If you own one of the Ideal AFCI testers, they are offering a new upgrade for them that will run until June of 2011. They say that they will now be able to trip all the newest C/AFCI's from all manufaturers. I don't think this means they will be equivelant to the test button on the CB, but at least they will work. Ideal AFCI Tester Upgrade
Adding to that, with all the proprietary cloak and dagger voodoo behind AFCI protection, I would ask how do we even know that the AFCI circuit breakers own circuitry will work as intended at that 500 ft. distance, since no UL listed remote field verifiable test equipment for these actually exists. The test button on the AFCI cb or device seems to only test the circuitry at the point of supply. So it appears that the industry is operating entirely on the premise that the manufacturers say they will work… and that is it. Are they possibly attempting to use the similar situation that exists for GFCI’s and using GFCI “testers” to keep the super secret AFCI design under wraps for good?
A tester that creates the signature of the sort of fault this class of protective device should be enough to tell if the various devices being tested work or not. After all, an actual fault event isn't likely to replicate exactly a company's proprietary fault signature. "Oh, our ACFI didn't trip because the fault that started that fire didn't match our proprietary fault signature".