dryer consistently trips breaker - new dryer

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  #1  
Old 10-24-00, 06:57 PM
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My new dryer in my new (1971) home keeps tripping the breaker (dual 30amps) after about 10-15min of operation. I felt the breaker itself, and it was warm to the touch. It would only reset after about 30 sec of cooling. It would make it through the rest of the drying cycle.

My new dryer pulling to many amps? Bad breaker? Thoughts? Next step for me? Thanks for any input.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-24-00, 07:23 PM
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A lot of old dryer circuits were 20-amp circuits, which are insufficient for modern dryers. We hear (in complete terror) of many people therefore replacing the 20-amp breaker with a 30-amp breaker. You might want to turn off the circuit breaker, pull out the dryer outlet, and see what gauge wire it's connected to.
 
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Old 10-24-00, 08:06 PM
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If the previous reply is corect and you have 12 ga feeding your dryer even though the breaker is 30 amp rated, there is a good chance that the 12 ga wire would heat up due to the load therefore heating the breaker and causing it to trip even though the amps are not there to overload the breaker.

However if you have 10 ga to that dryer then I suspect a loose connection. You did not comment that the old dryer tripped the breaker. This leads me to believe that the loose connection may well be in the new dryer. The pigtail is usually installed by an employee not really electrically trained. The screws in the back of the dryer are easily cross threaded. If the installer cross threaded the screws in the back of the dryer where the pigtail connects inside the back of the dryer then he felt the screws to be tight but the wire terminal is probably loose this will also cause what you describe. The only change in the story you described is the dryer. I would check connection [the terminals to be tight not just the screw] in the back of the dryer first then back trace all connections back to the panel. The last connection being the screws of the 30 amp breaker.

Hope this hits what you have

Wg
 
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Old 10-26-00, 11:57 AM
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WG is speaking of the "pigtail", and I felt that this might be an unfamiliar term to some folks. This is the dryer cord & plug. It is sold separately when you buy a dryer ('cause they can get $5 - $10 more from you this way and keep the sticker price lower on the dryer!). It usually has 3 fork or ring terminals on the dryer end, which you can observe by removing the little access panel near where it goes into the dryer back. He's right, the screw terminals are not very robust, and are easily stripped. Loose connections are often discolored dark blue or black. You may also see corrosion forming. If the loose connection is at the breaker you will usually see the same discoloration on the screws where the wires are terminated.

But I also suspect you nay have #12 wire, where #10 is required. The gauge is required to be printed right on the wire insulation. There are a lot of numbers there, but the one you're looking for is typically followed by "AWG" (American Wire Gauge). Check the wire size while you're poking around for clues. Undersized wire (over sized breakers!) can be a very serious safety issue. Good luck.

JH
 
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Old 10-26-00, 07:14 PM
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Thanks for the great tips...I will check this tonight and post what I find out.

Geez...hope I do not have to pull new wire to the panel! But would sure beat waking up to a smoke detector. Thanks again everyone.
 
  #6  
Old 10-27-00, 09:15 AM
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Checked the wire gauge at my dryer outlet and it is 10 gauge. Popped open the dryer access panel to check for loose connections or damage and there was none.

The place I bought my dryer (local dealer) is coming out to check things over and make sure that the problem is not on the appliance end. Guess if that does not turn up an answer, I will have to take a look at the breaker box and see if I have a loose connection there or a bad breaker.
 
  #7  
Old 10-28-00, 10:17 PM
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cerjan,

My guess if tht it's either a defective dryer or a bad breaker.

It would be good to check the load from the dryer with an ammeter. Check current in the hot and the neutral (and the ground, if there is a separate ground). Measure both at start of a dry cycle and after the breaker's been reset and dryer's operating again.

The thing that stumps me here is that the breaker opens after a little while, then after being re-set, works O.K. One possibility is that the dryer is being overloaded--too many clothes in it, or clothes too wet. The dryer motor strains to spin the drum, and the breaker opens due to overload (not a short, which would open the breaker right away and would be consistent). Subsequently the dryer will not trip breaker because enough water has been driven off the clothes so that the motor isn't overloaded.

Along this line--check your washer! I had a case where the washer malfunctioned and didn't spin the clothes as well, so a LOT of water went into the dryer with the clothes. Homeowner thought the dryer was the problem, it took much longer to dry clothes!

Please report back.
 
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Old 10-29-00, 07:20 PM
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Well the dryer seems to work fine again after replacing the breaker (note that I first checked the wire gauge as highly suggested by others). Now the breaker barely warms up as compared to before where it got warm to the touch. When I replaced it, I looked for loose connections, but did not notice any. To be sure, I trimmed and stripped the wire back before connecting the new breaker.

I was going to have service person from the appliance store come out and put a meter on it to make sure the dryer was not pulling too many amps as some suggested, but was told by the appliance store that it was most likely the breaker if it is only tripped after a period of time and not right away. I figured the time it took to buy and replace the breaker was worth eliminating that option and possibly saving them a service call.

I learned alot from everyones postings too. Hope I can return the favor, but doubt I will see too many questions about noise reduction or aircraft design.

Thanks all.
 
  #9  
Old 10-29-00, 08:33 PM
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Thanks for reporting back. I love a happy ending.
 
  #10  
Old 10-30-00, 10:36 AM
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I'm with John. It's rewarding to hear back, and to see that an issue has been resolved and perhaps from our feedback that maybe even some money was saved. Good work everybody, and good luck cerjan.

JH
 
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