Circuit Breaker Question - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 9 Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 5:41 pm Thread Starter
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Circuit Breaker Question

Quick question for those that do/know residential wiring:

I'm doing some work in the unfinished basement of my house. The wiring was done by an electrician who went ahead and wired in all the outlets before the drywall went in. I unwired the 110v duplexes to install the drywall then wired them back up.

I had been using one particular outlet to power a miter saw. No problems. Now the same saw in the same outlet trips the 20amp breaker on startup. The saw does not trip breakers on other circuits. The outlet still works fine for other things like the vacuum, power tools, etc.

My take is that in flipping the breakers off and on a few times while working on the wiring, this breaker has become more "sensitive" to the high amp draw of the saw motor starting up.

Anyone with experience have another opinion? I double-checked the wiring into the box. Other than maybe getting some drywall dust in the receptacles, I can't think of what else might be different now than when the breaker didn't trip.
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post #2 of 9 Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 6:56 pm
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Re: Circuit Breaker Question

If more than one outlet is powered by that one breaker, then they are tied together. Most likely cause is a loose connection at either this outlet or one ahead of it. This would cause a voltage drop during high (but within breaker limits) current draw. This drop would cause the saw to then, due to the lower voltage, draw more current than if it were fed from full voltage. That is what is tripping the breaker.

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post #3 of 9 Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 7:38 pm
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Re: Circuit Breaker Question

Something else to check in addition to loose wiring would to make sure you didn't swap any of the hot and neutral from one outlet to the other. You didn't mention it but if that breaker is a GFI type (not unusual for a basement) it will trip with crossed wiring. Silver screws are neutral(white wire), brass ones are hot(black wire), green one ground.

Highly unlikely the breaker would go bad from switching it on and off a couple times.

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post #4 of 9 Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 7:59 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Circuit Breaker Question

Thanks guys, I'll double check the connections. This is the only outlet on the circuit, but there is a light switch upstream that I also fiddled with.

Edit: All the connections are tight and where they're supposed to be. I swapped the outlet for a new one, same issue. I will probably swap the breaker and see if that's a fix, but I appreciate your help!

Last edited by JGroves; Dec 3rd, 2012 at 9:00 pm.
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post #5 of 9 Old Dec 4th, 2012, 9:21 am
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Re: Circuit Breaker Question

Possible simple test.
Can you move the circuit in question to a different breaker? I.e. Swap the black wire from one 20 amp breaker to another. Be quick test of wiring and breakers. Not common but breakers do fail from switching.


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post #6 of 9 Old Dec 8th, 2012, 6:02 pm
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Re: Circuit Breaker Question

I don't know what the codes are in your area but another thing I have encountered is an evil device called an arc fault breaker. The darn things can be triggered by drill motors and the like. I was required to install them for the bedrooms and have experienced what you are describing.
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post #7 of 9 Old Dec 9th, 2012, 7:21 am
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Re: Circuit Breaker Question

If the breakers trips immediately on start of the saw, you probably got a bad breaker or something is amiss in wiring......

on start a motor whose full load amps is 10, may pull 20-25 amps for about 2-3 seconds before the start winding drops out, then you are back to FLA . Breakers are designed to accept this overload for a short time before tripping.

GFIs breakers are a different animal all together.

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post #8 of 9 Old Dec 14th, 2012, 10:45 am
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Re: Circuit Breaker Question

I think it's always better to contact or go for a electrician when having such problems relating to electricity, in spite of trying something by yourself, as it could be really harmful or dangerous for you. So, better advise to contact a electrician. Huhhh...

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post #9 of 9 Old Dec 14th, 2012, 12:52 pm
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Re: Circuit Breaker Question

Originally Posted by jzeiler
Most likely cause is a loose connection at either this outlet or one ahead of it.

Agree. If it worked fine before you removed the outlets to sheetrock, then gave you problems afterwards, I'd suspect it was something that was disturbed. Sometimes within a box there will be a bunch of wires joined with wire nuts. Those are notorious for losing continuity when moved.

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