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Some background. I am in a mobile home trailer type thing (not RV, this is stationary) in a mobile home park. Yesterday the main breaker tripped. This house has one on the inside in the electrical panel, and one on the outside rated 100A - the 100A tripped.

I'm not sure what caused it, we had our dryer going, swamp cooler and TV/lights, etc. Nothing we haven't done before. Anyway, it tripped and I reset it, things were fine, except our washer & dryer aren't getting power. They are on two different circuits, which I have tried resetting the breakers for with no luck.

The dryer has the special plug that I can't actually test, but the washer runs off of a normal outlet that I confirmed wasn't powering anything else, so for the washer at least I have ruled out a mechanical failure. I have also reset the 100A breaker outside the house again with no luck.

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Please let me know if there is anything else I can tell you to help diagnose this problem.

I have another album with some detailed pictures with the panel off, maybe someone can spot some damage?

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    Can you provide photos of the indoor panel + panel directory/label and the outdoor panel? – ThreePhaseEel Jun 28 '16 at 1:04
  • Also, can you find any other circuits/devices/receptacles in the house that lost power? – ThreePhaseEel Jun 28 '16 at 1:09
  • If you plug something else into the (conventional) washer plug, does it get power? – Daniel Griscom Jun 28 '16 at 1:12
  • No other circuits have lost power - I havent tested every single one, but in every area of the (small) house, things have power/outlet power. Neither standard plug the washer plugs into has power with other things. Pictures as requested: imgur.com/a/bGRsT – Michael Rogers Jun 28 '16 at 1:26
  • I'm not sure how or if I can reply to an answer so I'll do it here - ill double check the clothes washer breaker but I believe when I was initially trying to fix it, I did make sure I pressed both clothes washer and dryer breaker all the way off to clear it before I flipped it back on. I'll double let check when I get home acknowledge home, thanks! – Michael Rogers Jun 28 '16 at 16:28
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Since neither the washer nor the dryer breaker are tripped, yet the main did trip and power to those circuits cannot be restored by resetting the main, I suspect either the circuit breakers, busbar section, or both have become damaged inside the panel -- this means the next steps involve turning the main breaker off and disassembling the branch circuit panel, looking for damage to the busbar tabs and breaker contact clips, as well as the breakers themselves.

If you're not comfortable doing this yourself, now's the time to get an electrician in; while you have them in, have them replace the misfit breaker with one of the correct type -- i.e. a THQL120 instead of the BR120 that was improperly fitted there, and install a blank over the gaping hole in the main panel.

(It's likely that the misfit breaker was making poor contact in the first place and just quit making contact with the busbar during whatever caused the main to trip. Replace it with a THQL120 and things should be good.)

  • Thanks - I'll try that in the morning (too hot this afternoon/evening). In the mean time I did turn the inside breaker off and took the panel off and got some pics. I didn't disassemble any of the actual breaker setup yet though. Personally, I can't see any obvious damage to anything visible; can you review the pictures I have? Album here – Michael Rogers Jul 2 '16 at 0:32
  • @MichaelRogers -- with the power to the main panel off again, you should be able to pull the washer and dryer breakers off the busbar with the front panel removed without forcing them unduly. – ThreePhaseEel Jul 2 '16 at 1:02
  • Done, link to pictures I took is here. From what I can tell, there is no damage to the busbar area. How likely is it that two individual breakers failed at the same time? I picked up a Klein tools kit from Home Depot that includes a multimeter, outlet tester and I forget the name of the last, detects hot lines? I tested the last tool on known good outlets and it works as expected; I plan on trying to see if it is a problem in the breakers or past them (on the way to the actual outlets). – Michael Rogers Jul 2 '16 at 17:43
  • I just tested the wires coming out of various breakers. All worked fine except the washer breaker. Dryer breaker worked fine too. So I took the voltage tester to the dryer cable that plugs into the big outlet. The dryer IS working... or its at least getting power. But the on button doesn't do anything. So now I've got two problems... I think the washer one can be solved by a new breaker, since I couldn't detect any voltage directly out of the breaker. The dryer one, I don't know. Is there a stack exchange thing for appliances too, or would that be here in diy? – Michael Rogers Jul 2 '16 at 17:59
  • @MichaelRogers -- Ask a new question here in DIY re: the dryer – ThreePhaseEel Jul 2 '16 at 20:41
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Looks like the breaker labeled "Clothes Washer" is tripped. Turn it all the way to the OFF position, then back ON.

When breakers trip, the handle doesn't always flip all the way to the OFF position. Depending on the manufacturer, they typically flip to a "tripped" position that's somewhere between ON and OFF. If you push the tripped breaker handle towards the ON position, you'll feel that it's not solidly in the ON position.

To reset a tripped breaker, you often have to shut it off, then back on.

The dryer breaker doesn't look tripped, but try turning it off and back on.

NOTES:

  • The giant gaping hole in the main panel, should be covered with an appropriate filler plate.
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    Speaking of the washer breaker -- it's a C-H type BR in a panel that is designed to take GE THxx and probably should be swapped for the correct type. – ThreePhaseEel Jun 28 '16 at 11:44
  • @ThreePhaseEel Good point, didn't notice that. Could be that the breaker is not tripped, it's just different than the rest. – Tester101 Jun 28 '16 at 11:56
  • I did this and unfortunately it has not fixed it. I did see that there is the tripped position and then the fully on and fully off position; I put it on fully off and then fully on. – Michael Rogers Jun 29 '16 at 0:51

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