To Test for a Faulty Breaker. Unplug any devices that are on this affected circuit, shut off all lights, and then see if the breaker will reset. Turn off the breaker before plugging the item back in, and then reset, because if you have a short circuit in a device you can get a high inrush of current that can arc severely, possibly burning you or worse.
When a short circuit has occurred, an extremely high amount of current can flow before the breaker trips. Use a Voltage Tester! If the breaker won't reset, and doesn't put out voltage on the load terminal use a reliable voltage tester or a volt meter to check , even when all known loads are disconnected, then you probably have a faulty breaker, and it needs to be replaced. You will need to get all the information that you can brand name, part numbers, breaker size, breaker type, etc.
Most homes will have a combination panel, with a main breaker, and then all the branch circuit breakers below. Take note that even after taking off the panel cover, you don't have access to the main breaker compartment without removing the main compartment cover as well.
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Don't open this cover. If you have a problem with the main breaker, you will need to call in a qualified electrician for this.
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Older Homes In older homes you may have a fused disconnect switch to disconnect power from the distribution panel that will isolate the breaker box to allow safe replacement of the branch circuit breakers. In any case, arrange for some back up lighting beforehand, either with a reliable battery operated flashlight or lantern, or a portable generator with a trouble light, or lamp, etc. In our example, let's assume that you have an ordinary combination panel, with a Amp 2-pole main breaker, and then a branch circuit compartment.
Before shutting off the main breaker, shut off all branch circuit breakers first. It is always best to remove the load from a breaker before shutting it off. With the main breaker off, the buss bars that the branch circuit breakers connect to are isolated from the incoming voltage and will be safe to work on.
Never just assume that the breaker has shut off properly - check for voltage on any adjacent two breakers to assure that the panel is dead. Testing Power to Panel. Most homes will have 'push in' or 'stab in' type of breakers. In some cases, usually in commercial applications, the breakers bolt into place on the buss bars. Start by disconnecting the wire from the load terminal of the breaker and pull the wire out of the way to facilitate removal of the breaker.
Carefully pry the defective breaker out of its position as shown here. Figures 7 and 8: Carefully Pry Out Breaker. Take note as to how the breaker locks into position in the panel. Re-insert the new breaker and push firmly into position. Then re-attach the wire to the load terminal.
Push Breaker Firmly Into Place. Re-Connect Wires to New Breaker. While you have the branch circuit compartment open, inspect for any other potential problems, like loose terminals, and it is a good idea to re-tighten all connections while you're in there. Now you put the panel cover back on, and if you have installed a breaker for a new circuit in a new position, you will have to remove the appropriate breaker knock-out from the panel cover. Turn On Main Breaker. After the cover is back on, it's a good idea to shut off all of the branch circuit breakers, then turn on the main breaker, and then one-by-one turn on all of the individual breakers.
Then check and test everything to see that all systems are normal. Turn On Individual Breakers. The neutral white and the bare ground wire MUST be on there designated connection. In the diagram above the bare ground is indicated by a green line. The bare wire should also be grounded to the electrical box if metallic. Be sure to use the properly rated electrical box designed to be used with a dryer receptacle.
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The breaker used must be a dual double 30 amp v breaker. If you were to measure the voltage between a red lug and a black lug they are not really those colors in the panel, just used here for explanation purposes , you would measure v, if you were to measure between a black bus lug and a ground or neutral bus, you would measure v, and the same would hold true if you measure between a red bus lug and the ground or neutral bus. The ground bus is a terminal block with many small holes where the bare ground or green wire can be connected and tightened into place with a screw. The neutral bus is a terminal block also with many small holes where the white neutral wire can be connected and tightened into place with a screw.
A breaker designed to be used with v, is a dual double breaker that actually when mounted into the panel connects to both phases of the incoming power , in other words connects to both the red and black panel lugs colors in illustration, your panel is not colored but will be alternating between phases from one lug to the next.
Sometimes in some panels you may have a set of 4 breakers molded together and they mount in the panel over the 2 lugs , the middle 2 breakers would be the 2 30 amp breakers and the outer 2 could be 15 or 20 amp breakers for use in general purpose v circuits. Please note, electrical panels are dangerous to work in, never touch any of the main bus lugs in the panel, they can kill! A breaker can be installed without physically touching the bus lugs.
To be even safer you can switch the main breaker off to de-activate the panel which installing the breaker, use a second person to help with a flashlight if needed.
