Why is the Main Switch always tripping?

Old 01-29-02, 09:47 PM
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Question Why is the Main Switch always tripping?

The main switch on the breaker panel keeps tripping even though there isn't any extra strain on the system. The other night, the main switch has to be reset 10 times; it just kept tripping. Is the main switch toast?

Old 01-30-02, 07:36 AM
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It is very possible that you will have to check terminations or replace the breaker
Old 01-30-02, 08:53 AM
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This could be totally irrelevant, but...

While I was living in England, I had a similat problem. The main west through a GFI, and the plaster and insulation in the walls around a couple of outlets were not getting along very well, and, well the power did not like to stay on.

Of course the other possibility is that there is some kind of interrmittent short. Whatever the case, it is probably a bad idea to just keep resetting it. Unless you know of something that has been changed recently (always look where the hands were last, even if you 'know' that isn't the problem, an electrician is probably the quickest and safest way on this one. (This from an affirmed DIY'er who avoids calling in the pros when I can.)

Old 01-30-02, 05:35 PM
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YOu have to most likely culprits as to the cause of your main breaker tripping. You either have a main service rated panel way too small to serve the loads of your home or as HandyRon said you have a loose connection at the main breaker.

I would take off the cover to the main service rated panel where the main breaker is tripping and visually look for any heating caused by a loose connection. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING CONNECTED TO THAT MAIN BREAKER. You have unfused wires connecting to that main breaker.

If you find damage due to heat most likely on the breaker itself or on the big wires connecting to it then you should get it properly repaired quickly it would be a fire hazard if not reparied quickly and correctly.

If you find no heating then put the cover back on and wait till it trips again and feel of the breaker. If that main breaker is hot and there is no sign of damage due to heating then you will need to perform a demand load calculation to find the minimum service size required for you dwelling then compare that answer to what you actually have. There should be a big difference between the minium size service required and the size of your main breaker if too much load is the problem.

I would suspect HandyRon is right about the loose connection. Open the panel up and look for heating damage due to a loose connection.

Let us know what you find.

Old 01-31-02, 02:33 PM
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I have had similar problem and I was told that all breakers are rated to blow only once at the rated current. After the first pop it will blow at a lesser current, so maybe the first time it went was due to higher than normal demand but after that it will pop at a lesser current than rated. Although it may be time to upgrade to a 200 amp service you might by time by just having the main replaced (if its not an old Bulldog Panel) if practical (just a band aid) Wil
Old 02-04-02, 03:52 AM
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What's a bulldog panel?
Old 02-04-02, 06:35 AM
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Main Tripping

Bulldog was just a manufacturer, like GE or Square D.....an older Manufacturer that to my knowledge does not exist anymore so parts (such as circuit breakers) are hard to find new. It might be time to call in the big guns..Good luck!

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