Trippy breaker Troubles

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Old 08-05-13, 10:55 PM
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Trippy breaker Troubles

Our living room outlet circuit randomly will trip the circuit breaker. The breaker is a 15 Amp breaker (14 AWG wiring). I have a TV, Game console, Cable box, 2 laptop computers and 2 desktop computers, a celing light and patio light all on the circuit. I have tried swapping the breaker with another in the breaker box, I have measured the load using a clamp meter and the load reads between 5-6 Amps. It seems to trip mostly in the early evening. I've checked the load after resetting and noticed that the load will jump from 6A to 13-18A but only for a second or less. This explains why it trips but what could cause a momentary 6-8 Amp spike like that? I might also note that as a result of the circuit being unstable we've put the computers on battery backups.
 
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Old 08-05-13, 11:25 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

A surge that high would almost suggest an appliance like a dehumidifier or refrigerator. Something is on the line that uses a high start up current. You may to unplug everything to try and find it.
 
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Old 08-06-13, 12:36 AM
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The breaker should be able to hold even an 18 amp startup. The trip curve should allow for this. Turn the breaker off and see what does not work.
 
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Old 08-07-13, 06:19 PM
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I think I got it luckily I noticed that every time I trip the breaker the 'spike' happens and was then able to trace it to a laser printer which fits the bill. I moved it to another circuit and so far so good! Thank you for your input!
 
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Old 08-13-13, 02:57 PM
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It's back

Ugh last night I was watching a movie and it tripped around 10 times in 30 min. I got my meter out and it was a nice stable 3-4 amps no spikes, and I'd go back to the movie and it would trip 30 secondss after I sat down. How do I go about fixing this?
 
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Old 08-13-13, 03:49 PM
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What is the peak draw on your battery backups? Can one UPS handle both computers?
 
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Old 08-15-13, 12:40 PM
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I'm not sure I'd know how to find that out. I can't imagine them drawing much more than a trickle charge. I do know that they aren't beefy enough to handle both computers.
 
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Old 08-15-13, 10:20 PM
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The peak draw will be in the specs for each unit. You should be able to find it in the paperwork that came with each or online if it's not listed on the nameplates.I would try running an extension to this area from a different circuit, adding a surge protector, and moving everything but one load to that. Leave one plugged into the circuit that's tripping. If it hasn't tripped in a couple of days, make a note and change which load is on the circuit with a problem.
 
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