Help! Circuit breaker keeps tripping

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Old 05-11-16, 02:42 PM
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Help! Circuit breaker keeps tripping

Hello,

I'm trying to wire 3 new outlets to my existing 15 amp breaker which holds a light switch and 3 outlets currently.

I'm using a new wire 12/2 with ground , and I'm double tapping the existing circuit via pig tails (meaning I'm pig tailing the new wire to the existing wire at the panel that goes into the circuit and then putting only 1 wire in the circuit)

On the ground/neutral bar, I just double tapped the ground and neutral wires without pig tailing because that's how 3 other wires are and I never had any issues.

After I wired everything at the outlets, I'm now at the service panel and when I place the wires in, and turn on the power, it trips and sparks come out of the service panel, terrifying for a newbie like myself, but that's besides the point.

The existing outlets are wired with 12/2 MC cable without a ground wire, the new outlets I'm putting in are wired with 12/2 Romex with ground.

Any help or advise you can give is greatly appreciated! I will post pics of how its wired as soon as I can.
 
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Old 05-11-16, 02:52 PM
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Here is the picture. The red wire nut is where I pigtailed the hot wires. The neutral wire goes to the neutral bar from the right side and the ground from the left.

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Last edited by ray2047; 05-11-16 at 04:29 PM. Reason: Rotate image.
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Old 05-11-16, 03:01 PM
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Somewhere along the line you have your neutral and hot crossed and creating a short. Go back and double check all your connections.
 
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Old 05-11-16, 04:26 PM
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I would start by pulling the new receptacles out of their boxes, do not disconnect the wires. Try turning the breaker on and see if it still trips. Most likely you have a ground wire touching a hot terminal on a receptacle somewhere.
 
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Old 05-11-16, 04:39 PM
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Joe has given you the best course of action for your problem but if I may make a few unrelated comments so you will know for future work.

I'm using a new wire 12/2 with ground
You could have used 14-2. 12 is okay, just not needed.
On the ground/neutral bar, I just double tapped the ground and neutral wires without pig tailing because that's how 3 other wires are and I never had any issues.
But never code compliant for the neutral to be double. Ground is okay. (There are rare exceptions to double tapping the neutral but if the panel label doesn't say so you can't.)Same applies to the branch circuit breakers and the main breakers. If this is a subpanel installed in the last five years there should probably have been a ground bar added and the neutral bar isolated.

If this is a subpanel then given all the mistakes in the panel and because it doesn't have an adequate number of spaces I'd suggest replacing the panel with a larger one.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 05-11-16 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 05-11-16, 05:35 PM
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One point I didn't think about was your comment of sparks flying out of the service panel. The sparks are a good sign that the short is actually in the service panel. Make sure you don't have a bare ground touching the main bus. Also is the breaker that's tripping an arc fault? You may have a loose connection that caused the sparks that tripped the breaker if it's an arc fault breaker. From your picture the breaker doesn't look like an arc fault.
 
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Old 05-11-16, 11:11 PM
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Thank you guys for all your input!

Joe I did what you said and everything worked out. When I was tightening the screws at one of the boxes, it was way too cramped inside, and almost broke the receptacle, but I didn't think any wires were touching.

Appreciate all the advice and thank you for helping me learn!
 
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Old 05-11-16, 11:33 PM
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Thanks for letting us know you got it.
 
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Old 05-12-16, 05:16 AM
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A short anywhere in the circuit could throw sparks at the panel when the breaker is turner on.
 
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Old 05-13-16, 05:48 PM
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Appreciate all the advice and thank you for helping me learn!
Glad you found and fixed your problem, but let's not stop there. There is more for you to learn. Is this a subpanel like Ray had asked? If so there are some issues that need to be corrected. I also see quite a lot of double lugging going on (code violations) and a Square D Homeline breaker in what appears to be either a Siemens or Murray panel (code violation).
 
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