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Old 06-25-2009, 01:29 PM   #1
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problems with a 220 circuit


Hi,

A few days ago I installed a new 110 circuit to add some lights and a fan. The box was a bit tight and the new breaker had to go at the bottom so it was easier to route if I popped off the upper ones an swung them to the side.

I reinstalled everything and restored power and everything seemed fine, except 36 hours later I had no hot water, zero. I pulled the panel on the heater and tested the red and black lines going to the main block and got 0 volts instead of 220. I went back to the panel and tested between the two circuit breakers and got zero. when I test between either of them and ground, I get 110, but between them, 0.

I'm far from expert but it seems as if I wired them out of phase or something. The two GE breakers in the circle are for the WH circuit. I'm pretty sure I connected them back to the same lugs they were on, but not 100% on it. The gap above them seems a bit odd. On the left of it there is a grab lug to hold the back of a breaker, but there is no connector lug in the center so I don't see how a breaker could go there.

Any ideas what I'm doing wrong here? I really need a hot shower

Thank You,
Eric



Last edited by everyman; 06-25-2009 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:34 PM   #2
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problems with a 220 circuit


Based upon your Voltage measurements, it sounds like you connected both sides of the HWH circuit to the same "phase" (same bus bar).

Your image isn't loading for me, but are these slimline 1/2" GE breakers?

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Old 06-25-2009, 01:37 PM   #3
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problems with a 220 circuit


You need to move the DP slimline up one slot. Right now you have both poles of the breaker on the same hot leg.

This is one of the big disadvantages to using the GE Slimline double pole breakers.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:38 PM   #4
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problems with a 220 circuit


Quote:
Originally Posted by HouseHelper View Post
You need to move the DP slimline up one slot. Right now you have both poles of the breaker on the same hot leg.
Agreed.

Image works for me now..

EDIT: BTW - When you're doing work in that box, make sure the wires don't have any paint on the bare copper before you re-attach them. It could lead to a bad connection. Someone went a bit crazy with a paint sprayer...

A lot of your hot wires are now mis-marked as neutrals, too, which is a violation. Though I wouldn't get too high strung about that given the circumstances.

Last edited by ScottR; 06-25-2009 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:55 PM   #5
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problems with a 220 circuit


Hi,
Thanks for the fast reply. I figured this had to be the issue, but I'm still stymied. As I mentioned, in the gap between the top GE 30 Amp, and the 20 Amp above it there is no contact lug, so what would it connect to?

They couldn't have previously been separated with one on the bank above the gap and one below it because they are tied together with that metal clip. Here is a closer shot of it. I'm feeling particularly stupid at the moment asking, but could you splain how this works?

Thanks again

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Old 06-25-2009, 01:58 PM   #6
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problems with a 220 circuit


Pull the breaker out and take a photo of where it was.

If you move it down one slot, it'll probably work, I base this on the fact that opposite of it down one slot is another 220 slimline.

You somehow managed to get the breaker(s) on the same phase, so yes, each leg has 110 volts, but it is the same phase, so the only power available to the WH is 110.
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Old 06-25-2009, 02:13 PM   #7
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problems with a 220 circuit


In the attached pic, the yellow line shows one bus connection, and the red line another.

The yellow and red connections are on different "phases" (it's actually a single phase system, but the analogy holds). The bus connections alternate vertically between each phase.

You get 240V between each phase (each pole), and so your breaker has to touch both the yellow and red bus connections. Right now they are both connecting to the red bus which will still give you 120V from either pole to neutral, but 0V between poles. Move it up and the top half of the breaker will touch the yellow connection, and the bottom will touch the red connection giving you 240V.

Most breaker panels do not accept this style of slim breaker, and so installing a double-pole breaker automatically ensures that each pole is on a different phase. (For example, the 60A breaker in the top-left of your panel cannot be mis-connected).
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Old 06-25-2009, 02:14 PM   #8
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problems with a 220 circuit


As requested, here's a shot with the two breakers pulled. You can see the two lugs on the right separated by a thin plastic wall.

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Old 06-25-2009, 02:47 PM   #9
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problems with a 220 circuit


++Yay,

You got me going in the right direction. It didn't have to slide up because there were no connections in that gap. What I had done was to accidentally reverse the positions of these two and the single breaker below them. As soon as I swapped them she started percolating.

I didn't really understand the way the two legs are actually stacked on top of each other like that. The clue was when I realized that there was another 240 connection to the AC directly across the way, so if I moved it down parallel to that all was good.

Thanks for the help gents!
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Old 06-25-2009, 02:53 PM   #10
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problems with a 220 circuit


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It didn't have to slide up because there were no connections in that gap.
Moving it down is just as effective -- you were thinking that out correctly matching up to the A/C breaker across the way.

However, there was a connection in the gap above it. The yellow line in the pic from my previous post was the other bus connection. (The slimline breakers connect on their sides, not in the middle like most breakers).
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Old 06-25-2009, 02:57 PM   #11
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problems with a 220 circuit


You had to move it down, not up as I previously noted. That particular panel only accepts slim breakers in the bottom section. Look closely and you will see some small tabs adjacent to the larger bus tabs... these are what the slim breakers connect too. I wasn't able to see those in the first photos.

Glad you got it working and I'm sure all around you are glad you can now take a shower.
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Old 06-25-2009, 02:59 PM   #12
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problems with a 220 circuit


Quote:
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That particular panel only accepts slim breakers in the bottom section. Look closely and you will see some small tabs adjacent to the larger bus tabs...
But he's got 4 slimlines above that point installed already....???
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Old 06-25-2009, 03:11 PM   #13
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problems with a 220 circuit


They seem like they will make contact on the sides, but there is nothing to clip to. They seem to need to have that prong sticking up in the middle for the spring clips in the center of the breaker to grasp. There are no prongs sticking up in the single row void between the top and bottom sections of the box. There are however, prongs present in both the top and bottom sections.

Dunno, I'm just kind of figuring it all out as I go along, first house and all. So far I've managed to do it without frying myself which is always nice

I need to stop watching the heater now or it will never boil.

Thanks Again!

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