Sizzle on the neutral bus


Old 09-06-06, 06:43 PM
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Sizzle on the neutral bus

I have an older 100 amp fuse panel with glass fuses at the cottage. Sunday evening I lost power to the bedrooms and kitchen outlet. When I went to investigate I heard a sizzle coming from the stove. Apon inspection the stove was smoking and the florecent light was burning out (presumably the cause of the smoke).
Killed the main.
When I inspected all the fuses they were fine.
When I removed the fuse panel cover and turned on the main there were visible sparks on the neutral bus.
Killed main.
Turned off breaker in garage (underground cable - 20 amp fuse).
Turned on the main and there was less sparks but still visible.
Removed fuse for garage, sparks disappeared but could still hear sizzling.
Killed main.
Removed and inspected all fuses and put them back in, turned on main and the lights on the dead circuts came back on.

Next morning all the circuts were dead again but the fuses did not blow.
Mapped out the dead circuts, they turned out to be all the left circuts on every fuse block



diagram of panel shows the right 100 fuse in the main services the left side of each block.

Cleaned up the panel by removing each circut, checking for cuts or nicks to the rubber insulation, removing some obsurdly long wires that would run down the side and fold back up, trimmed back any insulation (fabric insulation not the rubber) to 1/4 to 1/2inch inside the panel so it is now nice and neat.

Started to remove fuses until the panel was silent, had to remove garage, bedrooms and pump house running a small hot water heater and a pump (also underground wire).

Left cottage Monday with all fuses out except the fridge.

I have an electrician coming tomorrow and I am hoping to educate myself enough that I can ask intellegent questions.

Please help? Ideas? Warnings?

Thanks in advance!!
Old 09-06-06, 07:14 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
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The visible sparks are loose conenction and a fire trying to start. The electrician will probably replace the panel and possibly the entire service from the POCO connection, including the meter can.
Old 09-06-06, 07:17 PM
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well bad news it sounds like you might have lost one of youer legs. you have two 120 volt lines in youer panel. you say one side does not work and all youer 2 pole appliences do not work correctly. that sounds like one of the 120 volt lines is dead. if you lost a neutral alot of appliences would be fried witch you might find so i will not rule that out either. the electrician will at the least replace youer panel and i would let him. fuses are a fire waiting to happen. with that said the under ground my need to be replaced if the wires are damaged. the electrian will replace everything to todays code if youer at any time think he is trying to rip you off call the town or city electric inspector and ask if the things he is tring to install is code and nesesary. good luck
Old 09-07-06, 06:11 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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If as you say "the sparks were coming from the neutral bar", your problem could be as simple as a loose or corroded connection on the neutral wire (terminal) feeding the circuits.
Still, I would have a electrician check it out if I were you.
Re-read your post and just noticed that you've lost power on one leg in the main panel.
It could be a loose connection on the main lugs where the service cables attach, a burned or corroded connection on the main fuse block or a corroded connection in the meter base outside.
The service wires (from the outside meter) and their connections at the main fuse terminals inside this panel will remain energized (hot) with all of the fuses pulled so be very careful and DO NOT TOUCH THEM.
The only way (normally) to kill power on these service wires (and connectons) is to pull the outside electrical meter.
You definitely need a electrician.

Last edited by hillbilly ace; 09-07-06 at 06:31 AM.

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