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Thread: Breaker tripping

  1. #1
    DIY Member rayh78's Avatar
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    Default Breaker tripping

    Have a rental property. Tenants complained about a breaker tripping once or twice a day.
    Breaker feeds living room and ceiling light.
    When this happens the light is not on and only two outlets in use. Floor fan and then TV and stereo.
    Anyway I went over and replaced the breaker and both outlets since I had them out to inspect for any burnt wires.
    But everything really looked fine. Did I miss anything?
    If it happens again can I assume it is a problem with their newer flat screen TV, the stereo or fan?
    Any suggestions on anything else I could have checked?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    If they have a Surge Protecting Power strip, It could be bad.

    They are made to Short Out to protect, and sometimes they may not blow their own breaker like they should.

    A Voltage Measurement would tell if you have low voltage.


    Good luck.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It would take a really humongous TV and stereo system to overload a typical 15A breaker...it's unlikely that's the problem.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Electrician ActionDave's Avatar
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    Can't really tell what the problem is based on what you said but I agree with Jim, you should easily be able to run all the stuff you mentioned on a 15A circuit.

    The chance that it is a bad breaker is the least likely unless it is an AFCI breaker.

  5. #5
    DIY Member rayh78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ActionDave View Post
    Can't really tell what the problem is based on what you said but I agree with Jim, you should easily be able to run all the stuff you mentioned on a 15A circuit.

    The chance that it is a bad breaker is the least likely unless it is an AFCI breaker.
    Normal 20 amp breaker.
    Know if everything is working ok their stuff should not overload.
    But what else could it be. How to troubleshoot?

  6. #6
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayh78 View Post
    Normal 20 amp breaker.
    Know if everything is working ok their stuff should not overload.
    But what else could it be. How to troubleshoot?

    There may be more outlets wired to that breaker than you think.

    What you say is on a 20 amp breaker should not come close to tripping it.

    If you have a shorted MOV in a Device Protector it could draw more current than normal, but it would trip the breaker all of the time.


    Is your voltage correct ?
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    If you are doing work like this you obviously have an amprobe. What is the actual load? Not that it is close to overloading, but it is a place to start.

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    DIY Member rayh78's Avatar
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    reading 121 volts

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    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayh78 View Post
    reading 121 volts
    The main purpose of an amprobe is to read amps.

  10. #10
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Is that the reading at the Breaker or at the Load ?

    Measuring at both ends will give you the voltage drop from the load to the source. That can test for a loose connection.

    As mentioned a Amp Probe would be handy.

    Everyone should own a clamp on, If they are going to play with electricity.

    Don't forget the PPE.

    Is the breaker still tripping ?


    Be careful playing with electricity.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  11. #11
    DIY Member rayh78's Avatar
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    Busy on another project until I get back over there next week. But the 121 volts was at the outlet. And do have a clamp on my Fluke meter, just did not think to check at the time. Was not tripping often.

  12. #12
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Would there happen to be a window air conditioner in use ?
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  13. #13
    DIY Member rayh78's Avatar
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    No ac. Nothing else I could tell on that circuit. Just a ceiling light not used when breaker tripped. And a small floor fan, TV, cable tv box and small stero.
    Dealing with a few other things. Will try to follow up and get over there to check the amp draw. And maybe take out a few more outlets to look for any burnt wires in boxes for lack of anything else to check. They did have one outlet that had recently been used for their computer, but said all of that was unplugged when this started.

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