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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was approached the other day by someone in the shop where I work and this is his problem:

He has a little subpanel, fed from another subpanel, fed from his main. That little subpanel was used to power a hot tub. Apparently it had been on for a long time and then one day he lost power to his kitchen. After that, a 2-pole 70amp breaker in the main started sparking. He showed me pictures.

One picture showed that one of the legs on the breaker, where it stabs into the panel, was burned up pretty good. Another picture showed the lines coming in, feeding the panel. One was blackened and the part of the enclosure around it was melted(apparently it's in a plastic enclosure).

I had him turn the main breaker off, file off the black substance that had accumulated on the tab where the breaker had been sparking and put a new breaker in. Then I had him disconnect the wires going to the little sub-sub panel. After turning it back on, the kitchen was fine and the breaker is holding.

Thoughts on why this would occur? Possibly back feeding and a faulty breaker? I'm a new journeyman with mainly construction experience so service work isn't exactly my strong suit. Still, I'd like to learn and get better.
 

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a one-eyed ground hog chewed through the cable under the hot tub and the breaker in the small panel was bypassed by the homeowner cause it kept tripping, and sissy, his naughty daughter, kept using the hot tub night after night cause it was the only place she could get her groove on with her boyfriend in private ?


what'd I win ?
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That solves everything!! lol You sir, are a veritable Sherlock Holmes! You win a big thanks and a spot in my latest novel! It's entitled The Sarcasm of Others. I wonder though, just what he'd do if he found out about his daughter? Best not to tell him.

One person on another forum told me it was probably a loose connection and that the person should've asked a more experienced electrician.
 

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That solves everything!! lol You sir, are a veritable Sherlock Holmes!

One person on another forum told me it was probably a loose connection and that the person should've asked a more experienced electrician.
it could've been that. it could be a damaged cable. the heater on the hot tub could be malfunctioning and overloading the ckt. there could be too much load on the ckt from something the HO didn't tell you. it could've been a lightning strike. IMO you need boots on the ground and hands on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
it could've been that. it could be a damaged cable. the heater on the hot tub could be malfunctioning and overloading the ckt. there could be too much load on the ckt from something the HO didn't tell you. it could've been a lightning strike. IMO you need boots on the ground and hands on.

I agree about the hands on. He isn't too interested in paying for any services, I don't have time to go out there so I figured while I at work I could try and ask.

As far as the breaker is concerned, one of the two legs is burned up. Would that just be a faulty breaker not tripping when it's supposed to?
 

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Could have been a loose joint on the breaker ?:
A faulty breaker ?
Or just plain overloading ?
Only you can find out for sure !
Can ypu beg/borrow/steal a clamp on amp meter
And test it yourself ?
 

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For now I would move breaker to an unused space in the panel. Then eventually put a better quality panel in preferably with a copper buss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm sure that I can. It would be nice to find out. I think they have one floating around the shop, I just need to find out where.
 

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How close together was the burnt up branch circuit and the panel feeder that was smoked? If they were close I would suspect the point right in between to be the culprit. If not then it may just be time for a service upgrade$$$:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
How close together was the burnt up branch circuit and the panel feeder that was smoked? If they were close I would suspect the point right in between to be the culprit. If not then it may just be time for a service upgrade$$$:thumbsup:

I'd have to go there and see
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
For now I would move breaker to an unused space in the panel. Then eventually put a better quality panel in preferably with a copper buss.
I totally missed this comment and I apologize. I agree with you on this. I appreciate your input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Good news! I finally convinced him to purchase a new panel! Still though, need to figure out why the last one did what it did.
 
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