Question about GE Tjk436f000 3pole 400a 600vac Circuit Breaker

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Breaker installed on generator. Keeps tripping under no load after approx. 1 minute of generator running

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A tripping circuit breaker is an indication of an overload. You say there is no load on the breaker - how are you making this determination? Are you using an amprobe or some other meter?

A circuit breaker with NO load shouldn't ever trip. Likewise a circuit breaker carrying up to 80% of of the current it is rated for shouldn't trip either. Circuit breakers that carry more than 80% of their load will trip - if the load remains connected long enough. This is called "duty factor" or "service factor" The greater the load is in excess of 80%, the less time that the breaker will carry it before tripping.

An example of a 100 amp breaker with different loads on it (this 100 amp value was chosen for ease of doing the math):

80 amps - never trips
85 amps - trips after 48 hours
90 amps - trips after 16 hours
95 amps - trips after 8 hours
100 amps - trips after 4 hours
105 amps - trips after a few minutes
120 amps - trips after a few seconds
150 amps - trips instantly

This is only an example to show how a certain circuit breaker might trip under a load less than the rating stamped on the body or handle.

A circuit breaker that trips with no load or a load equal to or less than 80% of its rating is most likely defective. You need an amprobe or ammeter for amp readings. If the load is found to be 80% or less, there may be an issue of harmonics that is causing the tripping. You'll need to have special equipment and qualified persons to check harmonic problems. Most harmonic problems occur when the loads are not linear device (transformers). Examples of non-linear devices are "switching" (or solid state) power supplies like those in computers.

I hope this helps and good luck. Please rate my reply. Thank you.

Posted on Apr 07, 2011

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