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Have a weird issue. I have a circuit breaker that would trip knocking out three lights and four plug ins. Now, what is weird is this just started happening about a month ago, it would trip, you would reset it and it would last a day or so and trip again. Then it got to the point where it would trip after a few hours of resetting, now it happens instantaneously, you cannot turn it it on at all without it tripping instantly. What I find weird is none of these outlets are being used, one light is used occasionally, and the other two are used more often but still maybe once or twice a day.

Two of the plugins were did not have covers and were square plugs so I took those out and even left the wires disconnected figuring I was eliminating the chain of wires to see if the power would work with these disconnected. With these disconnected and all the lights off, the circuit breaker instantly trips and will not let you turn on the power. I hoped maybe it was a bad breaker so I replaced it with a brand new one, still trips instantly.

There have been no changes in the house, no constructions or nothing going on that would sever a wire in the wall, not event the hanging of a picture. I would think if there was a bad light, if they were in the off position they would not trip the breaker until turned on. I find it weird that a wire just went bad behind the wall somewhere.

Any ideas are appreciated. Not sure how you track down a bad wire behind a wall, or if that is the issue. Going to remove the other plugs to check them as well... could a bad switch be the culprit? How do you check?

Update 1/9: I found two broken wires on two light switches that were side-by-side. Fixed the wires but the breaker still trips when I turn it on. I disconnected all outlets and switches leaving all the wires bare and the circuit breaker still trips. I feel like the problem is in the box itself but do not see anything wrong. Beyond tearing wires out I have pretty much given up and contacted a retired electrician who works pretty cheap, he is supposed to be here tomorrow morning .

There is no test button and this is a 20 amp Square D circuit breaker .

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    Process of elimination. I suggest the path you are on, but start with the first device in line. Disconnect all wiring and cap it all making sure all downstream devices are not powered. If it trips, its in the wiring in the wall between the breaker and the first device. – Jeff Cates Jan 8 at 21:20
  • What make and model is the breaker in question? – ThreePhaseEel Jan 8 at 23:27
  • Does the breaker have a "test" button? We won't be able to answer without at least some of the above info. – Harper Jan 9 at 0:11
  • Does the breaker have a little window on the front? – ThreePhaseEel Jan 10 at 1:53
  • Also, do you have a multimeter? – ThreePhaseEel Jan 10 at 1:54

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