Electrical Question Panel Main Breaker

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by FullClip, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. Bradley T

    Bradley T

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    I just carefully undid the little tamper-preventative thing and did what I needed to do. Once finished, I rigged it back to appear the same as always. You really got to look to see it has been compromised. The problem you describe sounds like a main breaker issue. I had the same thing, but with a different appliance causing it to trip.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
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  2. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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    Ha-Ha...Good news!
    After waiting for several days, the electric company came and pulled the meter. I had called them asking if I could do it, and they were all against it, so after talking with a few people there they came out and did it for me. 15 minutes to change the breaker and cut the leads back an inch and reterminate.

    All good now, running the clothes dryer only raises the temperature on the breaker a couple of degrees, equal on both sides, so everything looks much better now.

    Think this summer I may replace the whole panel, do generator transfer, install a disconnect above the panel and replace the incoming line with copper.
     

  3. ibewshooter

    ibewshooter

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    I'm glad it worked out for you.
     
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  4. Haldor

    Haldor Formerly retired EE.

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    And FPE breakers often failed shorted. That is why there is no longer a company called FPE.

    Must suck to have that name and have to constantly explain, no we are not THAT Federal Pacific Electric company.

    https://www.federalpacific.com/about-federal-pacific-electric/

    Reliance Electric owned both FPE and the company I worked for (Toledo Scale) when all this came to light. I spent a good part of a year replacing FPE industrial breakers as part of the recall. No way would I sleep in a house with Stab-Lok breakers. The governments decision to not move forward with recalling residential breakers, never set right with me.

    https://www.cpsc.gov/content/commis...-breakers-and-provides-safety-information-for
     
  5. NoStress

    NoStress

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  6. NoStress

    NoStress

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  7. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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    :goodpost:

    Yup, I've always been of the school that "new" stuff is "untested" stuff. At work we had the ability to test the trip circuits of the breakers from 440 to 150KV. Here at the house I really can't. I may play with the old Pushmatic I pulled out using a heat gun and a thermocouple on my Fluke to see where it hits the thermal overload. My place was built around 1981, and back then the Gould stuff was used a lot.
    I'm not certain if the problem was just the termination on the lug that was getting hot or if the contacts inside the breaker were weak. I took the opportunity to replace the breaker. I show continuity through the old one, but that doesn't prove much.
     
  8. davethehiker

    davethehiker

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    Wow, thanks for the information! When my breaker shorted out there was so much smoke that my entire breaker box was black smoky mess. I have a background in electronics engineering but it blew my mind that this could happen. My home insurance ended up paying for everything except the $1000 deductible. The electrician was a very competent man and a friend of mine. Both the insurance adjuster and my electrician end up at my house at the same time. The adjuster asked my electrician what he thought caused the problem. My electrician said, "it must have been a lighting strike." The adjuster then responded, "If it was lightning I can be more generous with how much payment I can authorize." My electrician then told a very clever white lie, planting a seed in the inspectors mind. The electrician said, "It's a good thing he had copper buses in the breaker boxes or it could have been a lot worse. I recommend that both the breaker boxes be removed and replaced because they were both subjected to the damage from the lighting and I would not trust them." The inspector nodded in agreement. I knew that the buses were aluminum but kept my mouth shut. The adjuster authorized enough for replacement of the breaker boxes with copper buses and all new breakers. He also paid for repair of smoke damage and replacement of my freezer.

    I was not home when this happened but returned home to a dark house with no electricity. Here is what I think happened:
    The food freezer in my home was faulty and the motor developed a short. The breaker feeding my freezer AND the main breaker both failed in a shorted mode. This drew so much current that the "fuse" on the transformer pole blew out. My whole-house generator then came on and tripped the big switch that isolates me from the power company. The current drawn by the big short in my house drew so much that my generator's internal ckt breaker tripped saving it's self from damage. I'll never know for sure but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    I now have two new copper bused breaker boxes in my house and all new breakers. Everything is working now. After it was all repaired the insurance adjuster came back to my house. He told me that he checked the records and there were no lightning strikes in my area the night of the fire. (Who knew that someone keeps track of every lighting strike!!!) I again kept my mouth shut.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  9. flyover

    flyover

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  10. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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    Wow...it could have been a lot worse and a good reason for not having auto-start on the generator. When we lose power I decide to start the genny and have to swap the disconnects. Sometimes totally automatic stuff can bite you in the butt. I've seen it too many times in the power plants.

