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Old 10-08-2011, 07:04 PM   #1
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Oxidization on Terminals


200 Amp entrance. Two very thick (look like 6 or 8 gauge) wires are screwed down at the top of the panel. The screws are covered in white, what looks like oxidization that you sometimes see on a car battery.

Is this normal, or something I should get corrected? No water above the box (yikes that would be scary), so I don't know where it got the moisture.
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:23 PM   #2
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The white isn't normal. Copper or aluminum wires? Can you post a picture?
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:16 PM   #3
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Here is a picture. I would *think* they are copper, but I can't be sure....
Hmm..lookit that cobweb in there, I gotta put the cover back on!

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Old 10-11-2011, 06:38 PM   #4
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That looks like an old-style BRYANT panel, with aluminum conductors on the mains.

I'd be willing to bet that you did have some water trickling down at one time or another with the corrosion present on those lugs.

From the looks of things on this end, I'd say that breaker is beyond hope and repair. Better plan on completely replacing that sucker in the near future.

How about a larger shot, showing the whole panel, and the service cable emerging from the top? And another photo of the service drop/meter box on the outside?
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:30 AM   #5
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Agreed kb, or high humidity at some point in time.

Some different pictures as kb suggested might help. I had to stare at it for a minute to see the forest through the trees.
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:14 PM   #6
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Oxidization on Terminals


As KB says, that main breaker looks trashed. I would not count on it to trip - or even operate, for that matter. It definitely looks like it's had water coming in. Is your service entrance overhead? Can you post pictures of it? Sometimes water can actually travel inside the cable between the strands, and that looks like what may be happening here.
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:57 PM   #7
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Sorry for the delay! Another pic

Shot above the box

An electrician would be the guy to install a new 200A breaker, yes? I don't think it's something I would want to attempt myself.
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:25 PM   #8
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Oxidization on Terminals


New breaker and possibly 4/0 service entrance cable is in order if it's not long enough after you remove bad part. Don't look like they used ox guard. I coat the cable and the set screw with ox guard on all services I do. Since I have always done overhead I take special care to make sure wires are very well ox guarded. I can't believe how many places I go to that people have arching in the panel and heating up breakers because they never used any ox guard at all.
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:01 PM   #9
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Can you send a pic of the service entrance to the house, where the overhead line from the power company comes in? That's what I was concerned about. I bet there's no drip loop. It looks like the water ran in through the cable itself.
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Old 12-07-2011, 04:23 PM   #10
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Resurrecting this old thread...

had an electrician come by today to look at this and this is his feedback:

Def aluminum cable, contacts may be aluminum as well. Oxgard was not used.
Cannot find a replacement breaker, even a refurbed one! Yikes! Recommends swapping out entire service panel.
It is an old style Bryant panel, although my electrician thinks Siemens and one other makes closely compatible panels.
He would do the new panel, new 200A breaker, and just reuse all my existing good breakers (of course they'd all have to be unwired and rewired to the new panel, a fair amount of work).
I think I do need a new panel, I have one breaker that if I put the microwave on this circuit, the microwave acts sort of sporadic when it runs, and you can hear arcing in the panel. So obviously some corrosion has got into the panel here and there.

he wants 600 smackers for everything. Reasonable? Is it worth looking harder for a replacement 200A breaker like that? (The one in the box is literally coming apart).
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Old 12-07-2011, 04:41 PM   #11
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That sounds like a pretty good price for a panel change. If the bus bars in the old panel are damaged from moisture and/or arcing, you can count on needing to replace some of the breakers too.
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:04 PM   #12
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Might be cheap, but in any case, no way would I reuse the old breakers.
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:21 PM   #13
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Cheep enough, but get all new breakers. And make sure that the new breakers are listed for use in the new panel (Siemens panel = Siemens breakers, etc)
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:28 PM   #14
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Thanks all. I just found a place that can get me a refurbed 200A Bryant breaker like I need..for $285! Might as well do the whole enchilada!
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougp23 View Post
Thanks all. I just found a place that can get me a refurbed 200A Bryant breaker like I need..for $285! Might as well do the whole enchilada!
Change the whole thing out, no saying what damage could have been done to the breakers or bus bars
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