Electrical Bus Bar In Panel Is Discoloring & Why Is Breaker Tripping?

Electrical Bus Bar In Panel Is Discoloring & Why Is Breaker Tripping?

Hi, this is Joshua Peterson with Peterson
Electric. I am here in Fort Collins, Colorado. The service call that we came out was about
the dryer tripping. Which on the phone, I was talking to the customer and the dryer
was brand new. The first indication was the dryer was freaking out or the elements burned
out, but it is not. We got over here, looked at the dryer and they are not a lot of scratches
and the name tag looks new. We came to panel, here is what we found, we have a bunch of
heated up edges on this buss bar for every single breaker. The dryer breaker was landing
here and here, so you can see that was what was going on. The reason why that was happening
was because the Diox inside these junctions in these aluminum feeders have dried up. My
guess is this apartment is about 30 to 35 years old in Fort Collins. After that dries
up, what happens is instead of it helping the conductivity, it actually acts like an
insulator and this part of the buss bar runs hotter than the other side and the dryer motor
and heater were probably on the same phase. While the other phase, which is going to be
the A phase just did the heaters. What happens is the breakers were shutting down. The good
thing is this is a Square D QO, these breakers don’t tolerate a lot of over heating, so they
will shut down. Your breaker is designed for over current temperature on the wire, your
default on your hot to your negative, which is your ground and also to your neutral. The
other thing that it is sensing is the heat, so this breaker must have been heating up
hot, shutting down just so the dryer wire didn’t bet any hotter. What we are going to
do is we are going to take this panel out, try to see if we can sand it down. If that
works and we can get that nice smooth silver look again, we will put it right back in and
it should be fine because the breaker is not even melted. The first thing to go on these
panels is always the plastic. As you can see, there is not even a single piece of plastic
melted, so it is premature. Thanks for joining us! We will see you next week!

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. I got a buddy that has a federal pacific 100amp sub panel in his basement there is a slight arcing that is happening on the tab that connects busbar to the main connection point before the terminal for the A phase. its slightly discolored and arcs when the air conditioning unit gets turned on and heats up, without the air conditioner or dryer running the wires have a normal temperature, connection for main wires is clean and tight but no deox

  2. I have the same issue 1 breaker was burning that section the bus, then I disconnected both breakers left and right..I don’t need that breakers, i think I’m good for now…I can’t afford a 1000 bucks right now..

  3. This panel dates back to the 1980s ive purchased these brand new the buss was this color from the factory i went to some houses under construction and found an I-T-E EQ and pushmatic with the same colored buss bars not one breaker installed yet its the plating .I hope that the breaker fore the drier made a CRUNCHY sound when you pulled it I cant even tell you how many panels ive seen & replaced both at work and on the side that have done this I HATE ALUMINUM BUSS FEEDERS ECT. I have installed pushmatic panels new countless times and bought panels from a square d distributer pulled them at the store to be sure their ok and found these funny colored buss bars. . I started when i was in high school under the supervision of my to employer i started working fore my boss in 1986.
    Ive run across two strange services 3 PHASE 3 WIRE 480 UNGROUNDED [3 lights phase indicator + bell] 3 PHASE 3 WIRE GROUNDED B PHASE [ my boss said thats impossible grounded b phase it would blow up a few months later he called me and said i just had a customer call me and tell me he has this service I WISH YOU COULD HAVE SEEN THE LOOK ON MY BOSSES FACE .He asked me how to hook up a 480 to 120/208 transformer i drew him a picture of the 3 phase pole mount transformer bank that fed this service and showed him how this works .My COMED friend got me a spec book FULL OF TRANSFORMER CONNECTIONS this 3 phase 3 wire comes either delta or wye WITH THE NEUTRAL LEAD NEVER BROUGHT OUT OF THE TRANSFORMERS AND THE B PHASE BONDED. On the ungrounded version a lightning arrester is in the b phase. EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SERVICES!!

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