Electrical Panel

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Old 03-18-19, 08:13 AM
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Electrical Panel

I was going to add a circuit breaker to my electrical panel this weekend, but was stopped in my tracks by what I saw near the uppermost breaker on the hot bus bar. See attached photo and please offer your expertise as to what is causing the discoloration on the bar.

This breaker only feeds my dishwasher and has been in placed for a solid 12 years with no issues, no tripping, etc. The panel was installed around 2003 by a licensed electrician and is a Cutler-Hammer.

Thank you!

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Last edited by PJmax; 03-18-19 at 08:38 AM. Reason: enlarged/labeled picture
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Old 03-18-19, 08:17 AM
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Looks like arc flash At some point there was an electrical arc in that area. Different possible causes.
Someone may have shorted a hot wire to the case sometime.

I would pull the breaker and take a close look at the bus bar and breaker contacts.
 
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Old 03-18-19, 08:18 AM
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That’s what I thought as well, thank you for your response!
 
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Old 03-18-19, 08:40 AM
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It looks like a single wire..... possibly that hanging ground wire.... touched the bus.
 
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Old 03-18-19, 09:07 AM
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Yes, I was also looking at that ground wire as the arc source as well.

In following, first step - get ground wire further away from bus.

Other questions:
1. Do I have to “scrub” away that discoloration on the bus? If so, how?
2. Would the stems in that area now be considered “unusable”/damaged?
3. Should I replace that lone breaker? Again, it’s never tripped on its own....

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-18-19, 10:18 AM
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There is no need to clean it off. The bus stabs are OK as there is no visible pitting or scortching of the metal. It does not appear that the cause was a breaker failure or a bus bar failure, so those are OK as well. I agree with the others that it looks like a floppy wire hit the bus bar at some point in the past. If the breaker had failed to that degree the scortching and melted plastic would be pretty evident.
 
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Old 03-18-19, 12:51 PM
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Love this forum, thanks so much everyone!
 
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