dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
4814
share rss forum feed


Chinabound
Premium
join:2002-12-21
Antioch, IL
kudos:3

1 recommendation

Before I Rip This MF'ing Wire Out

Click for full size
(Just kidding. I'm very close to calling an electrician.)

My house is 35 years old. Pictured is a GFCI breaker, which our seller mentioned to me this morning is not the normal set up anymore. In my garage and kitchen, for example, a GFCI breaker isn't being used, but every outlet in those two spaces are GFCI outlets.

Anyhow, I awoke this morning to find no power in one of the bathrooms. I went downstairs and found this breaker tripped. I flipped it on and everything was ok for about 5 minutes, then it tripped again. I haven't had to replace a breaker for years, but it was recommended that I replace this breaker (by my seller), because it is, after all, 35 years old.

The wire I have labeled does not appear to have any screw holding it in like you see the first two wires have. When I had the breaker out an hour ago, there was no screw that I could see either.
My question is, how is this thicker wire being fastened inside the breaker, and is it something I can remove myself? I have no problem turning off the main and replacing this breaker, but I do not want to simply pull the wire out or cut it just yet, even though there is plenty of wire to work with if I do cut it and strip the coating back a little.

Can someone explain this for me, please? Thank you.


shdesigns
Powered By Infinite Improbabilty Drive
Premium
join:2000-12-01
Stone Mountain, GA

1 recommendation

On the GFCI breaker I swapped, the white wire came installed on the breaker right out of the box. It was not removable.


Chinabound
Premium
join:2002-12-21
Antioch, IL
kudos:3
Thank you for the quick reply. I would not have known that, but once I read your post, I ran downstairs and now see this makes perfect sense.
Will Ace or Menard's carry it?

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

1 recommendation

reply to Chinabound
Save yourself some heart burn and first determine if an appliance plugged into one of the outlets, supplied by the GFCI is causing the nuisance tripping. Turn off the GFCI then determine which outlets are off. Unplug all devices from those outlets. Next turn the breaker on and wait to see if it trips. Moisture in an outlet can cause nuisance tripping. If the breaker does trip then replacing the GFCI may not solve the problem. If the breaker does not trip plug each device into the outlets that were connected to the GFCI. Eventually as you are plugging in each device, one device will cause the breaker to trip. That device probably has some leakage current that exceeds the leakage rating of the GFCI usually around 5mA.


sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
reply to Chinabound
Are you sure that it's a GFCI breaker and not an AFCI breaker? Make sure that it's not an appliance tripping the breaker, or an arc caused by a loose receptacle connection.


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

1 recommendation

reply to Chinabound
said by Chinabound:

My house is 35 years old. Pictured is a GFCI breaker, which our seller mentioned to me this morning is not the normal set up anymore. In my garage and kitchen, for example, a GFCI breaker isn't being used, but every outlet in those two spaces are GFCI outlets.

Outlets in damp or wet locations such as outside, bathrooms, garages, unfinished basements, kitchens, etc are required to be protected by a GFCI. There are three types of GFCI:
-inline, like that are often found on curling irons and hair dryers
-outlets, like what it sounds like you have in your garage
-breakers, just the outlets, but installed at the panel instead of the outlet.

There isn't an difference really between the last two other than location. They both preform the same. The breaker can be more convenient if you aren't sure how your outlets are wired or if adding a single GFCI outlet wouldn't protect all the outlets that need it, requiring additional GFCIs purchased. The outlet can be nice if you only need to protect a portion of a circuit or know that all the outlets are downstream of a single outlet.

A GFCI works by comparing the current on the hot and neutral wires. If it differs by more than 5 or 6ma, it trips. Since it needs to measure the current on the neutral, the circuit's neutral has to go through the device. The white wire that you indicated is the completion of that circuit. It's attached at the factory and isn't removable. If that wire comes out or is loose, you'll need to get a new GFCI breaker. Or at least every GFCI breaker I've ever seen was non-serviceable that way.


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
reply to Chinabound


All I can say is your seller shouldn't play electrician because he's clueless on most everything he told you.


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms

1 recommendation

reply to Chinabound
It sounds as if your "seller" is a complete buffoon.
GFCI breakers are quite common. I can't tell from the photo whether this is a Square D panel, or the dreaded Federal Pacific.
If it's FPE, it should be replaced (the entire panel). FWIW, it looks like SQD to me.

The most likely scenario is the breaker is just doing it's job. There is a ground fault somewhere and it is tripping.

