Friday, August 04, 2017

This Is Cheating

I was sent to a job today where the power had gone out to a house. Like an idiot, I quit after I checked the breaker box and didn't see any visible damage, but saw what I thought was an error code on the meter. SDGE came out a few hours later and found there was nothing wrong with the incoming power.

I had quit before I tested the line going into the main breaker. When I finally tested it myself, I found there was 220 coming in to the breakers. There was no reason to call SDGE at all.

I've changed circuit breakers before. It's actually pretty easy. Once you flip the main, there's no power to the bus and the breakers can't shock you. This was different as I'd never changed a main before so I called an electrician. He's going to change the main, but I came home and looked up how to change a main breaker on YouTube.

The simple answer is you cheat. Dig this.

You remove the meter? That's crazy talk! That belongs to SDGE!

Of course you remove the meter. That's where the incoming power is, well, incoming. Once you shut it off there, replacing the main is trivial, it's just replacing a breaker like any other. Sigh.

I still think removing the meter is cheating.


tom said...

Actually you can replace individual breakers without killing the main, just watch out that the loose wires stay out of the way.

My neighbors had an issue a few months ago after our neighborhood transformer hiccuped. I isolated it to one phase of the power coming in, but didn't know if it was the power company or the breaker box. I told my neighbor I wasn't qualified (or insured) to work on their house. Turns out the power company wire failed on one phase.

See, my EE degree isn't a total waste ;-)

K T Cat said...

Yeah, I thought about doing that with the main, but those wires are about 4 gauge and probably stiff as boards. I couldn't see how I could get the job done and not kill myself or short out half of San Diego.