Faulty service panel breaker?


Old 05-04-06, 02:03 PM
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Faulty service panel breaker?

A circuit in my basement went off last night, and I suspected it was caused by a portable 1500 w heater that was being used. I checked and double checked that I had the right breaker, and none were tripped. So, today I checked the recepticals expecting to find a burnt or loose wire. But all looked fine. tested as OK.
Think it's the breaker itself? And can I change this myself or is it too risky. With the power to the panel off, I think it would be quite safe to change the breaker, but I have a book here that say's to get a pro.

Thanks for any help with this people!
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Old 05-04-06, 02:52 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: New York
Posts: 36
Questions: Did you unplug the heater an plug another working item into the receptacle to confirm it is not just the heater that cut out ? Are you sure the breaker for that circuit was not in the middle position (tripped) and you didn't realize it ? In such a case you would need to flip it to OFF first then ON.
Old 05-04-06, 03:41 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
I suspect you have an open circuit, caused by the high current draw of the space heater, you just haven't identified it.

Verify that you have no power at ANY of the receptacles on the circuit, and leaving the breaker. Use a plug in tester at the receptacles and use a two wire tester at the breaker.
Old 05-04-06, 04:26 PM
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breaker is replaced, still no power

Yes all the receptacles on that circuit are not working.
I replaced the breaker.. I got some advise on how to do that, from a friendly, about to retire electrician at the builders supply. Nice guy but, oh well, still no power. So now I'm looking for a open circuit..sounds like a good call. That was the first thing I did though, was to look for a melted off wire or something. I guess I should turn the breaker off for the circuit... how am I going to test for continuity? I'll need a jumper wire I guess to check each wire from one receptacle to the next? Sound right or is there an easier way?

Thanks to all for your help again.
Old 05-04-06, 05:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
You do not test for continuity. The results are meaningless unless you absolutely know what you are doing.

You will have to check for incoming power on the first receptacle on the circuit. Not at the receptacle, but at the wires feeding the receptacle. Of course you need to check for power with the circuit breaker on. If you don't know which receptacle is first, you will have to guess until you find it.

The problem is almost certainly either a failed back stab or an open at a wire nut connection.

Move any back stabs to the screw terminals and remake any wire nut connections. Eventually you will find the problem.

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