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Block Heater Tripping Circuit Breaker

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by DVS Hardscaper, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    Any diesel mechanics in here?

    I have a Cat 246 Skid steer. And when I plug in the block heater....it trips the circuit breaker.

    At first I thought the cord was bad - so I replaced the cord. (the cord that plugs TO THE ELEMENT, not the extension cord)

    With the new cord, it still tripped the circuit, so I got a new element. (It is the element that goes in a freeze plug hole) And with the new element....it still trips the circuit.

    I have a heavy duty extension cord, and it is not long at all.

    Why is the circuit breaker tripping?

    Could it be that part of the element is making contact with the head and is grounding out? (the element has a rubber seal, to keep coolant from seeping, and I would assume to ground the element)

    Any idea what's goin on here?
  2. grasskicker71

    grasskicker71 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    You could try diesel stop .com. I think that is the diesel forum I found. If that is not correct just type in diesel forums. Somebody on there should be able to help you...
  3. GravelyNut

    GravelyNut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,594

    A block heater is like the element in a hot water heater except for one thing. The water heater element only has to deal with either the 120 or 240 volt circuit. In your Diesel, it also has to deal with the possibility of a 12 v DC current. If the breaker is a GFCI type, it could be picking up that side too. The block heater should be insulated from the block and the wiring for the 120 should only go to that heater. No extra grounds to the 120 V ground or neutral. Is the outlet you plug into on a GFCI breaker/outlet? If so, and you have one built into the heater, it can also cause feedbacks.
  4. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,023

    You may try plugging it into another outlet. It could be a faulty breaker, I bought a new dryer on account of a bad one.
  5. lawnman456

    lawnman456 LawnSite Member
    from ct
    Posts: 90

    your drawing to many amps. make sure nothing else is on the same circuit. you could try to find a 20 amp circuit. most garages are 20 amp. you are most likely using a 15 amp circuit.

    also when does it trip?
    right after you turn it on or a few minutes after?
  6. Breezmeister

    Breezmeister LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from South Jersey
    Posts: 1,546

    I would check the breaker like Restro said, I had a problem with the shop compressor kicking on and then every thing would dim for a few seconds, then last year every time it kicked in the breaker would trip. So we had a electrician come in and put in a line just for the compressor and every thing is fine now. The old breaker was going bad.
    ericg likes this.
  7. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    The outlet was tested with a large saw, which I would assume draws more current than the block heater.

    I have only ever plugged this machine in at my home during the winter for clearing snow from my lane. this is the first time I have plugged it in elsewhere.

    So, maybe it is related to a GFI circuit. I'll leave well enough alone until the job is done and I'll test the machine at our shop where no GFI circuits exist, and go from there.

    Thanks guys!
  8. lawnman456

    lawnman456 LawnSite Member
    from ct
    Posts: 90

    if it's a dead short the circuit will trip instead
    if it's overloaded, it will trip after a minute or so

    you saw will only draw alot when it starts off and will use less current when it's running.

    the heater will use a constant current

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