"The only approved test method ..." Boy, has that line opened a pandora's box.
I've seen it regularly used at another forum in reference to GFCI's ... which is simply wrong. GFCI testers ARE approved means for testing GFCI's, at least according to UL.
As regards AFCI's, one of my objections has been the 'proprietary' nature of the devices. For all I know, the test button is simply an on/off switch! Hello, counterfeits! If the car companies can provide the accessory market with detailed specifications that allow the consumer to get perfectly fitting floormats and car covers, there's no reason the AFCI makers cannot also provide information to tester makers.
I welcome Ideal's efforts in this matter. I also welcome the way this discussion has reminded us that every test method has limitations.
I sent my two year old unit in a couple of weeks ago along with a check for $75.00 and Ideal sent me a brand new one with the updated firmware. The circuit tester is more of a convenience item for me, which I do actually use every once in a while, so I thought it was a pretty good deal. The last time around, Ideal replaced it for free, but I imagine that is getting cost prohibitive with the frequent tweaking that AFCI manufactures keep doing to try and make their junk science work they way they claim it should.