Reasons Why Your Generator Circuit Breakers Are Tripping

Author: Passey Electric. |


Generator circuit breakers (GCBs) are an integral component of electrical power systems. They protect generators from damage due to short circuits and other electrical faults. However, sometimes they can trip unexpectedly, causing power outages and other problems.

In this article, we will discuss the reasons why GCBs may trip and what can be done to prevent these occurrences.

1. Overloading

One of the most common reasons why GCBs trip is due to overload. This occurs when the current flowing through the circuit exceeds the rated capacity of the GCB. Overloading can happen when too many electrical devices are connected to the circuit or when the generator is trying to supply more power than it is capable of.

To avoid overloading, it is crucial to ensure that the electrical devices connected to the circuit are within its rated capacity. Additionally, regular maintenance and testing of the generator can help to identify any potential overload issues before they occur.

2. Short Circuits

Another common reason for GCB tripping is short circuits. These occur when a fault in the electrical system causes a sudden surge of current, which exceeds the capacity of the GCB. Short circuits can be caused by faulty wiring, insulation breakdown, or other electrical faults.

To prevent short circuits, it is vital to ensure that the electrical system is properly designed and installed. Regular maintenance and testing can also help to identify any potential issues early on.

3. Ground Faults

Ground faults occur when a fault in the electrical system causes current to flow to the ground instead of through the intended circuit. This can happen when the insulation of the electrical system breaks down, causing a short circuit to the ground.

To prevent ground faults, you must ensure that the electrical system is properly grounded and that the insulation is regularly inspected and maintained. Additionally, GCBs with ground fault protection can help to prevent these occurrences.

4. Faulty GCB

Sometimes, the GCB itself may be faulty, causing it to trip unnecessarily. This can be caused by a malfunction in its sensing or control mechanisms.

To prevent this, you must regularly inspect and maintain the GCB. Additionally, those with advanced diagnostic features can help identify any potential faults before they cause a trip.

5. External Factors

GCBs can be tripped by a variety of outside factors as well, including but not limited to lightning strikes, power surges, and other electrical disturbances. These situations are frequently difficult to forecast and may be difficult to avoid altogether.

It is vital to install surge protection devices as well as lightning arresters in order to reduce the negative impacts that are caused by outside influences. In addition, doing routine maintenance and tests can assist in identifying any potential problems before they trigger a trip of the GCB.


GCBs are an important component of electrical power systems, and their proper functioning is crucial for the reliability and safety of the system. Tripping of GCBs can be caused by various reasons, including overloading, short circuits, ground faults, faulty GCBs, and external factors. To prevent them from tripping, you must ensure that the electrical system is properly designed, installed, and maintained. Regular testing and maintenance of the GCB can also help to identify any potential issues before they cause a trip.

By taking these precautions, power system operators can ensure the continued reliable operation of their systems.

If you are looking for a company that offers electrical services in Lethbridge, look no further than our expertise here at Passey Electric. Whether it be new construction or maintenance, we have the tools and ability to help you with your needs. From new services and new homes to Hot tubs and lighting upgrades, we can do it all! Call us today, and let us tend to your circuit breakers in no time!