warm hot question

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  #1  
Old 07-24-05, 04:48 PM
ally68
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warm hot question

I hear people ask my outlet is warm, my breaker is warm, my switch plate is warm. And the reply is always warm is ok hot is bad.

My question is when reffering to breakers and outlets and such can you describe the diference between hot and warm. I mean when I feel my breaker for my ac or dryer it is warm how do I know when it is too warm or hot or an outlet.

is there any rule of thumb with electricity when warm turns to hot?

Thanks for any thoughts
 
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Old 07-24-05, 04:53 PM
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Generally. Warm means you can hold your hand or finger on it. Hot means you can't keep you hand on it for than a second or two without pain.
 
  #3  
Old 07-25-05, 01:25 PM
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If you have a set of IR goggles handy, the difference is obvious -- normal devices will be a mild color and malfunctioning devices will be bright white. You can look at a bank of 100 flourescant lights and find the bad ballast in about 3 seconds. The downside is the goggles are about $10,000; but they are really cool!

Another way of thinking about this test is how hot is it relative to other things. Is this receptacle or breaker about the same or much warmer than another one with similar load?
 
  #4  
Old 07-25-05, 06:48 PM
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OK,

my 2 cents on this....I can not actually recall every feeling a Recept. in general being warm or hot per say...they are more passive in nature. Now switches have contact points and so on but again are more passive in nature when it comes to the actual load being drawn but if the connection is not good a ballast is drawing hard it can go down to the weakest link lets say a switch that is not making great contact ( but is making contact mind you ) and causing a slight arc effect inside it...arc means heat and heat will build up.

Most of the warm items you hear of are dimmers ( which are resistant devices ) and breakers which have a coil inside and are have a demand draw upon and could be warmer due to contact heat and so on, The biggest issue I see in breakers that warm up badly is they are not gapped right or making good contact with the buss bar in the panel or inside the breaker their is some arcing going on.....many times replacing a breaker stops the issue in some cases.

I have delt with breakers that simply MELTED down....due to arcing inside the breaker and a heavy draw on the breaker in excess of the trip rating which means it was a bad breaker anyway...do you see bad breakers...sure I believe our company see's possibly 2-3 in a 6 month period which is still a good low ratio....most are safe and working properly.

I just dont want people thinking...oh my Recept is warm that is fine and it end up being a ARC issue that maybe a AFCI would have tripped already and someone leaves it to arc on and on and build up heat....I do not like to see ANY recept. feel warm or hot........to me they are passive in nature unless arcing is happening or bad contact with the connection plugs.

I deal in panels daily....some large ones and some small ones....I do not subscribe to the thought a warm breaker is fine....it may be fine but needs to be monitored.......it could simply be a bad breaker and if it is running HOT I will always question it....never dismiss it....

Sure when the demand is HIGH on a breaker they can run warm...I do not debate this but again it may be also a question of the AMPS being drawn on the line and that should possibly be looked at as well....the fact is warm is warm.....when it is HOT most will know it and smell it as well.

Just my opinion guys........sorry

P.S. IB if you have any of those $ 10,000 goggles you want to donate to the cause.....you can find my address probably in my profile...thehehehehe They sound wild!!
 
  #5  
Old 07-25-05, 07:27 PM
ally68
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Mostly what I am refering to is the 30 amp breaker for my dryer and the 30 amp for my a.c. when my dryer or ac is on they warm up when off they cool down and I understand this to be normal is this correct. They are never to hot to touch just warm to the touch but not painful or anything.

None of my other breakers are ever noticabley warm
 
  #6  
Old 07-26-05, 08:57 AM
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Ally,
Your breakers sound normal.

ElectricalMan,
I have only used the goggles once or twice (unfortunately). My father is the Assistant Chief of the local fire department, and they got a grant to buy a set of them. You can pick out a body through 50 feet of solid black smoke or can easily find which malfunctioning electrical gear filled the building with smoke. Very cool!
 
  #7  
Old 07-26-05, 09:33 AM
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Cool ib....Just think of me as a fellow fireman...(not) and send me one of them as a sample...tehhehehe.....I bet that will go over good at the fire station...lol
 
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