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Old 02-20-2009, 07:42 PM   #16
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Main breaker tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
If a usuable HD clamp-on ammeter is $50 and a service call is $500 you should buy the ammeter if it gives you better than a 10% chance of finding the problem.
A $500 service call???? Maybe in So Cal.
Do you really think a DIY'er with little or no electrical experience will even know how to use a clamp-on?
What will it tell him?


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Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
If you end up calling a tech, he will be more likely to take you seriously.
How so?
I would give more credit to someone who admits that they have no place trying to fix something, than to someone who tried to save a few bucks by trying to fix something they had no place messing with.

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Old 02-20-2009, 09:17 PM   #17
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Main breaker tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
A $500 service call???? Maybe in So Cal.
Do you really think a DIY'er with little or no electrical experience will even know how to use a clamp-on?
That's what instruction manuals and Internet forums are for.
What will it tell him?
A number, useful for troubleshooting, rather than an opinion. It narrows possibilities.

How so?
It puts the tech on notice that this person is curious and somewhat informed.
An auto repair guy once told me my car's alternator was "shot." I said, Is the diode bridge shorted or open? One of the windings open? A short to ground? What?
He did not like that line of questioning at all.
The police call this "running out the alibi."

I would give more credit to someone who admits that they have no place trying to fix something, than to someone who tried to save a few bucks by trying to fix something they had no place messing with.
If my odds and dollar amounts are correct, I think almost anyone would try to DIY this. Otherwise DIY forums would go belly up.

Whether the OP should or not do this depends on their common sense.
If the OP smokes, dying from smoking vs. dying from electrocution are 300 to 1. So in this case, messing around in an electrical panel is relatively safe.

With expert forum help, posting photos and schematics, etc., it gets kind of hard to determine who has no business fixing what.

Even if the OP buys level 2 arc flash protection, he/she may still come out ahead.

I guess I have admiration for people who are curious, who try, who research their odds and the obstacles facing them, and then decide (either way).

Last edited by Yoyizit; 02-20-2009 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 02-20-2009, 09:20 PM   #18
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Main breaker tripping


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Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
With expert forum help, it gets kind of hard to determine who has no business fixing what.
I DO know this. Fixing or replaicng a main breaker is NOT, at all, a DIY project.
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Old 02-20-2009, 09:55 PM   #19
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Main breaker tripping


I usually tend to push the envelope with advising DIYers, but I wouldn't recommend that any DIYer have anything to do with a main breaker.

First, you're dealing with unfused equipment. Even if the POCO transformer is only 10KVA, and they've run the standard #6 triplex, it can still make a pretty big bang. Worse than that, wire under fault-level currents has a tendency to weld itself to whatever it touches. Sometimes, it'll blow the POCO cutout, usually not. It'll usually just heat up until the next weakest thing blows up. Sometimes this occurs before something has caught on fire, sometimes not.

Second, we're dealing with unfused conductors that are connected to a breaker that we know has a problem. The problem could be that the feed end of the breaker is loose. The insulation of the unfused wires may or may not be there.

Taking current readings is certainly a good troubleshooting tool, but I wouldn't recommend that anyone without considerable experience working in hot panels try to clamp around service entrance conductors. They're big, they're usually too close together to get the clamp meter around, and disturbing them is, well.....

Main breakers is one of the few times I'd give a blanket recommendation to get an actual electrician involved. It's just not worth the risk.

Rob
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Old 02-20-2009, 10:30 PM   #20
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Main breaker tripping


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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
replaicng a main breaker
My bad. No DIY. Sorry.
What part of "main" didn't I understand. . .?
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Old 02-21-2009, 02:10 AM   #21
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Main breaker tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
I DO know this. Fixing or replaicng a main breaker is NOT, at all, a DIY project.
Im pretty sure I stated in a previous post that I wasnt replacing it myself and was just trouble shooting to see what I needed.

You strike me as someone with a huge ego that thinks no one else could possibly do your job. You are an electrician not a neurosurgeon.
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Old 02-21-2009, 05:15 AM   #22
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Main breaker tripping


Sounded to me like he was just trying to save your life..... Guess no good deed goes unpunished....
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:10 AM   #23
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Main breaker tripping


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Originally Posted by M. Ready View Post

You strike me as someone with a huge ego that thinks no one else could possibly do your job. You are an electrician not a neurosurgeon.

I personally think this comment is uncalled for. If you are hiring an electrician then whatever was said was clearly not intended towards you. But, keep in mind that thousands of people read these threads and although the site has a disclaimer I don't think it would be a good idea if the members of this site (professional or not) went around telling people to go ahead and do things that are NOT safe. Everyone is being told that it is not safe to do it not that they are dumb and can't do it. Everyone must use their common sense and be prepared for the consequences. Thanks for your time.
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:22 AM   #24
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Main breaker tripping


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You strike me as someone with a huge ego that thinks no one else could possibly do your job. You are an electrician not a neurosurgeon.
No, moderate ego. Mainly because I am damn good at what I do, not because I don't think anyone else can do it.

