Garage Wiring Issue

Discussion in 'The BS Topic' started by marauder64ky, May 16, 2009.

  1. marauder64ky

    marauder64ky Veteran Member

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    I have an electrician buddy but he is hard to track down sometimes so I thought I would ask here and see if this is something I could fix myself. My compressor is tripping the main circuit breaker in my garage. I know next to nothing about 120v-220v wiring. My electrical knowledge is only the 12v variety. Compressor starts fine but trips after it runs for awhile. Knocks the whole garage out. Seems like the breaker is getting weaker as it is happening more and more often. Please point me in the right direction as this is getting really frustrating. Thanks, Dave
     
  2. GetMore

    GetMore Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    First, tell us more about the compressor. Volts, amps (or horsepower), how many phases.
    What size circuit breaker do you have?

    Now the difficult ones: What kind of wiring do you have (gauge)?
    Do you have anything else running off that circuit? *Guessing so, since you say it knocks the garage out.
    What else do you have on when this happens?
     
  3. 74Lt1

    74Lt1 Veteran Member

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    Sounds like you are pulling to many amps on that breaker or your wire is too small.. ;) but like get more said you need to know weather its 1 phase or 3 phase, how many volts, amps, wire gauge.... 14 gauge handles 15 amps, 12 gauge handles 20 amps, and 10 gauge holds 30 amps and so on....
     
  4. krabben1

    krabben1 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Hopefully you still have the instructions,or a label at least telling you what that needs.Definetly a dedicated circuit.
     
  5. 327 BlackBird

    327 BlackBird Veteran Member

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    you need a bigger service, mine was doing the EXACT same thing. my master electrician stepdad re wired it all for me, wiring up a steel jacketed industrial electrical wire from my main panel in the house to a 40 amp service on its own breaker in my garage, no more problems. Just alot of diddging to bury the wire lol
     
  6. MadMike

    MadMike Administrator Staff Member

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    Mine does this too, sometimes.
    Why? Cause my outlet (service) the compressor is plugged into is also servicing my lights. I have a 30amp breaker? unknown guage wire... probably 14. So after running hard for 1 or 2 minutes - IF I DON'T TURN THE LIGHTS OFF - the breaker will trip.

    The way to fix this is to either
    turn the lights off
    use a different outlet that doesn't have any other equipment on it
    run a new service 30-40 amp breaker with 10 or 12 guage wire...

    If your garage is like mine (the one connected to my house) - I have 1 (light duty) circuit servicing the whole garage.

    My other garage has more power than my whole house. :)
     
  7. marauder64ky

    marauder64ky Veteran Member

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    Give me a day or two and I will come up with all the detailed info. I was afraid that I might need a bigger service. $$$ that I don't have! Wire comes from the house, it's a pretty good distance and it's underground. Dave
     
  8. kenny77

    kenny77 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    You might not need a bigger service. I really have no idea why everyone is saying that. As long as you have a open breaker slot space in your current service box, you should be set up to handle another circuit. Add up your amp load just to be safe, no more than 80% ofthe main breaker.

    You need another dedicated circuit. What you need is to run a new circuit line to the box and install another correct breaker. A single pole breaker will give you 110-120, a double pole will give you 208-220-230. Pull the main disconnect before you run the wire down to the service or wire in the breaker.

    This is not brain surgery, you should be able to put in /run a new circuit and outlet from the service to the location of the appliance. Use 10-3 wire for 20-30 amp. I use nothing smaller than 12-3 on anything. In fact down here I doubt any guys even still use 14ga at all.

    Mad Mike,
    Might put a clamp-on amp meter on one of the leads of that same compressor circuit inside the service to see what the amp load really is on that current line with everything running. If you don't have a clamp-on meter I know you know guys that do...You might be surprised . Bigger breakers only overheat the line and then you have a fire. Do not put bigger breakers in. Run a new circuit.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2009
  9. a73camaro

    a73camaro Veteran Member

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    120-240 volt residential is always single phase.

    With your breaker tripping over a long period of time, you are getting into the thermal protection of the breaker. A couple of things to check at the circuit breaker is make sure there is a good electrical connection between the breaker and the "bus". Also check the mechanical action of the breaker - is there good motion with the switching part of the breaker.

    The compressor could be the culprit. If the motor has a capacitive start, that might not be disengaging causing excessive current to be drawn. If the performance of the compressor has degraded, the motor could have an internal short that would cause the excessive current draw.

    A clamp-on current probe will tell all! BTW what size breaker are you tripping?
     
  10. 327 BlackBird

    327 BlackBird Veteran Member

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    beyond capacity that your service will handle is most likely it as i mentioned before.
     

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