Question about Siemens 2 pole 30 amp breaker

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30 amp breaker trips intermittently

In my mother in laws mobil home, she has a 30 amp breaker that trips intermittently. The curcuit goes to a single heating element in her furnace. I have measured the voltage drop across the heating element and it is comparable to the element next to it on a different circuit. I have swapped the breaker with another one in the panel. I have seen the breaker trip after I disconnected the two wires at the furnace. I then disconnected the white wire from the breaker output and it still blew, then I disconnected the black wire from the CB output and it didn't blow. The furnace ran fine all night last night then the ckt breaker tripped this morning. I am stumped...any suggestions?

Bill McMullan
Waxahachie, TX.

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  • Hayward Cowan May 11, 2010

    When the unit is running grab the cable where it comes out of the panel box;does it feel hot? If it does you have excessive resistance.

    Disconnet the wire from the breaker and scrape the surface of the wire with a knife. Does the copper scrape off exposing an aluminum core? If it does replace the wire.

    With the power off and the wire disconnected from the breaker and the furnace, measure the resisitance from end to end in the wire.

    In a house trailer the run can't be very long so you should only see a couple ohms resistance in any wire.

    Please let me know what you find?


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It sounds like this circuit breaker is worn out and needs to be replaced. good luck

Posted on Jan 21, 2009

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My Sylvania - ground fault 15 amp breaker (32740) is tripping with minutes of reseting. It is for 3 washrooms & hallway & is 30 years old .....does or can it loose its life span? What is the cost...

A circuit breaker can go bad, but usually not in the way that you describe. That's not to say that it can't happen, but just not typical. GTE Sylvania breakers were once popular - I installed quite a few GTE / Sylvania electrical panels in homes in the late 80's. You may have trouble finding replacements; do not put an breaker that "fits" into the panel, unless the breaker is designed for use in the panel you have.

The first thing to do is determine the source of the problem. The breaker will trip, but not indicate if it was the result of a heavy electrical load or a ground fault condition. A 15 amp circuit breaker is designed to carry up to 12 amps continuously. The greater the load, the more quickly it will trip. it may carry a 14.5 amp load for several minutes to an hour before tripping, and a 20 amp load may be carried a second or two. GFI breakers are designed to carry 5 thousandths (.005) of an amp (or 5 milliamps) to ground, or the 12+ amps to neutral before they trip.

The way I would attack the problem is to install a new GFI outlet in front of the old wiring, by "inserting it" between the panel and the other plugs and lights, switches, etc on that circuit. The GFI outlet will provide the same GFI protection that the circuit breaker provided at a fraction of the cost.

Turn off the old GFI breaker, and remove it completely. Install a new, standard (non-GFI) single pole 15 amp circuit breaker in its place. Completely remove from the panel the cable that the old GFI breaker fed. Buy a new electrical outlet box (surface or flush mount as desired) that is large enough and deep enough for a GFI plug and 2 cables (if surface mount, use a 4" square deep box and appropriate cover - or if flush mounting use a deep plastic / fiber single gang box). It will be installed in a place close to the panel, but where the old cable will be able to reach inside. Bring the old cable removed from the panel into the new box. Run a new cable that has the same number and size wires from the panel into the new box, too. Connect the circuit neutral and circuit ground to the neutral and ground bars in the panel (they are probably the same bar) and the hot wire to the circuit breaker. make sure that the circuit breaker is OFF. Twist the two ground wires together and combine an 8 inch length of bare or green insulated wire with them in a wirenut.

Next, wire a new GFI plug in the new box. Connect the green wire from the wirenut to the green terminal of the GFI outlet.

Connect the plug's LINE terminals to the neutral and hot wires in the cable that you ran from the panel to the outlet box.

Now, connect the GFI plug's LOAD terminals to the neutral and hot wires in the cable that you removed from the panel and reinstalled into the new outlet box.

Secure the GFI outlet into the box and install the cover. Cover the electrical panel.

Power up and test. if the GFI trips, there's a ground fault in the circuit. If the circuit breaker trips, the circuit is overloaded.

