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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    295

    Default Random spaces in bus bar provide no power

    Secondary panel in garage, fed by 50 amp circuit from main.

    Panel is acutally a main service panel, but used as a sub, brand is Eaton Cutler-hammer

    Anyway, yesterday morning garage door doesn't open, inside garage the fridge is off and warm(lost all of my boar meat).
    They are on different circuits, but I did not know that. I blamed the gfci receptacle that protects the other receptacles on the lower floor, took it out and just connected the wires in a wire nut, still no power.
    Trace the line with my voltage tester, no power all the way back to panel.
    Turns out such is the case with three circuits.
    Killed all circuits but one at a time, no power confirmed. Changed the breaker in each circuit, still no power.
    Moved location of each breaker in the panel to unoccupied spot, each gains power. Tested switching circuits in each spot where another did not work, no power.
    There is no crack in the bus bar or visible damage and very little power is drawn in the garage, the fridge is always on but otherwise just occasional lights and the garage door 4x to 6x per day.

    So what on earth could cause certain spots on a panel to just not carry power?
    I plan to test each spot with a length of wire and a light this weekend, I just wanted to hold of tweaking the wiring in the garage until later because it is more or less wired correctly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    712

    Default Re: Random spaces in bus bar provide no power

    If you have stabs they should have power. Sometimes on small panels they have knock outs but no stabs.

    The only other thought is that you got hold of some bad breakers or they're not seated. Are they CH "BR" breakers?
    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, Hidden Content

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    295

    Default Re: Random spaces in bus bar provide no power

    Quote Originally Posted by The Semi-Retired Electric View Post
    If you have stabs they should have power. Sometimes on small panels they have knock outs but no stabs.
    There are three locations on the panel that have no stabs, none of those are the culprit (but one may have cause an issue when the Polish* diyer first set up the panel). These spots are in the middle of the bus all worked until Sunday

    Quote Originally Posted by The Semi-Retired Electric View Post
    The only other thought is that you got hold of some bad breakers or they're not seated. Are they CH "BR" breakers?
    I guess I can accept three breakers dying considering modern manufacturing is not always the best. The panel itsself was installed just over a year ago, I'd assume no parts in it were more than two years old when I bought it.
    One of the breakers did have a "wiggle" to it and I tried reseating. All of the breakers are flush with each other and all did provide power.









    *I reserve the right to make Polish jokes and comments at my expense at any time

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    712

    Default Re: Random spaces in bus bar provide no power

    Sounds like time to break out the test equipment.

    Execise extreme caution in a panel where thousands of amps are available and a fireball could result if a short were to occur.
    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, Hidden Content

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,800

    Default Re: Random spaces in bus bar provide no power

    While you mention 3 spaces, you don't say how many breakers total you have. Is it possible that all three are on one leg and the other breakers are on another leg? It could be a defective or partially tripped main breaker either in this panel or in the main and only supplying one leg.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    295

    Default Re: Random spaces in bus bar provide no power

    There are six "active" breakers in this panel, all on one side. one unused two-pole breaker supplies a 240 line but has always been set to "off" since I do not use that 240 line.
    All active breakers are on one side, however the bus bar is right down the middle.
    These are type "BR" breakers.
    Since this is not a true main panel, I can work with this panel de-energized at my leisure this weekend and rebuild one circuit at a time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,800

    Default Re: Random spaces in bus bar provide no power

    OK, lets say you have breakers 1,2,3,4,5,6 all on one side of the panel. Breakers 1,3,5 are OK and 2,4,6 do not have power. Then the problem is most likely you only have one leg energized. If you check the 240 breaker you only have power (120volt)on half. That means either the one leg feed is off or the main breaker is open on one side.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    295

    Default Re: Random spaces in bus bar provide no power

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    OK, lets say you have breakers 1,2,3,4,5,6 all on one side of the panel. Breakers 1,3,5 are OK and 2,4,6 do not have power. Then the problem is most likely you only have one leg energized. If you check the 240 breaker you only have power (120volt)on half. That means either the one leg feed is off or the main breaker is open on one side.

    Jack
    <smacks palm against forehead/>

    I'll check all of the feeds again, it just blows my mind that this was not a problem one day then it was the next.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Random spaces in bus bar provide no power

    ditto to JLM's idea.

    had that happen at our church a while back. got to SS one morning and 1/2 the breakers had no power. every other one, in the panel that we have, are on different legs. turned out to be a bad feed from the street in the underground lines.

    like you said....good one day and bad the next....

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,738

    Default Re: Random spaces in bus bar provide no power

    another ditto for JLM. If you look at the buss bars themselves, they interleave with each other. Its like if you spread you fingers apart and then bring your hands together with the fingers on one hand offset from the fingers on the other. Thats how all the even numbered breakers on one side are on a different buss from the odd breakers, and that is how you get 240V from two breakers together on the same side of the panel.

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