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Old 11-29-2009, 04:15 PM   #1
 
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Main power goes out when dryer and TV are both on


My Main power started going out today when the TV/Amplifier/Tivo and my washer and dryer were all running at the same time. This is a pretty regular sunday routine where we are doing laundry and watching football on TV, and this is the first time that the power has gone out. Oddly enough, the main breaker doesn't trip, but it does give an audible click and then everything goes dead.

I had a new 20 amp circuit in the box installed yesterday, which services a GFCI outlet with one other outlet downstream. I thought, naturally, this new service might be the cause of the problem, however it was working fine yesterday, and I have completely removed it from the box, and I'm still having the problem.

Fortunately, I'll be done with laundry soon, but I am concerned about potentially bigger problems than not being able to watch football on Sundays.....

Any suggestions on how to track down the problem?
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:26 PM   #2
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Does it do it strictly with the dryer and the TV? Try the oven and the microwave, and blow dryer, or any other high usage devices you can think of. I'm guessing the main might be bad, but that's just a guess. We'll see what the experts think.
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:29 PM   #3
 
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Thanks for your reply. It did go out with the dryer and the microwave both on, without the TV/Amplifier being on. I was able to finish the laundry by keeping the TV off.
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:51 PM   #4
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Your main breaker is tripping in the breaker panel?
What is it rated, 60a, 100a or 200a ?

240v dryer ? or Gas ?



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Old 11-29-2009, 04:56 PM   #5
 
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The main power is clicking off, but the breaker is not tripping. I have to switch it off and back on to get it to come back on. Its rated 100a, and there's 2 of them (which I believe is normal).

The dryer is 240v electric, not gas.
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:10 PM   #6
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So the whole house is shutting off ?
Or just some circuits/appliances ?

Can you post a pic of the panel ?
Mfg...?



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Old 11-29-2009, 05:51 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
So the whole house is shutting off ?
Or just some circuits/appliances ?

Can you post a pic of the panel ?
Mfg...?
The whole house goes out. The manufacturer is GE. I'll see if I can post a pic later.
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Old 11-29-2009, 06:25 PM   #8
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Appelez la compagnie d'électricité d'abord pour traiter avec leur côté d'abord

Call the Power Company first to deal with their side first.
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Old 11-29-2009, 06:37 PM   #9
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Is it a new TV?

New TV's use more electricity than old. It could be you were using close to the maximum load previously, then added something new or additional, then that was the "straw".

And it could be that you purchased the new thing or added the new thing in the summer, and you are now using electric heating, and this is the first time you have used a full load on your electric system since.

The solution is probably a larger electric service like 200 amp.
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Old 11-29-2009, 06:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will0527 View Post
The main power is clicking off, but the breaker is not tripping. I have to switch it off and back on to get it to come back on. Its rated 100a, and there's 2 of them (which I believe is normal).

The dryer is 240v electric, not gas.
Some breakers trip without appearing to have tripped. When a customer calls and says he checked and doesn't have any tripped breakers, I tell him to try turning them all off and then back on. If it then works, he had a tripped breaker--even if the handle was still in the "on" position.

Its not a power company problem if you can turn the power back on by flipping the breaker.

Also could be a bad connection inside or outside of the breaker.
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Old 11-29-2009, 07:22 PM   #11
 
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Thanks for the tips. The box itself is relatively new, however it houses some old Knob and Tube wiring. The dryer and TV circuits both have newer wiring. At the time of the outage, the following devices were running: (number shown is watts)

TV - 695
Tivo - 30
Amplifier - 530 (max)
Electric dryer - 4400
Washing machine - 1100 (spin cycle)

Added up, the total usage = 6755/120 volts = 56 amps. So that leaves plenty of available power for anything I might have missed (refridgerator, etc). Heater is gas, and I don't think the water heater (electric) was on at the time.
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Old 11-29-2009, 07:42 PM   #12
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If you were using the dryer, you probably just used the washer and hot water perhaps?
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Old 11-29-2009, 07:59 PM   #13
 
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I suppose it's possible that the water heater was on at the same time. That might have done it. I just assume that since the new service was installed yesterday that it was the likely suspect. However, I remove the plates and found no evidence of burning either at the panel or at the recepticles.

I'll continue to monitor it and see if it comes back. We were looking at getting a gas dryer anyway.
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Old 11-29-2009, 08:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will0527 View Post
Thanks for the tips. The box itself is relatively new, however it houses some old Knob and Tube wiring. The dryer and TV circuits both have newer wiring. At the time of the outage, the following devices were running: (number shown is watts)

TV - 695
Tivo - 30
Amplifier - 530 (max)
Electric dryer - 4400
Washing machine - 1100 (spin cycle)

Added up, the total usage = 6755/120 volts = 56 amps. So that leaves plenty of available power for anything I might have missed (refridgerator, etc). Heater is gas, and I don't think the water heater (electric) was on at the time.
Your math is not quite right. The dryer is on a 240 Volt circuit (as you stipulated). Assuming that all the other loads are connected to the same leg of your service, the total amps on that leg represented by your list would be 38 Amps.

If you are tripping out a 100 Amp main with such a small load, then you either have a bad breaker, or another problem associated with a loose/bad connection is making the breaker get too hot and fooling it into thinking it is overloaded.

Since it was recently installed, I'd check the connections on the mains to ensure they were properly tightened. I've seen instances where someone forgot to tighten one of the main lugs (done it myself once).
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Old 11-30-2009, 01:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
Appelez la compagnie d'électricité d'abord pour traiter avec leur côté d'abord
My robot lady
http://www.oddcast.com/demos/tts/tts...le.php?clients
translates this to

Call the power company to initially treat with their side first

Nahe genug. . .

Last edited by Yoyizit; 11-30-2009 at 01:51 PM.
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