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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,
I've got a breaker that was crackling and finally went out. It's supplying my overhead lights in my retail shop so I need to get it on asap. It's a new space for me and I believe it's a subpanel to a main panel where I can disconnect service. I'm more of a mechanical guy than electrical, so a little out of my realm working on a panel.

My question is regarding safety working on the sub panel. I'm the only one with access. If I shut it down, is it guaranteed to be safe? or is there some small chance that a large current surge could jump through the primary panel, and get to the sub panel I'd be working on? This is a 100 year old building with old infrastructure.

And is there a way of live testing it's disconnection after I've confirmed it with a meter? My meter is not a professional one, so I'm thinking of a "screwdriver" kind of a test one might do with a car battery to test for power to be sure. I'm thinking testing a very thin gauge wire across all points, I don't want to start a fire after all. There are so many divisions in the building that I would not be surprised if there were some how another line reaching the panel, or maybe a backflow through another leg. I suppose anything is possible?

If I wear leather gloves, and use pliers with insulation, and wear rubber shoes, and be careful not to short my body to the panel, would this mitigate possible risk to the point of being safe? If there were somehow a current in the panel is it technically possible to work it safely that way, with the understanding that a mistake would likely be terminal?

Now I'm a mechanical engineer, so I will excercize due care and caution, and realize no one is going to recommend I do this, I just want to know if I'm taking all possible precautions or not.

Thank You.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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Sorry Shawn, but your question tells us that you have no business working in that panel at all. Please hire someone familiar with electrical work, even if he's not a fully licensed electrician. :thumbsup:
 
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