What do YOU do for a living? Maybe I can pick your brain to save myself some money next time.
Maybe you're a rocket scientist?
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Old 02-21-2009, 08:44 AM   #25
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Main breaker tripping


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Originally Posted by M. Ready View Post
Im pretty sure I stated in a previous post that I wasnt replacing it myself and was just trouble shooting to see what I needed.

You strike me as someone with a huge ego that thinks no one else could possibly do your job. You are an electrician not a neurosurgeon.
Yeah you're right. It's not neurosurgery. When a brain operation goes really bad, you die peacefully on the operating table under really good drugs. When electrical goes bad, you get showered with molten metal and ultraviolet radiation, burning your face and hands and maybe catching your clothes on fire. If you are lucky, you die...

It's scrubs like you that make me not want to post to a DIY forum. Each time I read posts from people like you, it nudges me a little closer. Good luck.
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:06 AM   #26
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Main breaker tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
If a usuable HD clamp-on ammeter is $50 and a service call is $500 you should buy the ammeter if it gives you better than a 10% chance of finding the problem.

And you can sell it again, afterwards.

Do some troubleshooting. If you end up calling a tech, he will be more likely to take you seriously.

HFS!!!!!! where is this place that I can charge $500 for a basic troubleshooting call? I want to move there, I have had simple calls like this before, it can only be one of few various things, a professional should be able to figure it out in less than an hour, 2 hours max if it has compounding factors. around here that call without any repair would cost under $100 for 1 hour under $150 for 2 hours, for $500 you could hire me for the better part of a day and I could test out almost everything in your house.

possibilities;
defective breaker (acouple of posibilities with whats defective in it)
bad connection
something on the line defective and not tripping its ocp right away but the main is reacting faster to it
Gremlins

If it was an older FPE 200 amp I would say its the breaker itself as I have come accross a few of them, have one I am replacing this week that won't stay on, the owner of the house has it held on with duct tape, not tripping it just won't stay on. have not seen any issue with square D mains personaly but that does not mean there is not a defective one here or there.

as for who should or shouldn't be messing around in a panel, as far as I can see if a person has the knowledge of what he is working on and all the safety aspects then go ahead, if they don't have the knowledge or if the person is not comfortable with certain aspects they should NOT be encouraged blindly by others to do something that can pose risk to them. thats why some of us pro's recomend calling someone if it could posibly be beyond that persons skill leval and consiqueces of a mistake can be severe

Last edited by ACB Electric; 02-21-2009 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:19 AM   #27
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Main breaker tripping


I think the gentleman was just putting out feelers as to what the problem may be and if there was a reasonable, safe, fix for it, before he called in a REAL electrician. In my area, if you are installing a main in an older panel, or replacing an existing main in a panel, your are required to notify one of the three electricity supplier in my area to have the meter pulled. You are not, supposed, to start work on the main until the rep from the supplier arrives, removes the meter, verifies that their is a Licensed Electrician on site, hands over written material stating the meter pull, and gives the clearance for the work to begin. Likewise, after the main repair, the electrical supply service rep will return in a timely manner , re-install the meter and sign off on the work from his end. As of approximately five years ago, the local City and GA. Power require a sticker within the panel stating the new main change and date which will be signed by the Licensed Electrician and dated. So see M. Ready I'm not bashing, I'm trying to share how complicated it can be in certain jurisdictions. The previous information is from hands-on experience working with a Licensed Electrician. Thanks, David
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:18 AM   #28
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Main breaker tripping


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Originally Posted by ACB Electric View Post
HFS!!!!!!
I can guess what HFS means, even if I can't find it on the Internet.

I should have used ratios rather absolute prices, because it's the ratio of the cost of an instrument to the cost of a service call, plus the likelihoods.
There is also this
"In economics, utility is a measure of the relative satisfaction from or desirability of consumption of goods. . ."
http://home.ubalt.edu/ntsbarsh/Busin...ts/Utility.htm
My utility for a 100 dollar bill is high; for Bill Gates it is insignificant, about the same as pocket change.

I assign a very high utility to me doing a job myself, and a very low utility to having to call in an expert, even if the expert is reasonably priced.
Of course, me ending up on the evening news is very bad, but the likelihood of this is very low, in my judgement.
Because of the utility function, a person with values other than mine may come to a completely different decision.

There's another aspect to this.
To some extent, the life and health of the person who does this work depends on PoCo doing the right thing on this job.
Large organizations do not care about individuals, not even the ones who work for them.
I like to avoid getting into situations like this. You can get to be dead, and your widow will probably not prevail in a wrongful death lawsuit.

I haven't taken this test \/ yet.
http://www.pressanykey.com/cgi-bin/egotest.cgi
but "huge ego" does sound like
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem


Last edited by Yoyizit; 02-21-2009 at 01:26 PM.
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