ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals
ECN Shout Chat
Shout Box
Recent Posts
New fan motor for Panasonic
by HotLine1. 06/25/19 03:53 PM
Burning out of return(white) side of 120volt rec
by crselectric. 06/14/19 02:15 AM
Video door bell causing chime activation of coil
by JoeTestingEngr. 06/13/19 12:43 PM
Troubleshooting Voltage Drop Across Relay
by gfretwell. 06/09/19 11:49 AM
Apple Recalls Three-Prong Wall Plug Adapters
by Admin. 06/05/19 09:06 PM
New in the Gallery:
What is this for?
Plug terminals
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 13 guests, and 9 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rating: 5
Page 1 of 6 1 2 3 4 5 6
Arc Fault Breakers #181651
10/21/08 05:14 PM
10/21/08 05:14 PM
harold endean  Offline OP
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233
Boonton, NJ
Just have to hear it from the field. How many people out there have installed AF Breakers? Any problems with tripping? Any horror stories? Anybody have a tripped breaker that they went back out to and found a problem? I would like to hear anybody about any story about arc fault breakers.

Thank you!

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Arc Fault Breakers [Re: harold endean] #181654
10/21/08 05:54 PM
10/21/08 05:54 PM
HotLine1  Offline

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,092
Brick, NJ USA
We have a 55+ condo developement that has AFCI CB's for the bedrooms. It was 'per spec' install as AFCI is not mandatory (yet).

To the best of my knowledge, there have been no issues. Yes, this is new construction.

Re: Arc Fault Breakers [Re: HotLine1] #181656
10/21/08 06:09 PM
10/21/08 06:09 PM
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
I've only had one job with AFCI's ....

For the most part, they went in with no problems that a little troubleshooting couldn't quickly find and fix.

One of the bedroom lighting circuits was a different matter, though. No matter how we searched, we could not find the cause of the triping. In the end, we cheated, put in a regular breaker, and simply labled it 'lighting.'

We speculate that the complexity of the circuit ..... a multitude of dimmers, three-way switches, and fan/light combos .... may have been the cause of the problem.

That job was a good five years ago - I try not to get involved in new home construction - and things have worked well so far.

Re: Arc Fault Breakers [Re: renosteinke] #181661
10/21/08 10:47 PM
10/21/08 10:47 PM
schenimann  Offline
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 193
Western North Carolina
I have put in several of them.

In new resi, there are unually no problems if it is wired correctly(no shared neutrals). I had to troubleshoot my own wiring once. Took me several hours(up and down the stairs to reset the breaker)until I finally found a shared neutral in a switch box. I learned that lesson. More of a problem is just bad breakers. I will put power on the house and they won't hold. I replace it and everything is good.

The bigger problem is remodels and additions. You can't just find a hot in the attic or crawl somewhere and tap on because you don't know how its wired.

The last issue is panel space. With the 08 code, you can end up with several afci breakers in the panel. They are not small but rather crowd into the neutral and ground bars.

I don't have any real horror stories, just a bunch of "Ahh Crap" stories.

Re: Arc Fault Breakers [Re: schenimann] #181667
10/22/08 09:15 AM
10/22/08 09:15 AM
Zapped  Offline
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 482
Huntington Beach, CA, USA
For at least the last 4 years, we've had to put them on all bedroom circuits here in Orange County, CA. This usually requires 2 to 4 AFCI's per panel.

As Reno stated, I have also had problems with the lighting circuits, and dimmers seem to be the common thread when those problems arise. I'm not an engineer, but it seems to me that perhaps chopping the wave form, as most dimmers do, creates a "bug" for the AFCI system that causes problematic tripping.

I also got a call about a month after completion of a new construction home related to a constantly tripping AFCI breaker. I performed every test imaginable, including a megger, on the home-run portion of the circuit, and each branch (while isolated), and was unable to find a problem. A new AFCI lasted about another month before it started doing the same thing. I had to finally conclude that something the resident was plugging in was causing the problem, and just replaced the unit with a standard breaker. Problem solved, although I'll admit to cheating it.

