I've just installed a subpanel in my attached garage. The rough in has passed inspection, however my main panel has standard breakers and has never had fault finding interrupter breakers in it, and was installed in 1990's.
The subpanel has the bonding screw removed and the ground is terminated to the subpanel box and goes to the main panel box with the neutral connected to the subpanel neutral bar and goes to the main panel neutral bar. The 2 hot wires go to a double poled breaker on the main panel bus. The main panel does have its bonding screw installed as required.
The main panel has the house ground attached to the neutral bar and then there is a ground wire running form the natural gas pipe then it connects to the copper water pipe and proceeds to the main panel and connects to the panel box. The situation is when the arc fault breakers are installed in the subpanel and turned on everything is fine until a load is applied to the subpanel circuit and the breaker trips immediately.
The loads used at the time was a chop saw, garage lights, and plugging my iPhone into its charger on the circuit.
When trouble shooting I have also disconnected the neutral and ground lines feeding the subpanel and checked between the neutral and ground for any shorts. None of the grounds have any shorts to the neutral.
I've been reading up on what could cause this and have not found a concrete answer to this problem. What I have come up with are these 2-thoughts.
- On the circuits of the subpanel has one switch box that is fed by two separate supply circuits. One runs the garage lights and the other runs outside lighting and accent lights in the studio in the garage. Would having the grounds at this box from both circuits being joined together and including the switch box cause this kind of problem?
- Could a neutral short to ground in one of the circuits of the main panel case this problem? If so then how does one find the circuit with the short?
Now if I were to turn the main breaker off in the main panel, remove the incoming neutral wire from the neutral bar, remove the bonding screw, unplug everything that has a plug in the house and then with my meter see if the ground and neutral are isolated from each other or is there a neutral short to ground in one of the circuits keeping them connected. I know this doesn't tell me which one, or is there a very simple way of detecting a Neutral to Ground Short with in multiple circuits?