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Tripped Breaker Instantly Trips the main breaker when reset. Dead Short?

Tripped Breaker Instantly Trips the main breaker when reset. Dead Short?

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  #1  
Old 08-16-14, 09:31 PM
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Exclamation Tripped Breaker Instantly Trips the main breaker when reset. Dead Short?

I think it may be a dead short if so how to i locate it.

I just need to know how to find the source there is no power loss.

Could i remove the cover of the panel and follow the wires?

Any help is appreciated!
 
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  #2  
Old 08-16-14, 10:03 PM
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With that little info hard to say.
Been working on the wiring?
If it's tripping the main then your right it's a dead short.
What do you mean there's no power loss?
What does this breaker control?
Single or double?
What's the amperage on the breaker?
 
  #3  
Old 08-17-14, 05:43 AM
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It does not appear your going to have much luck rectifying this situation. Your best course of action would be to hire a licensed electrician. This is serious business.
 
  #4  
Old 08-17-14, 10:04 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Just removing the panel cover and shooting a well lit, close up picture of the interior of the panel would be helpful.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
  #5  
Old 08-17-14, 10:35 AM
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Tripping the main breaker is likely a phase to phase short. The fact you do not have any power loss makes me believe you have changed the kitchen counter receptacles and didn't break out the tab on the brass screws.

If not, please tell us what modifications you have made recently and we can narrow down the issue.
 
  #6  
Old 08-17-14, 10:45 AM
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You have failed to put important information in your profile. Please fill in the location information. So far all replies have been based on a North American location. Answers may not apply to other locations.
 
  #7  
Old 08-17-14, 11:18 AM
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OP is in Canada........................
 
  #8  
Old 08-17-14, 09:12 PM
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Allow me to explain more.

I have never been working on the wiring. Basement was renovated and some nut job electrician came in and added 3 breakers i believe he may have mucked with it but i don't remember having any power loss before or after he came. He left lights not center and a whole bunch of other "Redneck" Electrician work. I was sitting upstairs and i think he tried to do something with that fuse because all the lights went out upstairs. When he came up later he mentioned the fuse and said he tried to test it but it blew the main. Like if hes an electrician then shouldn't he know it was a dead short and fix it! I had also heard he had gone out of business a year later. Anyways i'm getting carried away.

Usually whatever is attached to that breaker loses power, right? Well i have never had any problems with lights or receptacles which confuses me as to what that breaker does. That's what i mean by no loss of service.

I have no idea what the breaker controls as it is not marked on the directory. It's just blank.

The breaker is a single 120 volt 20 or 15 amp let me check... 15 amp breaker.
 
  #9  
Old 08-17-14, 09:20 PM
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Exclamation

Here are some pictures:


The panel itself open sorry for the poor light.
You can see the mysterious breaker #11 :P near the top left corner on the left side tripped into the off position.
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The Breaker itself you can't see it but the wires appear to be slightly burnt i think it may well be serious.
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  #10  
Old 08-17-14, 09:28 PM
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Cool

im gonna get a well lit pic for you guys.

Here we go. I had a lamp and a receptacle below the panel.


The Whole Panel:
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The Breaker Close up more light:
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The Wires Running From The Breaker (Zoomed in) (Don't wanna get too close :P):
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Sorry for my poor quality pictures im using an mp3 player camera.
 
  #11  
Old 08-17-14, 09:30 PM
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I have no idea what the breaker controls as it is not marked on the directory. It's just blank.
And the directory is often wrong anyway so that is not the way you determine what is does. Since it is 120 volts you check both sides of every receptacle inside and out and every light to see what isn't working. Check the receptacles with a lamp.
 
  #12  
Old 08-17-14, 09:39 PM
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Thanks, I checked every receptacle in the house everything works every light too.
 
  #13  
Old 08-17-14, 10:17 PM
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If you're sure everything is working..... I'd remove the wire from the breaker and cap it with a wirenut. I certainly don't recommend turning it on again.

Now... if you are considering doing what I said.... you'd need to check that wire with a meter and with the breaker in the off position as that wire may be connected to another circuit in the hose and is technically live at this point thru that other circuit.

If you do find that wire to be hot.... turn the main off before making any changes.
 
  #14  
Old 08-17-14, 11:15 PM
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I think its a pretty dangerous situation when i tried to reset it the other day i saw the crack between the cover and the breakers glow the instant it blew. If you don't know what i mean i mean i saw a big spark inside im lucky that main breaker was there to stop it.
 
  #15  
Old 08-17-14, 11:23 PM
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Could this be it?

The house came with a wall heater in the basement bathroom the heater NEVER worked!
 
  #16  
Old 08-17-14, 11:39 PM
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A smaller breaker isn't supposed to trip the main breaker. That breaker is internally damaged now.

It could be for the wall heater..... if the heater was 120v.
 
  #17  
Old 08-17-14, 11:53 PM
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Wait which breaker is internally damaged the small one im guessing?

And what do i do with the breaker then?
 
  #18  
Old 08-18-14, 03:25 AM
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Disconnect the wire from it, cap the wire and leave the breaker off. You DO have loss of power. The wall heater. You may want to consider replacing it or having it analyzed for proper operation.
 
