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Bad thunderstorm last night, now breaker trips intermittently

Bad thunderstorm last night, now breaker trips intermittently

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  #1  
Old 07-23-13, 07:41 AM
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Bad thunderstorm last night, now breaker trips intermittently

So we had an awful thunderstorm overnight. When I came downstairs in the morning, I went to turn my TV on in the family room (an addition) and I noticed there was no power in this room. The whole room is on one breaker which I found tripped.

I reset the breaker and watched TV for 10 minutes and also turned on our family computer which runs 24/7 (same room, different receptacle).

About 30 minutes later, while leaving for work, I noticed the room was dead again. Went to the service panel and that same breaker was tripped. I reset it but it tripped within 2 seconds this time.

My family room addition is small. Not all receptacles are in use. Here's an overview of the room:

Receptacle A:
(1) low wattage lamp
(1) surge protector which has connected to it - a computer and printer

Receptacle B:
wired dog fence (nothing fancy, $99 special at PetsMart)

Receptacle C:
(1) surge protector which has connected to it - 60" TV, Roku streaming player


Here's what I did in terms of troubleshooting.

1) unplug computer surge protector
2) reset breaker - tripped within 2 seconds
3) unplug TV surge protector - didn't trip

So, I concluded that the TV surge protector was bad and left it unplugged.

My wife wanted to put Sesame Street on for our son so I told her to just leave the TV surge protector unplugged and directly plug in the TV and roku box.

All was well for about an hour, then the breaker tripped again. I'm lost.
I should add that there was nothing plugged into receptacle C this time.
 
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  #2  
Old 07-23-13, 07:49 AM
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Sounds like it's time to call in a pro.
 
  #3  
Old 07-23-13, 08:05 AM
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Now that I'm thinking about it, there's also a motion sensing outdoor flood light (2 bulb) which is wired in on this circuit. Wonder if it's got water inside.

I don't want to call in a pro yet. I'm nowhere near ready to surrender. Actually I'm quite comfortable with electrical work, I'm just looking for suggestions on where/what to look for. The intermittent nature baffles me.
 
  #4  
Old 07-23-13, 08:57 AM
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Well, unless you misspoke...I'd unplug the dog fence and see what happens.
 
  #5  
Old 07-23-13, 08:58 AM
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thank you. I'll text my wife right now.
 
  #6  
Old 07-23-13, 09:46 AM
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One note, if the breaker is tripping from an overload it will quickly trip after a reset unless it has cooled down. An ampmeter could help determine the load on the circuit.
 
  #7  
Old 07-23-13, 10:29 AM
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  #8  
Old 07-23-13, 11:35 AM
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Yes, that is a good meter choice.
 
  #9  
Old 07-23-13, 11:42 AM
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Hey...why not the one shown to the right in the "also viewed". Same meter with an addition item for $10 less? I don't know what the use of the other thing is...but more for less is always good!

Klein Tools CL200 600A AC Clamp Meter and Line Splitter Value Pack-CL200VP at The Home Depot
 
  #10  
Old 07-23-13, 01:21 PM
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The so called splitter allows you to measure the amperage of low amp 120 volt plug in devices. It contains a plug for a 120 receptacle and a built in receptacle for the device (like an extension cord with a loop for the meter to clamp around).
 

Last edited by ray2047; 07-23-13 at 02:42 PM.
  #11  
Old 07-23-13, 01:39 PM
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Ahhh...that makes sense. Seems like it would be nice to have...esp if you get both for $10 less.
 
  #12  
Old 07-23-13, 03:02 PM
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That's a sweet gizmo! If I didn't already own a clamp-on ammeter with data hold, I'd be charging down to HD to get one right now! What a time-and-hassle saver.
 
  #13  
Old 07-23-13, 05:00 PM
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Well now I'm going to have to get that! I got home tonight and my wife reports that the breaker has not tripped all day. I plugged my suspect surge protector back in to find a green status led. I've got the TV and Roku plugged back in and this problem seems to have completely disappeared.

This weekend I will open up the light fixture outside for further inspection. SOMETHING happened after all the rain. I've got to find out what.
 
  #14  
Old 07-23-13, 07:15 PM
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Well, unless you misspoke...I'd unplug the dog fence and see what happens.
moveright
Thank you. I'll text my wife right now.
Is the dog fence still unplugged?
 
  #15  
Old 07-24-13, 07:32 AM
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Funny thing is, I got sidetracked and forgot to text my wife to unplug the dog fence so no, it never got unplugged.
 
  #16  
Old 07-24-13, 07:36 AM
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Is this a GFI, AFCI, or standard breaker?
 
  #17  
Old 07-24-13, 07:47 AM
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Now that I'm thinking about it, there's also a motion sensing outdoor flood light (2 bulb) which is wired in on this circuit. Wonder if it's got water inside.
Could the flood light/motion sensor could have dried out by now or did you try disconnecting it?
 
  #18  
Old 07-24-13, 07:47 AM
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Standard - Square D single pole. Fairly new too, I replaced it when I was doing my basement remodel and I needed to partially reorganize the service panel.
 
  #19  
Old 07-24-13, 07:53 AM
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@CasualJoe - I never turned anything else off because I went to work all day. I'm really feeling like it's the flood light box though. The seal looked alright but when I went to remove the cover last night, the screw was all stripped out so this weekend -weather permitting- I'll pull that fixture apart for inspection. I've never had this problem before and the rains from the storm the other night were unbelievable. Torrential would be a severe understatement. I couldn't even see the houses on the other side of the court. That light must have been getting dumped on. It's not under the soffit, it's just attached to the siding on the addition about a foot below the shingles. I would imagine rainwater was pouring off the side.
 
  #20  
Old 07-24-13, 09:03 AM
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the rains from the storm the other night were unbelievable. Torrential would be a severe understatement. I couldn't even see the houses on the other side of the court.
If "the other night" was last Saturday night and you're in Montgomery County, many of us on this side of the river want to thank you for the wonderful lightening show. It was spectacular!
 
  #21  
Old 07-24-13, 09:11 AM
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This was Monday night. I'm not in Mont County, we are in Harford County. It was so loud it was actually pretty freaky. The lightning was so frequent it was like a strobe light.
 
  #22  
Old 07-24-13, 10:07 AM
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Nope, can't see that far from here. Sounds like it was pretty intense. Glad everyone made it through OK.
 
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