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Old 09-22-2009, 09:14 PM   #1
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Shorting and bus bar problems!


Im having a couple problems, first is a res. house 100amp main..the right side bus bar works off and on. The left feeder from the meter has heavy corrosion and is green color can it be the corrosion not letting the correct amount of power through, or is it the main breaker?

Second two breakers trip when they are turned on...when i check continuity with power off several circuits have cont between hot and neutral/ground, it seems wierd because it is multiple circuits throughout the house that have continuity between hot and nuetral but only two of them trip when turned on?? Hope someone can help thanks!

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Old 09-22-2009, 09:47 PM   #2
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Shorting and bus bar problems!


Continuity between hot and neutral will be present if anything is plugged into and turned on on the circuit. Might not even need to be turned on.

Corrosion can definitely cause no volts or low volts on a panel.

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Old 09-23-2009, 08:13 AM   #3
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Shorting and bus bar problems!


Feel around the breakers in the panel (not touching metal other than the panel itself with your bare hands) to find out whether anything is unusually warm. This would point out loose connections which, given any significant flow of electricity, will get worse and worse.

You should get an electrician to check, clean if necessary, and tighten the wires from the meter where they attach to the main breaker.

One thing you can do yourself is to turn off the main breaker, then unclip each branch circuit breaker one at a time and inspect its underside and the fin on which it clips for misshapenness and oxidation. Clean off the surfaces and clip the breaker back on. If there is significant misshapenness or wearing thin, you'll have to move the breaker to a different position and/or replace the breaker if it is loose or its underside is also damaged.

You will need to prove whether there is a short in a branch circuit or whether the breaker that keeps tripping is damaged because it tripped so many times. Unplug everything, turn off the breaker in question, and then check again for continuity which if absent means the circuit is okay.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 09-23-2009 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:48 AM   #4
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Shorting and bus bar problems!


thanks for info, two breakers trip as soon as turned on others just make a sound when turned on but dont trip, the problem breakers are all on the bus bar that is in question...these breakers and few others that are on diff bus bar have continuity to ground...i checked most connections at switches and plugs havent found anything crossed so im hoping by changing the feeder wire will give adaquate voltage to the bus bar therefore stop the tripping??
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:40 AM   #5
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Shorting and bus bar problems!


Sounds like it is time to hire an electrician!
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Old 09-23-2009, 11:05 AM   #6
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Sounds like it is time to hire an electrician!
Absolutely Correct. And please do not stick your hands into a hot panel and "feel around".
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:41 PM   #7
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Shorting and bus bar problems!


Poor connection on the feed will not cause branch circuit breakers to trip. You have a fault on the circuit(s) somewhere. Disconnect the wires from the breakers and try to turn them on.
Tell us more about the circuits controlled by these two breakers.
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:33 PM   #8
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Shorting and bus bar problems!


Ouch, yeah even if you end up figuring it out I'd get a licensed electrician to at least overview everything. Probably best to just get someone now though. Sounds like a fire waiting to happen. Is it an FPE by chance? :p

I have a FPE at home, I actually put a smoke detector near it.
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:18 PM   #9
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Shorting and bus bar problems!


ok so i determined the main breaker is bad the lug is loose so the voltage is not getting through to the bus bar but they dont make the breaker for that old panel so im going to have to change the whole panel out...

as for the tripping breakers there is a backfeed on a couple circuits so somewhere in the wall they are tied together so when i turn on the breaker it is phase to phase. i searched and searched plugs and switch boxes toned and ran continuity but cant find where they are tied together ughh Also with the power off there is continuity between ground and hot and from hot to hot wires on some of the circuits....
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:34 AM   #10
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Shorting and bus bar problems!


Yeah sounds like a short somewhere. Be glad it's not a FPE or the breaker would not trip at all, and it would be a nasty light show.
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:56 AM   #11
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Shorting and bus bar problems!


You didn't say what the circuit were for. I suspect it could be a split wired receptacle where the tab wasn't removed. You could get continuity between hot to hot if devices are pluged in.
A 240 volt motor will create continuity hot to hot. so will a transformer, the dryer heater or the stove elements.
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by firejman View Post
somewhere in the wall they are tied together so when i turn on the breaker it is phase to phase.
Run 10A into the [bolted] short using a hair dryer in series with 120v.
#14 copper is 2.6 mΩ per foot, so measuring the dozens of mV across the short will give you some idea of how far away the short is. Plug in the appropriate values if you have aluminum or #12.
The voltage sensing leads should not touch the current-supplying leads [four-terminal Kelvin method of measuring]. Otherwise, you'll be measuring contact impedance + conductor impedance, and you just want conductor impedance.

http://www.google.com/search?client=...UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

If you want to find the short to the nearest 0.1 foot, rent [or buy: ~$300] one of these
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-domain_reflectometer

After you're done check your whole house elec. system. You'll need a voltmeter, a hair dryer and 1 ea. of an elec. oven/cooktop/dryer.


Last edited by Yoyizit; 09-24-2009 at 11:35 AM.
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