My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude... - Electrical - Contractor Talk

My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...

 
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Old 12-01-2007, 01:25 PM   #1
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My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...


A wiring question from a wood guy...

I've been running 15 amp tools off a four-way outlet in my shop that's set up on a 20 amp breaker. No problems for 4 years. Suddenly, I can't turn on any tool without tripping the breaker. No problem plugging in lights, floor heater, battery chargers, etc... Just seems to go when I flip on something with a hard-start. It's especially bad with the table saw, but trips for other tools as well. What gives?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

Jeremy
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Old 12-01-2007, 01:35 PM   #2
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Re: My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy E View Post
A wiring question from a wood guy...

...15 amp tools off a four-way outlet ... on a 20 amp breaker. .... floor heater, ... table saw...Jeremy
Try it with out the heater.

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Old 12-01-2007, 03:12 PM   #3
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Re: My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...


There has to be another load on the breaker pushing the load over the limit.
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Old 12-01-2007, 04:35 PM   #4
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Re: My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...


It is likely that somewhere in your circuit you have a connection that is failing. After years of heavy use wiring will heat up and cause carbon burn build up at terminals/devices. The worse the connections are the more resistance there is. This gets progressivly worse over time.

Check the source first. Look at the condition of the breaker/terminal and the neutral terminal. Pull your outlets next and look for loose connections or symptoms of burning.


The circuit may also run thru outlets/lights in your house. You may have an issue there especially isf they are backstabbed devices.


Check your cords too....before everything else.

Last edited by 220/221; 12-01-2007 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:07 PM   #5
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Re: My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...


Or a bad breaker?
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:17 PM   #6
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Re: My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...


He has a 20A breaker
15A saw
1000-1500W heater
80W(or more) light
So he has at least
25A on a 20A breaker
Why does there need to be another problem?
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:36 PM   #7
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Re: My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...


I'm not sure I see where he says he is running everything at once.
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:42 PM   #8
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Re: My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...


Right now if I'm in my garage running the table saw,I've got heat on too.
He said the heater runs okay, and he didn't mention this problem 6 weeks ago.
I'm just guessing, but usually the simplest......
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Old 12-01-2007, 08:27 PM   #9
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Re: My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...


Hey guys,

It's not the heater. I can pop the circuit cutting in the cold and in the dark... Even with everything else unplugged, any decent size tool I try to run seems to cut out. Besides, I've run the whole set up, including the same lights and heater, for the past two or three winters.

I'll go through the 220/221 checklist in the morning to see if anything turns up.
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Old 12-01-2007, 09:12 PM   #10
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Re: My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...


The breaker itself is rarely the culprit but a new one will likely only cost 4 bucks.
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Old 12-01-2007, 09:35 PM   #11
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Re: My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...


Quote:
Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
The breaker itself is rarely the culprit but a new one will likely only cost 4 bucks.
Oh oh. I just replaced one today. A furnace circuit tripping a 20 amp CH BR for no reason I could find. Nothing else on the circuit. I started it up a half dozen times and of course it wouldn't trip for me. Current and voltage looked normal. But the cottage owner, who lives in the city, says it trips once a week or so. I'm hoping it's a flaky breaker. Time will tell.
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Old 12-02-2007, 10:09 PM   #12
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Re: My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...


The breaker's shot. Too many years supporting that inrush current. Yup, it's the breaker alright. Not only do I say it is so, but Ockham's razor agrees with me.
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Old 12-04-2007, 04:36 AM   #13
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Re: My Circuit Breaker's Totally Trippin', Dude...


There are two elements in the breaker. Thermal, which is what opens the circuit after a steady overload and magnetic, which activates on short circuit and large inrush current.

If somehow the spring strength change over time, it's possible for magnetic trip to activate prematurely, but it's also possible that the breaker isn't the appropriate type.

Motors are best operated on motor-rated breakers, but I'm not sure if such is available for a home panel.

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