Breaker Trips After lIghts on 30 minutes: Electric  -- Home Building Discussion Forum and Review Breaker Trips After lIghts on 30 minutes: Electric -- Home Building Discussion Forum

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 02-24-2011, 12:45 Post: 176994
DennisCTB

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 Breaker Trips After lIghts on 30 minutes

One of my circuit breakers trips after 30 to 45 minutes. Wiring has been in place for 13 years with no changes. If I turn off switrches a) and b) I don't get the tripped breaker. If have either a) and or b) on with 1 to 4 bulbs screwed in it still trips the breaker after 30 to 40 minutes. The recessed boxes for a) and b) are in a place that i would have to rip out the sheetrock ceiling to get to So Sad

Bad dimmers? Bad Breaker? Wiring?

Ideas?


On the circuit:

Switch #Recessed Lights
a) Dimmer 4 x 50 watts
b) Dimmer 4 x 50 watts
c) 3 way 1 x 50 watts
d) 3 way 1 x 50 watts






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 02-24-2011, 13:13 Post: 176995
kwschumm



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 Breaker Trips After lIghts on 30 minutes

First thing I'd do is check to see if the breaker is a GFCI breaker. Those things go bad sometimes. Does the breaker also feed any kitchen, bath, or other wet area type areas? We had to put them in our basement even though it is not a wet area because the code said so.

If you have a clamp-on ammeter it would be useful to measure the current draw on that circuit.






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 02-24-2011, 13:27 Post: 176996
DennisCTB

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 Breaker Trips After lIghts on 30 minutes

Thanks Ken, it is not a GFI circuit, don't have an ammeter in my tool box yet.






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 02-24-2011, 13:32 Post: 176997
kwschumm



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 Breaker Trips After lIghts on 30 minutes

Are any of the dimmers excessively hot?
Are the bulbs all incandescents?

If you have one of those IR remote reading thermometers it might be useful to point it at the switches and junction boxes to see if any of them are out of line compared to the others. You could use it on the breaker switch too.

Just some random ideas.






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 02-24-2011, 13:37 Post: 176998
kthompson



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 Breaker Trips After lIghts on 30 minutes

Dennie, my first guess is there is something on this circuit you are missing. Look carefully for this time of year a little electric heater, or new tv, or appliance. My next guess again for this time of year and where you are is moisture from exhaust fans or roof is getting into the lights causing some power shortage and load. If you are fully sure there is nothing else on this circuit then move on. If not sure then turn the breaker off a while and see what is not working.

But if anything is bad you named then my first guess is bad breaker. My next guess is the dimmer switches. If you will turn the lights on for a few minutes and just lay your hand on the breaker and dimmers to see if you pick up noticeable heat you maybe found your problem. Now the breaker will be hot if there is excess load on it. You have a main breaker that will totally cut off the box. You should be safe to cut off the box, remove the wire (simple screw tighten on all I have seen) and switch the wire from the breaker tripping to another one of same amp rating. That is stamped or molded into the breaker itself. Then cut back on every thing and do a test. If that does not trip then replace breaker, if it trips then place wires back into proper breakers.

Of course the easiest way is if you have an amp meter that clamps around a wire then just clamp it around wire at the breaker. If the load (will read in amps) is less than the breaker rating and it trips, then bad breaker. They will fail so don't be surprised if a bad one. If you do have amp meter turn off all (even unplug) every thing you know of on that circuit. Plug back in or turn on each item by itself and check the load. Then have all on at the same time.

You probably have either a 15 or 20 amp breaker on a lighting circuit. In the perfect would a 110 wattage bulb in a 110 volt circuit is ONE amp load. If I am reading correctly you are no where near that load in those lights. If you have only 600 watts on there you are about 5 1/2 amps or about 1/3 of a 15 amp breaker. If that is truly all the load you have on it and it is tripping there is a short but not a "dead" short in that circuit.

As to the lights cans you should be able to access them from the light side. The electrical part normally is any way. BTW, not hung any pictures lately have you?






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 02-24-2011, 15:57 Post: 177004
DennisCTB

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 Breaker Trips After lIghts on 30 minutes

Ok, I think I have it fixed.

Two years ago we hired a contractor to finish the basement, the Electrical sub was a real PIA, mostly because he was new to being his own boss and was very unsure about stuff, yet his work seemed OK.

We had our service bumped to two 200amp panels with a third for a mobile BU gen. This required moving some circuits. Anyway last year I had an AC breaker problem that was due to lose connections on the breaker.

I pulled the panel and the connection was lose on this one as well and it had blackened the wire at the terminal. I checked the others for tightness and some of them were not tight enough. I replaced the old breaker and so far everything is good. I think the Electric Sub was moving stuff and failed to tighten everything down properly.






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 02-25-2011, 08:34 Post: 177011
kthompson



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 Breaker Trips After lIghts on 30 minutes

Good for you. And such low cost.






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 02-25-2011, 11:21 Post: 177017
DennisCTB

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 Breaker Trips After lIghts on 30 minutes

KT,

Feels great when what could have been a big headhache gets resolved quickly.

D






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 02-25-2011, 23:14 Post: 177036
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 Breaker Trips After lIghts on 30 minutes

Is your breaker an Arc-fault circuit breaker? If it is you may have an arcing switch, dimmer, lamp or lamp holder which will shut down the breaker.






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