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  1. #1
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    Default breakers trip each other

    one at main the other at sub panel. They trip each other. The kitchen counter lights don't work. What happened? Thanks

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    I don't know about submarine kitchens ... but in a house ... I would suspect that there is a short (hot to neutral) or ground fault somewhere - as soon as power is applied (both breakers on), the short or ground fault trips one of the breakers off.

    If both breakers are set to the same inverse delay trip, and if both breakers were manufactured exactly the same ... exactly ... then one breaker will still trip first, and as soon as that one breaker trips ... the issue is resolved and there is no short or ground fault to trip the other breaker. And if both breakers trip exactly the same ... then either breaker may randomly be the breaker which trips.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Why would a breaker on the main panel feed a breaker on a remote panel?
    If that would be a correct electrical service feed, the downstream breaker would be the same size or less.

    Would a loose conductor on the breaker terminal cause both breakers to trip?
    Hope I am not babbling jibberish again.





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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    both are 15A breakers marked the same as lights and plug. The seller said he hired electrician who didn't see anything wrong and claimed can't make sure the circuit connection because he wasn't the installer.


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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Sparky overlooked something.

    Lights and outlets should be on dedicated circuits.

    Question: Where you able to create the fault or where both breakers tripped at the home during your assessment?

    I would write it up and recommend a licensed electrician ensure both circuits are functioning safely.

    Looks like the masked renovation specialist strikes again.

    I concur with Jerry.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    ..... electrician who didn't see anything wrong and claimed can't make sure the circuit connection because he wasn't the installer.
    My take on that electrician is that he had no clue what was going on and didn't want to get involved OR he was someone that said he new electric and was not a true LIC Electrician. The Seller may have just been have been flat out lying.


    Don't know about the north woods but an electrician can determine what is going on and have a solution. Frankly, it would not be that hard with a meter to test out the circuits and determine what was going on.

    It may be as simple as having the legs crossed from one panel to the other. With a fix of just moving the breaker down one location in the panel. Well maybe not a fix as in the correct way to do what ever is being attempted between the two panels. But might stop the breakers from tripping. If in fact the problem is not down line in the wiring. Which can be determined with some basic testing.


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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Does either breaker trip every time or just some of the time?

    I'm thinking a nail or screw is through (or just into) NM cable, causing, or creating the conditions for, a ground fault or short.

    I'm looking forward to Jim Port's insight as he may have run into such scenario.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Does either breaker trip every time or just some of the time?

    I'm thinking a nail or screw is through (or just into) NM cable, causing, or creating the conditions for, a ground fault or short.

    I'm looking forward to Jim Port's insight as he may have run into such scenario.
    Cha-Ching:-)
    I was going to post that hypothesis earlier, after my decaff, but I a modest soul and wanted someone else to be observed as reasonable reasoning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    The Seller may have just been have been flat out lying.
    Do they!


    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Don't know about the north woods but an electrician can determine what is going on and have a solution. Frankly, it would not be that hard with a meter to test out the circuits and determine what was going on.
    I concur.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    I wonder if they are backfeeding each other and are on different legs of the 240 v circuit. That could be determined by turning off one of the breakers and testing at the terminal for voltage. If voltage is present at the terminal with the breaker off, then it is being backfed.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    make sense, I don't think this is a hard fix either. The tricky is one one main at garage the other is far away sub at kitchen. Lokks like a few 15A on main only serve garage. Possibly the one on sub wired with GFI. who knows


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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    make sense, I don't think this is a hard fix either. The tricky is one one main at garage the other is far away sub at kitchen. Lokks like a few 15A on main only serve garage. Possibly the one on sub wired with GFI. who knows
    You have a remote panel in the kitchen, 1) that should be fed by something larger than a 15 amp breaker in the main panel. Wiring fault.

    2)The breakers are doing their job. Now Sparky should do his. There should be no loops
    that join circuits in the sub (remote) panel with circuits in the main. Just one big feeder supplying the sub panel. It is possible the load from the kitchen simply exceeds the 15 amps.

