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jimeve

Electrical problems.

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12 minutes ago, Gary D said:

20 amps for the lights, that sounds a bit extreme, I use 6 amp breakers for the light, with LED lighting even that's a bit extreme.

I took that photo of the circuit breakers here at the apartment. I can tell you right away that there aren't 20A worth of lights ever - there just aren't enough and they are already LED.

Here's where my knowledge about A/C about ends, Gary... I know more about 12 volt than A/C... I did wire up part of my house in USA many years ago and it seems like I remember 15 and 20 amp breakers for lights and outlets on the 120 volt system. I read up on it at the time and it actually was inspected and passed by the county electrical inspector.

My understanding, however (and might be wrong), is that the main idea of breakers is to protect from fires or melting wires due to overload or short circuit ore even damaging equipment beyond an initial malfunction. I also remember that the circuit breakers are not designed to really handle continuous loads at their rated trip amperage but rather to handle much less and trip when there is a spike from a short. You can also get - at least in 12 volt systems, fast and slow-blo breakers depending on what they are protecting. This is because some things - like power tools - may spike amperage when they start up and maybe something else powers up too, but then they settle back down again. It starts to get a bit more complex then...

But you raise a good question and I will first look it up online for a while but will also be sure to ask the sparky when he starts wiring the house. Another thought is that perhaps the idea is also that they are still using older technology in their calculations - incandescent lights? remember those? hahaha... But 20 amps - i.e. 4.8 kw is a lot of load, to be sure... The blueprint was created by the architect and we didn't give much input about the house wiring. It's really only now that I think about it.

So, very glad you raised that point, Gary...thanks!

Edited by Tommy T.
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1 minute ago, Tommy T. said:

Here's where my knowledge about A/C about ends, Gary... I know more about 12 volt than A/C... I did wire up part of my house in USA many years ago and it seems like I remember 15 and 20 amp breakers for lights and outlets on the 120 volt system. I read up on it at the time and it actually was inspected and passed by the county electrical inspector.

My understanding, however (and might be wrong), is that the main idea of breakers is to protect from fires or melting wires due to overload or short circuit ore even damaging equipment beyond an initial malfunction. But you raise a good question and I will first look it up online for a while but will also be sure to ask the sparky when he starts wiring the house. Another thought is that perhaps the idea is also that they are still using older technology in their calculations - incandescent lights? remember those? hahaha... But 20 amps - i.e. 4.8 kw is a lot of load, to be sure... The blueprint was created by the architect and we didn't give much input about the house wiring. It's really only now that I think about it.

So, very glad you raised that point, Gary...thanks!

Tommy I'm sure you are right, in tbe UK it is normal to have a 30 amp ring for outlets, maybe several rings in a big property and 6.3 amp ring for the lights again maybe a ground floor ring and 1st floor ring. The UK being 240v 20A US would equate to 10A UK so 6.3A would not be too dissimilar.

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56 minutes ago, Gary D said:

I assume you have a separate breaker for lights and outlets, here in the provinces we don't even have breakers let alone separate circuits. We had a breaker fail last year, a uk breaker, the first time I've seen it happen. So lights still work, not a brownout or forgot to pay the bill.

Yeah we have seperate breakers for lights and wall outlets and for the kitchen wall outlets and  kitchen lights. All together the panel has 10 breakers. 

Lights..15 amps, outlets....20 amps, and the main breaker for the panel 40 amps. And that's for the first floor, there's a panel for the second floor and third floor.

Edited by jimeve
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4 hours ago, Tommy T. said:

Okay, Jim... I have a couple of really stupid questions...

Did you try resetting the breaker when nothing was plugged into that circuit? And if so, did it trip again right away? If that happened, you've got a dead short in that circuit, so leave it alone until your guy shows up and don't bother reading the rest of this post!

If it didn't trip right away, then try plugging in a light or fan that you know works... If it still doesn't trip, then try plugging in the heavy appliance and see if that trips it. If so, then the appliance has a short or the circuit breaker - and possibly even the wiring - are not robust enough for that appliance.

Look at the breakers themselves. The main breaker will have an amperage rating - here in the apartment it is 40A - meaning 40 amperes maximum load. The math here is watts = amps x volts. What that means, is that your total house power use cannot exceed 40 amps or (40 x 240 volts = 9,600 watts, load or it will trip the breaker. And it's better to stay well below that because your wiring might get warm anyway. It's always best to be safe.20191018_121139_resized.jpg

The breakers for the various circuits in the house will have lower values - typically 20A or 20 amps maximum load for each breaker. Look at the bottom breaker in the photo and you can just barely read the 20A. Same equation yields 20 x 240 = 4,800 watts on any one circuit. That's a lot of watts, actually. Any appliance that creates heat uses lots of power and they are the ones that really load up your circuits. Every new appliance has it's load listed on a tag or stamped on the back or on the wall plug itself (maybe other places too). So you simply should check the power use of each appliance to see how many of each you can plug into a single circuit.

