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Posts Tagged ‘circuit breaker’

Circuit Breakers: We’ve got what you need – All Manufacturer’s

February 23rd, 2015 Comments off

Circuit Breakers: We’ve got what you need.  MIDWEST sells reconditioned, used and new Circuit Breakers.  Call today at 800.803.9256!   http://www.swgr.com/store/circuit-breakers/molded-case/home.aspx

All manufacturer’s available – Cutler Hammer, General Electric, ITE, Siemens, Square D, Westinghouse, ABB, Airpax, Allen Bradley, American, ASEA Brown Boveri, Bryat, Bulldog, Challenger, Crouse Hinds, Federal Pacific, Fuji, Gould, Heineman, Kraus Naimer, Merlin Gerin, Milbank, Mitsubishi, Moeller, Murray, National, Sace, Sylvania, Telmand, Thomas and Betts, Trumbull, Tyco, Vois Worth, Wadsworth, Zinsco, etc.

Circuit Breaker – POJ with perfect test results

May 30th, 2012 Comments off

Sometimes MIDWEST’s Engineering Technicians in our Switchgear Shop like to do what the Engineers call “Play.”  The technicians call it serious research.  Sometimes their adventures are quite worthwhile, even enlightening.  Recently an Engineering Technician dropped a circuit breaker test form on an Engineer’s desk and said, “Would you take a look at that and tell me if you think it’s okay.” The test results were excellent.  The contact resistance, insulation resistance, over current test results, reset tests, all the test results were excellent.  So why in the world was the Engineering Technician dropping it on the Engineer’s desk when the test results were so good?  The results looked like those for a new circuit breaker.  What they had done was test an old Westinghouse circuit breaker that had been practically crushed.  The case was broken and the arc chutes damaged.  It looked like it had been dropped from 50 feet and hit on one corner.  But, oddly enough, against all reason, it operated mechanically and the test results were all good.  But, of course, it failed the visual inspection.  When the Technician dragged the Engineer to the Switchgear Shop to evaluate the breaker, everyone had a good laugh.  This was good fun and the technical evaluation was unanimous, POJ, Piece of Junk.  One of our favorite highly technical terms.  In this case it was very obvious.  But frequently we find defects in used circuit breakers and in brand new circuit breakers, and other electrical equipment, that would never be revealed by testing alone.  That’s why the experience, training and knowledge of the Technicians and Engineers are extremely important.  There is no perfect test standard for every POJ.

Circuit Breaker Reset Tests

January 11th, 2012 Comments off
1600 Amp General Electric Air Circuit Breaker - Catalog No. AK-2A-50-1

1600 Amp General Electric Air Circuit Breaker – Catalog No. AK-2A-50-1 Available at www.swgr.com

A customer called MIDWEST to ask why we did something called a “Reset Test” on his circuit breaker. He said he has had circuit breakers tested by switchgear service companies for nearly 30 years and never ever saw something called a circuit breaker “Reset Test.” He has Square D circuit breakers, Westinghouse circuit breakers, General Electrical circuit breakers and newer Cutler Hammer circuit breakers. He checked some of his old test reports and found no “reset tests.”  He had never used MIDWEST before, so he was pretty interested when we explained the reason and procedure for the reset test. The reason was a very pleasant surprise because it gave him greater confidence in the proper performance of his circuit breakers.  MIDWEST started using the circuit breaker “reset test” many years ago. It’s not a standard test procedure. You won’t find it in the text books or instruction manuals. You will find it in MIDWEST’s Training Manual under ‘Scars,’ meaning experience. It’s a carry over procedure from testing old dashpot type air circuit breakers and insulated case circuit breakers and molded case circuit breakers. The reason for the test is that occasionally, seldom but occasionally, a circuit breaker will nuisance trip when put back into service after it has been high current tested. For example, a 1600 amp air circuit breaker, after high current testing, might nuisance trip instantly at 500 amps.  Basically the over current device failed during the high current testing. This was far more common with older “non electronic” over current devices. New electronic over current devices are more reliable, but not perfect. Strange things happen. We are not talking about the service technician forgetting to put the settings back to the correct positions. We are talking about an actual defective device. The test only takes moments. In the interest of quality control, the reset test addresses the “consequences of failure” as opposed to the “probability of failure.”

Yes, we are paranoid about safety and quality.

Perfect Square D MA36500 Circuit Breaker an Ornamental Reminder

October 28th, 2011 1 comment
Square D MA36500 Circuit Breakers For Sale at www.swgr.com

Square D MA36500 Circuit Breakers For Sale at www.swgr.com

On one of MIDWEST’s Switchgear Service Desks is a Square D molded case circuit breaker in mint condition. It just sits there, in a place of honor, as a reminder that appearances may outright lie. It has nothing to do with whether or not the circuit breaker is Square D or a Cutler Hammer HLCG3400 or a GE General Electric TJK436400WL or any other manufacture. It is there as a reminder that you can’t tell the condition of the inside of the breaker, the operating condition, based on the outside appearances. We see breakers that look like junk, but test out perfectly. And, as in this case, we see breakers that look mint and are junk. We used this circuit breaker because it looks like it is in such great condition. Looks great, opening and closing sounds right and feels right.  But, when we removed the cover, the contacts were what we call, and this is a technical term, fried. Moveable and stationary, main and operating contacts were burned, brown, and blasted. The inside of the arc dividers were charred. The breaker was fatally damaged and could not be used. But it looked in mint condition.  This is a great training aid and we kept it just for that reason.  There is a tendency to make technical judgments based on appearances. This is human nature. But is does not apply to the technical world and it certainly does not apply to the electrical switchgear world.  We’ll call this, “Breaker fallacy number one.”

