tools that will do the job but please do not go sticking a metal tool you have hold of onto a hot lug in the panel.....
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:41 AM   #5
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After you see discoloration or warping or burning of the conductors (incl. bars, lugs) simply retorquing is not sufficient. It is necessary to disassemble and clean off the parts and then re-assemble them with firm clean bare metal to clean bare metal contact.

Persons without lots of experience (and also most persons with lots of experience) should not do this work with power still applied.
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Old 01-13-2012, 03:55 PM   #6
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You will have to have the POCO pull the meter.

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. The only time you would ever pull the meter yourself is if there was an emergency. For maintenance work, and repairs/installs. Let the POCO do it. Most times they'll do it for free or very little charge.

Safety first, convenience and money second.

Last edited by oh'mike; 01-13-2012 at 07:34 PM. Reason: Removed advice that is illegal and possibly deadly in untrained hands
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:15 PM   #7
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You will have to have the POCO pull the meter.

In reality, you could do it, but they prefer you not to and don't want customers getting a risk of being shocked, or tampering with their equipment since its high voltage, and measures current usage for billing.

Around my area, there is a small metal (as thin as a paperclip) lock on the meter. You can easily cut it off. The only time you would ever pull the meter yourself is if there was an emergency. For maintenance work, and repairs/installs. Let the POCO do it. Most times they'll do it for free or very little charge.

Safety first, convenience and money second.
It is not safe to advise a DIY or an untrained person to pull a meter. The consequences could be deadly. They do not have the knowledge, training or proper protective equipment.

If you want to see what could happen just google "arc flash". Be prepared for some very graphic scenes. Molten metal flying very fast into a human body does not make a pretty sight.
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:39 PM   #8
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Giving electrical advice to novices is a risky thing---
Advising the untrained how to perform certain jobs is down right fool hearty---

Please remember that some of the posters here have no experience what so ever around electrical work.

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Old 01-13-2012, 07:54 PM   #9
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Giving electrical advice to novices is a risky thing---
Advising the untrained how to perform certain jobs is down right fool hearty---

Please remember that some of the posters here have no experience what so ever around electrical work.

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AMEN ...
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Old 01-14-2012, 02:17 AM   #10
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GE Main Panel discolored Main lug bar


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Giving electrical advice to novices is a risky thing---
Advising the untrained how to perform certain jobs is down right fool hearty---

Please remember that some of the posters here have no experience what so ever around electrical work.

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Old 01-14-2012, 08:41 AM   #11
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GE Main Panel discolored Main lug bar


Thanks to all for your Advise! Will have the POCO pull the meter after I purchase a new buss bar. As to experience , I am no Super Sparky but have worked in machine shops and built houses uspstate NY and have had experience wiring houses, pulling meters ,etc. As the quote goes , " Just because it can be done, doesn't mean it's right or should be done", will do it right! Thanx to all!

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