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Most AFCI questions here revolve around existing circuits, and AFCI Circuit breakers, but my situation is a little different.

Here's the details:

  • Renovation to add a half bath and laundry room in the basement
  • 2 of the 3 circuits require AFCI protection by code. No circuits in the house have had AFCI up until this point
  • They do not make AFCI breakers for my panel, hence I have had to use faceless branch circuit AFCI's, connected as per the pictureAFCI Panel Connections
  • One circuit is for lights and plugs, other circuit is dedicated for the washer
  • AFCI's both trip immediately when attempting to reset

Troubleshooting done:

  • Confirmed all wiring of the AFCI units
  • Found that grounding for the panel had been isolated by previous renovations that put PVC Pipes between where it was connected to the water main and where it actually goes into the ground (I have since addressed this and I am running a bonding cable to the water main at the entrance - I knew this needed to be done regardless...freaked me out a little discovering that!!)
  • AFCI's still tripping with this grounding addressed
  • I have swapped AFCI units around, no change
  • I have tried them on other breakers, no change
  • These are completely separate and newly run circuits - No shared Neutrals
  • I have completely removed the loads (load conductors removed at the AFCI units) No change
  • I have shut down all the other circuits in the panel to see if there was possible arcing on other circuits that the AFCI units were seeing - No Change
  • Bypassing the AFCI's: Circuits appear to work just fine

Other useful info:

  • about 60% of my branch circuits are aluminum (built 1975)...slowly working on removing these...
  • This is the main home panel, thus ground and Neutral are shared in the panel (However all branch circuits neutrals and grounds are run into the panel separately)

I am at a loss now...I figured that fixing the panel grounding and removing the loads would have at least got me to a starting point, but no dice.

I'm still a little suspicious of the units themselves but I'm more suspicious of my house given that I have two AFCI's and they are behaving the same.

I'm a little reluctant to bring in an electrician just yet for fear I'm missing something obvious...but that will be my next call.

Any suggestions??

  • Can I ask what make and model the panel is? – ThreePhaseEel Jul 9 '18 at 22:22
  • Also, what make and model are the OBC AFCIs in question? – ThreePhaseEel Jul 9 '18 at 22:23
  • What happens if you pull the wires off the LOAD terminals of the AFCI? Are you using backstab connections, screwdown-clamp, or J-hooked wires on the side screws? – Harper Jul 10 '18 at 4:24
  • Thanks for the questions guys. I don't have any identifier for the panel, but it takes QBH-style breakers (screw down), so I believe it is a CEB. As mentioned above, I completely removed the load wires off to no avail. make and model of the AFCIs are Leviton AFRBF-W. screwdown clamp on the wires terminated to the AFCI's, though I did have them J-hooked as well. @thr – Columba Jul 10 '18 at 6:20
  • @ThreePhaseEel sorry forgot to notify...getting used to this forum – Columba Jul 10 '18 at 6:26

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