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Also note that a dual breaker has both breakers bridged so that one of the dual breakers will also trip the other side if it where to trip off. The ground wire connects to the ground bus. Just look where all the other bare ground wires are going in the panel. The white neutral wire gets connected to the neutral bus.
Just look where all the other white wires are going in your panel. Should be on its own connection screw hole within the neutral bus. The red and black wires from dryer cable connect to the dual 30 amp breaker, one to each of the dual breakers. Photo used with permission from Jeff Worrall at Appliance Aid.
This picture above shows a dryer cord at the dryer end with 3 wires only, No ground wire. The center wire of this cable is the neutral wire and the outer wires are hot live wires. The hot wires connect to the outer 2 connections the power terminal block of the dryer, does not matter which is which as long as one hot is connected to each of the outer terminal connectors. The center wire neutral wire of the cable goes to the center connector. Since in this case the neutral serves as a neutral and a ground connection, a jumper band ground strap is also connected to the center terminal and to the frame of the dryer.
A green wire could also be used to connect the center connector to the frame of the dryer. In the example in the picture the dryer doesn't have color designation on the wires, follow direction above; if the dryer cord does have colored wires, white is the neutral wire to the center connector, the red and black wires are the hot live wires which connect to the 2 outer connections of the dryer terminal block, don't forget the ground strap or green wire jumper from the center connector to the dryer frame.
A 4 wire dryer cord contains a black, red, white and green wire. The red and black wires are hot live wires and get connected to the 2 outer connectors on the dryers power terminal block, doesn't matter which is which as long as it is the outer two connectors. The green wire is a ground wire and gets connected to the frame of the dryer. The white wire is a neutral wire and must be connected to the center connector on the dryer power block.
No ground strap is used in a 4 wire setup grounded circuit. In the sample picture above the ground strap in folded over and is connected to the center connector but NO connection from it or jump to ground. The ground strap could also be removed if you wish as it is not needed in this installation. Use a 30 amp volt double pole breaker in the panel. This cable should be rated as a 10 awg cable with a red, black, white, and bare conductor in that cable.
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At the panel connect the black and red wire to the 30 amp double pole breaker. Connect the white and bare wire to the neutral bars in the panel. At the dryer end use a 30 amp rated 4 prong dryer receptacle.
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The black connects to either the outside left connecting lug and the red connects to the other outside connecting lug. The white connects to the center connecting lug and the bare connects to the green connecting lug or screw. All these connections are inside that 30 rated 4 prong dryer receptacle. The pigtail to your dryer will have to be changed to a 4 prong pigtail with the two outside cables connecting to the two outside screws found on the connecting block inside the dryer. The center white conductor is connected to the center screw of that dryer connecting block.
If you can move an existing three prong dryer to your new desired location then you may use this three prong recetacle still as existing only if the cable is an SE type cable with a red, black, and bare conductor. This bare conductor must wrap around the black and red wire as a protector within that SE cable. If you have a cable that is Romex but not with the identification of being an SE cable written on the side of that cable, or the bare wire does not wrap the black and red conductors, then you must upgrade that branch circuit to the new requirements using a four conductor cable and a four prong receptacle as discribed above at the beginning of this article.
If you are using a three prong receptacle as existing then the pigtail must be a three prong pigtail with the two outside wires of that pigtail connected to the two outside screws of the connecting block found in the dryer. The center conductor of the pigtail is connected to the center screw of that same connecting block inside the dryer.
There must also be a green jumper wire installed between the center connection on that connecting block in the dryer and the metal frame of the dryer on a green screw. This is the same reason volt circuits are now volt circuits. The design relies on the principals of electrical phases. Two volt circuits, that are degrees out of phase, are connected together to form one volt circuit.
This allows twice the amount of electrical power to provided with the same size wire. There are two main types of volt circuits depending on the appliance you're supplying power to, and each type of circuit has slight variations that cause them to function differently. Understanding these differences will help you determine the correct type of wiring to use when installing an appliance, or new heating and cooling systems.
Connections to this equipment is done through three wires. The hot wire typically blue or black , carries the electrical current to the appliance. The white wire is neutral, which completes the circuit. This wire can be traced back to the electrical panel where it is connected to the neutral busbar. The green wire, or bare copper wire, is the ground, which is there for electrical safety. Instead there is an additional hot wire which is usually red or blue in color.