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Draw Out Air Circuit Breaker Lubrication Problem

April 20th, 2011 Comments off

 

DS-420 Westinghouse Low Voltage Air Circuit Breakers For Sale by MIDWEST

DS-420 Westinghouse Low Voltage Air Circuit Breakers For Sale by MIDWEST

 

The over lubrication of low voltage draw out air circuit breakers drives the MIDWEST Switchgear Shop crazy. Sometimes MIDWEST gets these circuit breakers after the owner’s maintenance folks finally give up trying to permanently fix them. They usually do not have the luxury of time, which we have in the switchgear shop. But they are correct in one sense and it’s that they know most of the problems with air circuit breakers are actually mechanical and not electrical at all. But the solution of choice too often is to spray the mechanical operating mechanism with some aerosol type cleaner and lubricant. Then exercise the breaker, spray a little more lub, until the breaker opens and closes mechanically without a problem. But three months later or six or nine, whenever they actually operate it again, the breaker does not open and close properly. So eventually they get sick of this and send it to MIDWEST’s Switchgear Shop. Our job is to take the operating mechanism apart, clean everything, properly lubricate, and reassemble. Concerning lubrication, it is important to know three things. What lubricant to use. Where to put it. And how much to use. Or, as the shop says, how much not to use. The problem of too much lubricant might seem counter intuitive to some folks, but excessive lubricant collects dust and dirt. The wrong lubricant gets hard. And the wrong lubricant in the wrong amount in the wrong place just about guarantees an eventual problem.  Whether an old Cutler Hammer or Westinghouse 1600 amp DA 50 circuit breaker or an old GE AK-1-50, or more modern air circuit breaker, we find most problems are mechanical and most are caused by OE (ie Operator Error), especially when racking in and out, and by poor maintenance. In the real world one sometimes must get the breaker to operate and back in service as soon as possible.  But don’t confuse the temporary fix for a permanent reliable repair.