    Got a pump with low pressure and high flow?...the second pump starts automatically.....and reason for high flow is a blown gasket....doubles the trouble.
     
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  11. cougar_ml

    cougar_ml

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    Something like that occurring is extremely low, in the "freak accident" type rareness.
    Whereas the power going out just after you left town for a week, and no idea when it might be coming back on is much more likely.
    I don't know how many people I've talked to that only installed a backup generator after there was a power outage that cost them 2 or more freezers full of game meat.

    If you're always going to be at home and are physically capable, then not having auto-start isn't really an issue, but if you are regularly gone for more than half a day at a time and have things like freezers or aquariums, then it's almost a necessity.
     
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  12. davethehiker

    davethehiker

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    In my case the the automatic turning on of the back up generator did no additional damage. The generator was sophisticated enough to recognize that there was an overload condition turned it's self off. In fact, when I came home to the dark house I was disappointed that the generator was not running and attempted to manually make it turn on. The generator would come and the engine ramped up to high speed in response to the load, at a certain point the generators ckt break tripped off and the engine turned it's self off. That's a pretty smart design if you ask me. After briefly forcing the generator to run I reentered the house and could see small flames and smoke coming from the break box. I called the fire department! When the firemen arrived the pulled the meter from the house further isolating me from the power company. Next I called my buddy the electrician and my insurance company. I learned that there is a good reason that they put doors on breaker boxes. It helps contain fires in the box and helps smother and fires in the box. Keep those doors closed.
     
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  13. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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    Pretty cool, but think you'd know that the engine doesn't ramp up to high speed to supply the power you need at 60HZ. Kind of has to be around a steady 3600 rpm if you have a two pole unit.

    And right now, I've still got the front panel off my panel so I can check the temps as I vary the the load....washer, dryer, well pump and water heater just to be sure to be sure.

    But yeah, keep the cover closed on the panel when in normal use. Keep the genie in the bottle if you can.
     
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  14. NoStress

    NoStress

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  15. Haldor

    Haldor Formerly retired EE.

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    This in spades, the problem is not that the screw wasn't tight enough. The problem is cold flow deformation. The copper slowly spreads out under the pressure of the screw and the screw needs to be retightened a couple of days later. This is called PM'ing a breaker panel. It is common to do this periodically in industrial plants.

    And this is the main reason why you NEVER solder tip a stranded wire that is going to be terminated with a crimp-on terminal or under a screw. The other reason to not do this is that solder in the end of a stranded wire, creates a stress concentration that results in a broken wire where the solder stops if the wire is subject to vibration.
     
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  16. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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  17. larry_minn

    larry_minn Silver Member Millennium Member

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    A fridge, freezer is in zero danger if power is off for 6 hours. With nobody home. Once you start opening doors that time reduces fast. Now the fish.... no idea. If you are home dunking out a container, pouring it back over a rough surface should get O2
     
  18. cougar_ml

    cougar_ml

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    I fully agree on the freezer part, but some of the aquariums I've seen are in the tens of thousands of dollars invested, and if the equipment is off more than a very short time you can lose thousands of dollars worth of fish, plants, and corals. Plus, to even set up some of these is several months of growing all the bacteria necessary, getting the water systems balanced for ph and other factors, and other things. Some people have some very expensive hobbies.
     
  19. larry_minn

    larry_minn Silver Member Millennium Member

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    Like I tried to get across. Fish? I have no idea. But I know getting O2 in water short term is not tough. But temps for many fish is important. I helped with a pound. Pump to cause water to fall on some big rocks, little ones. Guy said it increases O2 level in minutes in a 40’ pound. (It was less then 5’ deep)
    If you need constant power. Get it. But you can save thousands, reduce fuel needed. With a manual system to only required loads.
     
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