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Could a laser cause this?

Schrecken_Licht

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Had a big "Oh ****!" moment tonight when I was out in my garage showing my roommate my little laser set up with the fogger and diffraction grating (those lovely pics I posted in another thread) when all the sudden the lasers and the ceiling lights went out. Well, being that the circuit breaker box is in the garage, I figured I had just tripped a breaker by running my green and blue lasers along with my HeNe and my argon - all plugged into the same powerstrip and outlet. The fogger was plugged into a different outlet/different circuit.

I had had this setup running a couple nights ago and nothing happened at all - I had them all running for about 20 minutes. But tonight I had an air compressor running on a different circuit down in the basement; it comes on intermittently.

So this is the odd thing: I went down and unplugged the compressor (and all the lasers), and then went over to reset the breaker. Well, the one breaker had the red thing showing, so I flipped it back. But usually the breaker is in the "off" position when you see the red. This was in the "on" position and the red was showing, and when I flipped it off, the red wasn't visible. Not only that, it won't really stay clicked in the "on" position. Just the opposite of what it's supposed to be. But I could not get the ceiling lights to come back on, and not only that I have lost several outside lights and a foyer light. Apparently all are on that circuit.

Also, the circuit the compressor was on didn't blow at all. I don't even know if the thing kicked on or not as I wasn't down there when it blew.

Anyone here with an electrical background? Could something about running these lasers all out of one receptacle trash my breaker? BTW only the lasers and the florescent ceiling lights were running on that circuit at the time, the compressor was on a different circuit. I've done this many times - run all these lasers on one strip, one outlet, and no problem. Could it be the lasers (BTW all my lasers are fine - I plugged the whole strip in somewhere else in the house and they all ran fine - but I only let the argon and HeNe run for a few seconds) or is it just that the wiring is going up in my 30+ year old house?
 



diachi

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Have you tried checking and seeing if the lights have maybe just blown ? other than that, you might need a new circuit breaker ? :-/

The wiring in your house should be fine , my house is a good 10 years older than yours and its fine.

I dont really know much about this other than what I've learned in physics, but your lights shouldn't have blown if you had a circuit breaker unless it didn't trigger correctly ( would explain the brokenness of it ) :-/

Maybe wait for someone with a little more experience than me to reply though ;)

Diachi
 

GooeyGus

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I cant imagine the actual breaker itself breaking... but I guess stranger things have happened. Did you make sure to throw it back with some force to the on position? In my mom house when a breaker went, it was as you said, turned off. But in my place, when they go they stay on but with the red in the window. Then I just flip it off, and flip it quickly back on. Sometimes if you don't throw the breaker back on with enough force, it wont grab and will feel broken as you described.

Hope that helped a bit :-/
 

Lorgar

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The breaker could be damaged or there could be a short. Is the floresent light a 4' or 8' strip? the ballast could have blown and that could be stopping the breaker from reseting properly. Depending on the draw of the lasers they could have caused the breaker to trip. You only have 15amps max on most breakers 1800 watts total in most cases unless your on 240v. turn off everything conected to the breaker and then try to reset it if that dosnt work shut off power to that panel and disconect the wire to the breaker turn the power back on and try to reset it if it resets you have a fault in the wiring if it dosnt you have a bad breaker.
 

Cyparagon

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Lawl broken breaker. Do you have a spare? throw the spare in there
 

daguin

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Cyparagon said:
Lawl broken breaker. Do you have a spare? throw the spare in there
Everything breaks. Breakers are just metal and springs and some sort of insulating material (usually a type of plastic). It gets old. It gets fatigued. It just wears down from friction. When a breaker "trips" is "snaps" out of position. That "snap" can cause worn or old parts of the breaker to give way.

They are easy to change and not all that expensive (compared to engaging an electrician). Just make sure you have plenty of torches around you and open the main breaker.

If replacing the breaker doesn't do it, then you have to start the search from plug to plug, from fixture to fixture, and from appliance to appliance.

Peace,
dave
 

Ace82

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Breakers are designed to handle certain amp ratings, for different applications. It is possible that a breaker can break if the amps are too high. Another thing to take for consideration: most houses have a separate breaker in the garage separate from the main box with all the breakers in it (sometimes it is only a reset switch on the main outlet) for the circuit for all the bathroom outlets, and one in the garage. I hope this helps. ;)
 

Event_Horizon

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I have found in my experience that immediately after a breaker trips, it will not reset because the metal conductors inside are still above the threshold temperature that causes the breaker to trip. It might be just as simple as trying again after half an hour.

Other then that, plugging multiple lasers into a power strip isn't that great of an idea. Power strips such as that are usually the weakest link in the entire circuit. I would try unplugging everything and shutting all the lights off and then trying the breaker again. If that doesn't work, then its possible the breaker died.
 

Petrovski

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All good answers already given. Either the breaker broke or you have a short somewhere. Replace the breaker, if the new one also dies, good luck with finding the short. ;)
 

charleytown55il

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Schrecken_Licht, does the breaker make a loud click when you turn it back on? it it does, that means that there is a short. otherwise, the breaker is just bad. they dont cost that much to replace.
 

charleytown55il

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also, you will fell the switch almost give on you. ie it feels like it isn't turning on all the way.

it's hard to discrive what a breaker will do when its bad.

try comparing it to a good breaker by feeling how it feels when you turn it on and off.
 

FireMyLaser

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Try to check the voltage between GND and the breaker's IN-connection. If you 0V AC or a very low reading, then it might be some larger fuse that have blown in some other fusebox further away on the power grid.

If you get good voltage on the IN-connection but nothing or very low on the OUT-connection no matter if it's on or off, you probably need to change it.

All I can do.

Edit! If you feel that you don't know what you're doing, then let it be. (Of course)
 

Lorgar

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Whatever you do make sure the breaker panel is powered off before you open it. There is more than enough juice in the panel to kill you. If you are not sure what your doing get an electrician.
 







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