Old house / new service, breaker tripping

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  #1  
Old 07-05-07, 12:19 PM
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Old house / new service, breaker tripping

I recently purchased an old house (87 years old) The sellers had an electrician install a new service box (100amps) to replace the 60 amp fuse box. He also removed all accessable knob and tube wiring. The problem I am having is I have an enclosed front porch with a fan and a set of outlets but when I hit the switch to turn them on the breaker trips.

Where should I begin? At the switch?
 
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  #2  
Old 07-05-07, 12:22 PM
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Did this always do it? If so, call the electrician who did the work.

Did this just start? Is anything plugged in to the receptacles? What else is on the circuit?
 
  #3  
Old 07-05-07, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft View Post
Did this always do it? If so, call the electrician who did the work.

Did this just start? Is anything plugged in to the receptacles? What else is on the circuit?
I'm not sure if it had always done this or not. I do not know who the sellers had do the work and I never tested the outlets on the porch.

There is nothing plugged into the receptacles on the porch. The outlet in the kitchen that is not on the new dedicated circuit and some of the other outlets in the living room are on the same circuit as the porch.
 
  #4  
Old 07-05-07, 12:45 PM
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Well, you need to check every location on the circuit at and after the switch. It doesn't really matter where you start.

Obviously you should have figured out if everything worked when you moved in.
 
  #5  
Old 07-05-07, 01:06 PM
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Is this an immediate trip (few seconds at most)? If so I'd start by disconnecting every thing down stream of the switch including the fan. While doing that check each for anything that looks odd. If when you then throw the switch the breaker no longer trips you know it is one of the things you disconnected.

If it still trips I'd suspect since it was wired K&T the switch may have originally on the neutral side and was not correctly changed. (Just a guess.)

If the switch no longer trips the breaker add back each item one at a time checking for a trip each time.


SAFETY NOTE! As you disconnect the items make sure none of the unconnected wires are touching anything before re-energizing. Better yet put a wire nut on each wire.
 
  #6  
Old 07-05-07, 01:34 PM
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You said, "the switch to turn them on." Can you say more about this? What exactly does this switch turn on? Of course, maybe you don't know the answer to that since the breaker trips when you flip it. If that's the case, can you tell us what has power and what doesn't when the breaker is on and the switch is not on.
 
  #7  
Old 07-05-07, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
You said, "the switch to turn them on." Can you say more about this? What exactly does this switch turn on? Of course, maybe you don't know the answer to that since the breaker trips when you flip it. If that's the case, can you tell us what has power and what doesn't when the breaker is on and the switch is not on.


the switch turns on the fan and the two sets of outlets on the porch, the switch is located on the other side of the wall inside the main house near the door to the porch.

It flips the breaker immediately after hitting the switch, just like you were switching the breaker itself.

I took out the switch and replaced it with a new one, the old one was kinda dirty. The previous owner had enclosed in the porch so the wiring was the cloth type of nm cable. The switch had 1 white wire and 1 black wire, the ground wire was cut back to the covering.

I also replaced one of the outlets. It had two cables coming into the box, the outlet had 2 white wires (1 with black tape around it) and 2 black wires. The ground wires were just twisted togeather but not attached to the outlet.

I tried flipping the switch with the outlet disconnected but it still flipped the breaker. I will disconnect the fan and other outlet in the porch and try that.
 
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Old 07-05-07, 05:04 PM
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Did things work before you replaced anything? When you replaced the receptacle did you wire it properly? How did you wire it?
 
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Old 07-05-07, 05:58 PM
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The Do it yourself "Books" (H.D. Home wiring and such) tell you to Mark white wires with black tape if it runs from a switch..In essence , It would be a "HOT" wire.. If someone accidentally hooked this a a neutral..Instant trip!

A voltage tester is in order.
 
  #10  
Old 07-05-07, 05:59 PM
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That switch is a connected as a switch loop. You need to find the other end of the switch cable. That is where you will find your problem. The device you are switching is probably already on. This is common fault with switch loops. Someone thought they would fix the problem of the colours not matching and rewired the device connecting all whites and all blacks. The other end of the cable in question should have a white wire connected to some black wires.
 
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Old 07-05-07, 06:02 PM
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Do you have the old receptacle? Was the link between the two brass screws removed?
 
  #12  
Old 07-06-07, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by racraft View Post
Did things work before you replaced anything? When you replaced the receptacle did you wire it properly? How did you wire it?
No it did not work, in the process of testing things I replaced the switch and outlet. I wired it just like the old one was. the two black wires on the side labeled black and the two white wires on the other side. Should the white wire with black tape go to the black side?

The link between the brass screws was still connected on the old receptacle.

I will try to follow the wires from the porch into the basement. It is hard because there are a bunch of junction boxes.

Is there some type of tester I could use to find the right cable? I've used them for tracing network cables but not for electrical wiring.

I have a multi meter could that help track down this problem?
 
  #13  
Old 07-06-07, 09:38 AM
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At the very least the receptacle seems to be wired wrong. There must be other switches or more wires somewhere...

At the receptacle, connect the marked white wire to the black wire from the other cable. Use a wire nut and do not connect these wires to anything else.

Connect the black wire from the cable containing the marked white wire to the brass screw side of the receptacle.

Connect the remaining white wire to the silver screw side of the receptacle.

Connect all ground wires properly.
 
  #14  
Old 07-06-07, 11:01 AM
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At this point you may want to call back the electrician that did the upgrade. It can be tricky doing a rewire especially if some original wiring is left as you seem to indicate. He may have miss-read a wiring situation when making new connections. He'd know best what he did.
 
  #15  
Old 07-06-07, 11:43 AM
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IF there are only 2 wires, Black & White at the switch outlet-box, and when the switch is in the "On" position the breaker trips, then at some outlet-box the Black & White wires from the switch connect to the Black & White wires of a "Feed-In" cable.

Connect a test-lamp socket to the Black & White wires at the switch outlet-box. If the lamp is fully illuminated, you will have open the connections at other outlet-boxes that are effected by the tripped breaker. When you open a connection that causes the lamp to "go out" , you have "cleared" the fault.
 
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