"Nuisance tripping" is mostly myth. It was term made up to explain any type of tripping that isn't immediately obvious to the troubleshooter. Does it occur? Yes. Is it common? No.
Most often, there is an actual "ground fault" somewhere on the circuit.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.

Hellrazor
Bah Humbug

join:2002-02-02
Abyss, PA

1 recommendation

reply to Chinabound
Fix the hot wire when you put the new breaker in. Shouldn't be stripped that far back...


Chinabound
Premium
join:2002-12-21
Antioch, IL
kudos:3

1 recommendation

reply to nunya
Thank you, and everyone else who replied. I can't say whether or not the man we bought this house from is a clueless buffoon or not, but he had this house built along with his twin brother's house across the street back in 1977. How much of the work he actually did, or what he knows, I really have no idea. Perhaps he was saying new builds don't use GFCI breakers anymore, in favor of GFCI outlets?
The truth is, I'm the clueless buffoon.

Anyhow, Menard's had the exact "Square D" breaker (whew!) for $67. A little surprised with the price, I drove into town to a small electric store I've noticed for years, but never went inside... Carey Electric. They've been there since 1952. I walked in and showed the older gentleman the breaker, and he told me he had it. He said, "If you pay me with cash, $40, and that's a damn good price."
I explained everything to him, and he feels as most of you do. There is a ground fault somewhere, but he was happy to sell me the breaker anyway.

He will be here at 10:00 tomorrow morning, because replacing the breaker didn't work. It promptly tripped when I cut the main back on, and I know my limits. I called him back and he said he will be here in the morning.
There are no appliances ever plugged into the two outlets in the bathroom. Only two light(s) switches, and the exhaust fan, which I had unplugged during my troubleshooting.

Thanks, everyone - I'll post what the problem was after its resolved.

hoyleysox
Premium
join:2003-11-07
Long Beach, CA

1 recommendation

reply to Chinabound
A while a go, I had a tripping circuit because of a loose wire connection in a junction box. Hopefully your issue is as easy to find and fix.


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
reply to Chinabound
Why would a guy from a supply house be coming to fix your problem? That is scary to me.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


Zorack

join:2001-12-14
Fayetteville, WV
reply to Chinabound
Agree with Nunya,get a damn electrician.


Juggernaut
Irreverent or irrelevant?
Premium
join:2006-09-05
Kelowna, BC
kudos:2

1 recommendation

What if he is an electrician?


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8

1 recommendation

reply to nunya
said by nunya:

Why would a guy from a supply house be coming to fix your problem? That is scary to me.

$40 -cash- bucks...!


ITICharlie1
Premium
join:2003-01-22
St. Louis MO
Is this them?

»www.manta.com/c/mmgf5bv/carey-ge···ctric-co
--
Don't let my reality hinder your imagination!

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to nunya
said by nunya:

Why would a guy from a supply house be coming to fix your problem? That is scary to me.

Who said he went to a supply house?


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms

I drove into town to a small electric store I've noticed for years, but never went inside... Carey Electric.


You just here to argue semantics?
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Not at all. Grew up in a small town and moved to a big one. Have dealt with businesses in both that were smaller Mom and Pop type places who would have sold something like this if you walked in the door. They would also have offered to send someone out if you had a problem doing it yourself.

In another tread you lament the passage of a bygone era (and the products produced) and in this one you apparently condemn the same people who were part of it (in your capacity). Take your pick, straddle the fence, but don't take both sides of it.


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms
Your response makes no sense whatsoever. I don't even know how to reply. How does this have anything to do with the quality of products?
I'm saying it's very odd for someone to come from a STORE to perform a skilled trade. I'd be very leery of letting them into my home. Are they qualified? Licensed? Bonded? INSURED? What happens if they get hurt?
I think I'd check that out first.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Same bygone era.

Who said it was a "STORE" and not the front for their electrical business. Yes, they have parts and they will help you, but they will also send someone out.

Why are you so negative about everything?


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms
The OP said it was a store. What's so negative about warning someone that they could putting their property or finances in danger? I'd say that's positive, if anything.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Yes, store of a bygone era. Been there since 1952 -- seriously, you think they are going to be a problem that needs to be warned about?

lutful
... of ideas
Premium
join:2005-06-16
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to Chinabound
said by Chinabound:

My house is 35 years old ... everything was ok for about 5 minutes, then it tripped again ...it was recommended that I replace this breaker ... because it is, after all, 35 years old.

