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#75777 - 03/11/07 10:34 PM Burned up main breakers
Check Pilot Offline

Registered: 11/25/05
Posts: 145
Loc: Edmonton Alberta Canada
I just got back from ANOTHER call for a burned up 100 Amp main service panel breaker. This is the third one in the last month or so and the 5th one since January 1st. Three were Federal Pioneer and 2 were GE's. One was less than 3 years old (an FPE) and the other 4 were maybe 20 years old at most.

We didn't change more than 1 in the whole of 2006.

What's going on now with the main panel breakers?

Anybody else having the same kind of calls.

The POCO is getting annoyed at me for pulling the meters when we change the breakers because we won't change them "hot" and I would like to be able to have an answer next time it happens.

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#75778 - 03/11/07 10:39 PM Re: Burned up main breakers
frenchelectrican Offline


Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 938
Loc: Wi/ Paris France { France for ...
I am not sure if there were some manufacting issuse may cropped up or just unuseal power surge that can kill those breaker but all the breaker for resdentail usage right ??

if so i wondering if you can take a photo maybe we will like to see what the situation is

Merci , Marc
Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)

#75779 - 03/12/07 07:46 AM Re: Burned up main breakers
ShockMe77 Offline

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 823
Loc: Rahway, New Jersey
Why would the POCO care if you removed the meter? If anyone knows about safety it's them. I can't imagine why they would give you a hard time other than the fact that you're not using them to come out and remove the meter.

#75780 - 03/12/07 08:16 AM Re: Burned up main breakers
NJwirenut Offline

Registered: 09/15/01
Posts: 816
Loc: Bergen County, NJ
I'm not sure why they get annoyed at stuff like that, but they sometimes do. After all, their line workers work much higher voltages than 240 live, so why can't electricians just suck it up and do the same? :rolleyes: Bureaucrats just love to enforce rules, especially when it isn't their life on the line....

I just cut the seals off if needed , and hang the cut seal back on the meter pan, along with a business card.

#75781 - 03/12/07 01:10 PM Re: Burned up main breakers
Dave T Offline

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 157
Loc: Waukesha, WI, USA
You were very vague in describing "burned up breakers." With out more decription it's hard to provide help in diagnosing the failure.
However, if I were to take a guese it would be a failure caused by heating do to a poor connection to the bus of cable connection on the line side.

#75782 - 03/12/07 01:26 PM Re: Burned up main breakers
HotLine1 Offline


Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6791
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
Past practice was ti call the utility & inform them that YOU are pulling the meter, or cutting the service at the drop.

PSE&G occasionally frowns really hard on guys who cut seals and pull meters.

Basically I was taught that as a courtesy, you call. It is probably in their Green Book, as a requirement.

Their concern is that someone 'may' pull/replace the meter under load, damaging the jaws, meter, or WORSE the person.


#75783 - 03/12/07 01:28 PM Re: Burned up main breakers
Rewired Offline

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 567
Loc: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
I have actually had to replace a main because water wicked BETWEEN the strands of the main incoming hot conductors and right into the main breaker! Far fetched I know but it happened!

Just curious, the newer FPE that burned up, It had the newer Square-D main? " 1C-100" I think the part # is and the older FPE mains that went were the older plug on style "NA-2P100"?

A few years ago I remember Cutler Hammer had a big problem... Their "BQL" series main breakers used to have the sides burn right off, That or the breaker-buss connection burned up!


#75784 - 03/12/07 03:38 PM Re: Burned up main breakers
NJwirenut Offline

Registered: 09/15/01
Posts: 816
Loc: Bergen County, NJ
When I started doing residential work, I always DID call PSE+G to notify them if I cut a seal. The response was always along the lines of "only we can break the seal, we'll get out there a week or 2 from now" (meanwhile the customer is without power), or the exact opposite "go ahead and cut it, and why are you bothering to call?". It completely depended on who you happened to talk to, or what office you were dealing with.

I bought a few of the wire/plastic seals identical to the ones PSEG uses from McMaster/Carr, and use them to reseal, along with leaving the old seal and a business card hanging on the meter. No complaints so far....

#75785 - 03/12/07 03:51 PM Re: Burned up main breakers
jdevlin Offline

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 402
Loc: welland ontario canada
I think the main reason for them being concerned about the seal is people stealing power by installing slugs/jumpers to bypass the meter.

#75786 - 03/13/07 04:00 AM Re: Burned up main breakers
SteveFehr Offline

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1192
Loc: Chesapeake, VA
Do the pocos have much trouble with people tampering with meters to slow the dial? It seems as though just a small bit of clay added discretely to the dial could cut energy consumption by a great deal.

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