I've been experiencing interesting problem recently. When the power goes down, there is roughly 50:50 chance that a circuitbreaker for my plugs trips after the power comes back on. Flipping it back manually solves the issue and it has never been tripped by normal load - only after a power cut when the power comes back on

It's a 16A breaker (230V here in Spain) and connected to it are a few computers + TV screens - most of them are behind a UPS. Is there any way to remove the spike when the power comes back on? Is there anything I can plug the machines into to make sure they come back on properly?

It would be a major hassle to change the breaker for larger value as I would need to involve the apartment owner etc.


Here is the breaker in question: breaker in question

  • Is it a breaker or an RCD (GFCI)?
    – Ariel
    Jan 8, 2015 at 17:33
  • Don't change the breakers!!! The breaker is there to stop the apartment from burning down in an over-current scenario. Your wires are likely sized for a 16 A load, and could overheat if you put a bigger breaker in. Jan 8, 2015 at 17:34
  • @Ariel added photo..
    – petr
    Jan 8, 2015 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


Many devices will draw a slightly larger load at startup, especially if there are motors involved (ie. fridge/freezer compressors). But even computers will draw more at startup due to all of the devices initializing.

Likely you are very close to the max capacity of that breaker, and on startup you are exceeding it hence why it trips.

The way to resolve this is to move loads to other circuits, or have an additional circuit installed.

  • I understand that, however, why is it OK when pulled up manually? Is there any difference between pulling it up and it starting to work when power comes back on?
    – petr
    Jan 8, 2015 at 18:10
  • There's no difference. As you said, its 50/50. It is probably completely timing dependent/
    – Steven
    Jan 8, 2015 at 18:34
  • 4
    The difference between you flipping the breaker and the power coming on after a power outage is that the voltage after a power outage can take a while to ramp up to the full value. The devices you have described (computer, monitors, TV's) probably have power supplies that work with voltages as low as 70-100 volts. At lower voltages, they require more current to provide the required power to the device. So if you're near the limit then you are definitely over the limit at lower voltage. +1: "The way to resolve this is to move loads to other circuits, or have an additional circuit installed."
    – longneck
    Jan 8, 2015 at 19:08

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