How do I find what is tripping my circuit breaker?

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Old 05-14-10, 03:50 PM
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How do I find what is tripping my circuit breaker?

The breaker doesn't trip all the time - Our study and guest bedroom are on the same circuit. The guest room clock is on and sometimes my husband leaves the satellite box turned on.

In the study we have 2 surge protectors - each has a computer, monitor, printer and my husband's also has the wireless router and recently we got an Air Rave amplifying device for our cell phones. There is also a ceiling fan with light.

The breaker didn't trip until we got the Air Rave, so we tried plugging it in in the hallway (on another circuit, and today we had the computers going and the ceiling fan only (not the light) it tripped. We turned the surge protectors off waited an hour (for the "wires/circuit box to cool down" said my husband) and it tripped again after about 5 mins.

I am only running one computer, cable modem, wireless router and Air Rave (on the other circuit) and so far it is ok.

Is the load too much? (each surge protector is plugged into its own outlet.

Wanda
Little Elm, TX

Any ideas?
 
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Old 05-14-10, 03:53 PM
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What kind/brand of surge protectors are they? Have you tried the computers and other periphery without the surge protectors? Are the computers towers or laptops?
 
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Old 05-14-10, 09:32 PM
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From what you describe is on that circuit it doesn't seam to be enough to trip the circuit, even a 15 amp one. Unless your computers are MAJOR hogs (IE: very high end CPU's and 2 or 3 high end graphic cards in SLI or crossfire with 1000 watt+ power supplies.) Is this a "normal" breaker or is this an AFCI/GFCI breaker?
 
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Old 05-14-10, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by wandawoof1 View Post
The breaker doesn't trip all the time ... The guest room clock is on and sometimes my husband leaves the satellite box turned on.
In the study we have 2 surge protectors - each has a computer, monitor, printer and my husband's also has the wireless router and recently we got an Air Rave amplifying device for our cell phones. There is also a ceiling fan with light.
It does not appear to be a major load. But 'appearance' is also how seven Challenger astronauts were killled.

First get numbers. Every appliance has a label with watts and / or amps listed. Sum those numbers. Only then can someone provide a useful reply. What are the numbers for each device?

Why are surge protectors getting hot? They do nothing - remain inert - until 120 volts exceeds 300+ volts. Surge protectors do not consume power. Only connect AC mains directly to the appliance. No protector should be hot. Why are they hot? What is the current rating for each power strip? And (again) what are the watt numbers for each device connected to each power strip?

Which breaker is blowing? One on each surge protectors? One in the breaker box? What kind of breaker is it? For example, is it a conventional breaker or an AFGI - a breaker with a test button? Also, what is the ampere number on that breaker - both breaker box and power strip circuit breakers?

If anyone answered your question as is, then he would have to lie. Nobody can honestly answer your questions until you first provide those numbers. Every sentence with a question mark must be answered to have an honest reply.
 
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Old 05-15-10, 04:40 PM
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It sounds to me like its a bad breaker.. I would replace the breaker. If its a modern home it could be the surge protectors if they are on AFCIs but if you got standard single pole breakers its prob old and worn out.
Good Luck
 
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Old 05-15-10, 11:35 PM
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Wanda, You don't by chance have a laser printer plugged in on the circuit do you? Laser printers, especially older ones, have a heater that uses a lot of power and cycles on and off even when you're not printing. 2 computers and 2 monitors could easily add up to over 1000 watts. Add a 50 watt fan another 50 watts in periferals (modem, router...) and you're only 700 watts away from the capacity of the 15 amp circuit.

Much of Little Elm is newer housing so this could also be an AFCI breaker issue. As Westom asked, does it have a "test" button?

Doug M.
 
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