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Thread: Wrong Way Breaker

  1. #1

    Angry Wrong Way Breaker

    I have a breaker (20 amp) that when only turned in the "off" position will actually allow the electricity through the circuit and partially to the outlets that are on the line within the house. This just started recently when I replaced a a double throw 30 amp that was directly across within the electrical panel box. When this occurred I move the breaker to lower position, I doubled checked the ground wire was secure on the fuse bar (or whatever you call that grounding bar w/ screws). I also changed out the breaker. Basically when the breaker is in the same position as all of the other breakers it does not allow electrical flow, when I turn it to the off position it partially allows electrical flow to only half the outlets work that are on the the line. Before I installed the double throw 30 the 20 amp was fully operational.

    I have a 200 amp box and half the wires are aluminum (including the wire that's attached to this 20 amp breaker)

    Any thoughts on what is going on w/ this situation?

    Thanks,

    Lilclue.

  2. #2
    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    Default

    Sounds like half your service is out.

    ONLY IF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE doing this, turn OFF the main breaker and check the voltage at the service wires feeding it.
    Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC. If you're on the '14 already I feel sorry for you.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default breaker

    WE would have to test the circuit, but it appears that when you relocated the breaker you put it on the opposite leg of the power line, and it may have been half of a split 220/240 circuit. But even that would not necessarily cause the situation you are describing, if you are telling it correctly. Move it to a position an EVEN number of spaces from its original spot and see if that cures it.

  4. #4

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    What are you using to test to see that the electricity is on?

    Try using a table lamp. Plug it into one of these outlets and see if you get the same results.

    Information on aluminum wiring...
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&s...ns&btnG=Search

  5. #5
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Measure the voltage drop across the open breaker; less than 60 mVac means it's closed.

  6. #6

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    Questions...

    1. You mentioned the ground wire being on the ground buss, what about the white wire?

    2. The black wire that goes to the breaker in question...follow it up to where it enters the panel and look at the cable. Is there a red wire there also? If so where does it go?

    3. Are any outlets/lights being affected that are not on the circuit in question?

  7. #7

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    2. The black wire that goes to the breaker in question...follow it up to where it enters the panel and look at the cable. Is there a red wire there also? If so where does it go?
    Thaat's my guess but it doesn't explain everything.

    When this occurred I move the breaker to lower position,
    People should stay out of their panels.

  8. #8
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    You are dealing with aluminum wiring..call an electrician that is familiar with aluminum and let him figure it out...

  9. #9

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    Another question, you say...

    "when I turn it to the off position it partially allows electrical flow to only half the outlets work that are on the the line"

    What does this mean? Does it mean that you have partial power to some of the circuit? Like 50-60 volts? Or does it mean that part of the circuit has power, and part of it doesn't?

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