One dead post in main panel?

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  #1  
Old 03-02-02, 05:39 AM
thenewguy
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One dead post in main panel?

Ok, I don't get this one...I have one dead post in the main panel in my home. There are a total of 4 posts, all running from what appears to be the same strip inside my main panel. Each post powers 4 breakers. However, the far left post is dead. I tried known good breakers on that post with the same problem. At first the power would come and go, then finally, absolutely no power on that one terminal post. Why would this be? Any suggestions on this one are greatly appreciated. Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 03-02-02, 10:19 AM
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Location: Dry Side of Washington State
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Approximately how old is the panel? Can you provide a manufactuer's name and cat no of the panel? Do you have a voltage tester? Take a voltage reading on the line side of each of the four circuit breakers (where the wires from the meter connect to the circuit breakers). Read the voltage by placing one probe on the line side of the circuit breaker and the other probe on the ground bar.
 
  #3  
Old 03-02-02, 12:00 PM
Wgoodrich
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You really need to answer thinman's questions then we can be of more help.

However jumping to conclusions as I often do I am suspecting that your are trying to install a 1/2 sized breaker where a full sized breaker is required. There is a tab on the buss or heal that is designed to keep people from using 1/2 sized breakers where they are not designed[listed and labled] to be used.

Am I close?

Wg
 
  #4  
Old 03-02-02, 01:22 PM
thenewguy
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breaker info

Hey guys, thanks for the replies, I'm getting ready to get back into that box. (It's deep deep inside a very tiny closet) (A real pain to get to) Anyways, I do know it's a 1971, I will get the cat number once I get back in there. The main breakers are 30 amp, and all the rest are 15 amp. There are (2) 30 amp breakers coming in from the main. From there on, all the rest are 15 amp, and there are 8 of those. The line bar can supply a total of 14 breakers minus the two mains. So this bar will hold a total of 16 breakers. (4 breakers per post) I put a multimeter on it, and the post to the left which supplies up to four breakers is totally dead. All the others are live. To me, it seems really crazy. Now, if light taps are given the right way to that post, then it comes back to life for a little while then dies again. anyways, I will get back in there and get more information back to you on this box. Once again thank you very much for your help. I'm sure I will kcik myself once this is reslolved.
 
  #5  
Old 03-02-02, 02:44 PM
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Sounds like the bus may be cracked or loose in the panel and not making good contact all the time. If this is the case you may be in for some work. It might be time to have a qualified electrician take a look. You may want to look into just replacing the panel it might be easier then you could have it placed in an easier place to get to.
 
  #6  
Old 03-02-02, 04:33 PM
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Is this a sub-panel fed from the service panel (aka main panel)?
If it is, you should do a voltage check at the circuit breakers that feed it from the main panel. Sounds like it's an old panel.
 
  #7  
Old 03-02-02, 05:13 PM
thenewguy
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I think we got it

Hey guys, thank you very much for your ideas, and I think I am going to do as you suggest. Here is the latest on my problem. I checked voltage, and all was good on the right side bus fed from positive main lead. The entire left side bus fed from the negetive main lead is all dead! I read like 3 volts on this entire bus! Either it is cracked or making bad contact as you said, because it is totally gone! Well, all but 3 volts. Anyway, I think replacement of this main panel is in order. Thank you very much for your help!
 
  #8  
Old 03-04-02, 10:31 AM
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Changing this panel may open up a whole new can of worms. You will probably have to bring things up to code. A panel "deep deep inside a very tiny closet", may not be acceptable. Be prepared to move it.
 
  #9  
Old 03-04-02, 05:53 PM
thenewguy
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Hey, thanks for the post. The fact is you are correct. I found out that whoever put it there was in the wrong, and in fact, the closet was rated as the worst place to have a panel. I wonder who done it that way and why? It's really crazy, and a major fire hazard as well. I also found out that the area around the panel must be clear at all times for like 3' square or something like that.
This panel is certainly shot though. The entire left hand side (negative ground) bus side is totally dead. It's good at the cable, but will not go through that negative bus at all anymore like it used to.
To me this does seem crazy.
Shouldn't there be a ground return? All the power is working now, but off the positive side bus only. Does this mean everything is going into the earth ground now? Anyway, thank you very much for your posts. best regards,
Patrick
 
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