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Strange smell in basement and Circuit Panel feels hot next to 100 Amp Main Circuit Breakers! We have

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Don2222, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    Personally i prefer Murray panels. Ge is junk in my opinion. Homeline is right down there with Ge in my opinion. Square D QO would be my second choice.

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  2. Wallyworld

    Wallyworld Member

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    I would never pick a panel based on the fact that my old breaker would fit in there. SQ D QO panel is one I've used many times, its expensive. I would never use SQ D homeline, don't like them, they are made to hit a price point. I've used GE also, their breakers never seem to trip when loaded, I swear you could arc weld with a bare wire hooked to a GE breaker. Lots of folks Like Cutler Hammer, never used one so I don;t know. That Murray with the copper Buss looked OK to me
  3. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I sure prefer a solid copper buss bar. At what point do you need to upgrade to arc fault CBs? Those puppies are expensive.
  4. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hello

    Wow, has anyone seen this circuit breaker recall?

    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10354.html

    Hazard: The recalled circuit breakers have a spring clip that can break during normal use, leading to a loss of force to maintain a proper electrical connection in the panelboard. This can lead to excessive temperature, arcing or thermal damage at the connection point, and damage to the panelboard’s electrical insulation and can result in a fire, property damage, or personal injury.

    Incidents/Injuries: Siemens has received one report of a circuit breaker spring clip that broke during installation. No injuries have been reported.

    Description: This recall involves Siemens and Murray 15 through 50 AMP single and double pole circuit breakers, load centers (circuit breakers that come with an electrical panel), and meter combos (contain a load center and a meter socket). “Siemens†or “Murray,†date codes 0610 or 0710 and the catalog number are printed on a label on the side of the circuit breakers. Date codes between June 2010 through August 2010 are stamped on the inside of the metal box of the load centers and meter combos. The catalog number for the load centers and meter combos is printed on a label inside the metal box door and on the packaging.
  5. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hello

    How about this?? Murray main breakers from the 70s and 80s failing!! I guess I saved $300 bucks!

    Another Burned Up 200 Amp Murray Breaker!!

    http://www.contractortalk.com/f32/another-burned-up-200-amp-murray-breaker-36569/

    He knew what the problem was here before I left the shop.

    Customer says:

    1.Lots of flicker/diming issue lately.
    2.Half the lights in the house were out.
    3.Pool pump (240V) turned on and all the lights came on.
    4.Main breaker is red...says 200 A on it.

    I have done three of these in the past 6 weeks.

    If you see this breaker, know that there will be problems. It is difficult to inspect because you obviously have to pull the meter, but you can't really tell till you do. As soon as I wiggled it I could hear the telltale crunching of a burned breaker/bus.

    This one was from 1974

    Bus wasn't burned too bad...a little pitting.

    $302 invoice. Breaker cost $56 and I brought it with me.

    I should go door to door in these neighborhoods and clean up $$

    Home Depot stocks a Seimans replacement unit with side fed lugs.

    Attached Files:

  6. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

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    I just had a company do a Thermographic survey of all our major electrical components using a thermal imaging camera. We use this procedure to find electrical issues before they end in disaster. The hot wire has a bad connection and was repaired.

    Attached Files:

  7. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Neat! What repair was made here?
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I did a thermal test when we moved into the house. Turned everything on for an hour, then went to the panel and felt each breaker. A few were definitely hot. The solution, tighten the screws. Several of the breaker wire screws were barely tightened.
  9. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Cool! I mean, hot! I will try that with my IR thermo....
  10. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    sorry for the delay in comeback. i've been busy. it's crazy around here. don show a picture of the pipe. or the from above the meter to the connections to the wire from your house and street wire. looks like water got in there and and got high enough to start going into the pipe that leads to the panel. your wires are copper with a lead coating. what would have prevented the water on the breakers is where the wires come in from the meter should have come in to the panel then to the side where they connect to the breaker, and before connecting to the breaker they should have come down to the side a little below the breaker and then bent up to go into the breaker. that would have given you a drip loop. once the water go's into the pipe with the wires in it, it follows the wire like a pipe and drips from the lowest point of the wire. have you looked at some of the other breakers for water stains? if you are going for a service change from 100 to 200 amp (which would be a good idea from what you said about how much you a drawing for a load) that would be a good idea. siemans or the square d would be a good choice. square d breaker cost more. going for the the service change is more that just a panel and wire change. the pipe on the house, the wire in it, the panel, the ground wire, the water pipe bond and a ground rod or two will have to be changed or installed. if you stay with your current setup drill a hole in the bottom of the meter socket towards the back about 1/4 inch hole for water drainage and install a new set of wires from the meter to the main breaker with a drip loop so that if any water comes in it will drip to the bottom of the panel and not hit any of the breakers and you should be ok.

