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How To Keep a 3D Printer From Tripping the Breaker

Is your 3D printer tripping the breaker? Learn actionable steps to safeguard your electrical circuit and maintain steady printing.

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3D printers don’t require too much power to function properly, but in some cases, they might overload your circuit, leaving you wondering why such a small device keeps tripping the breaker. There are several potential causes of this issue, and some might indicate a safety hazard in your home, so investigating and fixing the issue is of the utmost importance. 

The best way to keep a 3D printer from tripping the breaker is to ensure you don’t overload the circuit. To do this, don’t plug any other devices into your 3D printer’s power outlet, and ensure that the 3D printer’s power supply is within range of your outlet.

So, let’s talk more about why your 3D printer may frequently trip the breaker. I’ll tell you the most common causes and the easiest, most effective solutions so you can keep your printer running without affecting your electricity. 

What Causes a 3D Printer To Trip the Breaker and How To Fix It

There are many reasons your 3D printer may trip a breaker in your home. So, before we get into how to fix it, let’s start with why it may be happening to give you a better understanding of what’s going on. 

Your 3D Printer Is Using Too Many Amps

One of the main reasons a circuit breaker trips is because of a power overload. Your typical home circuits can handle anywhere between 15 and 20 amps. 

However, that doesn’t mean you can use up to 15 or 20 amps for each circuit. Breakers can only handle about 80% of their total amperage. 

When you get to or above that 80% amperage range, your circuit breaker will trip to prevent an overload. 

When you consider this with your 3D printer’s amperage, you may find that you are using too much power. 

For example, popular printers such as the Ender 3 have a maximum power output of 15 amps, which is the maximum for some circuits or outlets. So, with a 3D printer, you may be pushing the boundaries of what your electrical system can do. 

How To Fix

It is crucial to ensure you are not overloading the circuit breaker, as this is the most common cause of the breaker tripping. Combining its use of energy with lights, computers, televisions, and other electronics can quickly add up to more than 80% of your circuit’s capacity. 

Try turning off or unplugging other electronics when using your 3D printer. 

Remember that large appliances like refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers, and others can use a lot of amperages. So, keep your 3D printer in another room separate from these items to keep the breaker from tripping. 

Your Home Has Faulty Wiring

Another common cause of a tripping breaker is faulty wiring. If your outlet or 3D printer has some disconnection in the wiring, it can be dangerous. It could cause overheating and even a fire if left plugged in. 

Because of the danger this can cause, once the circuit recognizes the overheating and potential threat, it will trip to protect your devices and your home from damage. 

If this is the case, you will most likely notice some damage to the outlet, cord, plug, or other parts of the device that can indicate overheating. Another common thing you may notice if faulty wiring is the culprit is a burning smell. 

While it may be tricky to determine if the smell is from printing or a wiring issue, you’ll notice that a smell from crispy wiring persists even after the printer is off. This smell is a dangerous sign that a fire can or has already happened. So, stay alert.

How To Fix

First, check your printer’s wiring for exposed metal, melting, or disconnected contact points. If you find any, see if you can fix them by replacing the part they connect to. 

However, if the melted wire is the one that plugs into your power outlet, you may need to return it to the manufacturer and get a refund or a new printer. If the warranty is outdated or they won’t provide a replacement, you may need to consider buying a new one. 

If the problem is faulty wiring in your home, then that is something you need to have an electrician handle. Fixing household electrical systems can get expensive, depending on the extent of the damage, but it’s well worth it. 

After all, you don’t want your home going up in flames because of a 3D printer. 

So, contact an electrician if you believe your home’s internal wiring may be at fault for the breaker tripping. 

Bad Circuit Breaker

If you can’t find any issues with the total amperage or faulty wiring, you may be dealing with a bad breaker. 

There are a few different things to look for in a bad circuit breaker. First, if the breaker trips a lot, its sensitivity may be causing the issue.

The best way to determine if this is the issue is to move the 3D printer to another room and try it there. If the breaker still trips, you know it has to do with amperage or wiring, but the breaker may be to blame if the issue is specific to a single room or outlet. 

You may notice that the breaker is warm when you try to flip it back. You may also notice that the breaker looks worn or damaged. Each of these can be indicative of a bad breaker. 

How To Fix

Circuit breakers are not difficult to fix if you have some electrical experience, but they can be dangerous for beginners. 

To try it yourself, you must purchase a new circuit breaker. You will need to ensure that the new one is the brand and size of the one you have currently, as it will need to match the others to work properly. 

If you decide to replace the breaker yourself, make sure that you turn off the power first to prevent injury. After that, it is simply a matter of unscrewing the old breaker and attaching the new one. 

Still, it would be best if you were careful not to disturb any wires during the process. Alternatively, an electrician can replace the piece if you don’t want to risk it. 

Final Thoughts

While 3D printers are a great way to create new things, they can cause issues with your circuit breaker. Remember, working with electricity can be dangerous. If the problem is not your 3D printer but your home’s breakers or wiring, I always recommend hiring an electrician.

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About Ben

I started 3D printing since 2013 and have learned a lot since then. Because of this I want to share my knowledge of what I have learned in the past years with the community. Currently I own 2 Bambulab X1 Carbon, Prusa SL1S and a Prusa MK3S+. Hope you learn something from my blog after my years of experience in 3D printing.