Power tripped without touching breaker

Is it possible to trip a main breaker (Bryant panel) without the main breaker popping over?

I took the dead front off a main today and the power went off. There was no click (unless my hearing is going) , no sparks, no burns, no smoke and all the breakers remained in the “ON” position. Yet no power!

The homeowner turned the main off and then on again and everything was fine.

I have never had this happen before and was wondering what could have caused this and has this happened to anyone else?

I think that breaker has a problem. If you had bumped it, it would have moved. If you would have caused an overcurrent condition you would have known it. It is possible for the internal portion to trip without moving the handle but not a common occurence for what you describe. I would have recommended consulting an electrician and consider replacement of the breaker regardless of the results of any “checking”.

Thanks for input Bruce!

I have recommended evaluation and seller is being very willing to have it looked at.


I had an EXACT call like that yesterday, The client called me and said she did not have power to her Kitchen Counter for nearly (3) weeks and so I made a visit to her house.

She tells me the receptacle in the kitchen sparked and then that was it…so I first removed the recept. in the kitchen and checked it rather fast with my non-contact ticker…no power…I said…ok…(2) things…

1.) Something is wrong in the WALL…or
2.) Something is wrong in the Panel…

So rather than pulling out receptacles that are DEAD ( I am not cheap so that saved here some money ) I went right to the panel.

Sure enough…all the breakers were in the “ON” position and nothing was tripped…BUT before I mess with them I use my TICKER at every breaker terminal point…to make sure the breakers are REALLY on…

Sure enough…got to (1) 20A breaker and it was on…but NO output voltage…went to trip that one OFF…and it did…clicked it BACK on and the power was fine…defective or becoming defective breaker so I replaced it…done service call.

Moral is…Circuit breakers have a life span, I personally like to see them 20 years or older replaced with newer ones…but again thats just me…:slight_smile:

I new an electrician like that Got rid of a great 40 year old wife got
two 20 year old girl friends then found out he was not wired for 220

Roy sr.

lol…yeah well If I did that…I am 100% my BREAKER would not RESET


Electrician went out today and found nothing wrong. I did speak to him and explained what happened. He said that he checked all connections and inspected the panel and there were no problems. He did admit that the main breaker was very tough to move and said that the “Bryant” breaker should have moved when tripped (which it did NOT).

Paul, this would be a good house for your rule of thumb, the home is about 35 years old with no upgrade to the electrical system.

Electrician told me he was going to write a letter stating everything was fine.

Not much more for me to do now.

Which is a GOOD reason to replace it…breakers are CHEAP…LIFE is not !:slight_smile:

Its probably a good thing if a breaker trips internally when it starts to go bad … :wink:

P.S. A breaker should still trip internally when overloaded (with a few exceptions like FPE … lol) even if the handle is jambed/locked in the ON position.