    frank
  11. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Here are the pics of the metal conduit pipe. The transformer on the pole is new this past year and the wires from the street are also new Tri-Plex 200 amp wires.
    Thanks for all that really good info!!!

    click on pics to enlarge and then click again

    Attached Files:

  12. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    looking at your setup i don't see where the water would be coming in but you'll be surprised what a beating the meter socket will take. if your ok with your setup just drill that hole, change that breaker to what should be in that box and you should be ok.
    one other thought. the water could be getting in from the weatherhead. that's at the top of the pipe where the wires come out. if so, the water will follow the neutral wire right thru the meter socket and to the breakers. replace the wire from the panel to the meter and let the neutral wire loop down to the bottom of the meter socket before it goes into the pipe to your panel and you should be all set.
  13. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Not that it might be relevant since it's the opposite direction, but I noticed some water coming into the house in the winter via the outside conduit, and I think it was because of the cold air coming in. I put some of that clay-like duct seal in there and it didn't happen again.
  14. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    [The power company doesn't want people messing with the meter socket due to the obvious safety concerns. However, a very common reason for them to encourage it is if you have a power outage and run a backup generator. Removing the meter is a positive disconnect.[/quote]


    I know I am late to the conversation but we run 25 kw generators for power supply
    and one way of connecting them is to pull the meter and the end of the pigtail of the generator has a plug/recepticale
    that connects directly to the meter base.
  15. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Great Idea! I have some non harding Monkey Dung. That would work great!!!

    http://monkeydung.com/

    Attached Files:

  16. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks again Frank

    I really appreciate your thorough and honest analysis!!
  17. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    i think that happens up here in mass. when we get real cold it usually is windy also. code states that when going thru walls or the like the pipe should be duct sealed or some how insulated so that no air is exchanged for that reason of condensation. all it takes is one time things get wet and the code book states that if a breaker gets wet, it's time for a change
  18. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    I know I am late to the conversation but we run 25 kw generators for power supply
    and one way of connecting them is to pull the meter and the end of the pigtail of the generator has a plug/recepticale
    that connects directly to the meter base.[/quote]

    yep some power company's don't like even us electricians in that meter unless we notify them first. and if they find a meter seal broken twice they put on a lock so that it can't be pulled unless they are called in.
    btw, that's how i hookup my generator. then i put in the meter blank and it's sealed from weather.
  19. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    your welcome don. anytime i can help. if you find somthing on that leak let us know. i've seen leaks happen the next day after the rain stopped.
  20. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    So you're saying that the condensation occurs as warm humid air from the house leaks into the cold meter box? That makes sense but I just wanted to clarify.
  21. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hello

    Check this Failed Breaker on YouTube Video!

    Good Breaker contact shown by green arrow
    Bad Breaker Contact shown by red arrow below!!

    Attached Files:

  22. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    I think it is condensation because I do not see water dripping that would cause corrosion on the panel stabs!

    So here is my thoughts
    Warm air from the meter socket is coming in between the meter wires and causing the warm air in the panel to condense and corrode the breaker contacts and the stabs. Also warm air traveling outside to the meter socket thru the gaps between the meter wires is condensing on the meter socket contacts and wires.
    So I am stuffing pieces of fiberglass insulation between the wires in the back of the meter socket and the back of the circuit panel box, then air sealing with some Monkey Dung!!
  23. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    yes i can happen. that was the reason for the code. it came about because of electrical that goes thru fridge and freezer walls.
  24. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    that will work fine. sometimes you don't see the water because it is a small amount, but if you pull the breaker and see water stains that is all it takes. if it has water stains it needs to go because it is not trust worthy. it could start tripping at 8 amps, but it could blow at 25, which could take out a 14 gauge wire.
  25. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    also i forgot to say that the water doesn't have to rot the panel, what it does is rot the breaker. the panel itself will put up with a lot of water before it's problem

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