Cutler Hammer combination breaker

JDB3

Senior Member
Went on a call this afternoon. Single family dwelling, 4 years old. 20 amp CH Cutler Hammer breaker (GFCI/AFCI had tripped & would not reset.
Took the 2 sets of wires off the first outlet on the circuit, breaker stayed on. Turned breaker on & it held.
Found the set of wires from panel, connected them to the outlet. Volt meter showed 122 volts. Connected 2nd set of wires to 1st outlet. Disconnected wires from 2nd outlet, breaker held. Tested voltage at second outlet with wires not connected. Hot wires in showed 122 volts BUT the wires leading out showed 331 volts !
At first outlet with breaker on showed 122 volts withe breaker off showed 331 volts. Later on, with wires free (not connected) at first outlet, breaker tripped after 2 or so seconds.
No work has been done at this house. Last week the breaker tripped once, but re-set.

WHAT is going on?? Help please !!
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
You said with breaker on it shows 122 volts, but with breaker off it shows 331

Few questions...

Which wires are you reading? H to N ?
If so, have you tried H to G or N to G ?

Are you sure it's not 33.1 volts?
What kind of meter are you using?

Your post reads as though it was written by someone who is in a desperate frenzy.

Can you explain your situation a little more clearly? Maybe separate out each piece of info into a separate paragraph with space between, so we can get a handle on what you're describing
 

JDB3

Senior Member
You said with breaker on it shows 122 volts, but with breaker off it shows 331

Few questions...

Which wires are you reading? H to N ?
If so, have you tried H to G or N to G ?

Are you sure it's not 33.1 volts?
What kind of meter are you using?

Your post reads as though it was written by someone who is in a desperate frenzy.

Can you explain your situation a little more clearly? Maybe separate out each piece of info into a separate paragraph with space between, so we can get a handle on what you're describing
Readings from hot to neutral
Will recheck the readings, but still even 33.1 volts with breaker off ??
Fieldpiece meter
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
The reason I asked if it might be 33.1 volts, and what kind of meter you're using...

With a digital volt meter (DVM), you could be picking up ghost voltage. Those wires going "out" are going somewhere.

But ghost voltage wouldn't be any higher than actual source voltage. That's why 331 seemed weird.

What room is this circuit?
Any chance those "out" wires pass through a multi-gang box or some other way to have wires laying or bunched together?

You might just be looking at a nuicance trip.
Have you considered changing the breaker?
 

JDB3

Senior Member
The reason I asked if it might be 33.1 volts, and what kind of meter you're using...

With a digital volt meter (DVM), you could be picking up ghost voltage. Those wires going "out" are going somewhere.

But ghost voltage wouldn't be any higher than actual source voltage. That's why 331 seemed weird.

What room is this circuit?
Any chance those "out" wires pass through a multi-gang box or some other way to have wires laying or bunched together?

You might just be looking at a nuicance trip.
Have you considered changing the breaker?
After I left late & driving back home, I thought about switching the wires to another breaker (that also was GFCI/AFCI ) in the panel just to see.

The Fieldpiece meter that I am using is digital, so it could be "ghost voltage". I might have not read the meter correctly, since it had a glare on it. I have never experiences ghost voltage that high.

The circuit is in the kitchen, feeding a counter top outlet & then going to the kitchen island that has 3 outlets at it. There is also a disposal & dishwasher at the island. The person wiring the house originally may have ran all of the wiring through the same conduit from the kitchen wall to the island !

Thanks for the input. I will change the battery on my meter, verify the readings on a known circuit, & try again.
Thanks again !!:)
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
Need to use a low impedance meter or place a load on the conductors being tested and that will eliminate "ghost voltages".
One of the reasons my goto trouble shooting tool for 120 volt circuit was always a solenoid voltage tester. In this type of trouble shooting it it very rare that you need any type of an exact voltage reading. Typically would not even look at the slider on the tester, just would feel the vibration and that would tell me I had power.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
One of the reasons my goto trouble shooting tool for 120 volt circuit was always a solenoid voltage tester. In this type of trouble shooting it it very rare that you need any type of an exact voltage reading. Typically would not even look at the slider on the tester, just would feel the vibration and that would tell me I had power.
Exactamundo! (y)
 

JDB3

Senior Member
It turned out to be a faulty breaker (4 years old). Had used an CH Cutler Hammer arc fault breaker for kitchen counter top & kitchen island receptacles (their kitchen sink was at the island). Replaced it with a combination AFCI/GFCI breaker. Everything working fine. Perhaps I will remember next time. Thanks for all of the good advice ! :)
 

Little Bill

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee NEC:2017
Occupation
Electrician
It turned out to be a faulty breaker (4 years old). Had used an CH Cutler Hammer arc fault breaker for kitchen counter top & kitchen island receptacles (their kitchen sink was at the island). Replaced it with a combination AFCI/GFCI breaker. Everything working fine. Perhaps I will remember next time. Thanks for all of the good advice !
:)
Glad you found the problem!
Just an FYI, the Arc fault and GFCI, all in one breaker, is called a "dual function", not a "combination". A combination is just for Arc Fault breakers, it means it detects (supposedly) series and parallel arcs.
 
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