I just wanted to comment that your wiring is also 35 years old. If new breaker also trips randomly, consider reducing some load in that bathroom or running a new cable.

If insulation is old or damaged, its resistance is lower and leakage current could become substantial. The insulation protecting longer conductors has higher capacitance, which can cause even more leakage current

»www.fluke.com/fluke/usen/communi···rips.htm

Standard GFCI trip around 5mA which is quite low (considering it takes 50mA+ to harm us) but I don't know if adjustable trip current breakers are allowed at US homes.


Jan Janowski
Premium
join:2000-06-18
Skokie, IL
reply to Chinabound
Ever find out what was wrong?


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4

1 recommendation

reply to nunya
Electrical Service & Supply is a well qualified electrical contractor here in my hometown. You can also walk into their shop and buy things. I don't think that is all that uncommon.


Chinabound
Premium
join:2002-12-21
Antioch, IL
kudos:3

5 recommendations

reply to robbin
said by robbin:

Yes, store of a bygone era. Been there since 1952 -- seriously, you think they are going to be a problem that needs to be warned about?

It's ok. While I will acknowledge his expertise in the field, I realized long ago that expertise does not necessarily equate to common sense. Nunya doesn't know me at all, but it is a shame that most take the cynical approach to everything rather than extending the benefit of the doubt. In all fairness, though, I tried to keep my posts succinct so as not to annoy the tl;dr crowd, which limits the amount of information he had to go with.

I have a wife and an eleven year old daughter, two Border Collies and a 10 acre piece of property, Nunya. The house is 2500 square feet, and there are two heated outbuildings (30x50, 30x40). We bought it three years ago next month. We will have it paid off after three or four more years. I'm almost 54 years old, and I have worked and saved for a place like this all of my adult life. I'm not going risk what I've worked for by taking any shortcuts. As I said earlier, I know my limits, and if I am going to call in a professional, you can bet your ass I'm going to make sure he's qualified to work on my pad.

Now then, allow me a moment to come down from this particularly high horse, and I will explain what the problem was. I was able to figure it out this morning, thanks to the informative explanations provided me here.



When I awoke this morning, it occurred to me there are some outside outlets on this house. I have been using the one outside my front door to light up an artificial Christmas tree I set up down at the end of our dead end street, about 450 feet away from the house. I remembered these are not GFCI outlets out there, so I ran to the inside wall switch and turned the tree on. It did not light up, which told me this outlet is on the same circuit as the bathroom breaker is! I went outside, unplugged the cord and flew down to the basement and turned the breaker on. It did not trip, and the lights and fan in the bathroom worked once again.
I had to wait for a little more daylight, but I knew there had to be a problem somewhere along the 450 feet worth of cords.
I looked out a front window towards the tree after a little more daylight, and saw this:


Zooming in a bit, I noticed the cord had been moved, even though no one had walked across the front yard for a few days:


Threw on my shoes and a coat, and found this:


These will give you an idea of the tree, the cord length out to it, and where it sits at the end of my road.



There is a lot of wildlife around here, so it's pretty obvious something chewed threw the cord. It was something small, however, because there are no obvious footprints. It was probably a damn squirrel that hasn't been killed by one of my dogs yet.

Red Green, yes, that's them. Here's a picture of their store front:


I took a ride into town to meet Mr. Gelden again. I explained everything and showed him these pictures in my camera. He then gave me a little information on his background.
He went to work for Carey Electric back in the late 1950s. When Mr. Carey died, he bought the business and has been running it with his wife since 1982. They have a 4 man crew, and do any kind of electrical work. He appears to be close to 70 years old, and his wife hinted that she wants to retire soon. As you can see from the picture, the signs out front have been there since before 1982.

Thanks, everyone. I really appreciate the help.


Warzau
Premium
join:2000-10-26
Naperville, IL
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to Chinabound
Damn varmits! They done that to my extension cords when I have Christmas Decorations up. I was hoping it would electrocute them.

So been to Dave's Bistro

Badonkadonk
Premium
join:2000-12-17
Naperville, IL
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Dish Network
said by Warzau:

So been to Dave's Bistro

Is he qualified to cook?


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

Yes, store of a bygone era. Been there since 1952 -- seriously, you think they are going to be a problem that needs to be warned about?

Yup, my cableco is Service Electric. They used to be an appliance store selling GE TVs until John Walson invented Cable TV.