Circuit tripped and won't reset

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  #1  
Old 11-01-10, 09:44 AM
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Circuit tripped and won't reset

I have a contractor built home, built in 2007. This weekend I woke up and the circuit to my son and daughters room was tripped. I tried to reset it and it immediately tripped again. I unplugged everything in their rooms (lamps, humidifiers, nightlights) and it still trips.

The last time I tried to reset it I had my finger on the outside of the circuit breaker and when I pushed it to ON I felt the live 110V on my finger. A colleague of mine thinks the wiring may have been chewed by a squirel or something.

What do I need to do to track this down and resolve. Any advise?

Much appreciated,

DBA
 
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  #2  
Old 11-01-10, 11:27 AM
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First disconnect the lead from the breaker and try to reset the breaker. If you can reset the breaker with nothing connected open all boxes, receptacles, lights, and switches on the circuit and look for a problem.
 
  #3  
Old 11-01-10, 06:53 PM
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It sounds a lot like a bare ground wire is touching a hot terminal on either a switch or receptacle. If you follow Ray's advice, you'll probably find it with no problem.
 
  #4  
Old 11-01-10, 08:21 PM
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If your house was builted in 2007 and sound like your bedroom have AFCI in there { you have to tell us what state you are in so I can able dail in with correct produrces due the code change a bit }


First thing do as Ray describing run the basic test by unhook the breaker and if still hold in place then start work on the recetpale and switches to make sure the ground is not touching ether netural or hot conductors { BTW AFCI and GFCI will trip if netural and ground touch each other }

Did you do any recent work in that rooms like putting up a picture or something like that ?

Merci.
Marc
 
  #5  
Old 11-02-10, 12:33 AM
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You should not be feeling any electical "buzz" while trying to re-set a c/b. Perhaps there is an problem with the C/B itself. You could easily place that circuit wire on another c/b of equal value and see what the resultant is. I wear rubber and or leather gloves if I suspect that there is any chance that I may get shocked. Don't want that.
 
  #6  
Old 11-02-10, 06:09 AM
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If the breaker tripped due to overload it will take some time for the breaker to cool off enough to allow it to reset.

If an energized wire was contacting the metal of the panel it should trip the breaker. You should not be feeling voltage on your finger.
 
  #7  
Old 11-03-10, 07:44 PM
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Sorry, I've been busy and haven't had time to respond. I appreciate all the input.

So here it is, I went down and reset the breaker and it stayed ON! Happy but confused I wanted to check and see if I could replicate the problem. There is a reset button right on the breaker and I pushed it and it tripped as it was supposed to. I placed my middle finger on the right lip of the breaker (as I did when I felt the "buzz") and pushed the breaker to the ON position and it tripped immediately. OK, well I then took my finger off the right lip of the breaker and reset it and it stayed ON! I repeated this many times both with my finger on the right lip and off the right lip and got the same results every time. When my finger was on it it tripped when it was off it, it reset fine! This time no "buzz" on the finger.

Does this mean the breaker has a ground leak and needs replacing? Or does the box itself have a leak or is the problem a neutral touching a ground? Or am I nuts!

BTW, I live in NH. I haven't hung anything but we painted my daughters room a few months ago where I removed all the receptacle and switch covers. Perhaps we painted into a switch or receptacle and it's now causing an issue?

I'm not sure what you mean by "disconnect the lead from the breaker" or "unhook the breaker". Does this mean the breaker pops out of the panel and I can reset without being electrically connected or something else? Can you do that without turning the main panel breaker off?

Clearly I'm a novice but I like to figure things out so I can deal with them if they come up again.

Hopefully, this isn't info overload. This is my first time doing a forum.

Thanks again for the continued help!
 
  #8  
Old 11-03-10, 09:29 PM
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Sounds like you have an AFCI breaker. You were touching the test button when turning the breaker back on. Pressing the test button in the middle of the breaker is suposed to make it trip.

What happened may have been an isolated inciden. AFCI's especially the older generation can be sensitive to such things as old vacuum cleaners.

For clarity there is a difference between an AFCI trip and a breaker trip though the components are in the same device. You need to distinguish between the two types of failure because they often have different causes. You might want to Google AFCI to have a better understanding.

What you thought was a shock touching the breaker may have been the AFCI vibrating.
 
  #9  
Old 11-04-10, 08:13 PM
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I concur, what you "probably" felt was a vibration. An AFCI has electronic solid state components and you "may" have mistakenly perceived a vibration for an electric impulse.
 
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