circuit failure

Thread Starter


Joined May 8, 2007
What would cause a circuit to work for a short period of time and then go dead without triggering the circuit breaker? After a while it will go through the same process.


Joined Nov 27, 2006
Please give more details regarding the circuit and to what sort of power supply it is connected. Or send us the complete circuit/project and its purpose to see if we can help.

Thread Starter


Joined May 8, 2007
it is just a 110 volt household line with a 15 amp circuit breaker that until recently has been working fine. it now will go dead after plugging in say a waffle maker for about 15 min or so. i assume that there must be something shorting it but the circuit breaker has not been triggered. i'm not sure where to start looking.


Joined May 16, 2005
You should have a licensed electrician check your wiring. I concur with John that some kind of thermal problem is going on. Likely you've got a poor connection somewhere in your branch circuit, and it opens up when it overheats.


Joined Jul 17, 2007
Another vote for thermal problem.

I have seen this happen in homes with older electrical service panels that have tin-plated aluminum busses. Corrosion on the buss at the breaker connection causes a high-resistance connection, causing the breaker to heat up and trip. The only real solution in that case is to replace the breaker and buss.

And you do need a licensed electrician to check it out and repair it.


Joined May 16, 2005
Many jurisdictions allow a home-owner (or even the home-owner's in-laws) to perform residential electrical work without a license. Folk on these forums usually suggest a licensed electrician for two reasons. First, our liability is diminished by advising folk to act as a reasonable person would. Second, although a license is not a guarantee of competence, a licensee is more likely to be competent than is someone getting first-time advice via these forums.;)


Joined Mar 24, 2008
Breakers tend to break down over time, so that would be my first choice.

In many cases it is a 5 minute job, but if you're even a little uncomfortable doing it you need a professional.

Basically what everyone else has already said.


Joined Jul 19, 2008
First, turn off the power going to the receptacle at the electrical service where your breakers are. !!After you verify that power is off!!, take the plug out of the electrical wall box. If you do not know how to verify that power is off, then STOP and call a electrician! Otherwise, look for loose connections and possibly, evidence of wires over-heating. If you do not see any loose wires the the problem is more complicated, Call a electrician.

Otherwise, look at your new receptacle. You will see a silver colored screw and a brass colored screw and you will see a green colored screw. The white wires go on the silver colored screw. The black wires go on the brass colored screw. The bare copper ground wires go on the green screw.

Thats it! Put the receptacle back in the electrical wall box, put the cover back on. Turn the breaker back on and test to see if he receptacle has power. If it dose, then plug in your kitchen appliance and enjoy!


Joined Jun 13, 2008
You have a bad connection in the wires/screws comming to the breaker or the wires/screws in the plug or any of the wires nuts connecting the branches of that circuit.
I do not think is the breaker. You can check the breaker by putting it in another circuit and then trigger it. Use the process of elimination with the breaker and the plug and work from there. Yo can cut the power at the service meter.