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
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.
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.
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.
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).]
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.