Can't get 240v out of double breakers??

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  #1  
Old 06-16-16, 07:30 AM
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Can't get 240v out of double breakers??

Hi! I'm trying to install a tankless water heater which requires a 60 breaker with 240 and I've followed all instructions with the heater itself and even bought a new breaker and it still isn't working.

I test one side of the breaker and it is about 123 but the other side was only showing 23. Both sides should show around 120 from everything I've read.

I've tried moving the breaker to different slots and tried a different double breaker and it is doing the same thing.

I then tried to test the main breaker at the top of the breaker box and it reads simply "1" which I understand it to mean it is too high to display on my multimeter.

The other breaker box outside on the telephone pole reads 120/240 so I assume that it is capable of producing this much power. The breaker box inside the home could be older so I'm not sure if that would be the problem.

Am I missing something?
 
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Old 06-16-16, 07:40 AM
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If this is a digital multimeter change the battery in it.
 
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Old 06-16-16, 07:42 AM
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Can you post a picture of your panel?
How are you measuring voltage with multimeter? You should measure voltage between hot and neutral with correct range setting.
Easiest way to do this will be measuring voltage between the breaker panel metal box and screw of the breaker.

If you get 1 on your multimeter, you probably are not in correct range or measuring wrong. Most multimeters are capable of measuring 600V or more and no reason you won't be able to measure residential electricity.
 
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Old 06-16-16, 07:57 AM
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I measured voltage with hot and ground and then with hot and neutral and same thing. From the wire that attaches to the breaker and again from the clamp thing of the breaker.

Here's a pic if I can get it to load:
Name:  Breaker Box.jpg
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Old 06-16-16, 07:59 AM
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Old 06-16-16, 08:04 AM
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ok I changed 200 Vac setting to 600 Vac and it now reads the main breaker in the box at 220 but the double breakers I'm reading still shows the same thing, like only one side is working correctly or something.
 
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Old 06-16-16, 08:44 AM
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Check the incoming voltage to your 100 amp breaker. Both should be 120vac. If they are try resetting the breaker.
 
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Old 06-16-16, 08:52 AM
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OKay I just checked and the top is 121 and the other is 101
is that good?
 
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Old 06-16-16, 09:01 AM
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No, the leg at 101 is far below specification. You need to call your power company emergency repair line if this is main panel. If this is a subpanel, the upstream feeder breaker is probably bad and needs to be replaced. If the line is underground, there might be a fault in the cable.
 
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Old 06-16-16, 09:11 AM
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is it possible that it is just that old and older ones had 220 instead of 240 which would make 121+101= 222?
 
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Old 06-16-16, 09:15 AM
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Nope, US power companies have been standardized on 240V for many decades. Even still the legs should be pretty close to equal in a properly functioning service. Unequal hot legs means one of the hots is bad or the neutral is bad. Given that you also have low voltage, I'm leaning towards a bad hot.
 
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Old 06-16-16, 03:42 PM
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Meanwhile........I see several NM cables entering the panel through raw knockouts with no connectors. These are code violations and need to be corrected.
 
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Old 06-16-16, 09:06 PM
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Looks like all of the 1" breakers are on the same leg. Either there is a conspiracy or someone knew there was a problem already and arranged them that way.

This looks like a sub-panel so see what the voltage on the breaker is showing in the main panel.
 
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Old 06-17-16, 11:21 AM
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I've been hesitant to try testing the main on the pole because everyone keeps saying its so dangerous with all the extra electricity going through it. Is it true I should tape sticks to the testers so that I can stay further away? Sounds kinda clumsy to me.
 
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Old 06-17-16, 11:59 AM
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That method sounds awfully clumsy. Testing on the main is not really all that different than testing a branch breaker. Just be concious of where you put your hands and body.
 
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Old 06-17-16, 12:09 PM
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There is no "extra" electricity. Just hold the probes by their plastic handles away from the metal points and you will be fine.
 
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Old 06-17-16, 12:23 PM
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Okay the main reads 123 and 124
so going into breaker and coming back out seem to be good. both sides are reading almost exact.

So since it seems okay out there and not okay on the main indoors, think that breaker could need replaced? and if so, any way to test it before I do so? Could I pop out the 100 and put the 60 in its place and see if it reads more equal?
 
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Old 06-17-16, 12:29 PM
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Does the cable go underground between the pole and the building? If so a broken cable underground is a strong possibility. Test all voltages before the cable leaves the main box and where it comes in the subpanel box. The other possibility is one of the breakers. You basically just need to test before and after each component along the way to narrow down which is the likely culprit.
 
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Old 06-17-16, 12:35 PM
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yes it is buried but how would it break under there? just curious.

To clear something up for me though, if the main breaker inside the subpanel is reading different on both sides then would it cause all the other double breakers to read different as well?
 
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Old 06-17-16, 02:10 PM
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Have you tried checking between the terminals of both sides of the breaker to verify that you have 240 V between phases?
 
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Old 06-17-16, 04:06 PM
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Okay the main reads 123 and 124
What do you get across those two points, should be 240 volts.
 
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Old 06-18-16, 06:37 AM
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There is no "extra" electricity. Just hold the probes by their plastic handles
 
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Old 06-18-16, 07:35 AM
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I couldn't remember exactly so I just checked again, crossing the two points gives 250 both going into and coming out of the main breaker on the pole
 
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Old 06-18-16, 08:28 AM
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Post a picture of the main panel with the cover off and tell us which breaker supplies the subpanel.
 
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Old 06-18-16, 08:42 AM
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Also measure the voltage with the probes touching the wires themselves. It could be a loose breaker connection that corroded.
 
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Old 06-26-16, 07:15 PM
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Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who helped with their 2cents! My problem is now fixed! Turns out the line coming into the house, which is buried, had corroded in two. Upon lifting it out of the ground it actually crumbled so I don't know how it was doing as well as it was. All is good now, thanks so much!!
 
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Old 06-26-16, 07:28 PM
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Good news. What was done to repair it?
 
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Old 06-27-16, 01:26 PM
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yes it is buried but how would it break under there? just curious.
Barring obvious damage from landscape digging, slow moving faults occur from either the cable insulation got a small nick during installation or the annual frost heave can drive a sharp rock through the insulation. Groundwater gets in and slowly corrodes away the metal over time.

Glad to hear the problem has now been repaired.
 
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Old 06-28-16, 08:16 AM
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well the line had extra and it was broken towards one end a few feet after it goes underground... there was enough extra that I was able to simply cut off the extra and hook it back up
 
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