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AFCI dilema #192698 02/25/10 11:30 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 830
sparkync Offline OP
I rewired an old house a few months ago. The owner has not moved in as of yet, since a lot of remodeling had to be done. I wired the dining room circuit on a AFCI. The breaker had been tripping when a wet vac was plugged into the circuit. I traced the problem to one outlet on a shallow wall on the back side of a fireplace. Every time I would disconnect the feed to that outlet, everything worked fine. I went up into the attic and cut the wire just before it went down into the wall to the outlet. I tried plugging something into the other outlets on the circuit then and everything was fine. I then proceeded to fish another wire down to the outlet, assuming that there was a "nick" in one of the wires. This was of course after I had checked the outlet itself. After I fished the new wire down to the outlet and hooked it up, IT STILL TRIPPED THE BREAKER!!. Since I had already spent around 3 hours checking the different outlets etc.... I proceeded to put a regular breaker on that circuit for now. The only thing I can figure is, that when I was pulling the new wire down the wall, it got scraped or something on the way down. It was a rough pull since it was right against the concrete on the back side of the fireplace. Only problem with that thought is, that I checked the wire I pulled out and didn't see any evident signs of anything wrong with it. Does anyone have another idea other than the thought that I'm crazy?? It had to work with a new wire, right??? Only thing I would know to do would be to pull another new wire down and hope it don't scrape the same thing the other two may have come in contact with. The wall was sheetrocked and paneling was put up on the lower half of the wall. Possibly a nail??
After going through with that, I just got my tools up and went home.... Thanks

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Re: AFCI dilema [Re: sparkync] #192701 02/26/10 02:20 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 853
leland Offline
---tripping when a wet vac was plugged into the circuit.---

Before pulling the new cable,and after separating the rec. did you try the wet vac?
Did you swap out the breaker?

The AFCI- Mfg. aspect is far from perfect as of yet.

Probably a bad appliance.

Re: AFCI dilema [Re: leland] #192702 02/26/10 10:08 AM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 165
Rewire Offline
Did you eliminate the possibility of bad equipment ie plug in a radio and see if it trips?

Re: AFCI dilema [Re: Rewire] #192706 02/26/10 12:20 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,491
Texas_Ranger Offline
And if you can megger the cable run to find any traces of bad isolation.

Re: AFCI dilema [Re: Texas_Ranger] #192710 02/26/10 02:23 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 830
sparkync Offline OP
I switched the circuit to a breaker that was working, and it still tripped. I tried the wet vac in another AFCI circuit and it worked fine. There is nothing else plugged into the circuit, since no one is living there yet. I don't have a megger. Got to be something in that wall that is snagging the wire as it goes down or something they haven't discovered yet that's in the fireplace that triggers the AFCI's smile It's a mystery UIAIW (unidentified alien in wall) :0

Re: AFCI dilema [Re: sparkync] #192711 02/26/10 03:51 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,233
HotLine1 Offline
Just a thought; you say it's a "shallow" wall. I have to ask, what kind of device box? Metal? Shallow? Any chance there's an issue within the box/terminations/device??

Re: AFCI dilema [Re: HotLine1] #192714 02/26/10 06:40 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
KJay Offline
Of course, I'm not there to see things first hand, but my guess would be that you could change that wire all day long and it probably won't make a bit of difference.

What brand of AFCI cb are you using?
Does it have the diagnostic LEDs on it? Those could possibly give you some indication as to what's going on.

I guess you've already checked to be sure you don't have a grounding conductor touching the neutral anywhere or a neutral from another circuit spliced together with the neutral of that circuit.

Re: AFCI dilema [Re: KJay] #192716 02/26/10 08:24 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 165
Rewire Offline
if all else fails cut in a metal box and use MC. But first a few diagnostic steps, remove the receptacle outlet from the box and try the circuit,remove the receptacle from the wire,disconnect the wires at the junction box. If you grt to the last step and now are holding take your meter and do an Ohm check beteen hot-neutral,hot-ground,neutral-ground this would show if any short exists.

Re: AFCI dilema [Re: Rewire] #192723 02/27/10 11:27 AM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
KJay Offline
I guess as a last resort you could always invoke the words of Ronald Reagan, "Mr. General Contractor... tear down this wall". laugh

Either that or just tell them the plumber said he needs to run a 1/2-inch Pex line up the wall, then for some reason they won't hesitate to remove entire sections of wallboard if deemed necessary. grin

Re: AFCI dilema [Re: KJay] #192726 02/27/10 01:08 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,569
gfretwell Offline
If you really think it is something damaging your cable, fish MC.

Greg Fretwell
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