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#63202 - 03/11/06 12:31 AM AFCI Tripping under loads  
Trick440  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 248
Waterford, MI, USA
Arc faults tripping under loads. Why is this? Tight staples?

I have seen this happen with Cuttler hammer, seimens, and GE breakers.

You can't even trouble shoot this problem.

I have a simple, easy... and illegal way to correct the problem...but like I said its not the correct way.

I hate AFCIs.


Shake n Bake

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#63203 - 03/11/06 01:47 AM Re: AFCI Tripping under loads  
macmikeman  Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
Honolulu, Hawaii
Trick you have a connection between the neutral and a ground someplace in your circuit. When current is drawn at this point in the circuit, the afci kicks off. Happy hunting, and please don't yank the afci's until the code allows it. (probably a matter of time)


#63204 - 03/11/06 02:17 AM Re: AFCI Tripping under loads  
Sixer  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 265
Canada
I ran into this once too, but my problem was simple. Hopefully your's will be this simple.

AFCI would trip when any load was applied. I pulled apart connections ensuring a good connection and everything checked out fine. I thought I would try another breaker, and when I went to remove the breaker with the wires still in, the black wire was loose. The wire was actually behind the lug in the breaker, so the screw wasn't compressing it. I put the wire in properly (and also checked the other breakers, which were fine) then tested the circuit......no more tripping. Sometimes the obvious can stump you.


Sixer

"Will it be cheaper if I drill the holes for you?"

#63205 - 03/11/06 07:15 AM Re: AFCI Tripping under loads  
briselec  Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 141
Brisbane, Australia
Quote
Trick you have a connection between the neutral and a ground someplace in your circuit. When current is drawn at this point in the circuit, the afci kicks off.


Don't you mean a GFCI??


#63206 - 03/11/06 07:36 AM Re: AFCI Tripping under loads  
winnie  Offline
Member
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
boston, ma
A standard part of AFCI breakers is ground fault detection. Unless it is a combination AFCI/GFCI, the 'pickup' level will be much higher than in a GFCI, but it is still ground fault detection, and a neutral to neutral 'fault' will trip the device.

-Jon


#63207 - 03/11/06 11:35 AM Re: AFCI Tripping under loads  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
Lest we forget...there are a few things out there that fool the afci into thinking there's a problem- where there isn't one.

These appliances include dimmers, ceiling fans, and electronic ballasts.


#63208 - 03/11/06 12:35 PM Re: AFCI Tripping under loads  
macmikeman  Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
Honolulu, Hawaii
Reno, I keep hearing about fans, dimmers, ballasts, etc, and I believe you about it, but I myself have yet to have witnessed any problems with any of the above items causing trips on an afci. One thing I have seen though is older, well used multi plug surge protector strips that were causing false trips on the afci bedroom circuit. Replacing those fixed the problem.


#63209 - 03/11/06 05:13 PM Re: AFCI Tripping under loads  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
Mac, perhaps I ought to explain my statement a bit.
With AFCI's, I have had but one circuit (out of maybe 20) that instantly tripped the AFCI, yet otherwise seemed perfectly OK. As you might guess, this was on a lighting circuit that had lots of dimmers.
I also have had a dimmer switch once fool a GFI into thinking there was a problem.

My general statement about fans, ballasts, and dimmers (as well as surge supressors, and a few things I can't remember) comes direct from the local Cutler-Hammer rep.

Recently, I did some work in a new home that, disregarding the NEC, had only the bedroom receptacles on AFCI breakers. Since our local code pretty much follows the NEC, I can only conclude that the inspector failed to notice this. I'm also willing to bet the tract developer did it deliberately, so as to avoid call-backs.


#63210 - 03/11/06 10:41 PM Re: AFCI Tripping under loads  
e57  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
S.F.,CA USA
C-H and SqD have list of "Known Equipment Conflicts" i.e. items that just plain ol' won't work no matter what you do. You can call and ask if an item is on thier list, and thier reply is "well sorry..."

Things I have found that wont work are Vaccum Cleaners, most like variable speed motor contols in say power tools and the like, some brands and makes of plasma and LCD screens (TV's and monitors), and yep some dimmers and other types of controls. I have torn my hair out looking for some of the "wiring defects" that could cause a trip, only to find that some breakers just wont work with some things. Now I just call before I go any further. As most of those things will trip right away...

IMO these things are still in thier infantcy, remember it took years for them to get a GFI that worked well with some things.


SqD actually told me that I had to get a newer lot number, and had to get it shipped from them because it had not made it into the supply system yet. Charged me for it too.


Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#63211 - 03/12/06 09:59 PM Re: AFCI Tripping under loads  
Trick440  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 248
Waterford, MI, USA
With my problem its not a matter of a dimmer, fan or whatever. The AFCI will trip whenever there is any load put on the circuit.

Plug a drill or any other device into any plug on the circuit and it will trip.


Shake n Bake

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