  #19  
Old 08-18-14, 05:40 AM
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A smaller breaker isn't supposed to trip the main breaker.
I have seen a phase to phase short trip a main breaker along with the branch circuit breakers. It will also cause a very big spark and pop.

If you can, I would try to track down where that cable goes. Your electrician has spliced that wire to the other one inadvertently. You could do what the others say and leave it disconnected, but then you would only have one circuit running rather then two.

If you do disconnect the wire, I suspect you can read 120 volts to ground and 240 volts to the other breaker while disconnected.
 
  #20  
Old 08-18-14, 05:41 AM
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Flowing up on what PJ has suggested but only if you feel comfortable doing it. They make alligator clips for a multimeter probe.
  • With main breaker off disconnect the wire from the breaker
  • Clip one probe of the meter to the wire and be sure it is clear of everything.
  • Turn the main breaker on and touch the other probe of the multimeter to neutral and each "hot" bus bar.
  • Note your readings.

Safety first. Keep one hand in your pocket if at all possible when working in the panel. When turning on a breaker stand to one side of the panel, not directly in front of it Even with the main breaker off parts of the panel around the main breaker are hot.

With that information with main breaker OFF it would be time to open the heater and start exploring.
 
  #21  
Old 09-13-14, 05:03 PM
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I will check the heater. To see whats going on.
 
  #22  
Old 09-13-14, 05:08 PM
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The wires coming in from the wall in the bathroom are live. So it cant be that breaker if its off. Can it?
 
  #23  
Old 09-13-14, 06:30 PM
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The wires coming in from the wall in the bathroom are live. So it cant be that breaker if its off. Can it?
If you have an accidental cross connection between two circuits it could. be. Have you as requested removed the wire from the breaker and tested for power to ground?
 
  #24  
Old 09-14-14, 07:41 AM
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Remove the branch circuit wire from the breaker in question.

If you find that the wire is now dead (voltage from it to neutral is zero) the do this:

Use a light fixture to identify dead receptacles. This will identify the general part of the house where the circuit in question runs.

Now connect an ordinary light fixture with 100 watt incandescent bulb between the breaker terminal and the loose branch circuit wire. Wires with alligator clips on the ends, available at Radio Shack, can come in handy. Now when you flip the breaker on the light should come on and nothing else should happen.

Now you need to find some connection or device or heater (probably in the vicinity of the dead receptacles) which when disconnected will dim down (or turn off) the test light, A short circuit will be at or downstream of that point. Caution: The circuit and the dead receptacles are now still alive with enough power to electrocute someone but not operate things. Flip off its breaker (the breaker in question) before actually connecting or disconnecting anything and then flip the breaker back on to see if the test light hanging from the panel still lights up brightly.
 
  #25  
Old 09-14-14, 07:20 PM
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Yes, i am reading exactly 119.9 volts.
 
  #26  
Old 09-14-14, 07:44 PM
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To be clear you read 119 volts when the wire on the problem breaker is removed and measured to ground. Next test, one at a time turn off each beaker other than the problem breaker and retest for voltage. If no voltage turn the breaker back on and test again.

Tip: Wire a receptacle to the wire from the breaker and the ground. Plug in a lamp. Try the test above and when the light goes out you have found the cross connected breaker.

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Size:  1.1 KBCaution: Always turn off the main breaker before handling the wire from the problem breaker then turn it on to make your test. In the test setup with the receptacle or the light Allan suggested make your connection with the main breaker off then turn it on.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 09-14-14 at 08:49 PM.
  #27  
Old 09-14-14, 08:07 PM
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Ok I will follow your instructions.
 

Last edited by Nathan Smith; 09-14-14 at 08:43 PM.
  #28  
Old 09-14-14, 08:44 PM
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Ok i have found the breaker that shuts it off.
 
  #29  
Old 09-14-14, 09:03 PM
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Good! Now you need to find everything on that breaker and start looking for the cross connection. I can't give you precise directions on that. It is more instinct based on experience. You might try pulling out and separating the wires at each connection and then turning the breaker back on and see if the light plugged into the problem wire still lights. (Similar to Allan's method.)
 
  #30  
Old 09-14-14, 09:26 PM
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I followed the same cable past 2 left open junction boxes (some lazy person) until i ran into a point in my basement where its drywalled in.
 
  #31  
Old 09-14-14, 10:04 PM
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What you need to do is check every light and both sides of every receptacle to see what is dead when the second breaker is off.
 
  #32  
Old 09-15-14, 05:16 PM
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Two original outlets in the room next to the electrical room. Are controlled by this breaker.
 
  #33  
Old 09-15-14, 05:34 PM
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Have you checked them?

.
 
  #34  
Old 09-15-14, 07:30 PM
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Yes But ill double check.
 

Last edited by Nathan Smith; 09-15-14 at 07:53 PM.
  #35  
Old 09-15-14, 07:54 PM
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Yes i have checked them and they both read zero volts.
 
  #36  
Old 09-15-14, 08:39 PM
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That wasn't the test.
You might try pulling out and separating the wires at each connection and then turning the breaker back on and see if the light plugged into the problem wire still lights. (Similar to Allan's method.)
I think perhaps it is time you call a different electrician.
 
  #37  
Old 09-15-14, 09:02 PM
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This was done a long time ago. (2y) I Will do that at a different time i have other things tonight.
 
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