How to turn off a breaker on a breaker panel?

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Old 09-06-12, 02:12 PM
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How to turn off a breaker on a breaker panel?

Hi,

I have something like 25 breakers on my breaker panel. As I tried to turn off the breaker that connects to the ceiling light that I'm going to fix, I failed to do so because it looks like no breaker linked to the ceiling lights; the same is true for some of the outlets in the basement.

I don't think there is some secondary panel where the breakers are related to the lights I talked about. Then what's going on. I hate to switch off the main power source but it looks like I don't have other choices.

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 09-06-12, 02:15 PM
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Did you turn off all 25 breakers and the circuit was still powered?

I know a guy who has a receptacle in his house which is wired prior to the panel, so it does happen.
 
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Old 09-06-12, 02:32 PM
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No, I turned them off one by one see which one is connected to the ceiling light. I have a circuit detector but it really sucks: you plug in one of the outlets, them move the detector as instructed, the thing will give you sort of random beeps: the first trip it beeps at No. 4 breaker, next trip be No. 10.

If I turn them all off at the same time, wouldn't it be the same thing as turn off the main?

Thanks for replying.
 
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Old 09-06-12, 02:38 PM
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Also I have seen accidental cross connections between two breakers. If that is the case you need to turn off two breakers. First turn off the main breaker. Does the circuit go dead?

If yes to above do you have any subpanels? If you can't find any double check by turning off one at a time each 2-pole breaker (240v breaker). Does the circuit go dead? If so you probably have a subpanel somewhere.

If no subpanel then you need to turn off all single-pole (120 volt) 15 amp and 20 amp breakers. Test each breaker with all others off by turning it on, checking the circuit then turning it off and checking the next breaker. If one breaker does turn the circuit on mark it then turn it off and continue checking to see if there is also a second circuit breaker that turns the circuit on. This must be done with only one circuit breaker at a time on.
 
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Old 09-06-12, 08:44 PM
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I have a circuit detector but it really sucks: you plug in one of the outlets, them move the detector as instructed, the thing will give you sort of random beeps: the first trip it beeps at No. 4 breaker, next trip be No. 10.
What if your detector was performing exactly as it was designed to do? What if the outlet you plugged the transmitter into is actually powered from both the # 4 breaker and the # 10 breaker?

Did you try turning off both #4 and #10 at the same time? If you did, and that didn't work, try turning off the breaker that gives the most positive signal to your circuit detector, leaving that breaker off, resetting your detector and scanning again. Keep turning breakers off, one at a time, until the circuit is dead. You can then turn each one back on to see if it energizes the circuit. If you find that more than one breaker will energize the circuit, those two circuits are joined at some point downstream from the panel. You need to find that connection and separate the circuits, because no fault on any device powered from both breakers will trip either one. The fault will weld itself instead, and is likely to start a fire.

Then you can do the work you were planning to do on that ceiling light.

Tech Note: This phenomenon can only happen if the two joined circuits are both fed by the same leg, or phase, of the service. In a standard panel arrangement, the breaker in position # 4 and the breaker in position # 10 will both be fed by the B phase. If those are the actual breaker positions that your detector was pointing to, then yes, that outlet could be double-fed.
 
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Old 09-07-12, 07:00 AM
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It is not uncommon for the breaker finder to alert on more than one breaker on the first pass. The second pass down the panel should eliminate the false alerts.
 
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