Breaker trip at meter

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  #1  
Old 10-05-05, 05:57 AM
Jim99
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Breaker trip at meter

I have an issue that is more of an irritation than anything.

About 10 years ago I had my service upgraded (from 100A to 200A). This included adding a new meter socket with a built in disconnect (breaker) since the main panel is about 40 feet from the meter. This was done by a licensed electrician, with the cooperation of the local PC and a permit from the county.

Within the last few months, the breaker at the meter has tripped probably 10-15 times. Iíve calculated the load using everything I can think of and I donít even approach 200 A. Each time the breaker trips, I am not able to immediately reset it. If I wait 5 minutes or so, the breaker can be reset normally.

I spoke with a friend briefly about it (he is an electrician but does commercial work almost exclusively) and he thinks it may be that the breaker is going bad since it is exposed to the elements (outdoors).

Any insight as to the possibilty of the breaker going and why I cannot reset would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Jim
 
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  #2  
Old 10-05-05, 06:38 AM
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You say if you wait 5 minutes you can reset it. Are you saying the breaker is warm (maybe even hot) to the touch when it trips? If so, the heat could be coming from a loose connection at the breaker itself. Have you experienced any other problems in the house such as a noticeable voltage dip when a motor starts?
 
  #3  
Old 10-05-05, 06:40 AM
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Does the breaker sit in the hot sun? Does it usually trip when the sun is hitting it in the hottest part of the day? Does it trip more in summer than winter?

Are there any discernable patterns to the tripping in terms of time of day, day of the week, season of the year, type of weather, etc.?
 
  #4  
Old 10-05-05, 06:52 AM
Jim99
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Originally Posted by alittle
You say if you wait 5 minutes you can reset it. Are you saying the breaker is warm (maybe even hot) to the touch when it trips? If so, the heat could be coming from a loose connection at the breaker itself. Have you experienced any other problems in the house such as a noticeable voltage dip when a motor starts?
The breaker may be a little warm, but it is not hot. I have not noticed any other problems.

Originally Posted by John Nelson
Does the breaker sit in the hot sun? Does it usually trip when the sun is hitting it in the hottest part of the day? Does it trip more in summer than winter?

Are there any discernable patterns to the tripping in terms of time of day, day of the week, season of the year, type of weather, etc.?
The breaker is under an eave on the east side of the house. The time of day has been very random from early morning to late afternoon (has not happened at night). No particular day or temperature that I can think of. The tripping started this summer but has happened when both hot and cool (I'm near Chicago).

Thanks for the replies.
 
  #5  
Old 10-05-05, 06:57 AM
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Then I agree with your electrician friend.
 
  #6  
Old 10-05-05, 07:40 AM
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I second that.
 
  #7  
Old 10-05-05, 07:45 AM
Jim99
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Thank you both very much.
 
  #8  
Old 10-05-05, 08:02 AM
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Is the compressr-motor of a "central" HVAC system connected? What type of sytem (s) heat/cool your house?

Are the Service Conductors copper or aluminum? Corrosion at C-B terminals with aluminum conductors connected is a common problem.
 
  #9  
Old 10-05-05, 08:35 AM
Jim99
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No central air . We use a couple of small window AC's during the hotest weather. Heat is forced hot air but the furnace has not run during this time. I do have quite a few power tools, but the trips have not coincided with using them. I seldom, if ever, have more than one running at a time. I even considered the pool pump, well pump, septic pump (uphill to the field) and still cannot get even close to 200A at one time.

The transition from Al to Cu is at the mast above the meter. The electrician had to run Al from my intermediate pole to the mast because of the distance (ComEd would only go 100'), then Cu from the mast to the meter and disconnect and then to the main panel. He used some type of paste on the Al-Cu connection to help prevent corrosion.
 
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