breaker arking!!!

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  #1  
Old 01-05-08, 05:52 PM
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breaker arking!!!

How do I replace a faulty breaker?
 
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Old 01-05-08, 05:59 PM
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Chances are if you have to ask how your not skilled enough to actually do it. They are live ares int he panel even if the main is off that will literally blow pieces of your body off. Are you willing to risk that? If not I'd pay an electrician a couple bucks to do it for you.
 
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Old 01-05-08, 06:41 PM
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Your question is fine. Nobody was born knowing how to replace a breaker, even electricians.

However, this is not a job for a novice. Unless you already have considerable electrical experience, I'd probably leave this job for a professional. It's not that the job is a lot more difficult than replacing a receptacle, but it is definitely a lot more dangerous. There are many more chances of death in this job. In fact, you can be seriously shocked doing nothing more than taking the cover off the panel.

Next, I'll point out that breakers don't go bad very often. I'd guess that only one breaker out of 10 that is replaced is actually bad.

Okay, done with the disclaimers. The general process is as follows:
(1) Shut off the main breaker.
(2) Take off the panel cover (usually four screws), being very careful to pull it straight off and not bump it into anything as you do (this is the death risk in just removing the cover).
(3) Keep your hands in your pockets while you spend 10 minutes studying everything inside. Figure out where the main wires come in and where they connect. Know that these things are still live with unfused power, even with the main breaker shut off.
(4) Keeping your hands and tools well away from all live parts, loosen the screw so you can remove the wire from the breaker. Pay attention to how it was attached so you can reattach it at least as well.
(5) Snap out the old breaker. It usually hooks in on one side and snaps in on the other.
(6) Snap in a new breaker that is exactly the same in every respect, and has exactly the same manufacturer and model number.
(7) Reattach the wire, torquing it to manufacturer's specifications.
(8) Replace the panel cover and the four screws, again being very careful not to bump it into live parts.
(9) Stand to one side (not directly in front of the panel) while you turn the main breaker back on.
 
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Old 01-05-08, 06:44 PM
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E Z

I do actually understand basic wiring, but the qustion was more about making sure I don't make any mistakes in regards to the bus bars.
 
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Old 01-05-08, 06:59 PM
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You really can't mess a buss bar up ... Unless of course it is a sub panel or wired as one such as if you have a outside disconnect , then you'd isolate the neutrals.
 
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Old 01-05-08, 07:12 PM
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I think I understand your question.......And yes you can damage a Buss if you dont do this correctly.

What brand is your panel.... Some manufacturers use Bolt in breakers, some are sorta "HINGED" on a main rail, Some just slide on and off their mounts......But they are all PURPOSELY TIGHT AS HECK.......
Make sure you figure out how it comes off before TUGGING on it! Get the panel brand and look it up on the net....Most MFRs have Installation instructions online.
 
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Old 01-05-08, 07:42 PM
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tnx

Originally Posted by Unclediezel View Post
I think I understand your question.......And yes you can damage a Buss if you dont do this correctly.

What brand is your panel.... Some manufacturers use Bolt in breakers, some are sorta "HINGED" on a main rail, Some just slide on and off their mounts......But they are all PURPOSELY TIGHT AS HECK.......
Make sure you figure out how it comes off before TUGGING on it! Get the panel brand and look it up on the net....Most MFRs have Installation instructions online.
thank you...this info is very much appreciated
 
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Old 01-05-08, 07:46 PM
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tnx

Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
Your question is fine. Nobody was born knowing how to replace a breaker, even electricians.

However, this is not a job for a novice. Unless you already have considerable electrical experience, I'd probably leave this job for a professional. It's not that the job is a lot more difficult than replacing a receptacle, but it is definitely a lot more dangerous. There are many more chances of death in this job. In fact, you can be seriously shocked doing nothing more than taking the cover off the panel.

Next, I'll point out that breakers don't go bad very often. I'd guess that only one breaker out of 10 that is replaced is actually bad.

Okay, done with the disclaimers. The general process is as follows:
(1) Shut off the main breaker.
(2) Take off the panel cover (usually four screws), being very careful to pull it straight off and not bump it into anything as you do (this is the death risk in just removing the cover).
(3) Keep your hands in your pockets while you spend 10 minutes studying everything inside. Figure out where the main wires come in and where they connect. Know that these things are still live with unfused power, even with the main breaker shut off.
(4) Keeping your hands and tools well away from all live parts, loosen the screw so you can remove the wire from the breaker. Pay attention to how it was attached so you can reattach it at least as well.
(5) Snap out the old breaker. It usually hooks in on one side and snaps in on the other.
(6) Snap in a new breaker that is exactly the same in every respect, and has exactly the same manufacturer and model number.
(7) Reattach the wire, torquing it to manufacturer's specifications.
(8) Replace the panel cover and the four screws, again being very careful not to bump it into live parts.
(9) Stand to one side (not directly in front of the panel) while you turn the main breaker back on.
thanks a lot... the cover removal scenario is a good reminder.
 
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Old 01-05-08, 08:47 PM
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Something just occurred to me......

What do you mean by arcing? Does the breaker trip? do you hear or see sparks from the panel?....

While you didnt want to damage the busses while changing a breaker, its possible a damaged buss is causing the arc.

As John said, spend some time looking around the panel box. Anything that appears to be the slightest bit Burned should be replaced by a qualified proffessional.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 06:06 PM
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replacing breaker

If it is a federal pacific panel than you might want to google that brand. You will quickly find out that they are a fire hazard and might want to replace the entire panel quickly. This is something that I would pay a professional to do, but they are a known fire hazard and have actually lost there ul liscense a long time ago due to this. As a matter of fact you can not even buy there brand anymore.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 06:09 PM
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^ It's not all federal pacific panels, just the stab-loc style.
 
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Old 01-09-08, 12:12 PM
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...and after all that, if there's a problem with the load side (i.e. bad appliance, loose wire causing short, etc) you may be right back where you started. I have had a breaker fail on me, though, and after replacing it the problem was solved. Also, make sure you replace like for like (replacing a 15A with a 20A is a recipe for an electrical fire)

Replacing the breaker = relatively easy

Diagnosing the problem = more difficult
 
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