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Old 02-18-2014, 08:00 PM   #1
Chris from Philadelphia
 
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


This has been happening since I moved into this house, but I just thought to post about it now.

One breaker is pretty much always tripped (but all the power in the house at every receptacle/fixture works). When I go to reset it/turn it on, another breaker trips and there is a nice arc inside the breaker box. Then when I reset this breaker, the other breaker trips and arcs. And back and forth and back and forth.

Am I right in assuming that there are some crossed wires somewhere? Would a hot lead from circuit "A" and a hot lead from circuit "B" cause this? (I don't think so). Or would a hot lead from circuit "A" and a neutral/ground lead from circuit "B" cause this? (This sounds more like it...). What is the best way of diagnosing this problem? Thanks!

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Old 02-18-2014, 08:01 PM   #2
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


The hot phases are shorting out somewhere.

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Old 02-18-2014, 08:10 PM   #3
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


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The hot phases are shorting out somewhere.
Is there any device I can use to help diagnose where they're shorting out, or will have to go into every box and see?

Also, I can understand a hot shorting out and tripping the breaker from the circuit that the hot is on, but why is it tripping a separate breaker?

Last edited by hellohello; 02-18-2014 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:15 PM   #4
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


It's shorting phase to phase. One breaker is sensing the short quicker than the other. You will have to trace the circuit out and start checking things.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:18 PM   #5
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


Be careful when you test this.
I ran across this one time, pulled the wire from the tripped breaker and it arced.

Turn both breakers off and find out what doesn't work, and then start pulling thing apart.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:21 PM   #6
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


Are either of the circuits part of a 3 wire (multi wire branch) circuit?
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:24 PM   #7
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


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Be careful when you test this.
I ran across this one time, pulled the wire from the tripped breaker and it arced.

Turn both breakers off and find out what doesn't work, and then start pulling thing apart.
It's a 1024 square foot apartment (second floor of a duplex), and the sad part is that this breaker powers just about everything up here (since there are some wires crossed) except the kitchen.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:27 PM   #8
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


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Are either of the circuits part of a 3 wire (multi wire branch) circuit?
Not sure, how would I know this?
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:29 PM   #9
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


Most likely that the 2 wires on these breakers started off as separate, independent circuits, and subsequently got their wires crossed. Exactly what and how many outlets and light fixtures do these breakers control?
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:30 PM   #10
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


Do you own this house?
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:35 PM   #11
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


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Do you own this house?
Yes I do.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:36 PM   #12
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


I can go check the panel if necessary.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:46 PM   #13
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


Turn off both breakers...Take the wire off the breaker that is tripped...Cap wire...tag the wire as being double fed circuit
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:46 PM   #14
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


Doubtful it's in the panel.
Do you own any testers or meters?
Are you dead set on doing this yourself, even though you are in over your head?
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:58 PM   #15
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One breaker trips when I turn another breaker on


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Turn off both breakers...Take the wire off the breaker that is tripped...Cap wire...tag the wire as being double fed circuit
And just fuhgettaboutit? I thought about this, and this is definitely an option I'll consider, but I'm so stubborn and always ask "why". So I probably won't sleep easy until I find out why/where this problem is coming from. It's a blessing and a curse

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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
Doubtful it's in the panel.
Do you own any testers or meters?
Are you dead set on doing this yourself, even though you are in over your head?
Yes, I have a multi-meter, clamp meter, proximity tester, continuity tester, simple light tester. That's it. I do a lot of "simple" electrical work (fish wire, run new circuits, replacing light fixtures, receptacles, switches, etc.) so I'm not a total newbie, but I'm obviously not a professional electrician either, so I have never come across this situation myself. But I'm pretty confident I could handle it...with the help of some of you nice folks pointing me in the right direction of course

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