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Old 04-17-2012, 07:48 PM   #1
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New wiring tripping breaker on another circuit?


I have a 1960s house with EMT throughout.

I recently replaced 2 florecent fixtures in my basement with 4 LED lights in their own J-Boxes in the drop ceiling. I did the following:

1. Rerouted the the conduit from the light switch to the main j-box for the lights. (previously it was going directly into the fixture)
2. Ran 4 foot whips to each jbox holding the LED (metalic 14# wires)
3. Cut the old spliced wire (that was just twisted and taped) and used a wire nut
4. Replaced the switch with a dimmer

The lights work great. Noticebale improvement and the dimmer is excellent.

The issue is that the circuit for the kitchen is now tripping. I told my wife its just a coincidence, but she is sure I caused it. Its only happened 2x (1 day apart. Nothing unusual running on the circuit, only the fridge and the gas stove which as not in use)

Can my "new" work possibly impact another circuit? What should I check? Any way to avoid re-doing my work?

Things I noticed / may or may not be relevant:
1. Some of the EMT is directly in contact with a copper water pipe
2. The switch / dimmer isn't grounded
3. The wires in the jbox were nasty and old. There was corrosion on the jackets and the jbox. Looks like some water leaked down fromt the laundy above at some point in the last 40 years.
4. At some point (months ago) when I was in the basement I touched some of the EMT and something that was plugged in I swear I feld a shock. (just listing everything I can think of). I didn't think much of it at the time, but now my whole electrical system is suspect.
5. The tripped circuit (fridge, MW, stove) didn't appear to be tripped. The fridge wasn't on. When I turned off and back on the circuit the aplliances came back to life. Appliances less than 1 year old.
6. The clock on the range was reset at one point but I didn't think I turned on or off the circuit. The lights for the basement were switced off but still worked with the fridge circuit tripped.
7. We had a huge electrical storm right before I did the work
8. We have a "stablock" panel that the home inspector got all bent out of shape about. Other than truning on and off breakers I have never touched it.
9. Kitchen breaker and basement light breaker are adjacent in the box
10. I believe kitchen and basement share the same EMT in places.
11. I think I now have too many connectors in my j-box. Will likely add an extension.
12. I didn't use the red "bushing" on all my whips as I ran out of them, but I was careful with the metal sheath and really don't think any wires were cut. (besides if there was a short wouldn't my LED lights fail and that circut break?)

HELP. I am happy to call a contractor to come in, but I don't have an electrician I trust yet and I'm scared bringing someone in before I isolate the problem a little.

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Old 04-17-2012, 08:52 PM   #2
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New wiring tripping breaker on another circuit?


From what you are listing, it could be almost anything.

The breaker could be going bad and tripping at a lesser load than it had previously. FPE breakers can be replaced.

It would be odd that anything you did affected the kitchen circuit, unless there is a cracked wire in your JBox shorting out.

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Old 04-17-2012, 09:03 PM   #3
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New wiring tripping breaker on another circuit?


turn the basement circuit off for a few days. see if the kitchen problem goes away.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:35 PM   #4
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New wiring tripping breaker on another circuit?


couple questions -

1. how long between completing the work and the 1st kitchen trip. how long between 1st and second trip
2. is the kitchen a regular 15a/20a circuit breaker or a gfci or afci circuit breaker
3. something tells me the shared conduit between the two circuits and/or the adjacent circuit breakers are the most likely culprits

if any of your work on the basement circuit pulled any of the kitchen circuit connections loose it will really piss off an afci
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Old 04-19-2012, 02:51 PM   #5
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New wiring tripping breaker on another circuit?


1) 1st trip was while I was completing the work. 2nd trip was 24 hours later. Hasn't tripped again.

2) Its a regular 20a breaker (there are no GFCI or AFCI in the panel)

3) shoul I replace the breaker and inspect the box where the adjaent breakers are? What would be the issue with the shared conduit, thought this was normal and accpetable?

I don't think anything could have been pulled. I cut the wires and re-connected them in the box so I didn't do any pulling on the main wires

Maybe I will run a dedicated circuit to the fridge. I will see how much work that would be. Depends on how many wires run through the conduit. Its not a long run at all. I just don't want my food to spoil.

Is it possible this is a shared neutral situation? (I read that old houses in the Chicago area often shared neutral wires to cut costs)
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Old 04-19-2012, 02:52 PM   #6
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New wiring tripping breaker on another circuit?


Quote:
Originally Posted by afci View Post
Item 5: Fridge and micro-wave on the same circuit?
Yes. I don't think thats uncommon in a 40 yo house. At least the kitchen's other outlets are on a separate circuit.
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Old 04-19-2012, 02:54 PM   #7
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New wiring tripping breaker on another circuit?


Quote:
Originally Posted by k_buz View Post
From what you are listing, it could be almost anything.

The breaker could be going bad and tripping at a lesser load than it had previously. FPE breakers can be replaced.

It would be odd that anything you did affected the kitchen circuit, unless there is a cracked wire in your JBox shorting out.
Will replace the breaker.

If there is a cracked wire, would it have to be one of the wires for the circuit that is tripping or can a cracked wire in one circuit trip another circuit? This is the key part of my question. I did a ton of searching but couldn't find an answer.
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Old 04-19-2012, 02:55 PM   #8
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New wiring tripping breaker on another circuit?


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Originally Posted by itsnotrequired View Post
turn the basement circuit off for a few days. see if the kitchen problem goes away.
Basement circuit is also the garage circuit, and I need my car. I could disconnect my lights and see if that impact the situation.
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:48 PM   #9
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New wiring tripping breaker on another circuit?


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Originally Posted by Kinggofg View Post
Basement circuit is also the garage circuit, and I need my car. I could disconnect my lights and see if that impact the situation.
'need my car' as in 'i need the garage door opener' or 'need my car' as in 'i have an electric vehicle charging on this same circuit'?
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:56 PM   #10
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New wiring tripping breaker on another circuit?


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Originally Posted by itsnotrequired View Post
'need my car' as in 'i need the garage door opener' or 'need my car' as in 'i have an electric vehicle charging on this same circuit'?
As in garage door opener.

Hasn't tripped again.

Maybe it was just a coincidence that it tripped while I was working...
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:27 PM   #11
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New wiring tripping breaker on another circuit?


chock it up to coincidence unless it happens again
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:36 AM   #12
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New wiring tripping breaker on another circuit?


One possiblty it may happend when you doing the wiring in the conduit if you have more than 2 white conductors if that the case you may have crossed netural.

I have see it happend few time before. it is not easy to sort it out but it can be done.

Do you have a RCD ( GFCI ) receptales if so and where they are located ?

I did see that you mention you are in Chicago area if that is true let me know I have the colour listing it may help you on that.

Merci,
Marc

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