    3) It is not a problem to have a breaker for a disconnect at both ends of the feeder. That is a good way to terminate the conductors.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    I'm having problems putting the different pieces of information together:
    - service equipment panel in garage has a 15 amp breaker which feeds a remote panel which has a 15 amp breaker which is marked outlets and lights ... ?
    - the description indicates that the 15 amp breaker in the service panel in the garage directly feeds the 15 amp breaker in the remote panel
    - is that 15 amp breaker in the remote panel serving as the main to the remote panel, or is the 15 amp breaker in the service panel feeding the main buses in the remote panel and the remote panel is only 120 volts?
    - how many breakers in the remote panel?

    I'm not putting all the newer information together with the original information in a logical order to envision the remote panel set up.

    Peter, do you have photos of the service equipment panel breaker and the remote panel/breaker?

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    one at main the other at sub panel. They trip each other. The kitchen counter lights don't work. What happened? Thanks
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    both are 15A breakers marked the same as lights and plug. The seller said he hired electrician who didn't see anything wrong and claimed can't make sure the circuit connection because he wasn't the installer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    make sense, I don't think this is a hard fix either. The tricky is one one main at garage the other is far away sub at kitchen. Lokks like a few 15A on main only serve garage. Possibly the one on sub wired with GFI. who knows
    Where did the garage come into play? Snuck in when I wasn't looking ..I guess.

    Peter, Take another run at explaining exactly what you are attempting to explain/question.

    Last edited by Garry Sorrells; 04-29-2016 at 04:16 PM.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Where did the garage come into play?
    I suspect the service equipment panel is in the garage, but 15 amps circuits covering the garage????

    The farther I try to sort through it, the behinder I get ...

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I'm having problems putting the different pieces of information together:
    - service equipment panel in garage has a 15 amp breaker which feeds a remote panel which has a 15 amp breaker which is marked outlets and lights ... ?

    No, both Service panel (garage) and the sub panel(kitchen) 15A breakers marked lights and plugs. They should not relate but trip each other. There is 100A wire and breaker on service to sub.

    - the description indicates that the 15 amp breaker in the service panel in the garage directly feeds the 15 amp breaker in the remote panel No

    - is that 15 amp breaker in the remote panel serving as the main to the remote panel, or is the 15 amp breaker in the service panel feeding the main buses in the remote panel and the remote panel is only 120 volts? No

    - how many breakers in the remote panel? not much, only a few including one 100A and others 15A

    I'm not putting all the newer information together with the original information in a logical order to envision the remote panel set up.

    Peter, do you have photos of the service equipment panel breaker and the remote panel/breaker?
    Thank you guys


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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    I can't get a good idea of the situation the OP is trying to describe.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I can't get a good idea of the situation the OP is trying to describe.
    Especially after the latest information which indicates (to me) that the "15A breakers marked lights and plugs. They should not relate but trip each other" means there are different lights and different receptacle outlets involved (or intended to be involved) on those circuits.

    The solution to avoid all of our continued guessing with the unknowns has likely already been done - 'Have licensed and qualified electrical contractor determine the cause and make corrections as necessary.' ... that leaves out the worker-bee who arrived and said (basically) 'I don't know what is going on or why.' - that means that person was not qualified (licensed or not).

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Lost cause, wasted effort.


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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    What do we know so far?
    1: 2 breakers, in different panels, the main and remote panel, trip at the same time under load.
    2: The panel labeling refers to lights and outlets on the same circuit.
    3: The kitchen lights do not operate.
    Note: That may be an isolated electrical or mechanical problem.

    The closest I can come to determining fault, a nail or screw be penetrating NM wire insulators close to a junction box sharing both circuits.

    Start at the beginning.
    A: Was the electrical circuitry installed as well as labeled correctly?
    If the panel labeling attests to how the electric circuits were installed and hold the circuitry harmless then no.
    Outlets and switches should be on dedicated circuits.

