Panel Problems

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Old 03-21-18, 02:48 PM
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Panel Problems

If my multimeter reads 120v while touching screw with red and ground with black, regardless of whether the breaker is on or off, that means that the breaker is no longer stopping current when off and thus is broken, right?
 
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Old 03-21-18, 02:59 PM
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If you are talking about the lug screw on the breaker then the breaker is bad if getting voltage with breaker off.
 
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Old 03-21-18, 03:08 PM
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Pics are breaker on, breaker off—same voltage basically.

Larger view..... https://imgur.com/a/FMOKW
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turns out the same is true for the breaker directly underneath, also a 50, so I think they're supposed to be a duplex and that both are bad. going to replace.
 

Last edited by PJmax; 03-21-18 at 10:16 PM. Reason: added enhanced pic from link
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Old 03-21-18, 04:39 PM
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I can't tell from the picture but is that a subpanel? You may be reading the input wires feeding a back fed breaker that powers the panel, if so then those lugs will be hot with those breakers turned off. Is there another panel that provides power to that panel?
 
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Old 03-21-18, 10:14 PM
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That looks like a very old Federal panel. It looks like you are checking the voltage on one breaker of a 240v set. With a 240v circuit..... there should be a tie handle so both breakers get turned on and off together. If you measure with only one breaker off.... you will indeed measure 120v to ground on either breaker.
 
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Old 03-22-18, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by PJmax View Post
That looks like a very old Federal panel. It looks like you are checking the voltage on one breaker of a 240v set. With a 240v circuit..... there should be a tie handle so both breakers get turned on and off together. If you measure with only one breaker off.... you will indeed measure 120v to ground on either breaker.
Very good point. I didn't think of that. I did notice the handles weren't tied but it didn't register with me to comment on it. Being 50A is a big clue as to being 240V circuit.
 
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Old 03-28-18, 02:46 PM
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Correct, that was one half of a 240, which needs a single handle (one of a number of problems with this panel!). Ended up having an electrician over. Long story short while he was there I found the problem—the ground was a full hot 120v (guy says the worst he's ever seen) and was connected to some janky outside ground on an outside spigot that the previous owner had attached. The thing was arcing like crazy and had fried off the clamp! So now we're tracking that down.

Thanks for all the help!
 
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Old 03-28-18, 02:51 PM
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the ground was a full hot 120v
A little confusion here. The neutral from the power company supplies you with a neutral. Your service should measure 240vac across the two legs and 120vac from each leg to neutral.

There should not be measurable voltage on the ground wire. That tells me that you may have a problem with the neutral from the power company that needed to be addressed.
 
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Old 03-28-18, 03:12 PM
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Sorry, my last response was super confusing. The panel wasn't the problem—the problem was that we had a hot wire sending voltage to a ground, which was tripping the circuit (which is a good thing) but not always (a very bad thing!) so we're trying to figure that out now.
 
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