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Old 12-18-2019, 08:17 AM   #1
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Default Cutler-Hammer breaker used in Siemens Panel

Office staff complained of their computers suddenly shutting down on one particular circuit. At the outlet I was getting varying meter readings. 10V hot-neutral, 120V neutral-grnd, and a minute later 0 V, and then 120V hot-neutral, and so on.
Using a circuit tester, it showed Hot and Ground reversed.

Traced circuit to a Siemens NLAB442C 3 phase 4 wire, 120/208 panel (Canada) designed for Type Q and BQ Siemens branch breakers and found a 15A cutler-hammer type BR115/C115, the only breaker of its kind in the panel. I locked out the breaker and will change after hours.

Has anyone else ran into this sort of issue?

Even though the breaker "fits" and has worked for some time apparently, am I right to assume this is the cause of the problem?
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Old 12-18-2019, 08:28 AM   #2
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I find mis-matched breakers all the time. Why did you not just change it right there?

For as long as it took to "lock it out", you could have changed the breaker.

Cheers
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Old 12-18-2019, 08:31 AM   #3
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I wanted to get some practice filling out my lockout tag and signing and dating my lockout lock and filing the proper lockout forms for management approval.

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Old 12-18-2019, 08:48 AM   #4
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Siemens push-ins can be a little finicky anyway so the mismatch is probably the issue. If you didn’t have a replacement with you, I would have tested it on a different breaker just to make sure.

Since you have the option, replace it with a bolt-in.
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Old 12-18-2019, 08:49 AM   #5
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Hot and ground reversed??
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Old 12-18-2019, 08:55 AM   #6
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Hot and ground reversed??
Yeah, was reading 0V hot-neutral and 120V neutral-ground. And circuit tester came up with hot-ground reversed.
Seems dangerous.

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Old 12-18-2019, 08:58 AM   #7
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It's probably a loose connection somewhere. The breaker is a good place to start. I have a hard time getting all excited about mismatched breakers though.
Reliance and generac buy loadcenters from Siemens, modifies them with interlocks and has them listed for use with all four manufacturers breakers. If UL says a br, hom or thq breaker is okay in that panel, why not in a Siemens branded one? Just ran into a Kohler transfer switch the other day. Same thing. Siemens guts, listed for all four. Milbank meter main also listed for all 4.

Last edited by JoeSparky; 12-18-2019 at 10:02 AM. Reason: Damned autocorrect
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Old 12-18-2019, 09:12 AM   #8
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It's probably a loose connection somewhere. The breaker is a good place to start. I have a hard time getting all excited about mismatched breakers though.

Reliance and generac buy loadcenters from Siemens, modifies them with interlocks and has them listed for use with all four manufacturers breakers. If UL says a br, home or the breaker is okay in that panel, why not in a Siemens branded one? Just ran into a Kohler transfer switch the other day. Same thing. Siemens guts, listed for all four. Milbank meter main also listed for all 4.
Interesting.
Was not able to find any loose connections. And the outlet worked normally after C-H breaker was cycled off-on.
Unless I jostled something while searching for loose wire/tracing circuit..

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Old 12-18-2019, 09:31 AM   #9
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I would have solved the problem then and there. Even if I didn’t have the breaker, I would have used a breaker temporarily that was used for a candy bar dispenser or something. Too many variables with the wonky meter readings, although wonky meter readings aren’t uncommon.

Computers are sacred. It would be my first priority to get them up and running.
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Old 12-18-2019, 09:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I wanted to make it look all technical with the lock-out, and change the breaker after hours ... "Cha-Ching"

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Receptacle testers are fine for a quick 'is there power check'.
They give lots of false readings ... when you get one, pull out a wiggy or low impedance meter and take your readings.

Sounds like an open Hot, and you were getting ghost readings.
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:11 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Kyle93 View Post
Interesting.
Was not able to find any loose connections. And the outlet worked normally after C-H breaker was cycled off-on.
Unless I jostled something while searching for loose wire/tracing circuit..

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The loose connection could be on the bus bar, or worn-out internally on the breaker. Either way I'd start by replacing a breaker. Based on your outlet tester lights, I'd be inclined to believe there's a loose neutral on the circuit somewhere though. Find the furthest point you can on the circuit, plug a space heater in there and start wiggling things.
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:12 AM   #12
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Did you not pull the receptacle? WTF?
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:17 AM   #13
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Did you not pull the receptacle? WTF?
Yeah, ghost readings there. and no loose or reversed connections.
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:21 AM   #14
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Yeah, ghost readings there. and no loose or reversed connections.
Go get yourself a T-Pro+. Doesn't really sound like a breaker to me though if those are actual readings.
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:33 AM   #15
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That sounds like a loose neutral on a multiwire branch circuit, breaker could be a coincidence, or maybe you have two problems.

Of course replace with bolt on first to eliminate one possibility, check the bus. That has to be done whatever else.

If the meter is not low-Z, that could be a second source of confusion, three problems. Get the low Z.
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:39 AM   #16
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On those little plug in testers, often an open ground comes up as a hot - ground reversed (I have no idea why). I think it depends what is plugged into the circuit at the time you do the test.

Had one the other day, light switch open, hot - ground reversed, light switch closed open ground. It turned out to be an open ground in a light box in the basement where the customer said that they did not install that brand new fixture...

They are a good "check tool" but you need a quality meter for any real testing.

Cheers
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:53 AM   #17
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That sounds like a loose neutral on a multiwire branch circuit, breaker could be a coincidence, or maybe you have two problems.

Of course replace with bolt on first to eliminate one possibility, check the bus. That has to be done whatever else.

If the meter is not low-Z, that could be a second source of confusion, three problems. Get the low Z.
Not using a low-z meter was a mistake. Will check outlet with wiggy after hours.

Could not find open or loose neutral yet, although that's what I first thought too.
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Old 12-18-2019, 11:04 AM   #18
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It's time for your Mactip of the day! I always check with the Knopp tester first, and then if I wanna see something more intricate like continuity, voltage drop, or amps- I take out my fluke tester.
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Old 12-18-2019, 06:50 PM   #19
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Is this the first time you have ever found a bad neutral wire???????

If you read anything other than 0v between ground and neutral then its not bloody connect to ground is it.

As a hint......something else is plugged in on the same circuit (thats how power is getting from the live wire to the neutral)

Sorry long day......
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Last edited by gpop; 12-18-2019 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 12-18-2019, 11:55 PM   #20
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Is this the first time you have ever found a bad neutral wire???????

If you read anything other than 0v between ground and neutral then its not bloody connect to ground is it.

As a hint......something else is plugged in on the same circuit (thats how power is getting from the live wire to the neutral)

Sorry long day......

You short them together so boom! Found the problem?
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