Air conditioners usually list their power use in horsepower - I have no idea why that is. But here is a general guideline for you... 1 horsepower = 745.7 watts. .. So round up a bit and just figure that every hp your air con is rated for will burn about 750 watts. So a 2 hp unit will use 1,500 watts. That may not be the continuous power draw, but only when the compressor is running. And a final note about aircons and any appliance with an electric motor: they always draw more when they first start up, then they gradually use less. The inverter models do not draw a lot more when starting because they run differently - that's a whole other topic and already covered in another thread a while ago.

Just for your information... The main breaker in our new home will have a 150A main breaker and 20 breakers in the sub-circuits - 20A rated for the lighting circuits and 30A for the water heater and aircon circuits. It is, admittedly probably a bit over-engineered. But then I don't want to have any fires caused by inadequate wiring...

One final note here, Jim. Just be careful. I intend to try to draw no more than maybe 50%-60% of the rated load in our new house on any circuit. I hope this explains the workings a bit for you and that I didn't get too technical...

Can you say that a little slower? Us retirees have no clue! But thanks for the input!:571c66d400c8c_1(103):

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There may be be a fried rat or mouse lying somewhere....  :unsure:

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3 minutes ago, graham59 said:

There may be be a fried rat or mouse lying somewhere....  :unsure:

Or a gecko.

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18 hours ago, jimeve said:

The problem is... the breaker has tripped and the outlets on that circuit has no power.

So I will keep you updated when the electrician has hopefully fixed the problem.    

Great topic to introduce logical and basic troubleshooting procedures (thank you Tommy).  In my experience, the very last step in troubleshooting is failure analysis.  What actually caused it?  Knowing the local work ethics there, please make sure the "electrician" is not doing a runaround fix.  For example, he replaced the breaker with a higher rating OR he somehow internally modified it.  In other words, he resolved the symptoms but not the cause.  

I understand you simply turn off all the loads but their power plugs were still inserted in the outlets?  Perhaps an internal short in the AC wiring?  There is also a remote possibility that you may have an internal short in one of the appliances, like the compressor motor -- a manufacturer's defect or rats/insects that love the taste of insulation.   Good luck Jim and thank you for keeping us updated.  Respectfully Jake  

 

Edited by Jake
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Okay,  the electricians sort of fixed it. Him and the wife were jabbering on in Bisaya so it was kind of hard for me to follow. What I can gather is the washing machine and the shower heater were on the same circuit as the wall outlets in the sala, so when he isolated the machine and shower heater He got the outlets working somehow. 

He will be coming back on Tuesday to fix the outlets for the washer and heater, hopefully. He didn't have enough time to check every outlet on the circuit but will do next Tuesday.

So, what I think is that the heater or washer was tripping the breaker. I will keep you posted.

Jim.

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2 hours ago, jimeve said:

Okay,  the electricians sort of fixed it. Him and the wife were jabbering on in Bisaya so it was kind of hard for me to follow. What I can gather is the washing machine and the shower heater were on the same circuit as the wall outlets in the sala, so when he isolated the machine and shower heater He got the outlets working somehow. 

He will be coming back on Tuesday to fix the outlets for the washer and heater, hopefully. He didn't have enough time to check every outlet on the circuit but will do next Tuesday.

So, what I think is that the heater or washer was tripping the breaker. I will keep you posted.

Jim.

Ah yes I had the same problem. First thing in the morning I take a shower and if my wife puts the kettle on and the fridge kicked in then it would trip. I got the electrician to put the shower on a separate trip fuse and now it is fine. He had to do it FOC and that kissed him off, I told him if you did it correctly the first time you would not have to come back and I taught him a few swear words about himself.

Edited by sonjack2847
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1 hour ago, sonjack2847 said:

Ah yes I had the same problem. First thing in the morning I take a shower and if my wife puts the kettle on and the fridge kicked in then it would trip. I got the electrician to put the shower on a separate trip fuse and now it is fine. He had to do it FOC and that kissed him off, I told him if you did it correctly the first time you would not have to come back and I taught him a few swear words about himself.

In the UK it's law to have the shower with a 30amp  breaker ,Same with the electric ovens. But what do we know lol. Basic maths count the amps that the appliance will use add them up thats the total of amps for that breaker. Safer to keep the shower on a seperate breaker.

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