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#15032 - 10/06/02 07:41 PM Why is it always a.....
The Watt Doctor Offline

Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 443
Loc: Mont Belvieu, TX
bad breaker. There are a lot of excuses out there, but telling me that the breaker must be bad is not one that I will easily accept. If I had a nickle for everytime someone has called and said, "We had an electrician come out, and he said it was a bad breaker." I fire back, "Why are you calling me?" "Well, he didn't have the right type of breaker to replace it with." I reply, "Who was this electrician?" "Well, he's a friend." You know the story.
I had a friend call me this weekend. "Hey Doc. We need your wattological expertise." (Do you believe that they called me Doc?)
I said, "Watts the problem?" "Got a bad breaker", they said. I said, "Oh?" I almost hung up, and left the house before they could call me back. The problem ended up being a short circuit in the light kit of a ceiling fan.
Now, I've had some bad breakers before, but not very often. With the exception of control transformers (which burn up from time to time), transformers, disconnects, and breakers are some of the most reliable equipment that we have.
I dropped a Nema 1, 45 KVA, transformer from about 12 ft in the air one time. Afterwards, I changed my underwear, called my supplier to find out how much a new one would cost, she told me, and I changed my underwear again. Left with bad options, worse options, and worser options, I took out my Klein's, disassembled that transformer, (using my Klein's) I beat the housing back into a somewhat square shape, put it back together, hung it, hooked it up, and that sucker is still humming today.
What say y'all?

Yes mother, I'm wearing clean underwear,
The Watt Doctor
Altura Cogen
Channelview, TX

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#15033 - 10/06/02 07:50 PM Re: Why is it always a.....
sparky66wv Offline

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
Main CB's in 3R disco's when mounted directly below the meterbase (and using SE cable) tend to go out frequently.

Other than that, I'd have to agree... Breakers get a bad rap for being "the problem child" and are usually just doing their job!

I try to explain, that in most (residential) situations, a tripping breaker isn't bad, but a breaker that won't come on at all may be bad (but more likely the circuit will have a dead short {bolted fault})... If it crunches when turining it on or off, it is probably bad.
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

#15034 - 10/06/02 08:30 PM Re: Why is it always a.....
Electric Eagle Offline

Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 928
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
I hear the same thing. Usually it's something like "I need you to replace a weak breaker we've got, it trips everytime we try to vacuum and use the hairdyer at the same time" Well don't do that!

#15035 - 10/06/02 08:31 PM Re: Why is it always a.....
txsparky Offline

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 578
Loc: Magnolia,.Texas U.S.A.
Most of the" bad breakers " that I've had to replace resulted from arcing at a loose or "bad connection"between the breaker and the bus.(generally requiring panel change to replace burnt bus)I have seen breakers that trip prematurely,or that wont reset,just not that often.

#15036 - 10/07/02 03:08 AM Re: Why is it always a.....
sparky Offline

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
typical of the customer, blaming the one item that apparently gives him/her trouble.

sort of like those silly red dash lights....

#15037 - 10/07/02 03:59 AM Re: Why is it always a.....
Electricmanscott Offline

Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Holden, MA USA
Same deal here. Went on an estimate a few weeks ago every thing went well untill... " What would it cost to change a bad breaker?" She tells me it was tripping so she changed a switch and it still trips. It does not trip however unless you turn the switch on! I told her the breaker is fine and the problem is likely at the light fixture but needs a little trouble shooting. "I'll check that and if it's still the breaker I'll have you change it" Ok then!

#15038 - 10/07/02 04:53 AM Re: Why is it always a.....
bobc Offline

Registered: 02/05/02
Posts: 11
Loc: houston tx
doc,good to have you back. its amazing the number of bad breakers out there.when asked by fellow electricians about bad breakers,i always respond WHERE IS YOUR AMMETER!

#15039 - 10/07/02 06:41 PM Re: Why is it always a.....
CanadianSparky Offline

Registered: 03/05/01
Posts: 86
Loc: Alberta Canada
Sorry Doc, I always worry about dropping those transformers hung in the air. But how'd you drop it? I just hung one last week that was 580 lbs for an X-ray machine(American made of course @480v thats why we use a lot of transformers) and its sitting above the technicians head right now. Still scares me.

#15040 - 10/08/02 08:24 AM Re: Why is it always a.....
The Watt Doctor Offline

Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 443
Loc: Mont Belvieu, TX
I'm a little to say, but for the good of the forum I'll confess my mistake. The transformer was existing, and was to be removed, and relocated. It was hanging off all thread and unistrut from the building structure. We rigged up a chain fall from the building structure, and using rope I tied onto the transformer with a "make shift cradle". That was a big mistake. I should have rented some kind of lift for the job, but I didn't. With the transformer tied off, I had everyone back away. I began to back the nuts off the all thread rod. I alternated on all 4 corners to keep it level. When the first nut came off the all thread everything was OK, but when the second nut came off the transformer shifted. A sharp edge on the transformer sliced through the rope, and it was on the ground before I could blink an eye. It hit my arm on the way down, but I was OK. Other than the housing on the transformer, the worse thing that was hurt was my pride. I called the shop, and told them as well as the other people I mentioned above. Talk about a "crash course" in "body work", I gave myself one that day. Other than the paint being scratched, you could barely tell that anything had happened to it. There is no doubt in mind that it would have killed anyone under it. I can tell you that I will never drop another one. Once you've dropped one, it changes you. I don't care what it takes. I'll never drop one again. If there is any doubt about what it calls for, I won't do it.
If I ever have to use a chain fall again, I'll use "wire slings", drill the feet of the transformer, and mechanically attatch the slings under the transformer.
I've hung lots of transformers. I've hung oil filled tranformers on wooden poles when I was working with some linemen at a shop in the past. I never even come close to dropping any of them. I must confess that the one I dropped was totally my fault. It was probably the dumbest thing I've ever done in the trade.

From the desk of Doc's Body Shop,
The Watt Doctor
Altura Cogen
Channelview, TX

#15041 - 10/08/02 09:01 AM Re: Why is it always a.....
C-H Offline


Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
How big are these hanging transformers?

Here you find them on or in the ground. I suppose this is to save the poco guys from the embarassement of dropping them

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