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#45032 11/17/04 08:54 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 613
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I have two new houses I'm finishing and the ITE arc fault breakers won't trip with the little green Etcon tester. One house with 6 breakers and one with 5 breakers...10 of 11 will not trip with the tester. I have checked everything I know.

What do you guys use to test your arc fault breakers?

Has anybody else had the same trouble with ITE arc fault breakers?

I'm going to the supply house in the morning to get 10 replacements...on my gas and my time though [Linked Image]

shortcircuit

#45033 11/17/04 11:23 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
E
Member
Are you sure it's the breakers and not the tester. I know Siemens breakers aren't the best, but 10 of 11 seems like a high failure rate. Do they trip with the test button?

#45034 11/18/04 01:42 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 558
C
Member
What Etcon tester do you have? Etcon has had some issues with their AFCI testers.

Do the test buttons on the AFCI's work? If so then the AFCI's are working.

Curt


Curt Swartz
#45035 11/18/04 01:49 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 4,035
Likes: 1
Member
shortcircuit,

Before you do anything look at the following:
https://www.electrical-contractor.net/ubb/Forum14/HTML/000287.html


Bill
#45036 11/18/04 06:21 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 613
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Member
Bill...thanx for the info about the Etcon tester.That is the tester I use.The local inspector uses the little green Etcon tester to check the breakers. What other testers are available to test these AFCI breakers?

The breakers do trip with the test button on the breaker. I also tried to cross the neutral to ground at an outlet in the branch circuit to trip the breaker,but the breaker would not trip,and this test would trip an AFCI breaker in the past for me.

shortcircuit

#45037 11/18/04 11:44 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 4,035
Likes: 1
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First thing I would do is print out that info and give it to the Inspector if that's the tester he uses. Then you could look for another tester if you want.

The N - G thing you were trying would only be testing the GFCI characteristic of the AFCI. You can do the same thing with a GFCI tester.

Bill


Bill
#45038 11/18/04 12:05 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 558
C
Member
I think the manufactures must have increased the current of the ground fault protection recently. I was previously able to always trip AFCI's by connecting a wiggy between the hot and EGC but this doesn't work anymore at least with the new Square D breakers. The tester you have is probably only testing the GFP circuit of the AFCI.

I don't think and inspector can require you to test AFCI's tested with a tester. That's what the test button is for. Push the test button then check to make sure all the required outlets are de-energized.


Curt Swartz
#45039 11/18/04 03:33 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 613
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I called Etcon today and they said that their isn't anything wrong with the AF120 tester, that it only did not have the proper UL stamp on the tester case they used when they first manurfactured them in 2002.They said that there is no recall or safety hazard from useing the tester.The guy at Etcon said that the tester applies a 10ma fault which causes the breaker to trip.He said this fault is from ground to hot. What do you think Bill?

Also I traced the date code on the ITE AFCI breakers and found that they were manurfactured in October 2004...I went back to the supply house and found some on the shelf made in August 2004 and installed them at the job and they tripped with the AFCI tester.

caselec...All the inspectors use testers for the GFCI and AFCI breakers...and they won't accept a job unless the tester trips the breaker.

shortcircuit

#45040 11/18/04 05:14 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,148
R
Member
If all it does it to apply a 10 mA ground fault, then you are not testing the AFCI. All you are testing is the ground fault part of the AFCI. Also most of the things that I have read about AFCIs say that the ground fault trip setting is 30 to 50 mA.
If the test button on the AFCI works, the AFCI is OK.
Don

[This message has been edited by resqcapt19 (edited 11-18-2004).]


Don(resqcapt19)
#45041 11/18/04 05:34 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 4,035
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The info came from UL: http://www.ul.com/media/newsrel/nr092402.html

If it only tests with a 10ma ground fault it is not testing the AFCI function. There are other testers which test by actually producing an arc.

As caselec says, I think that the first AFCIs we saw were more sensitive to ground faults than the ones that are being made today. This would explain why your tester doesn't work with newer AFCI Breakers.

Here's some info from Siemens that supports this:
http://www.sea.siemens.com/reselec/product/rzafcifaq.html#11

Notice the following in particular:
Quote
AFCIs produced before July 2002 have a threshold between 7mA and 12mA, and AFCI produced after July 2002 have a differential threshold closer to 30mA.

Bill



[This message has been edited by Bill Addiss (edited 11-18-2004).]


Bill
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