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Old 10-09-2013, 03:49 PM   #1
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Weird breaker blow


I have been out of the area for a few days and I came back to my shop to find the power out in multiple areas in the building. The odd thing is the circuits that blew are seemingly random. There is a two pole circuit breaker where the only thing on it is 6 T5 lights and 4 outlets with nothing plugged into them. That circuit breaker blew. Also, I had 2 sub panels installed. The right side breakers are all dead, but the left side breakers all work just fine. The 6 gauge wires supplying the sub-panels are plugged into the same dual pole 30 amp breakers. One breaker for one panel, and the other for the other panel. I test the wires right at the breaker and one wire has juice and the other does not.

Has anybody ever seen anything like this? WTH happened? Im can usually do my own small power projects but this seems unusual.

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Old 10-09-2013, 03:55 PM   #2
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Are the breakers actually tripped or is there no power from them?
It sounds to me like one of the hot lines coming into your building is out and you only have 120 volt service right now.
Is the shop fed from the POCO or from another building?

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Old 10-09-2013, 04:18 PM   #3
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Ah, so I just checked and it does look like that is the case. That I am running in 110v mode and that one of my supply lines is knocked out. I just tested the supply lines themselves and sure enough, one is showing 116v and the other is showing 0.

The main panel in my building I believe is a subpanel. There is a 500amp breaker in the main building and if I turn that off I lose power along with a few other things. I am not sure what lies between that 500amp breaker and my main panel. I just emailed my landlord to find out.
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:51 PM   #4
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I just went and looked at the power wall and it looks like there is a box of 100amp breakers but none of them are labeled except for one. The name of which leads me to believe this is the right panel. However,none of the breakers are tripped. They are all in the On position though.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:16 PM   #5
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Weird breaker blow


If it's a rental property! then you might have to leave it to the landlord and electrician to fix !
Some circuit breakers can be tripped but still look to be ok,
You might try to turn each breaker off,
Wait a second or two,
Then turn back on again !

You could disrupt power to others,
so do it at a time when it's least likely to cause problems,
Or speak to your neighbours first !

P.S. When you know whats what, then label the breakers !
It will save you trouble in the future.

Last edited by dmxtothemax; 10-09-2013 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:50 PM   #6
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Weird breaker blow


Yeah, I am a tenant but also the groundskeeper. Im going to try flipping switches later tonight after everybody has gone home. Im hoping it works.

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Old 10-09-2013, 08:03 PM   #7
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Weird breaker blow


If you have a non contact tester,
Maybe you can check for power on the load side of the breakers.
But be careful !
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:12 PM   #8
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Well I did that to check the load lines coming into my main panel. Beyond that though Im a noob. In a box full of 100amp breakers (i think the service to this box is 500 amp, can I use a regular volt meter to test the individual wires coming out of the breaker?
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:18 PM   #9
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Weird breaker blow


If the feed to your shop is underground it could be an underground cable issue.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:00 PM   #10
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Yes you can !
But are you sure a noob can poke around in a panel safely ?
Extreme care !
Test between breaker and neutral bar.
Once you have identified the two hots,
Test between the two hots,
Should be 220 - 240v.
Remember take all safety precautions.
Don't do it if you feel uncombfortable.
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:51 PM   #11
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Yeah, its time to call an electrician. We flipped breakers tonight until I figured out which one was mine. Its labeled now. But it still didnt fix it. Someone switched my electric stove on and all of a sudden the lights come on. WTH? When we turn on another burner on the stove, the lights get brighter all of a suddent. With one burner on there was 45 volts showing on feed line 2. Not sure what the voltage was when we turn on two burners. Either way, that is weird weird weird to me. That when I turn on the stove, the lights come on but if I turn the stove off, the lights go off. If I unplug the stove or turn that breaker on, nothing will come on. Any ideas?
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Old 10-10-2013, 01:50 AM   #12
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Weird breaker blow


Quote:
Originally Posted by tunaman View Post
Yeah, its time to call an electrician. We flipped breakers tonight until I figured out which one was mine. Its labeled now. But it still didnt fix it. Someone switched my electric stove on and all of a sudden the lights come on. WTH? When we turn on another burner on the stove, the lights get brighter all of a suddent. With one burner on there was 45 volts showing on feed line 2. Not sure what the voltage was when we turn on two burners. Either way, that is weird weird weird to me. That when I turn on the stove, the lights come on but if I turn the stove off, the lights go off. If I unplug the stove or turn that breaker on, nothing will come on. Any ideas?

It must be a 240v stove? You're essentially backfeeding the dead side of the panel through your stove from the other 120v leg. Definitely not something you should be doing. This would be a good time to flip off all 240v circuits.

P.S. you have a stove in your shop?
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:32 AM   #13
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Weird breaker blow


Any of these panels outside? I have had a couple of 100A double pole breakers just quit working on one side due to exposure.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:31 PM   #14
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So the electrician came out and was able to restore power. everything was out all the up to the electrical meter. In front of the meter was a monster 400 amp "knife breaker" which was supplying power to a wall of 8 electrical meters. In between each set of meters was a set of "test blocks". He tested everything out and was able to trace it to one particular cable between one feed on the electrical meter(removed) and a test block. We eventually narrowed it down to the test block. He got out a tool and cranked the nut holding the cables down onto the test block. Tested the feed on the electrical meter and bam, we had power. Went and checked everything else and we were good. Power restored to everything. Still glad I called the electrician to take a look.

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