Tripping the main circuit breaker

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by NightLightingFX, Sep 28, 2007.

  1. NightLightingFX

    NightLightingFX LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    I did a small lighting job last month. A 300 Watt transformer with a load of 1.4 amps. The only descent place to mount the transformer was on the outside of the garage with in 15 ft of the main circuit breakers. The customer called me today and said she has been having problems with the circuit breaker getting tripped. Is there a solution to this problem without moving the transformer? There really isn't any other place to mount the transformer.
    ~Ned
    www.nightlightingfx.com
     
  2. bmwsmity

    bmwsmity LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Ohio
    Posts: 276

    Hi Ned.

    Did this problem just recently arise, or has it been happening since the install?

    If 1.4 Amps is causing the breaker to trip (doubtful), then this lady has more problems than just transformer placement...she has a WAY overloaded circuit.

    There was a recent thread about a bad receptacle causing breaker trippage.
     
  3. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    eaither an overloaded circuit, bad GFI, or a bad breaker. No way the TF could trip it unless you had a faulty photo cell backfeeding the 120v.
     
  4. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,112

    Ned,
    Did you test the max operating amp load on that circuit before installing your lighting on that circuit? I agree with smity, sounds overloaded. If not overloaded, possibly bad GFI if amp load is OK. I have even seen electricians install undersized wire for the breakered amp load which seems to heat up and pop at much lower amp loads.
     
  5. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,830

    I have heard that transformers installed very close to the main panel will cause this problem due to the in-rush current, but this was mainly on 600w units or higher. It's doubtful that such a small load would be doing this, but it is worth investigating.
     
  6. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    I'm in agreement will all the above, this sounds like a different problem than the trans location, but then, since it is wired, who wants to move it? check the trans by using an extension cord to run the trans power to another outlet, one on a different breaker. if it still trips then you've got a short in the trans.

    If not, the outlet you are trying to plug into may have a short, or that circuit is overloaded to begin with. look at getting an electrician to install another outlet on a new breaker from the breaker panel. I pay about 200 bucks to get this done for all labor and materials. It is not your fault if the outlet outside does not handle a 1.4 amp load, so the homeowner will have to pay. not a fun conversation, but not fun to take 200 bucks out of your pocket either.

    I always mention a 200 dollar fee per outlet if existing outlets won't handle the load of landscape or Christmas lights. I have an outlets/breakers installed in probably 1/3 the homes I do.
     
  7. NightLightingFX

    NightLightingFX LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    Thanks guys,
    David I like your idea about mentioning $200 regarding a bad circuit. This was an older lady. I always ask about load on their circuits but she didn't know. If someone asked me about my circuits at my house I couldn't give them a good answere either. Mentioning $200 for a bad circuit is a good way to cover your A$$. We will try the extention chord first to see what happens. On second thought, I think I used a 600W trans with only 1.4 amps. I don't know if that makes a difference or not?
    ~Ned
    www.nightlighitngfx.com
     
  8. pete scalia

    pete scalia LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 960

    what's the transformer brand and model?
     
  9. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    man, I think my 600 watters pull more than 1.4 amps fully loaded. but I'd have to check, I usually am more concerned about volts at fixture than load on outlet. the 200 buck price is for everything on an outlet pretty close to the circuit panel. your electrician may need more, but not too much more. mine just went up from 150 that he was at for a few years.
     
  10. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,830

    The size of the transformer does not matter. The load on the transformer is what is going to pull off of the primary. 200w of power is going to register the same if you were using a 300w trans or a 600w trans.
     

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