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  #1  
Old 06-22-2013, 06:51 PM
jsanjo01 jsanjo01 is offline
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main electrical breaker will not reset

During a storm a tree took down the main service line to the house. We had a new mast weather head and wiring run from the meter base up to the weather head , then the power co tied in the new service line. But now every time we try to set the main breaker it trips. How can I check to see if the main breaker is bad?
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  #2  
Old 06-22-2013, 06:57 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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I think the first thing I would do is turn off every breaker and try again. If it still flips, I'd take the cover off the panel and make sure there's nothing going on inside the panel itself. Did water get into it? Did the electric company yank on some wires when they were installing the new weather head and jostle something around in the box? Something is causing a problem. In theory it's between the main breaker and the rest of the breakers.

You can test it by taking it out and flipping it to the on position and seeing if it still resets itself and do a continuity check right away. You could also just go buy a new one, but it, off the top of my head, is probably going to run you about $40 or so.

So, start by turning all the other breakers off and then turn it on. If it resets, take the cover off the panel and see if something looks wrong.

Last edited by Joey P; 06-22-2013 at 06:58 PM..
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:57 PM
johnpost johnpost is online now
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get an electrician to look at it. lots of deadly electricity in the breaker cabinet.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:05 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
get an electrician to look at it. lots of deadly electricity in the breaker cabinet.
This. when it comes to things which can burn your goddamn house down, my default answer is "call in a professional."
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  #5  
Old 06-22-2013, 07:44 PM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
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Typically when a circuit breaker continues to trip, the condition that the circuit breker is designed to protect you and your house from still exists. The best thing then is to not keep trying to reset it, let it do its job then call a professional to find out what is going on.
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  #6  
Old 06-22-2013, 07:51 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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The main breaker is quite likely bolted to the buss, while the circuit breakers may just be plug-ins. Do NOT attempt to remove the main breaker if this is the case, as the mounting screws are HOT even with the breaker shut off.
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  #7  
Old 06-22-2013, 07:54 PM
ZenBeam ZenBeam is offline
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Even if you're not comfortable working inside the breaker box, following Joey P's suggestion of turning off all the line breakers and trying to reset the main breaker should be doable by anyone who managed to try to reset the main breaker in the first place.
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  #8  
Old 06-22-2013, 08:02 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Originally Posted by ZenBeam View Post
Even if you're not comfortable working inside the breaker box, following Joey P's suggestion of turning off all the line breakers and trying to reset the main breaker should be doable by anyone who managed to try to reset the main breaker in the first place.
And, FTR, the main breaker should still trip when you do this. They only way it won't is if you have a HUGE load coming online all at once and a small main breaker. For example, if your AC, fridge, washing machine, electric drier and electric water heater all tried to turn on at once...and you have 50 amp service.

My guess is that it'll still blow. But, if it doesn't, start turning on the individual breakers one at a time. If you can get them all turned on, you're golden. If you can't we'll go from there.
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  #9  
Old 06-22-2013, 08:42 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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Is there a master switch "upstream" from the main breaker that you can throw to cut all power to the main box? Just thought I'd ask.

Also, spend a few bucks and get a voltage detector.
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  #10  
Old 06-22-2013, 08:53 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post

Also, spend a few bucks and get a voltage detector.
But don't get a non-contact one like that. They're nice toys and they do have their applications. I have one in my tool box, but I wouldn't trust it to tell me when a circuit is dead.

That is, if I have a wire in my hand, I would feel semi-comfortable using that tester to confirm that it's live, but if it didn't beep I would use a regular tester before I grabbed the copper with my bare hands.
Besides, that would be next to useless in a crowded breaker box. The one I have can't be used within about 10 feet of c-store coolers or it starts giving out false positives. Took me forever to figure that out. I didn't test out my theory, but I think it was the door heaters setting up a huge EMF in the area and tripping the sensor.

ETA, these, OTOH, work very well. I think I have about three of them. One at work, one in my toolbag and for a while I just kept one in my car for when someone (friend/parent etc) would ask me for electrical work and I didn't want to do it without a tester and I got tired of running to Home Depot and picking up another one. The downfall with these ones, that I learned the hard way is that it's hard to see the little light if you're working in the bright sun.

Last edited by Joey P; 06-22-2013 at 08:57 PM..
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  #11  
Old 06-23-2013, 01:44 AM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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If you know how to use an amp prob take a reading as you turn on the breaker. If you are not sure whaat I mean call a pro 240 or 120 VAC can kill you.
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