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Old 03-23-2011, 02:34 AM   #1
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I was adding a few outlets in my house today. I didnít know which circuit breaker was supplying the line I was tapping into so I turned off/on several circuit breakers before finding the one I needed to cut power to. In my less-than-systematic approach, I switched off the line which supplies my septic systemís transfer pump. When I switched it back on, the circuit breaker tripped. I re-set it and 4 seconds later, it tripped again. The pump is the only load on this circuit. Nothing changed on this circuit whatsoever. Nothing. Except for the fact that I turned the breaker off then on again. The breaker is about 20 years old; I donít know if that matters. What does matter is that Iím possibly facing an overflowing septic tank tomorrow and that will ruin my day. So I thought Iíd ask the electrical smart guys here before reading countless online articles telling me the circuit is overloaded.

Thanks
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:42 AM   #2
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I'm no electrical genius, especially when it comes to household electronics, but my first reaction would be to pop in a $5 replacement breaker from Home Depot. Possible check amps and voltage when it's out, see if it's higher than the breaker.
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:07 AM   #3
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Quote:
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I'm no electrical genius, especially when it comes to household electronics, but my first reaction would be to pop in a $5 replacement breaker from Home Depot. Possible check amps and voltage when it's out, see if it's higher than the breaker.
I support this option.
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:53 AM   #4
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Until you figure it out, why not get an extension cord for your pump and plug it in to a working outlet? It's not hardwired, is it?
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:28 AM   #5
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How easy is it to go check the condition of your poop pump?
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:39 AM   #6
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the breacker is weak and old or you have something grounding out here.
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:10 PM   #7
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the pump is hardwired so extension chord is a no-go from a practicality standpoint. as far as pump inspection goes: it's not difficult but more importantly, it's very unpleasant. thanks you guys for the replies. I'll get a new breaker and and check amperage to see what I learn...
It's just odd that it has never, ever tripped until I manually switched it off/on
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:24 PM   #8
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Breakers do get old. About a year ago, we were adding a few circuits to Abe's new house, and on of the breakers simply came apart when I tried to switch it back on. The switch just went limp.

It happens.

Unfortunately, parts for a 20 year old load center might be hard to find at Home Depot. I've had good luck on eBay with this sort of thing. Figure out the mfg and model, and chances are that somebody out there has a couple of NOS parts for sale.

Until then, if it looks like the pooper is going to overflow, you could simply move the load wire for the pump to another, known-good breaker of equal value. IOW, find a circuit you can live without (presumably you have a dedicated 15A circuit just for charging all of the motorized dildoes) and remove the load wire from it, then move the load wire from the pump over to that breaker. If it works, then at least you have a working poop pump. If it fails, then you know you probably need to open the dirty hole.

Cycle the target breaker off and on a few times to ensure that it's good first.
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:28 PM   #9
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Not to put salt on the wound but they make really nice circuit finders. Plug them into the outlet that you want to turn off then you go to your breaker box and use a wand and just scan over the whole board and it beeps at the breaker u need to shut off.

Then again...you aren't an electrician so of course you dont have the specialty tools. I am lucky enough that my dad, brother, and uncle are all electrical contractors

As far as solving the issue...replace the breaker. Is it GFCI type or normal?
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:48 PM   #10
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I was on a plane once and my wife tripped a breaker and it wouldn't reset.

rushed as fast as i could out of Dulles to the nearest Lowes, then boogied home. on the way home she tried the breaker again for the 100th time and it kicked back in.

It never tripped again so i returned the breaker.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:15 PM   #11
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As suggested, I swapped in the circuit breaker from my ***** charging station and determined that the breaker wasn't the culprit. Phase 2 of troubleshooting commences, in pouring rain.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:16 PM   #12
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Just hardwire it in without a breaker...it'll be fine.....

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Old 03-23-2011, 05:24 PM   #13
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120 or 240V? the **** pump the only thing on the circuit? how olds the **** pump?
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
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120 or 240V? the **** pump the only thing on the circuit? how olds the **** pump?
120V on a 20A breaker. Yes, the only load on the circuit is the pump. Age unknown.

There's been a ton of rain lately and I think rain water gets into the tank through the hatch... so the pump has seen higher than normal duty, but I don't know this for certain. And I don't know if it would influence my next move. Regardless, I have to pull the pump out and also check the float switch.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:47 PM   #15
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Wish I could help you more...but when I worked for my dad in HS all I did was pull wire and hook up plugs and ****.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:22 PM   #16
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JDM circuit breakers FTW.

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Old 03-23-2011, 07:59 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slayer View Post
120V on a 20A breaker. Yes, the only load on the circuit is the pump. Age unknown.

There's been a ton of rain lately and I think rain water gets into the tank through the hatch... so the pump has seen higher than normal duty, but I don't know this for certain. And I don't know if it would influence my next move. Regardless, I have to pull the pump out and also check the float switch.
I say man up and check that **** barehanded.
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:04 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Regardless, I have to pull the pump out and also check the float switch.
Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of **** smelling foulness I can't even imagine, or maybe I just don't want to. Five hundred yards... that's the length of five football fields, just shy of half a mile.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:20 AM   #19
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Spoke with my dad quickly yesterday. He said that is a pretty weird problem, and may just be **** luck and a coincidence. He did say that its possible that the pump was under load when you turned it off or back on which may have burned out an already deteriorated wire. If you had a slight short or rip in the insulation before it may have arced on the high start up load and caused the wire to burn up.

This becomes another issue where the Pros have tools to check for these things so you dont have to trace the entire wire.
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
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the breacker is weak and old or you have something grounding out here.
A distinct possibility. Breakers trip easier too when they've been loaded and are warm.

To the OP: You live in Los Gatos. Get your chauffer to check the pump.
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