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Old 04-29-2012, 04:18 PM   #1
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No Voltage at circuit breaker terminals


My kitchen circuit breaker tripped again (California). Resetting the suspect circuit breaker used to fix this... (it happens every few months) Now things are dark again in the kitchen and most of the back of the house. Resetting the usual suspect circuit breaker does not help. I reset all of them for good measure. (still dark).

The strange is when checking voltages with meter voltmeter, from the bottom-up, every other breaker terminal does not read 120V, they are OV. All of the breakers are set properly, so why are half of them dead at their output terminal (where the wire connects) I'm thinking possibly a buss bar problem? If so, how to troubleshoot that?


Thx!!

Mark

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Old 04-29-2012, 04:23 PM   #2
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No Voltage at circuit breaker terminals


IF you are comfortable with testing on a HOT breaker/panel box ..........

Check the main lugs where the power comes in to the panel box, as you say it appears that power has dropped from one of the bus bars. It should read 220 volts across the two lugs or 110 from each lug to neutral or ground. Check to see if you have a fused main disconnect that control the breaker box, it may have blown one fuse....

If no fuses are ahead of the panel box, then it is possible your POCO transformer lost one leg on their secondary side to your service, or a bus connection on your panel box is bad. I have also seen meter bases burn off one lug on the load side in the socket base from non-treated aluminum wire connections or improper torque on the lug. Good luck.


Last edited by Jeeps; 04-29-2012 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 04-29-2012, 04:30 PM   #3
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No Voltage at circuit breaker terminals


[quote=MrO;910285 I'm thinking possibly a buss bar problem? If so, how to troubleshoot that?


Thx!!

Mark[/quote]


This is not a do it yourself project for anyone with no experience. Find someone qualified to work on a live panel before you hurt yourself.
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Old 04-29-2012, 04:57 PM   #4
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Hi Guys,

Jeeps
Awsome response time to my question. I strongly suspected the buss bar due to the described symptoms, but just lacked the proper troubleshooting method. I'll proceed with great caution and call in the pro's if I start doubting myself (I'd like to enjoy retirement) I get just as much enjoyment from a proper diagnosis as I do the repair. Let's face it, we can't fix 'em all. I'll also post when the problem is resolved... Gimme a week or so.... Right now the problem isn't too much of a nuisance...

Missouri Bound

I appreciate your concern, I do... But... I am a bit annoyed with your response and assumption about my experience. Yes, electricity is dangerous, lethal even, but lets face it, it's not rocket science. Had you of bothered to ask, I would have shared with you that I am a electronics engineer by profession, with considerable HV test experience. House wiring is just not something that I've had to give to much thought to. It's there when you by the house, and for the most part it's just taken for granted. Problems like this make we want to understand it better. That's why I joiined this forum... Seems like alot of great guidance here. It sounds like you've been doing this for a while and have seen you share of yo-yo's that should never pick up a voltmeter.. I've seen my share to...

Check up on my future posts on this.. Sound like you might have some helpful time-saving pointers (unless your time saving pointer is to pay a tradesmen to do it)
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Last edited by MrO; 04-29-2012 at 05:00 PM. Reason: add text
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:02 PM   #5
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No Voltage at circuit breaker terminals


Have you reset the main breaker?
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:28 PM   #6
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It wont be nuisance until you attempt to use your oven, dryer, or ac assuming they are all electric appliances
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:37 PM   #7
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No Voltage at circuit breaker terminals


Its not a buss bar problem. Either one leg of the main has tripped. Try resetting the main breaker (as suggested above). If there is a fused disco before the "main" breaker, one of them could have blown. You would have to meter the line side of the fuses to see if they have voltage. Or its a POCO problem.
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:39 PM   #8
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No Voltage at circuit breaker terminals


Easiest thing to do, is meter before the main breaker. If you have one leg hot, and one leg dead, 99% sure its a POCO problem and you would need to contact them.

For any other problem, call a professional.
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:54 PM   #9
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Did you only pay 1/2 your electric bill? Maybe they turned off 1/2 your electric. ;-) You should call your utility co and have them start looking into everything I their end. We had the same thing happen and it ended up being the transformer.
Good luck!
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:12 PM   #10
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I think the OP left, when Mo bound gave them a reality check.
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Old 04-29-2012, 08:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
I think the OP left, when Mo bound gave them a reality check.
I didn't mean to offend anyone....honest!
Maybe if I can save someone's once in a while it is worth it.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:00 AM   #12
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I am sorry, but if they think that asking on the fantasy world called the Internet is going to just make things all fine and cherry, they are in for a rude awaking. I am getting to the point, that I am not going to sugar coat anything, and just lay it out on the table. I am already in trouble on one forum, for speaking my mind, and telling it like it is, and people are not liking it, because they want the same answer as everyone else is giving on there. No wonder why the Internet is the protect the children, because they can not take the truth, out on the majority of the forums.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:25 PM   #13
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Hi Guys,

All is well, after reinspecting the circuit breaker problem again, I came to the conclusion that the problem had to be upstream from the breaker box as some of y'all suggested. So.... I called the POCO and they had two crews out within 4 hours to fix the problem. It was indeed the POCO transformer that lost one leg on their secondary side to my service. We have a well lit house again. Thx to all of you that shared your conventional wisdom with me on what the problem probably was. I truly value the expertise that is made available on these forums. Most of you are a great asset to the forum community... Thanx again for all your help!!!
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:38 PM   #14
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No Voltage at circuit breaker terminals


Thank you for letting us know how it turned out and glad it was a easy fix for you ( someone else did it)

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