Breaker bad?

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  #1  
Old 03-11-06, 09:49 AM
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Breaker bad?

Is it possible for a breaker to be bad without tripping?

My problem is that I have two outlets(only) on a 20amp breaker. Only table lamps are plugged in in addition to a cordless phone base unit. But I am getting a flickering and brown out from the lights intermittantly. I disconnected the phone and it still occurs. I jiggled the outlets to check for a loose connection and no difference. I can jiggle it and the lights are strong, or I can be sitting and all of a sudden, the lights go into a staticy flickering.

This is the only circuit that has a problem. I tested the lamps in other outlets and they are fine.

Any and all information will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Jake..
 
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  #2  
Old 03-11-06, 10:01 AM
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You have a loose connection. If it is only these two receptacles and they are on the same circuit, then check the two receptacles in question and check the receptacle just before these two.
 
  #3  
Old 03-11-06, 05:16 PM
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try what racraft describes, but as you asked, yes a breaker can go bad without tripping. the contact metal to the buss can be bad and not making constant contact. i have seen them badly rotted to the point where there is no contact and no power to the circuit breaker. besides the wiring to these outlets, what is the condition of the outlet itself? the contacts inside the outlet where the cord blades touch could be shot
 
  #4  
Old 03-12-06, 10:36 AM
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re Breaker bad?

I will check the outlets, but actually they are not all that old, and not susceptable to mis-use or banging, etc. It is a finished basement circuit, and the wiring is stable and not broken in any places. I think I might have paid an electrician to replace this breaker once before, about six years ago. At that time, there was a snapping in the breaker panel, but that went away for good, once the breaker was replace.

I hope it is not a problem in how the breaker is wired inside or to the panel. But this just started over the past two or three weeks, so I guess that would be unlikely.

But, as I said, I will go over both outlets - probably replace them anyway, just to eliminate a variable if it does not solve the problem.

Thanks to both of you..


Jake
 
  #5  
Old 03-12-06, 01:19 PM
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First you say there are only two recepticals. Then you mention lamps. Then you mention lights. Are these lights you refer to in the lamps, or are there lighting fixtures wired directly into this circuit in addition to the two recepticals?
 
  #6  
Old 03-13-06, 10:37 AM
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re Breaker Bad?

Responding to the last post, if you reread the original post, you will not that it indicate "table lamps" that were plugged in.

Thanks,
jake
 
  #7  
Old 03-13-06, 01:04 PM
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Could be a loose connection of the circuit white (neutral) wire where it lands on the neutral bar. Could be corrosion at the breaker / bus bar connection. Could be a loose wire on the breaker itself. Could be a loose wire anywhere else in the system, but if you have already pulled the receptacles out of the boxes and "jiggled" them without results, the problem is probably elsewhere.
 
  #8  
Old 03-13-06, 01:13 PM
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I had a circuit that exhibited similar behavior. Turns out that the connection of the hot wire to the breaker was never properly tightened, just help in place by the spring action of the wires. The problem did not show up until we had lived in the (new construction) house for three years...
 
  #9  
Old 03-13-06, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jake7363
Responding to the last post, if you reread the original post, you will not that it indicate "table lamps" that were plugged in.

Thanks,
jake

That's what I wanted to verify. Any chance there is a wiring problem in the lamps, not the circuit?

Maybe just try them on another circuit to eliminate that possibility. It does sound like a loose connection. I'd shut off the breaker, then start remaking connections. Move any wires poked into "backstabs" rather than wrapped around screws to the screws. Redo all the connections, even if they don't look bad. For the price of two recepticals, it wouldn't be a bad idea to replace them too.
 
  #10  
Old 03-13-06, 06:20 PM
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Jake, also,
only If you are comfortable with being in the panel, Check all the neutral connections. As some have stated in many posts, the Hots were loose, I have also found several neutrals loose in a panel.
 
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