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Old 09-21-2012, 12:30 PM   #1
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


Square D 100A. I'm not at the property right now, so I can't check anything with voltmeter.

The circuit working is on breaker 9, and only that particular breaker will cut off the voltage.


I visually inspected the meter outside (it's one of those Smart meters, I think - digital). I didn't notice if the values were changing. I didn't see any other feeders from the meter to another potential panel, and nothing seems to be tapped from the pole.

What's up with this?

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Old 09-21-2012, 12:48 PM   #2
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


Some electrical panels are for rural areas and have a separate breaker for the water well. That is in case of fire, you can still have water with the main breaker off. Maybe something like that?

And I have seen some areas which have a separate electric hot water heater meter - perhaps separate power?

And also is the power really on? Some of those "power testers" will give false readings. Can you plug something in and it works?

And then people do all sorts or weird wiring, no telling what someone did. Take pictures of the panels(s) with the covers off and post here if possible.

Another thing is with office buildings or old homes which have been separated into apartments. They will switch rooms from one unit to the next, but not move the wiring to the other meter. So powered by the meter next door?

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Old 09-21-2012, 01:12 PM   #3
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


Thanks, Billy. I'll go take some pics, and post them. This is a single family dwelling in the city.

The power is actually on, as indicated by ceiling fans and lights operating.
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:43 PM   #4
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


In my neck of the woods they used to have a flat rate 30a service for water tanks. When they stopped the service they didn't disconnect them all. Many places had a seperate 30a service bypassing the meter still fully functional for years.
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:35 PM   #5
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


andrew adn billy-

is it still a common practice to have a separate panel for wells?

when you say "bypassing the meter", do you mean there is a separate wire from the street directly attached to this panel?
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:55 PM   #6
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


If you can, take a picture of the inside of the panel so we can see what is going on in there. I have seen panels where one "side" of the service was not metered before but not just one or two circuits.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:24 PM   #7
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


OK, here's what I've got. I hope they come out large enough to see:

REFRESH BROWSER if first pic appears upside-down.










Last edited by sirsparksalot; 09-21-2012 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:42 PM   #8
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


Well, the plot thickens. I don't see anything on that breaker that would allow it to be hot with the main off.

Need to get a romex clamp on that cable coming in from the bottom. Not sure if my colorblindness is messing with me or is that a red wire going to the neutral?
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:46 PM   #9
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


It's RED, and is being used for the EGC at the bottom: NOTICE, that it's broken off. A real mess.

BTW: If the 1st pic appears upside-down, refresh your browser.

I took voltage tests at each leg, and every other one was OFF (or ON, depending how you care to think of it). So, I'm saying the Main is bad, and replacing the panel is the fix???.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:49 PM   #10
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


That would make more sense.
I would replace the panel as I hate those panels that have the ground bar surrounded by the incoming feeds.
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:00 PM   #11
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


Well that first pic won't right-side itself up, so I don't know what to do about it; sorry.
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:08 PM   #12
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


Well, I went ahead and bought another 100A 20/20 QO panel. This one has an Aluminum Bus, does anyone see a problem with that? If so, I can always take it back before install tomorrow and get a Copper, but I'd rather stick with the price I got, if possible. Is there anything I need to do other than to make sure the breakers are AL/CU rated?
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:22 PM   #13
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


Quote:
Originally Posted by sirsparksalot View Post
Square D 100A. I'm not at the property right now, so I can't check anything with voltmeter.

The circuit working is on breaker 9, and only that particular breaker will cut off the voltage.


I visually inspected the meter outside (it's one of those Smart meters, I think - digital). I didn't notice if the values were changing. I didn't see any other feeders from the meter to another potential panel, and nothing seems to be tapped from the pole.

What's up with this?
" With main off "
are you refering to the main breaker/switch ?
Or just one particular breaker ?
Have you confimed its real power ?
not just phantom voltage ?
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:37 PM   #14
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


Quote:
Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
" With main off "
are you refering to the main breaker/switch ?
Or just one particular breaker ?
Have you confimed its real power ?
not just phantom voltage ?
Main Breaker, yes. The one where the Service enters

Real Voltage 115-118vAC on the live ones
Phantom (around 10-12v) on those dead.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:49 PM   #15
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Main OFF, Power Still Available in Three Rooms


Sounds like you bought the Homeline panel instead of the QO. The breakers are not interchangeable and you will need new breakers also. If you buy a QO panel you can reuse the breakers.

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