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Old 08-25-2010, 06:46 PM   #1
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help with arching


this is the second time this has happend. the wife ran the vacume the other day and the outlet went out, along with 4 others that are not on the same breaker. after the vacume shut of i went down stairs and no breaker was tripped. I look in the box and can see melted wires coming out of the ground in the breaker box (i think thats what it is, a lot of screws with wires going in to them". the first time this happend a had a guy come over and he trimmed up the wires and put them back into the ground. he said one may have popped out and hit others. i know this can be now that its happend again.
it is scary when you see sparks coming out your box. from what ive been reading its most likely not enough current to trip the breaker but its enough to arch. if i have a guy come in and hook the wires back up and fill my box with no arch breakers will it take all those sparks away? or can i use only a few breakers where i use a lot of electric? or can it be some other problem? i was not running vacume the first time and it was other sockets that went out and fried in the box.

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Old 08-25-2010, 08:11 PM   #2
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help with arching


You probably have loose connections (loose screws) in there.

Turn off the main breaker and then tighten up all the little screws and set screws. Firmly but not with tremendous might and strength.

With its handle turned off, unsnap and replace each breaker. This motion helps clean the connection underneath it which will improve the electrical contact. If a breaker is loose you should leave it off until and unless you can relocate it to a different slot where it fits reasonably tightly.

Save for an electrician the big screws where the fat wires come in from the meter. But get these tightened up very quickly particularly if arcing happened on them or they got warm.

Loose wires will heat up and the insulation can melt and also the terminal or terminal strip can become deformed and damaged. In extreme cases you would have to replace the entire panel.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-25-2010 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:32 PM   #3
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help with arching


i just wanted to add some thing... last time this happend it like welded the screw tight with a piece of wire still in it..he had to cut and connect to another screw..
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:21 AM   #4
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help with arching


Probably all connections of this type eventually need tightening.

You have aluminum wires?
There might be an ointment you're supposed to put on them to prevent corrosion from causing connections to go bad quickly.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:12 PM   #5
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help with arching


I was told by my electrician to wrap all screwed in wires on outlets with electrical tape to prevent arching on the box

Last edited by Aaroncarpet; 08-27-2010 at 05:13 PM. Reason: after you tighten the screws pull around the back of the outlet 2 times with tape
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Old 08-27-2010, 07:16 PM   #6
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help with arching


Wrapping the receptacle with tape prevents accidental shorts against a metal box if you have to dismount the receptacle from the box, but the power should be turned off first and then you don't have the shorting problem to begin with.

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