    Peter, it might be an idea to purchase circuit tester.
    I think it helps me reasonably think in so many ways.
    Good luck.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    Start at the beginning.
    A: Was the electrical circuitry installed as well as labeled correctly?
    I can answer that one - No, it was not.

    I suspect the remote panel in the kitchen was added later, and then some circuits were moved to it. Probably they added a secondary suite, epidemic around here.

    One requirement for suites is interconnected smoke alarms. That is one area I would check the wiring closely. An existing smoke alarm may now have a feeder added from the new alarms that were added.
    Three-way light switches, another place where two circuits can become muddled together. Sellers electrician wanted nothing to do with it. The circuits won't stay energized for testing. Fixtures need to be disconnected before any testing can take place.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Most of the forum are a bit obsessive to find the answer to their questions and those that are offered for thought by others. The overwhelming consistency is that we do not find it easy to just walk away and let something go. Which may be the bottom line here.

    Here is a question based on the almost cryptic information provided.

    Is Peter Louis " >, = , < " Kevin Wood in posting methodology?

    Last edited by Garry Sorrells; 04-30-2016 at 10:06 AM.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Here is a question based on the almost cryptic information provided.

    Is Peter Louis " >, = , < " Kevin Wood in posting methodology?
    I say absolutely NOT ... Peter seems like a good guy and an inspector who is asking and learning about things unfamiliar to him ... as WE ALL DO.

    There is the possibility that the two breakers and their circuits may only be related to each other ... because a nail or screw is through or into ... not one, but two ... NM cables.

    That has happened before.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    I agree with Jerry.
    Peter is a great sport and eager to learn as am I.

    As for the wiring, stupid is as stupid does in the box of chocolates called life.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Some of the posters here may have highly educated writing skills ... udders o' usens aint got no edumacation an' ned sim hulp inn writen an' utter thins 'cause weuns aint as goode et writen as dem edumacated uns is.

    There is likely not a single one of us who includes all pertinent information in the original questions we ask, possibly because we consider that information to not be pertinent, and possibly because we simply did not think to include that information.

    The above said, though, including more information with the question, especially including photos, helps the rest of us better understand what the question is about. We had a poster here a few years ago who frequently reminded us to 'paint a fuller picture' with our questions - it is difficult for us to paint-by-number when there are no numbers on the line drawing or the paints ...


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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    one at main the other at sub panel. They trip each other. The kitchen counter lights don't work. What happened? Thanks
    I never said both on the same circuit. May be, who knows. Both breakers on the separated panels trip each other, which means one trips the other. They can't stay at on position at the same time. Whether they are on load or not, I don't know. This is 5 years new home. The sub or remote as you guys like to say is nicely done with a 100A wire and breaker from main 200A.

    I am sorry if I didn't write it clearly. I thougt here should be electrians who can easily point out. No tricky stuff.


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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    I never said both on the same circuit. May be, who knows. Both breakers on the separated panels trip each other, which means one trips the other. They can't stay at on position at the same time. Whether they are on load or not, I don't know. This is 5 years new home. The sub or remote as you guys like to say is nicely done with a 100A wire and breaker from main 200A.

    I am sorry if I didn't write it clearly. I thougt here should be electrians who can easily point out. No tricky stuff.
    Peter,

    Thank you for the clarification - the two breakers should not be for the same circuit ... which puts it back to either something is miswired or ... a nail/screw into both circuits ... as being my best guess.

    Similar to a nail/screw would be the NM cables were dragged over a truss plate - I've seen that done quite often, leaving 30 feet of scraped off outer sheath with gouges in the insulation.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 05-01-2016 at 09:38 AM. Reason: added last part - then for spellin' 'scrapped' should have been 'scraped'
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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    I never said both on the same circuit. May be, who knows. Both breakers on the separated panels trip each other, which means one trips the other. They can't stay at on position at the same time. Whether they are on load or not, I don't know. This is 5 years new home. The sub or remote as you guys like to say is nicely done with a 100A wire and breaker from main 200A.