Conclusion? AFCIs are not completely ready for the '08 NEC requirement. There are technical issues that the manufacturers need to iron out and, IMHO, the NEC jumped the gun on this one.

Also, there's the issue of panel space. They have yet to develop/release a tandum AFCI.

Re: Arc Fault Breakers [Re: Zapped] #181674
10/22/08 08:54 PM
10/22/08 08:54 PM
EV607797  Offline
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
Fredericksburg, VA, USA
I avoid new construction too, but since I really only do service work anymore, I encounter a lot of problems with installations done by others. Most recently, I went to a pretty big house (2 yrs. old) that had three 200 amp, 40 ckt. panels. The original EC put all heavy loads (furnaces, heat pumps, ranges, etc.) in one panel, GPA and medium-duty circuits in the second one and all lighting/SA circuits in the third. There were eight AFCI breakers all together on one side of the panel that were tripping randomly and for no apparent reason. These were Square D QO panels.

I couldn't find anything wrong, so I contacted Square D. About a week later, they contacted me and suggested that I separate the AFCI breakers by one space to see what happened. There was plenty of room in the panel to do this, so all I needed to do was put in some blank filler plates. I wasn't crazy about doing this since it threw the load balance off, so I did the same thing on the other side of the panel with the standard breakers, just staggering them on opposite poles.

We never had another problem after that. They suggested that we try to minimize grouping AFCI breakers side-by side for more than two at a time due to potential heat. I never followed up after that except to stick to that rule with any brand from there on-out.

I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so I'd prefer to keep all similar breaker types grouped together. I like to start at the top with the two-pole breakers, largest on top. I then like to start at the bottom of the panel with single-pole 15's, then 20's above those. Any blank spaces are left in the middle so growth can fill in while still maintaining this arrangement. I guess I'll have to adapt.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
Re: Arc Fault Breakers [Re: EV607797] #181678
10/23/08 12:46 PM
10/23/08 12:46 PM
gfretwell  Online Content

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,368
Did it fix anything

Greg Fretwell
Re: Arc Fault Breakers [Re: gfretwell] #181682
10/23/08 01:54 PM
10/23/08 01:54 PM
pdh  Offline
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 354
So when the next NEC requires AFCI for nearly every circuit in the house, how will you stagger the breakers?

Re: Arc Fault Breakers [Re: pdh] #181683
10/23/08 02:20 PM
10/23/08 02:20 PM
SolarPowered  Offline
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 625
Palo Alto, CA, USA
Originally Posted by pdh
So when the next NEC requires AFCI for nearly every circuit in the house, how will you stagger the breakers?

That's what the 84-circuit panels are for... wink

Re: Arc Fault Breakers [Re: harold endean] #181685
10/23/08 04:19 PM
10/23/08 04:19 PM
walrus  Offline
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 680
Bangor Me. USA
I've installed 2, one for the lights and smokes in my bedroom and one for general circuits. Haven't had any real issues. I do have to run an extension cord outside the bedroom to run my treadmill. It will trip the AFCI everytime

Page 1 of 6 1 2 3 4 5 6


2017 Master Electrician Exam Preparation Combos
2017 NEC Electrician
Exam Prep Combos:
Master / Journeyman


Member Spotlight
Posts: 47
Joined: March 2008
Show All Member Profiles 
Top Posters(30 Days)
Admin 2
Khombo 2
Popular Topics(Views)
255,884 Are you busy
191,858 Re: Forum
181,623 Need opinion
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.1
(Release build 20180101)
Page Time: 0.041s Queries: 16 (0.014s) Memory: 1.0345 MB (Peak: 1.2170 MB) Zlib enabled. Server Time: 2019-06-27 11:09:32 UTC