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Breaker Burned Up

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Forum topic by jbay posted 08-19-2017 08:48 PM 626 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jbay

1666 posts in 654 days


08-19-2017 08:48 PM

I use(d) this (20 amp) breaker every day to turn on and off the lights. (after 4 years)
Today the lights didn’t come on and I found this.
I thought the breaker would fail before going this long and burning up the way it did.
I’m running 3- 400 watt halogens, 2- on a 16’ cord, 1- on a 50’ cord.
(Too Much?) Any insight appreciated.

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.


13 replies so far

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MrUnix

5717 posts in 1953 days


#1 posted 08-19-2017 08:52 PM

Breakers are not designed to be used as a light switch :)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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Gilley23

277 posts in 137 days


#2 posted 08-19-2017 09:10 PM

I can’t tell by that picture, but that breaker probably isn’t rated for switch use. However, there are breakers rated to be used as switches and the one that you replace that one with should be just that.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4614 posts in 2248 days


#3 posted 08-19-2017 09:10 PM

I stand corrected about the switching function….still learning.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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becikeja

804 posts in 2568 days


#4 posted 08-19-2017 09:39 PM

Actually 10, 15, and 20 amp breakers used in your home are designed to be used as a switch. You will notice on the side SWD rated. This means the device is switching duty rated and must pass 10,000 operations. Larger breakers are not. The 10,000 on the side of the breaker represents AIR rating so don’t confuse the two. These are different ratings.

Looking at your breaker, you obviously had an over current situation. Most likely caused by stresses over time in the connection to the bus caused by the switching. The breaker only senses current on the load side not the line side. This fault was on the line side. I hope the main breaker feeding the bus tripped, if not, you escaped a potential fire, and I would I get the main replaced quickly.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

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William Shelley

399 posts in 1224 days


#5 posted 08-19-2017 11:19 PM

Fun fact: you can use an infrared camera to find breakers that are potentially going to fail soon. They will be much warmer (assuming relatively equal loads on all circuits)

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

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TheFridge

7734 posts in 1241 days


#6 posted 08-19-2017 11:41 PM

Bad connection to the bus and/or contact in breaker. Will cook itself out over time. A hot breaker is the first sign. Not coming back on losing continuity across it is obviously the last.

An overload of the breaker can make it burn out faster but it doesn’t really matter if it has good contact.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View jbay's profile (online now)

jbay

1666 posts in 654 days


#7 posted 08-20-2017 12:20 AM

I think it was a little of everything.
I did notice it being warmer the last couple of weeks.
I also noticed it being loose when switching off and on.

I’ll replace it with a SWD rated breaker.

Thank you all for the responses.

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

2718 posts in 1743 days


#8 posted 08-20-2017 12:23 AM

Why would you continue to use a breaker that was getting warm and loose??

I think you are very fortunate.

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firefighterontheside

16253 posts in 1611 days


#9 posted 08-20-2017 12:32 AM

I would say it’s a good time to switch to LEDs.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View jbay's profile (online now)

jbay

1666 posts in 654 days


#10 posted 08-20-2017 01:00 AM

Could be Bill

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

View Bluenote38's profile

Bluenote38

157 posts in 143 days


#11 posted 08-20-2017 02:29 AM



I would say it s a good time to switch to LEDs.

- firefighterontheside

Ditto on the LED suggestion. I just swapped 150W incandescents for 30W LEDs and boy what a difference! So worth the price just in light output not to mention the power savings. And reduced circuit load.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View Sparks500's profile

Sparks500

62 posts in 85 days


#12 posted 08-20-2017 12:51 PM

Thats a constant high load and the heat weakened the spring. Hope it didn’t damage that panel bus.
Ditto on LEDs.
Using them as a switch usually won’t wear out that part of the breaker, but will the actual switching mechanism.

-- Rockhound: You realize we're sitting on 45,000 pounds of fuel, one nuclear warhead and a thing that has 270,000 moving parts built by the lowest bidder? Makes you feel good doesn't it?

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

1725 posts in 2699 days


#13 posted 08-21-2017 03:27 AM

I use my infrared thermometer and it detects differences between an open breaker and one running a load. It or the camera is a great way to monitor cable temps and such.


Fun fact: you can use an infrared camera to find breakers that are potentially going to fail soon. They will be much warmer (assuming relatively equal loads on all circuits)

- William Shelley


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