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Old 05-06-2009, 06:54 PM   #1
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


i have been having problems with my electric i can only get half the condo outlts to work if i run a 220 appliance even for 10 seconds to reset the system. I was told yesterday on another thread that one leg is out. however i had prior trouble with the MAIN OUTSIDE BREAKER IN THE PAST.today i tried reseting the main breaker running a/c and noticed that it meter will spin real fast for about 5-7 seconds then slow down .is there any way to tell if the main breaker is the defective link. WHEN condo WAS UNDER WARRENTY I HAD an electrican come out and he snapped back i had tried that and dont understand how he did that. i should have insisted on a new part but i thought it would be ok, it seems it wants to work normal for a few seconds then revert back to malfuntion nolonger have warrenty.maybe someone has encountered this before?


Last edited by pag; 05-06-2009 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:04 PM   #2
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


It sounds like a loose/bad connection on the feed coming into your place. Do you hear any sizzling or crackling at that main when you initially reset it?

For the few seconds that your meter seems to be in the fast lane, all your 240 Volt loads are connected (water heater, maybe?). Then the connection goes bad, and you lose of your house.

A simple test meter checking the load terminals of your main breaker should be able to tell if its working or not.

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Old 05-06-2009, 07:10 PM   #3
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


yes i took the panel off and inspected the connections shook it around and heard a faint sizzle like sound i must have tried to reset that breaker 100-200 times in the last two weeks it does seem that the spring inside is soft because it willhave a little play rather than a definite one or the other not much though
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:11 PM   #4
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


IF you hear any sizzling type sound, then you should replace that breaker. Sizzling and main breakers are not a good combination.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:13 PM   #5
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


i have been testing it with the ac on and off and abunch of differentways but the neighbors are spinning fast with the ac on. and it will spin fast then slow down
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:14 PM   #6
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


might this account for the one leg out symptoms also or woul d that be a seperate issue?
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:58 PM   #7
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


The breaker plugs into the bus.

Here is a 200 amp main where one leg has burned at the bus connection.



Here is a burned bus. The breaker has been pulled out.



Sometimes the bus doesn't burn too badly and you can just replace the breaker. ($30 DIY/$100 to $200 pro). If you let it go too long, the bus will burn away and you will have to replace the panel (thousands$$$)

The sizzle you hear is the electricity arcing/jumping from the bus to the breaker. It is acting like an arc welder, eating/burning away the metal on the bus and the breaker.

Replace the main or have it done.

In case you missed it....Replace the main or have it done.

If you want to attempt it, the power must be turned off, probably at the meter.

Whatever you do, do it now.

Capice ?
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:09 PM   #8
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


I'm not passing judgment. But if "pag" can't diagnose the basic power problems, then replacing a Main Breaker, and certainly replacing a PANEL is not work that he should perform himself. The best (and safest) course of action for him is to call a Professional Electrician for his own peace of mind!!!

p.s.: Thanx, 220/21 for presenting the pictures of the inside/s of a panel!

Last edited by spark plug; 05-06-2009 at 09:12 PM. Reason: appreciation for pict. present.
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:33 AM   #9
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


no evidence of burn -im thinking defective spring or switch
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:35 PM   #10
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


PAG is in a condo, as I recall from the several other threads he/she started on this exact same problem. (Do not start another one! Find this one and add your replies and further questions to the same thread. )



If it's the main, and the electrical service is in a common area, such as an "electrical closet," or something, perhaps this falls under the jurisdiction of the association, which means they call their own electrician--solved.

And as an aside, you're almost certainly prohibited from performing your own electrical work by the association, if not by local and/or state laws. The rationale is that if you create a fire hazard, you put the entire building in jeopardy; it protects others from your lack of knowledge, and you from their's.

Please call an electrician. I know you're in some financial dire straits at the moment, but you need to get this fixed. You could cause the building to burn down if you ignore this any longer. Call in a friend, or a friend of a friend, someone, anyone!
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:32 PM   #11
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pag View Post
heard a faint sizzle like sound
Wear face protection. So far, you've been lucky.
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:43 PM   #12
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


so far today no problems yet -dont know why the other night on off all the time today no problem yet-have a friend says he will test with volt meter
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Old 05-07-2009, 02:50 PM   #13
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


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dont know why the other night on off all the time today no problem yet
It's intermittent. To have a good chance of fixing it you need to somehow make the problem return.

After you put a fix in place how many consecutive trouble-free days would you need for you to say "The problem is gone?" If it's more than 30 days, you might have some trouble with this one.
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:31 PM   #14
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


Problem could aslo be on power companies side as someone else suggested. You can call them and they will check it out for you.
One of there wires may be loose, this happens more often than you might think.
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:56 PM   #15
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main breaker-how to tell if defective?


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no evidence of burn -im thinking defective spring or switch
You pulled the breaker out and looked at the bus? I didn't think so.

It's not defective, it BROKEN. Stuff breaks and wears out. A spring doesn't make an arcing sound. Are you taking medication?

Quote:
so far today no problems yet -dont know why the other night on off all the time today no problem yet-have a friend says he will test with volt meter


Let it go like the job I did today with the same symptoms. A $150 repair turned into a $1200 panel change because of denial. You have been told what the problem is, do something about it.

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