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Old 10-20-2016, 10:44 AM   #1
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Default Thermal temperature readings on breakers

I read recently that using a thermal temperature reading is a good way to find bad circuit breakers in panels. I believe it said to get a reading off of the input and out put terminal and that a difference of more than a few degrees should be investigated. I went though my note to get the specifics but unfortunately I can't remember where I read this. I checked the temperature for the breakers in the panel today and found a difference of roughly 10 degrees F from the input to the output on the breakers for the safety interlock. Since I can't find the source of this information I'm not really sure if I found something worth noting or not. Does anyone have any experience using this technique for panel troubleshooting or PM's that could offer me some more details on this?
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:09 PM   #2
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I think breaker type, application, terminals would all work into the mix.
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:13 PM   #3
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Thermal imaging can help find loose terminals or heavily loaded breakers but it is most effective In a long term pm situation. It can really help locate miss balenced panels
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:18 PM   #4
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For temperature difference on a common component or between similar components we use a scale developed by EPRI:
0-10C Minor
11-35C Moderate
36-70C Severe
>70C Critical
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Old 10-22-2016, 11:17 AM   #5
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10 degrees Fahrenheit should be investigated? I find that hard to believe. Pretty much everything I have ever looked at with the thermal imaging cam would have to be investigated. Maybe that's lab specs or something, in the real world you'd be chasing your tail imo

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Old 10-22-2016, 12:35 PM   #6
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This is where an experienced thermographer is valuable: The cameras are a dime a dozen and anyone can point them at something. But knowing what is an issue and what is not is where your value is to the customer.

I would very likely not waste the time or ink to report a 10 delta-T on a breaker unless I had reason to believe it was the beginning of a more serious problem.
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