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Author Topic: Do you re tighten your circuit breakers and plugs?  (Read 1425 times)

Paul Johnson

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Re: Do you re tighten your circuit breakers and plugs?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2022, 12:27:05 PM »

You should have a test regime - especially when 63A can mean considerable heating from arcing. Most modern electricians now use torque screwdrivers to do terminals up to the manufacturers recommended tightness - the old turn till it stops technique being considered old, now.

Distros can also do nasty things if they have current transformers and one of those thing cables comes dislodged - nasty shocks come from CTs! Anything with castors or handles that gets bumped in and out probably needs more than an annual check. The bumping can also upset RCDs making them fail to trip.
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Chris Hindle

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Re: Do you re tighten your circuit breakers and plugs?
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2022, 12:31:05 PM »

I replaced one old wall outlet in my bedroom that I noticed getting unusually hot. It wasn't caused by a loose screw just resistance between the plug blade and socket. I noticed it when I unplugged a heater line cord and the plug was hot. No bueno...
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I recall house/trailer fires caused by cheap aluminum wiring that loosens over time due to multiple thermal cycles.

JR
In the past, Aluminum wiring on aluminum-rated outlets was "good". Standard outlets? that was a call to 9-1-1 in the not so distant future.
Is aluminum even used in household wiring these days?
I know it "fell out of practice" in the mid 70's, but it is not outlawed. *I think*
I'll have to have a look at the local renovation super-store and see if they carry the aluminum rated outlets and switches....
Chris.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Do you re tighten your circuit breakers and plugs?
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2022, 01:19:32 PM »

It seems like fire insurance would be more expensive.

One of the very few things they did right while building my house was using copper wire, they didn't bother with a third ground wire.

JR
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Geoff Doane

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Re: Do you re tighten your circuit breakers and plugs?
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2022, 04:27:13 PM »

In the past, Aluminum wiring on aluminum-rated outlets was "good". Standard outlets? that was a call to 9-1-1 in the not so distant future.
Is aluminum even used in household wiring these days?

It may not be used for branch circuits, but at least here (Nova Scotia) it's allowed to feed sub-panels.  When I upgraded the electrical in my house a couple years ago, the old main panel became a sub-panel, fed from the new 200A main panel.  The electrician asked if I wanted to save a few bucks and use aluminum instead of copper for that 60A feed (it had been a 125A panel, but most of the heavy loads were moved to the new panel).  I declined, and spent the extra for copper.

Maybe I'm just overly cautious.  After all, the feed in from the street is aluminum, but it's terminated with some serious crimps.  It's also now a shorter run, directly to a pole with the transformer on it, so that's another plus in my book.

As for re-torqueing screw terminals, when I worked in transmitter maintenance at my old day job, it was a once-a-year routine item to re-torque every power terminal in the various transmitters.  We weren't sophisticated enough to actually use a torque driver for the job, but you could often get a fraction of a turn on some connections.  And this was often equipment that had already been in service for 10 or more years.  I recall one connection in an electrical panel that was loose and got hot enough to make the 200A 3-phase breaker trip.  The heat caused the copper wire to lose its temper (and scorch the insulation), so that piece of 250 MCM had to be replaced.  We called in an industrial electrician for that job.

One more thought on this topic:  Bolt-in vs. snap-in breakers in portable panels.  I've always used Square-D QO (rather than QB) panels for my portable stuff, partly because it's cheaper and easier to find, but it also seems that the spring fingers might maintain contact on the bus bars better than screws, which could in theory, loosen up.  Does anybody have have any opinions on this, or better yet, data?

GTD
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Do you re tighten your circuit breakers and plugs?
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2022, 04:32:34 PM »

FWIW there is a lot of aluminum wire up on power poles (with steel core because aluminum is weak).

JR 
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Re: Do you re tighten your circuit breakers and plugs?
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2022, 04:32:34 PM »


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