Main Breaker will not turn off.


Old 05-03-08, 04:06 PM
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Exclamation Main Breaker will not turn off.

I was going to do some trouble shooting today and went to my electric panel to turn off power to my house with the main panel breaker, but no matter how long I hold it to off or how hard I push it will not switch off. Its a cutler and hammer from around 1985. Am i missing something here or do I have a problem?
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Old 05-03-08, 04:13 PM
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Welcome to the forums! The main is just an oversized breaker, and once it is flipped down, it disconnects. BUT, to keep you safe, trouble shooting is not a diy thing if you feel you have to shut off all the power to the house. What sort of problems are you having? We may be able to help. In order to replace the main breaker, your meter will have to be pulled by the POCO, and reset after you obtain a permit from your local authorities, and certification from an electrician the job was done in accordance with code. So, you may be opening up a can of worms. If the main needs replacing, let a pro do it.
Old 05-03-08, 04:17 PM
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To be more specific I am going to instal a 50amp d/p c/b on my panel. So I opened the box and went to turn off the main breaker to the panel and it would not turn off.
Old 05-03-08, 04:37 PM
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well, it sounds like you need to take care of that main breaker first.

If you have less than a 200 amp service or less than 24 or so circuit panel, you may consider upgrading your service rather than simply replacing the main breaker.
Old 05-03-08, 04:41 PM
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We normally don't trip the main to replace a breaker, but, as Nap said, you need to address the main first, and since you have to pull the meter, consider upgrading.
Old 05-05-08, 11:04 AM
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Does the main breaker not move at all? Or can you move it to the 'off' position but it springs back on?

Main breakers usually require a pretty strong hand to turn them off, much more than your typical branch breaker. Though if you can flip the switch and it doesn't go off or stay off, you'll likely need a new main breaker.

As mentioned, replacing a main breaker isn't generally a DIY task. And depending on the size and age your current service, a main breaker is often almost the cost of a new panel, so it's a good time to consider upgrading. What size is your current service/main breaker?
Old 05-05-08, 01:53 PM
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Hello Airtran Ė

I might be totally out in left field. Iím weak in electric terminology. But if main breaker means one of those gray boxes with an arm on it like a slot machine that you pull down to turn off - I have one of those too before my distribution(?) panel. That is , before the panel with all the circuit breakers in it.

For the life of me I couldnít get the arm in the off position. I looked at manufacturer(s) web sites and everything. Couldnít solve it. Turned out there is a little safety mechanism button or something (I forget) down where the arm pivots and you just push it in a little (I think) and the arm will be able to be moved to the off position. Anyway Iím sure the electrician told me it was a safety mechanism and that the box wasnít broken.

Last time it just took me a little time fooling around at the pivot point and I could move the arm to off.

As I said this may absolutely nothing at all to do with your problem but try as I may I canít be brief.
Old 05-05-08, 03:53 PM
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That is a form of main disconnect, usually fused.

Most installations these days would have an integrated main breaker in the panel, it being a larger version of the bramch breakers.

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