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Old 06-22-2010, 07:59 PM   #1
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I want to test my breaker to see if its failing me. I want to know if theirs a tool that can put 15A, 20A,10A on a breaker and i want to see if the breaker trips when theirs too much current.

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Old 06-22-2010, 08:03 PM   #2
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18 100w light bulbs = 15a
24 100w light bulbs = 20a
Or a 1650w hair dryer/ 1500w electric heater & then start adding lights

Do you have a meter ?

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Old 06-22-2010, 10:10 PM   #3
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a 20 amp breaker will not trip with 20 amps on it unless it is on for a long time. It has to develop enough heat to trip.

common breakers can trip on either thermal (heat from current flow) or magnetic (short circuit). The short circuit will trip quite quickly depending on the amount of current that flows.

with the thermal part to trip, there has to be enough current flow for a long enough time to create enough heat to make the breaker trip. I have had 20 amp breakers hold 25 amps for an hour or more. I have also had 20 amp breakers with 15 amps current flow trip because it was next to a breaker that was maxed out and creating a lot of heat.

it is not as simple as putting 21 amps on a 20 amp breaker and expecting it to trip.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:37 PM   #4
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Personally I wouldn't want to intentionallly place high loads. I image that if the breaker is defective it could cause permanent undetected damaged to the conductors that could come back to cause problems including a fire down the road if it's damage by excessive heat from overloading. Aside of Arc Fault and GFCI breakers, most are pretty cheap.. just replace it if you're concerned, or find a way to test it without exposing your home's wiring to the excess loads.

Last edited by Old College Try; 06-22-2010 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:17 AM   #5
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What you're asking about is not worth doing. I imagine there are circuit breaker testers out there somewhere, or you could pretty easily build your own. But you'd spend far more than the cost of replacing every 15 and 20 amp breaker in your panel.
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:11 PM   #6
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If you have the whole pannel (or just the breaker in question) out, and accessable, you could run high current though it and see what happens.

I've seen Automotive battery testers that use a large variable resistor to create a large current draw. I'm not sure how circut breakers work exactly, but if they will work with 12volt DC, you should have no problems doing what you want. then do it again for the second pole.

I supose you could hook up the battery loader up to the 2 energy bars (or whatever they are called in a pannel), but I bet those testers are not rated for 240 AC.
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forresth View Post
If you have the whole pannel (or just the breaker in question) out, and accessable, you could run high current though it and see what happens.

I've seen Automotive battery testers that use a large variable resistor to create a large current draw. I'm not sure how circut breakers work exactly, but if they will work with 12volt DC, you should have no problems doing what you want. then do it again for the second pole.

I supose you could hook up the battery loader up to the 2 energy bars (or whatever they are called in a pannel), but I bet those testers are not rated for 240 AC.
I will not advise to do this for safety sake 12 volt battery tester will blow up when you have 240 volt going thru the battery tester so don't think about it.

Sorry to be harsh but that is not the safest idea to do that.

It cheaper to just replace the breaker or have someone who have clamp on ampmeter to read the current drawage on the breaker to see where it goes on the current level.

Merci.
Marc

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