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Old 02-25-2014, 06:06 PM   #1
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Hot Wires Even After Breaker Removal


Hello,

Does anyone know of a wiring configuration with a central air conditioning unit where there would remain AC power in the wires to a breaker AFTER that switch was turned OFF and REMOVED? Here is the rest of the story...

I was doing some work in my panel and moving a few breakers around. My (geothermal) air conditioning system has two 40 amp double-pole breakers. When I turned off and removed one of the breakers, the attached wires were still HOT! Only turning off the other double-pole breaker defeated all power in the four involved wires. The same is true visa versa. I also noticed that these two breakers have no neutral wires inside the main panel, but do have ground.

Wow, good that I am obsessive about double-checking for power with my AC sensor! So, I am rather confused as to why there would be such a configuration. The air conditioning system was recently installed and has worked flawlessly even through it's first maintenance inspection, so I can only assume that this is the correct wiring (in series?).


Peace,
Dr. Z.

Last edited by Zeigh; 02-25-2014 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 02-25-2014, 06:27 PM   #2
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Hot Wires Even After Breaker Removal


It would help if you post the make and model of the unit.

It's obvious the wires are interconnected somewhere. It is possible that the unit required an 80A circuit and they illegally paralleled two 40A breakers to accomplish this.

When a government creates a subsidy for these green energies, the hacks come out of the woodwork. Was a permit pulled for this system?
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Old 02-25-2014, 07:08 PM   #3
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Hot Wires Even After Breaker Removal


If you used a non- contact voltage detector, you are picking up induced voltage from the live circuit.
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Old 02-25-2014, 07:41 PM   #4
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Hot Wires Even After Breaker Removal


What type of meter were you utilizing?
What was the voltage measured? As noted above it is possible you had phantom/ghost voltage.

http://support.fluke.com/find-sales/...105317_A_w.pdf
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:37 AM   #5
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Hot Wires Even After Breaker Removal


UPDATE:

I was finally able to contact the technician who installed my geothermal air conditioning system and discovered that the wiring is correct (as well as to code). The WaterFurnace equipment handles this electric feed configuration internally.

Once again, here is a reminder to all in double-checking for the presence of electricity even though the power was shut off and/or the breaker pulled. I am not a professional electrician, but have done many rewiring projects in various homes over the years and this is the first time I have been presented with this kind of situation. Another person may have logically assumed that there was no way power could still be flowing in a removed breaker/wires and gotten all their hair standing on end!


Be safe (and obsessive with that AC sensor),
Dr. Z.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:21 AM   #6
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Hot Wires Even After Breaker Removal


So the lesson is to not answer anyone's question about what equipment you were using to test for voltage, nor reply if there was improper wiring. Just something that all of us that have been around playing with electricity for a long time, something that we already know.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:36 AM   #7
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Hot Wires Even After Breaker Removal


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeigh
UPDATE: I was finally able to contact the technician who installed my geothermal air conditioning system and discovered that the wiring is correct (as well as to code). The WaterFurnace equipment handles this electric feed configuration internally.
And you are going to believe that is normal that one circuit to backfeed to another. It is not normal.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:36 AM   #8
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It apparently matters to some, so here is the requested information:

- Fluke 2AC/90-1000V VoltAlert AC Non-Contact Voltage Tester
- Fluke T5-1000 Voltage/Continuity/Current Tester
- WaterFurnace 5 Series, model 500A11 (correctly wired)

Like with many lessons of life, they are often reminders of how best to navigate the journey. If you don't need the information, great. Maybe someone else does and it can save them allot of trouble. Isn't that what an online forum is all about?


Peace,
Dr. Z.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:42 AM   #9
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Hot Wires Even After Breaker Removal


If you truly measured voltage with the T5, you really need to get someone else out there to verify the wiring is correct. You keep stating the wiring is correct, but you are taking the word of the installer.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:46 AM   #10
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Wow, tough crowd...

http://www.waterfurnace.com/literatu...s/IM2500AN.pdf
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:59 AM   #11
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What does that tell us? There is no way back-feeding a circuit is correct, and your pdf is nowhere pertinent to that.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:07 AM   #12
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Hey, I'm not young enough to know everything (Tibetan proverb), which is why I am here. Assuming that everyone is here to help, doesn't the diagram on page 47 of the PDF show the configuration debated?
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:17 AM   #13
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Shows no connection between the parallel circuits
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anti-wingnut View Post
Shows no connection between the parallel circuits
The schematic in the lower right hand corner of page 47 is interesting...
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:44 AM   #15
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But that's not applicable. That's for Canada where instead of two parallel 30A (or whatever) circuits, they require a single disconnect of 60A. The OP was clear that this is a two circuit system, so that detail is not used.
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