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Old 12-07-2008, 07:36 AM   #1
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rust on circuit breaker contact


I bought two used QO 60AMP circuit breakers to go from main to subpanel. One of the circuit breakers has a little bit of rust on one of the contacts that connects to the bar. Can I wire brush off the rust and use this safely, or should I discard it?

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Old 12-07-2008, 09:50 AM   #2
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rust on circuit breaker contact


I would sand off the rust, being careful not to make the contact surfaces unsmooth or "unflat" and then use the breaker.

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Old 12-07-2008, 09:56 AM   #3
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rust on circuit breaker contact


At 60A, even "10 milliohms worth" of rust could cause some problems.

Since they're used. . .
get a copy of the trip curve for this breaker and find a way to test it. Maybe it's supposed to trip in 4 to 15 sec. @ 180A.

This kind of soldering gun
http://www.ted-kyte.com/3D/Pictures/Soldering%20Gun.jpg
may put out that much current.

A breaker that fails by not opening when it is supposed to open could cause serious problems.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 12-07-2008 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 12-07-2008, 10:42 AM   #4
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rust on circuit breaker contact


Can I ask how much you paid for the two used breakers?
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:51 PM   #5
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Can I ask how much you paid for the two used breakers?
Sounds like a set up, but I'll bite. $9 each plus $3 for shipping.

Yes, new is better and safer, but funds were very tight for this project. Budgeted $200 and spent $300+.
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:53 PM   #6
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I would sand off the rust, being careful not to make the contact surfaces unsmooth or "unflat" and then use the breaker.
It was only a tiny bit of rust. 1/4 of one side, of one connector. I used some fine sandpaper and it removed all the rust.
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Old 12-07-2008, 02:55 PM   #7
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Come on, sanding corroded breaker contacts?

If it's corroded on the outside it may very well be corroded on the inside.

Your safety is not worth saving $10.

Quote:
get a copy of the trip curve for this breaker and find a way to test it. Maybe it's supposed to trip in 4 to 15 sec. @ 180A.
Even if he tests the thermal trip he won't know if the magnetic works right with a dead short, and a dead short to test it is a somewhat destructive test. Even if it works right once or twice it may not work the next time.

Buying used breakers seems to me like buying used condoms... A really bad idea.

Last edited by Gigs; 12-07-2008 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 12-07-2008, 03:47 PM   #8
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rust on circuit breaker contact


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If it's corroded on the outside it may very well be corroded on the inside.

Your safety is not worth saving $10.
See below.
Even if he tests the thermal trip he won't know if the magnetic works right with a dead short, and a dead short to test it is a somewhat destructive test. Even if it works right once or twice it may not work the next time.
Failure analysis assumes that if you have X consecutive successful trials, it will fail on X + 1.
If the cost of a breaker can be equated to an insurance premium, and the new breaker costs $20 and is 99% reliable, your expected "loss", in that you might get a bad breaker, is 1% of $20 = 20 cents.
If a used breaker is 50% reliable, you should pay no more than (1/0.5) x 20 = 40 cents for it, for taking on the same amount of risk.

Insurance companies don't like paying out fire claims.
My concern would be that if they discovered a used breaker, and this breaker can even be remotely linked to the cause of a fire, then they will deny coverage.
They are certainly motivated to spend a few hours investigating in order to save a few kilobucks.
I might even agree with them, in denying coverage, in this case. The homeowner has a Duty of Care and is supposed to exercise Due Diligence in protecting his insured house from harm.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 12-07-2008 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:20 PM   #9
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rust on circuit breaker contact


Its rusted, used, I mean come on? Go out and buy a new one. Geez...

Is it worth it to save a few bucks...come back after work to find your house burning?
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:27 PM   #10
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rust on circuit breaker contact


NINE dollars??!?? Do you realize how much they are new??? Let's see....well, here's one brand new online for, hmmmm.....$20.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000H5ZWVA

Sorry to be so frank, but if the $22 difference in cost is an issue you should not have even started this project in the first place!

I mean, what's done is done, we are beating a dead horse here, but I find this disturbing.
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
NINE dollars??!?? Do you realize how much they are new??? Let's see....well, here's one brand new online for, hmmmm.....$20.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000H5ZWVA

Sorry to be so frank, but if the $22 difference in cost is an issue you should not have even started this project in the first place!

I mean, what's done is done, we are beating a dead horse here, but I find this disturbing.
They're only $15.50 at HD.
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:35 PM   #12
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rust on circuit breaker contact


the first time I read the responses here, I thought they were harsh, gave them some further thought, and realized the reasoning behind them. We're not talking getting some car parts from the junk yard,( I've certainly done my share) You're talking someone's safety. Good job. To the OP, I've been there, done that, bite the bullet and get new breakers too much at stake. And to Gigs, your last line says it all.
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:02 PM   #13
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OK. You talked me into buyin a new breaker. Now we can all sleep tonite.
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
breaker can even be remotely linked to the cause of a fire, then they will deny coverage.
They are certainly motivated to spend a few hours investigating in order to save a few kilobucks.
Insurance companies are not going to try to nitpick their way out of a claim. If they did this, they would never pay a claim for an electrical fire. How many fires do you think are caused by 100% to-code wiring... nearly 0. The insurance companies don't like paying claims, but if you are missing a house due to a fire, they are going to pay in all but the most negligent of cases.

Of course this doesn't take away from used breakers with rust on them being a very bad idea. :P

Last edited by Gigs; 12-08-2008 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:16 PM   #15
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rust on circuit breaker contact


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gigs View Post
Insurance companies are not going to try to nitpick their way out of a claim.
Who's to stop them?
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&a...i=&safe=images

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