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Old 07-18-2010, 09:15 PM   #1
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Accidental Red to White Wire Issue -Broken Breaker


Hello all-

The long and short of this is the following:

I am writing for an in-law's issue here.

Apparently a red (hot) wire was attached to a white one and the power turned back on resulted in what you'd expect, which is the circuit breaker tripped.

Thing is, it is not "un" tripping. It is in that neutral zone, and can be turned all the way OFF but not back on, or reset.

It is a Bryant 15-15 breaker. No idea how old but looks but when I checked it out, it is not dissimilar to ones sold today based on a quick Google search.

I guess my question is, while I am assuming I know what precipitated the trip itself, what would cause it to essentially lock itself out of going back "on", except maybe mechanical failure? Is there an electrical reason? I just want to make sure the person in question's house doesn't light up on fire tonight.

Hope someone can help here.

Thanks.

Last edited by swataz; 07-18-2010 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:41 PM   #2
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a breaker can be subjected to a quite high current when you have a dead short like you did. That current can damage a breaker. Most breaker manufacturers recommend replacing a breaker that has tripped on a dead short due to the possibility of internal damage and unreliability after that poiint. Most people do not replace breakers that have tripped like that unless they just don't work, like yours.


just to be sure; when you are resetting it, it isn't going to the on position and tripping out again, right? Just to be sure, remove the wire from the terminal on the breaker and try to reset it. If it then resets, you have a short somewhere. If it won't reset, replace it.

I believe a Cutler Hammer BR series breaker will work for you.
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:51 PM   #3
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I will suggest that you unhook that conductor from that breaker and see if that reset if not that breaker is pretty much trashed due from " bolted " fault aka direct short circuit and the amout of current going thru the breaker can do some pretty serious damage.

Before you install new breaker check the affected circuit and make sure they are not damged at all before you actally turn on new breaker.

I do belive the BR series can fit in there but which type panel you have ?

If Challanger or Bryant both should be ok but for other one no you have to give us the panel number to make sure you are on safe side before you get correct breaker.

Merci.
Marc
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nap View Post
a breaker can be subjected to a quite high current when you have a dead short like you did. That current can damage a breaker. Most breaker manufacturers recommend replacing a breaker that has tripped on a dead short due to the possibility of internal damage and unreliability after that poiint. Most people do not replace breakers that have tripped like that unless they just don't work, like yours.


just to be sure; when you are resetting it, it isn't going to the on position and tripping out again, right? Just to be sure, remove the wire from the terminal on the breaker and try to reset it. If it then resets, you have a short somewhere. If it won't reset, replace it.

I believe a Cutler Hammer BR series breaker will work for you.
No, it actually will NOT go back to the "on" position. It is in the nuetral slot and will not budge to "on" at all, nor will it go to ff. It is "cooked", in my opinion based on what you have said.

But, since I am not at the home where this is happening, and the homeowner is not remotely equipped to do what you are suggesting to test it, I will recommend he gets an electrician in there to swap out the breaker, or test it.

Thanks much for your quick reply here, it is appreciated.

Last edited by swataz; 07-18-2010 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swataz View Post
No, it actually will NOT go back to the "on" position. It is in the nuetral slot and will not budge to "on" at all.

Since I am not at the home where this is happening and the homeowner is not remotely equipped to do what you are suggesting to test it, I will recommend he gets an electrician in there to swap out the breaker, or test it.

Thanks much for your quick reply here, it is appreciated.
Ok the word netural is not really correct term for breaker postion it really called tripped postion and If I read this correct you did push to off postion and go little further it should reset and if do not go back to on postion then the breaker is toasted.

Merci.
Marc
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
I will suggest that you unhook that conductor from that breaker and see if that reset if not that breaker is pretty much trashed due from " bolted " fault aka direct short circuit and the amout of current going thru the breaker can do some pretty serious damage.

Before you install new breaker check the affected circuit and make sure they are not damged at all before you actally turn on new breaker.

I do belive the BR series can fit in there but which type panel you have ?

If Challanger or Bryant both should be ok but for other one no you have to give us the panel number to make sure you are on safe side before you get correct breaker.

Merci.
Marc

I just called the homeowner, and it is a Bryant all the way. A Bryant BR 15-15, and the panel is Bryant as well. Not terribly expensive to replace from what I have seen, but hopefully the guy doing the 'major' electirc work (not replacing outlets and lights but the installation type work) won't rip him off on the install.

Merci beaucoup, mon ami.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swataz View Post
I just called the homeowner, and it is a Bryant all the way. A Bryant BR 15-15, and the panel is Bryant as well. Not terribly expensive to replace from what I have seen, but hopefully the guy doing the 'major' electirc work (not replacing outlets and lights but the installation type work) won't rip him off on the install.

Merci beaucoup, mon ami.
If he is already doing work there, I can't see charging much at all to install a breaker. Unless he made a special run for it, you are looking at 10 minutes. If I was doing very much other work there, I would just toss it in for the parts.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:26 PM   #8
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To change the breaker it will useally take about 10 min or less depending on which brand and if that electrician change it it should be not very expensive if doing other repairs along the way.

For moi which I done pretty often when I do other repairs I will dealt with it in proper way and it will be listed as parts and the twinner BR1515 breakers useally are about 15 to 25 Euros depending on which location you get it from and I am pretty sure some of Big box store should have it stocked on the shelf.

Merci.
Marc
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:32 PM   #9
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I agree, it is not an "emergency" right now, so I will keep in touch with the homeowner and make them aware that it is not a huge ordeal. I have already told him what you folks have imparted to me, and at least for now, it seems like a small, if not initially unnecessary, job.

Merci!
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nap View Post
If he is already doing work there, I can't see charging much at all to install a breaker. Unless he made a special run for it, you are looking at 10 minutes. If I was doing very much other work there, I would just toss it in for the parts.
If this were my house I would expect same. I just made my brother-in-law aware that it is not a big deal, so hopefully he will be dealt with accordingly by the electrician who has been doing work there the past month or so.

Thanks.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:34 PM   #11
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If you don't mind fill us what the circuit is seved to what ?

Like example a bedroom or what location it will be in.

Merci.
Marc
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
Ok the word netural is not really correct term for breaker postion it really called tripped postion and If I read this correct you did push to off postion and go little further it should reset and if do not go back to on postion then the breaker is toasted.

Merci.
Marc
Thanks for the info. Yes, it was in the tripped position which is why I was surprised it was not resetting when I did exactly that.

Toast!
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
If you don't mind fill us what the circuit is seved to what ?

Like example a bedroom or what location it will be in.

Merci.
Marc
Sure, this circuit serves a few areas, actually.

From what I understand, it runs through part of the basement, up to part of the kitchen, a porch light, and the lights for a dining room/living room combo.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:41 PM   #14
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who screwed up on this and caused the breaker problem? If the electrician; he needs to be taking care of it out of his pocket.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swataz View Post
Sure, this circuit serves a few areas, actually.

From what I understand, it runs through part of the basement, up to part of the kitchen, a porch light, and the lights for a dining room/living room combo.
If this circuit strictly used for luminaires only no recepatles then you are ok with it but if have any receptales feed either kitchen or dinning room it have to be it own circuit with RCD { GFCI } this is very specfic in NEC code plus some local code if that do show up as well.

Merci.
Marc
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