How Do You Test a Circuit Breaker with Ground Fault Protection

June 2nd, 2011 2 comments

Over the years MIDWEST has been asked many times how we test circuit breakers that have ground fault protection. High current test sets inject single phase current through one pole, ie phase, of the circuit breaker and the test is timed to see if the breaker trips open within the manufacturer’s specified time, based on the TCC, time current curve.  Whether a GE General Electric circuit breaker, or Cutler Hammer or Square D circuit breaker, molded case circuit breaker or air circuit breaker, the same theory applies to the test procedure. Some electronic overcurrent devices on circuit breakers have a feature allowing you to turn off or defect the ground fault protective function. The manufacturer’s specification sheets should explain this. But, if there is no way to turn off the ground fault protective function on a Westinghouse circuit breaker, for example, a specific test procedure must be followed or the circuit breaker will trip open on ground fault function long before you can put enough current through the breaker to properly test the long time or short time function. Maybe the ground fault pickup range is 100 to 1200 amps and the time delay range is 0.1 to 1.0 seconds.  But your 1600 amp Siemens breaker should be long time tested at 300% or 4800 amps and it will take the breaker 22 seconds to trip at that current level. The procedure is to inject current through one phase, current transformer, and then connect the test set up such that the current returns through a second phase, current transformer, in the opposite direction. The currents will cancel out such that the ground fault pickup sees zero current.  Be sure to test in all three possible combinations. Then each phase is tested for ground fault pickup and delay by just injecting current through that phase. These tests are more time consuming for many molded case circuit breakers.  Always check the manufacturer’s literature if you are not sure how to test a specific circuit breaker. The test requirements may differ between a Federal Pacific circuit breaker and a Westinghouse circuit breaker, for example. But they may also differ between types of circuit breakers by the same manufacturer.  And, of course, always be safe.

Important Circuit Breaker Maintenance Tool – Wasp Spray

March 21st, 2011 1 comment

On a field service project, the customer was amazed at how much equipment we had on the large service vans. Besides the test equipment for old and newer circuit breakers and for oil filled power transformers and switchgear, we had the equipment and tools to maintain the switchgear and make many potential repairs. Plus generators, fuel and lights and much more. The customer asked, kind of as a joke, if we had anything on the trucks that was very important but wasn’t technical. This was a shutdown project where the power was turned off at 5:00 AM and had to be back on by 11:00 AM. A lot of work in six hours, including replacing one of the circuit breakers.

 

The immediate simultaneous response from two Engineering Technicians was, “Hornet Spray.”  Each truck has at least one can of hornet, actually wasp spray, in a can that will spray a stream 10 to 15 feet. We learned decades ago that it can be painful if you have a short shutdown project and open up the switchgear to access your favorite Square D circuit breakers or Westinghouse circuit breakers or new Siemens circuit breakers and you find the switchgear to be a hotel for a bunch of wasp nests. Hard to find a volunteer to take the bite clearing out wasp nests so you can replace circuit breakers. Instead, a little stream of spray here and there and you’re ready to go. No customer wants their project put at risk because of a few bees, even if they are mad. The bees that is. It’s a magic solution for a non technical problem.  So that’s something non technical but extremely important for an outdoor project to inspect, test and maintain circuit breakers and electrical switchgear. Don’t leave home without it.  

Circuit Breaker Trash Barrel – Fried Load Terminal

February 28th, 2011 Comments off
Blog Barrel of Scrap Breakers

Blog Barrel of Scrap Breakers

This is another circuit breaker trash barrel blog. I went to one of the many barrels of trashed circuit breakers and grabbed a breaker out of one of the barrels. We thought these barrels of discarded breakers would be a gold mine for useful circuit breaker maintenance, testing, and reconditioning blog information. So today’s blog is about a Cutler Hammer ED3200, style number 6610C75G04, 200 amp molded case circuit breaker. The breaker looks great. Looks like it was cleaned up but then thrown out. It was. But the operating mechanism was defective.  It would not latch and it would not close the circuit breaker. The cover had indications of overheating at the center pole of the load side of the circuit breaker. There was a piece of the copper conductor still in the load side center pole terminal. The feeder had been cut off rather than remove. The strands of the conductor and the lug were fried. That’s a technical term for overheated to the point of brown discoloration, corrosive appearance on the surface of the lug and on the set screw holding the conductor in place. The metal tab under the lug surface was brown from overheating. The top view showed the top of the lug set screw was also burned and brown. We know from experience that the lug can’t be removed without damaging the load side center pole tab of this Cutler Hammer ED3200 200 amp circuit breaker. We know the heat has damaged the trip device and dried out the interior operating mechanism. A breaker damaged like this, whether a Square D, GE General Electric, Siemens or Westinghouse circuit breaker, is junk and needs to be destroyed. So into the scrap barrel it goes. Warning, one might ‘fool around’ with this breaker and get the operating mechanism to function and maybe finally get the old piece of cable out, but the breaker is still junk. Put it on the table, come back in a week and I’ll bet you it doesn’t work again. If you removed the cover, you would instantly see why.