    I am sorry if I didn't write it clearly. I thougt here should be electrians who can easily point out. No tricky stuff.
    Yabba Dabba Do..... I get what you are saying/describing a bit better now.
    Two different circuits with two separate breakers that are interacting with each other.

    I agree with Jerry that the two circuits are shorted together by nail, screw, staple or abrasion.

    Then there is a possibility that for some reason the wiring insulation/covering has melted and caused a short.

    Running circuit tests would be a start to defining what is going on. By using a non contact sensor it might be possible to figure/locate the two circuits crossing.


    The fix could be inexpensive or not. Depends on where the wiring actually runs. It may be as simple as running two new lines and trashing the two original with problems, rather than spending time and money with an autopsy for determining the actual cause of problem/death.

    Last edited by Garry Sorrells; 05-01-2016 at 09:23 AM.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I wonder if they are backfeeding each other and are on different legs of the 240 v circuit. That could be determined by turning off one of the breakers and testing at the terminal for voltage. If voltage is present at the terminal with the breaker off, then it is being backfed.
    X2 - not uncommon

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Hi everyone. I don't believe there is a nail or screw or anything shorting out the wiring. If the two breakers were in series and down stream was a short circuit, I'm having a hard time believing both breakers would trip. I think to answer this scenario would require a test circuit. The only logical conclusion I can think of is both breakers are connected to the same load or outlet with both breakers being on different legs. When you reset one breaker and then the other your creating the short circuit between the two legs and tripping both breakers. Just a thought.


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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Louis View Post
    one at main the other at sub panel. They trip each other.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Borchardt View Post
    ... both breakers would trip.
    I'm not reading "They trip each other." as meaning that both breakers trip.

    To me, tripping each other indicates that if one breaker (Breaker A) is on, when the other breaker (Breaker B) is reset, the first breaker (Breaker A) trips, and vice versa.

    Peter can verify which is occurring.

    Regardless, a nail or screw through two NM cables can cause either - trip one or both breakers (depending on which breaker is more sensitive, or, if both are exactly the same, could trip either or both).

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I'm not reading "They trip each other." as meaning that both breakers trip.

    To me, tripping each other indicates that if one breaker (Breaker A) is on, when the other breaker (Breaker B) is reset, the first breaker (Breaker A) trips, and vice versa.

    Peter can verify which is occurring.

    Regardless, a nail or screw through two NM cables can cause either - trip one or both breakers (depending on which breaker is more sensitive, or, if both are exactly the same, could trip either or both).
    Even still if tripping each other indicates that if one breaker (Breaker A) is on, when the the other breaker (Breaker B) is reset, the first breaker (Breaker A) trips and visa versa could still have the possibility of both breakers feeding the same load or outlet on different legs. I think I would turn on breaker (A) and leave breaker (B) off and see what powers up. Then I would turn breaker (B) off and turn breaker (A) on and see if any of the same powers up. That would eliminate a screw or nail through a NM cable.


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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Borchardt View Post
    That would eliminate a screw or nail through a NM cable.
    Unfortunately, that won't eliminate a screw or nail going through both NM cables.

    Too many potential variables for that.

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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    What ever is actually causing the wiring to short out, the answer lies in a circuit tester and a little time to sort it out, 30 min should be enough. Something like "Who is on first?..."https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg

    PS, not really serious with the "Is Peter Louis " >, = , < " Kevin Wood in posting methodology?" Not intended as a personal slight to Peter. Just brought back memories of days past.


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    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    "Who is on first?
    Garry, are you going to tell us Who's on first or keep us in suspense?
    That clip didn't help me at all. I want to find out the guys names.

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  35. #35

    Default Re: breakers trip each other

    Gunner's solution above may be the correct one. As dumb as it sounds I managed to do just that when I misread the markings I had put on a bundle of cable being pulled in. I managed to back feed one of the cables. Blush!


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