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Old 11-02-2009, 08:29 PM  
thewhistler
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Default 1890 house wiring issues. Help!

So I've been doing a renovation on an 1890 house for the past several years, but I haven't done anything to the electrical in the house for at least the last year.

The problem is that suddenly, last weekend, the breaker for the circuit that powers all the lights on the first floor started tripping. Nothing was done to provoke this reaction (no new wiring/extra appliances added to the circuit/etc.). I called an electrician and he used an ammeter to determine that the circuit was pulling 60 amps for the short time that it would stay on.

Oh, and I should mention that it wasn't tripping immediately. It would go on and produce an audible humming inside the breaker panel and then trip after 5 to 10 seconds.

The electrician was unable to remedy the problem, but he was able to isolate the offending leg of the circuit by disconnecting it at a junction just inside the house from the breaker panel. So I have a few lights on the first floor, but the majority of the lights are still not operational.

So basically the mystery is: sudden onset of breaker tripping, circuit pulling 60 amps for no known reason, circuit seems to need to "charge up" to the point of tripping the breaker (ruling out a direct short somewhere in the line).

I am at a loss on this one and apparently so was the electrician I called. I have accepted that I may need to pigtail off of other circuits in the rooms with the non-working lights, but I thought I would take a stab and see if anyone here has encountered a similar problem.

Please help if you can.

Thanks.



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Old 11-02-2009, 08:40 PM  
Roger I.
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I had something similar several years ago. It ended up being a shorted wire in a ceiling fan that finally shorted out over a period of years from the vibration.

Other than that all you can do is at the pigtails. divide and conquer sorta like using a roadmap..

I hope this helps.



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Old 11-03-2009, 06:07 AM  
inspectorD
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It could be as simple as varmints. Mice like to peel back the coverings of older wire, easy to peel and makes for a warm nest. Then the little buggers go and make contact with the wire and become very grounded.
Find them all the time. Try to isolate the wire with the issue and start your rewiring sooner than later.
These are the cause some house fires.

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Old 11-03-2009, 07:31 AM  
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I agree, if you have the old knob and tube or even the cloth covered wire you have an unstable situation. Best to take care of that so that you have peace of mind.

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Old 11-03-2009, 07:02 PM  
rdmayers
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Do you Know exactly what is on the circuit, and how far did the electrician trace it before he gave up. It sound like you have circuit breaker so some of the electrical has already been ungraded. Are you dealing with knob and tube or romex. if it is romex does it include a ground wire. Have you tried a ohm meter to trace the circuit. it sound like you have a circuit that is either going to ground or from hot to nuteral. Are you dealing with a grounded circuit. Is this circuit just lighting or are there outlets on the circuit as well. If there is outlets on the circuit the problem may be with something you have plugged into the circuit.

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Old 12-20-2009, 12:06 AM  
lou19604
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GHOST???

A) BAD BREAker

B) A SMALL PART OF THE WIRE HAS BECOME COOKED THE REASON IT SEEMS TO "CHARGE UP THEN POP" IS ALONG THAT WIRE SOMETHING HAS COME IN CONTACT WITH THE COPER (DURING REMODLING ITS NOT UNCOMMON TO STRAFE A WIRE USUALY BY A NAIL) AND HAVE THIS PROBLEM CHECK THE PREVIOS DAYS WORK AND SEE IF YOU COUL OF DONE THAT



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