03:22AM | 09/13/06
Member Since: 09/12/06
1 lifetime posts
The main breaker in my service panel has tripped 2x in 3 days. Both days were sunny weather, no storms, etc. The first time I checked and re-set it and all was ok for 2 days. Then again, same thing. This time, The breaker would not re-set immediately. I waited about 7 mins. and it re-set. Am trying to find out the problem? I have a 200amp G.E. service panel. 20 years old. Am thinking if a problem outside the house: possibly a loose connection in the meter can, at the weather head, or even at the pole where the service drop comes in. OR: Something loose at the breaker itself, inside the panel. I have never heard of a main breaker going bad! Have replaced a few of the regular small circuit breakers over the years. Am afraid to leave the house for long only to come back to 2 refrigerators full of rotten food. Need to get this solved. Would appreciate any and all ideas and suggestions. Thanks, Harry


04:11AM | 09/13/06
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
Standard branch circuit breakers have a small heating element and bi-metal trip so that the more current the hot it gets until the bi-metal arm trips the breaker.

The also a magnetic solenoid to trip very fast on very large currents (a short).

I am not sure if the main use both modes or not, but I do think that they use the heating element.

While compensated for ordinary changes in tempature if there is something that is producing extra heat then it can trip without an overload.

That also makes sense the time that you could not reset it for several minutes. It had to cool off.

Nothing upstream of the main breaker could cause this with two possible exception.

One is that if the connections where so bad that the motor appliances (refigerator/freeze/AC/well) where turning off and restaring several times a minute. If that was the case you would know by all of the light flickering and it would probably have burnt out in a short time.

The other would be bad connects in the meter only if the meter is within a few inches of the panel. But again the heat would have to be very high and it would have probably burnt it'self out in a short time.

My speculation that it is bad connection(s) in the panel. Feeder to the main. Internal to the main, main to the buses, or branch circuit breakers on the bus (the bus is also a good heat conductor).

Look for any signs of heat or corrison damage.




04:08PM | 09/13/06
Member Since: 03/31/05
265 lifetime posts
This is usually a case of a bad connection between the main and the buss. Unfortunately, it may require removing the meter to repair. Not something for a DIY. You will need to contact an electrician and/or your utility.
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