Bad Breaker????


Old 09-06-01, 03:46 AM
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Woke up this morning and all switches and receptacles on 1 circuit breaker were not working.
Went to the breaker box and couldn't see that the breaker had tripped. So I turned the breaker off and on anyway to just make sure. Nothing happened; no power.
So I am assuming it is a bad breaker.

I have never changed a breaker before.
There is no main power switch at my electric meter.
So I assume that to replace the breaker, I must flip the switch on the main breaker in the box to disable the power.
The breaker has a black wire screwed into the side, remove the wire, remove the breaker; then do everything in reverse.

Does this all sound correct? I don't want to light up like a Christmas Tree!!!!

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Old 09-06-01, 05:22 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Yes, that's correct, if the breaker is a problem.

First verify that the problem is not a GFCI problem. If any of this stuff is outdoors, or in a garage, basement, kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom, then the problem is probably a GFCI problem rather than a breaker problem.

Now, a caveat. Even after you kill the main breaker, there is still deadly power exposed when you remove the panel cover. Be very careful!!

Now a test. Before you change the breaker, test it with a voltmeter. With the main breaker on, and the breaker under test on, and your hands in safe places, use a voltmeter between the breaker's screw and the neutral bar. If you get 120 volts, the breaker is not bad.

So after all of the above, you can change the breaker as you have indicated -- VERY CAREFULLY!
Old 09-06-01, 06:22 AM
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Talking Breaker

Thanks John,
Where is the neytral bar located?

I am assuming that a safe place for my hands would be holding the test leads on the voltmeter????
Old 09-06-01, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
You won't have any trouble locating the neutral bar. It's where all the white wires in the panel are terminated.

Yes, hands on the probes and nowhere else is a good place.

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