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Old 06-10-2012, 06:45 PM   #1
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


I have three 20 amp 2 pole circuit breakers in the main box. The right side of all these 3 breakers keep losing power intermittently. The breakers lose power at the same time, but no breaker ever tripped. And the power was resumed by automatically. Power lost and resumed at the same time everytime it happened. Anybody have any ideas about this problem? Thanks.

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Old 06-10-2012, 07:10 PM   #2
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


Are any other circuits loosing power and are all 3 of these breakers next to each other? It sounds like you are loosing one of the hots. It could be a problem starting from the power company transformer all the way to your bus bar. I would first try turning the main breaker off and on to see if the intermittent connection is possibly inside of the main breaker.

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Last edited by zappa; 06-10-2012 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:36 PM   #3
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


what make of panel?what about other ckts?
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:02 PM   #4
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


Only these three 2 pole 20 amp UND (Zinsco) breakers loosing power. It happened once in a couple days. Last night it occurred. This morning, I found it resumed. No breakers ever tripped.

I have total 9 breakers on the panel: (from left to right) 50-50 amp for range, 20 amp single pole for 3 bed rooms, 20 amp single pole, 20 amp double pole, 20 amp double pole, 30-30 amp for dryer, 20 amp double pole, 15 amp single pole, 100 - 100 amp main in.

I couldn't find the brand of the main panel, but I have taken a few pictures of it. I would like to provide the pics, but don't know how.

Zappa said it possible power lost all the way from the transfomer to my panel. Do you think the transformer deliver power to individual houses through individual wires so that power may be lost only in one house?

As power loss does not occur often, it is hard to see the power loss by turning off and on the main breaker.

I appreciate your help.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:36 AM   #5
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


Quote:
Originally Posted by River888 View Post
Zappa said it possible power lost all the way from the transfomer to my panel. Do you think the transformer deliver power to individual houses through individual wires so that power may be lost only in one house?

As power loss does not occur often, it is hard to see the power loss by turning off and on the main breaker.

I appreciate your help.
Yes, at some point there are individual wires feeding only your home especially with on the ground transformers. I was just covering all bases as we don't know your setup.

However, from your added information I doubt if you are loosing one of your hots as it would affect all of your circuits that run off of that one leg. A panel alternates power legs which is why I was asking the location of the 3 breakers.

Sometimes the contacts inside of a breaker can get a slight oxidation on them which is why I mentioned flipping the main off and on a few times. This can basically "clean" the contacts and make them reliable again in some cases.

But again, this doesn't seem to be part of your problem and I can't think of any other ideas to offer.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:46 AM   #6
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


Sounds like you are losing the power feed to these three breakers,
Could be a loose connection on one of your hots !
Is anything else losing power ?

We need to know more about your panel set up !

Can you post your pics on photo bucket ?
Then come back and post the links ?
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:55 AM   #7
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


Being a zinsco panel, all of the single pole breakers could be on the same leg, and only the 240V equipment on both.


Zinsco bus bars are notorious for burning up behind bad breakers, you really should call an electrician unless you are comfortable removing breakers that may not go back on.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:27 PM   #8
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


More details on my power losing issue:

1. The 100 - 100 amp main power in breaker is Zinsco brand. suppose the panel is Zinsco too. Built in 1969.

2. I don't see "photo bucket". How to upload pictures? Please tell me in detials.

3. The power panel originally had 8 breakers including the main, the range, and the dryer. I added one 20 amp 2 pole breaker in 2003 for a newly added room with bath. This 20 amo 2 pole was installed between the 30 - 30 amp dryer breaker and the 15 amp single breaker for furnace and water heater. there was no problems ever since until recently.

4. The current power losing problem started since some 2 months ago. The refrigerator (using right side of the 2nd 20 amp 2 pole) lost power often and intermittently, once or twice a day without regularity.

5. I swapped the breakers between the frige and the kitchen disposer. The frige reconnected to the left side of the first 20 amp 2 pole breaker and the disposer reconnected to the right side of the 2nd 20 amp 2 pole breaker. since then the frige never had power loss, but the disposer and the righ sides
of the other two 20 amp 2 poles started losing power. They lost power at the same time and resumed at the same time too. No breaker ever tripped. I didn't notice whether other breakers ever lost power because it didn't happen often. And I used the range only at cooking time and not to use the dryer.

The right side of all three 20 amp 2 poles lost power in the past two days occurred at night and resumed in the morning. I didn't have time to test the viltage before I noticed the occurance.

Questions:

1. Techy said all single breakers are set on the same hot bus bar. Zappa said all breakers are arranged alternately. Does this include the 50-50 for range and 30-30 for dryer, and 100-100 main power in?

2. I added one 20 amp 2 pole breaker in 2003, is this related to the current power losing issue?

Here is the current breakers arrangement (last time I made two 20 amp single breakers at the left section of the hot bar, which was wrong. There is only one 20 amp single breaker):

50-50 amp for range --- 20 amp single for bed rooms --- 20 amp 2 pole for frige and washer --- 20 amp 2 pole for garage door and disposer --- 30-30 amp for dryer --- 20 amp 2 pole for new room and bath --- 15 amp for furnace and water heater --- 100-100 main power in.

Thanks for you all gurus. I appreciate your help.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:45 PM   #9
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


With Zinsco breakers, the installing electrician has the option of which bus the breaker lands on, which could mean they all got installed on the same bus.


You can tell which bus each breaker is attached to with a voltmeter.


imgur.com
is a very easy image hosting site, drag and drop the pictures from your computer to your browser window, hit upload, and post the links it gives you here
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:37 PM   #10
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


The photo pic. has been uploaded to: http://imgur.com/rs73k

Techy, If all breakers arranged randomly on the two bus bars, will that cause problem?
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:39 PM   #11
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


Now, of course you can get breakers still for the Zinsco panels http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...insco+breakers Would I do it? Probably not, due to the inherent problems that that panel has. Can you post a picture farther back showing what is around it, and height from ground, and if the meter is attached or not.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:51 PM   #12
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


Do you own a volt meter?


Nothing looks out of the ordinary with the way the breakers are installed, you only have 2 full size single poles, so the breakers should be fairly balanced across the two busses.


How often does this happen?


I would imagine the Double 50 and Double 30 have the same problem, as well.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:21 PM   #13
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


most likely burned busses.zinscos have aluminum busses.the single 15 and 20 amp could be on same buss but all others are split between busses.if you cannot afford a new pannel,you can have busses replaced.I do it all the time where i live.measure the buss bars and add an inch or two.get two copper busses 1/8" x 3/4 wide.measure from the buss retainer on left to retainer on right.looks like you can put 12 breakers in that panel.breakers are 3/4" wide.the main and the two pole 30 amp are 3/4 each side.get two bars 14" long.cut new ones exatly the same length as old ones.

Last edited by oleguy74; 06-11-2012 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:44 PM   #14
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


PS...don't break the bakelite buss retainers.they don't make them any more.they can be had but are pricey.if you need call me...mike at (760)373-8440..i do have some parts.

Last edited by oleguy74; 06-11-2012 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 06-16-2012, 01:56 PM   #15
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One Side of three 2 pole circuit breakers lose power intermittently


Hi Everybody,

Thanks for your help. Based on all information you provided, it seems to me that the problem is poor connection on one of the two bus bars, caused by the input main breaker or by the POCO transformer. I am waitinig for the power loss to occur again so that I can test the voltages at two bus bars to verify it. However, the power loss hasn't occur again yet. I will post the result here later.

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