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There is the liquid seeping out of the breakers, it is not water the box is dry and it feels like an oil of some kind. breakers are working and are not hot. i have not seen this before. what is it and what...

It is oil. It's used to extinguish the arc.

When a circuit breaker trips, there is an Arc of electricity made inside the breaker, due to the contacts.
The contacts are instantly brought away from each other.

There are three methods employed to extinguish that arc.

[Extinguish the arc. Non-technical explanation. With out some medium to extinguish the arc produced inside, it would go Z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-zap, instead of z-zap]

Oil, Air, and Sulfur Hexafluoride.

So yes, as long as the circuit breaker doesn't have to trip, and produce the arc inside, it is a working circuit breaker.

Is it a safe unit?


The method employed to extinguish the arc if the breaker trips is leaking out.

Replace all breakers that are doing this.

Average cost for a GE single-pole 15, or 20 Amp is around $11 here. A few dollars more for 30 and 40 Amp, but usually double-pole breakers are used for 30, and 40 Amp.

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How to hook up single pole shunt tip breaker in panel

To be very safe, turn OFF your Main circuit breaker prior to doing this. This IS really important! You asked how to hook up the breaker, so I'm going to assume you already installed this. The first wire that you'll want to land under a screw is your ground (green) wire. This wire should be where all your ground/green wires are. Next, you're going to bring your white (neutral) wire to the neutral bar.  You should see other white wire's terminated (attached under screws) there. Then, bring your colored (ie usually a black or red) wire and attach it to your circuit breaker. Make sure that you are using a #10 guage wire. This wire guage is rated for 30 amps. If you're using a 20 amp circuit breaker, then use a #12 guage wire. And a #14 guage wire for 15 amp circuit breaker. Using these wire guages satisfy all electrical requirements (codes). Now, leave the circuit breaker in the OFF position, and close up your panel. After closing it, then turn ON your Main circuit breaker. If everything is fine, great! Before you turn on your circuit breaker, make sure the switch, device, receptacle (unplugged), is OFF. Then go to your electric panel and turn ON the circuit breaker. If the breaker holds (doesn't trip), then try your switch, device, or receptacle to see if everything works. One last thing to remember is, if you're using a 30 amp circuit breaker, then the device on the other end should only draw up to 24 amps. Meaning, don't put a 30 amp cir. brkr. on a 20 amp recectacle, switch, or device. For a 20 amp cir. brkr., 16 amps is the maximum load you can put on this. I hope this helps you. Just read it through once, and then highlight the main parts of this and you should do fine. Good Luck, and feel free to contact me if you'd like further assistance. - Jim

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Is it a bad circuit breaker?

First is it really a 30A single pole GFCI breaker that is tripping? This is not the type of breaker you'd find on duplex receptacles. If so, unplug all devices on this circuit and try to reset. If this works plug each item in one at a time to see which causes the tripping. Duplex receptacles should be fed only with a 20A breaker and 12Ga copper wire, or with a 15A breaker and 14ga copper wire. An electriacl panel should never be "hard to get to" NEC code rquires panels to be accessble, and requires 30" min widh clearance, and 3'in front of as well as access.

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I am visiting my mother in law. She has a circuit

what else is on circuit with microwave and as to grafted is that a hard wired hook up if so breaker may be to low depending on how old the unit is but before replacing it i would check microwave draw and find out if anything else is on circuit

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Two 15 amp arc fault breakers installed on two adjacent circuits. One works fine - does not trip. The afi breaker beside it trips as soon as it is flipped on. We tried switching circuits, but both circuits...

It's possible that the first breaker that you said does not trip - it could be that breaker is failing to trip on a bad circuit. That is, it could be you have a bad circuit but that first breaker is not detecting it and pretends everything is OK. If your new breaker trips on the first breaker's circuit, the curcuit it probably bad and the breaker in not working properly. The most common problem for failed circuits is a stray ground wire in a box somewhere in the curcuit resting against a hot or neutral wire. You'll have to take apart every connection on that curcuit to find it. Not fun.

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