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SO I am having a rather odd issue with 4 particular breakers tripping. The cause of the trip has changed, let me explain.

Last night, I first noticed that whenever I started to play a game on my computer it would trip the breaker to the bedroom where the computer is located. Upon further inspection of the breaker box I noticed that the breaker for the dishwasher and disposal had also been tripped although it was not in use. Then later that same night when I tried to use the microwave the breaker for the vent hood tripped.

We had electricians out today thinking it was due to faulty breakers after we had a slight power surge a few nights previous. The odd thing was that now I couldn't get the breaker fro the bedroom to trip playing a game as I could several times the night before. The venthood breaker was replaced and tested while the electricians were here. After installing a brand new breaker it also tripped while turning on the microwave. They looked at the electrical socks and wires and al seemed fine. Then for the remainder of their time here everything worked just fine and for long periods of time. They even placed the original breaker back in for the venthood and everything worked. Once they left I went to my computer to end the game that had been playing and the breaker for the bedroom tripped upon ending the game, opposite of what it did the night before. When I originally went and looked at the breakers after ending the game I noticed that the bedroom and venthood breakers were tripped though we hadn't used the microwave at all. Once I resent the breakers everything worked just fine. The electricians came back out and replaced the breaker to the bedroom and even ran tests on the microwave, fridge and dishwasher and disposal. All were fine and everything was working as it should. So the electricians leave again.

Now a few hours later I do the dishes and run the washer. SO far so good. I run the disposal and the breaker trips as soon as I turn it on. I try and run the microwave and that breaker trips followed by the one tied into the fridge when trying to tun on the coffee maker.

I'm extremely baffled and honestly am afraid to use this stuff in my house in fear of it tripping a breaker. I have not yet tested the bedroom breaker that was replaced yet though.

The other thing I noticed was that last night the bedroom breaker did have a blink code....I don't remember how many times it was blinking....but today it didn't have a blink code at all after being tripped. Also the venthood blink code was 2 but then after the most recent trip it is now only one blink. The Dishwasher and Disposal didn't blink at all.

I know this is probably a lot of info but as the electricians were stumped and basically saying the best bet would be to replace all the breakers that were causing issues and if that didn't work it would be rewiring the house, does anyone else know what might be happening here. According to the electrician the box is good and none of the affected breakers are connected in anyway.

Pictures of my panel as well as two videos I took of the panel and the blink codes.

Video: https://1drv.ms/v/s!AhOEgpAR2lNUn1x8uHYSP1MkOEy_?e=5GfJFt Video: https://1drv.ms/v/s!AhOEgpAR2lNUn1ssfoK_Wz8xkN4d?e=X3TQwd Image: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AhOEgpAR2lNUn1pIc33tGU1GEnIT?e=aAxJq6

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  • There are three things that can trip a breaker: Sudden large surge (e.g., 100 A on a 20 A breaker), slow, steady overload (e.g., 22 A for 5 minutes on a 20 A breaker), or for a GFCI breaker, a ground fault. You'll have to state which is the cause. Jan 18 at 1:52
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    Can you edit your post to add a photo of your panel? Most people post photos from a different device and that goes badly if they haven't registered their account. Do that from the original web browser you used to ask the original question. Jan 18 at 1:59
  • @DrMoishePippik and # 4 - an Arc Fault AFCI. Jan 18 at 2:17
  • @DrMoishePippik that is the thing I have no idea why the breakers are tripping. They are 20 A breakers and only trip when something is turned on or possibly when there is a fluctuation in electrical current. For example, last night the breaker for the bedroom was tripping when I'd start a game. Starting the game would increase power consumption by the computer because the graphics card would kick on. However today the only time so far that it tripped was when exiting a game which would then cause the graphics card to not be used and therefore the computer wouldn't pull as much electricity.
    – TB3
    Jan 18 at 2:30
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    That's Eaton CH. Great panel. The green are CAFCI breakers such as CHFCAF120 and the blue are dual-purpose CAFCI+GFCI breakers such as CHFN120DF. Docs here. images.thdstatic.com/catalog/pdfImages/db/… Jan 18 at 4:04

1 Answer 1

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They are correctly detecting an undiagnosed arc fault

Suppose for some reason your house had eight radon detectors. And four of them went off. You have to maybe at least a little, consider - maybe entertain, I mean you at least ought to include it in the troubleshooting tree... the possibility that you have, you know, radon LOL.

So you have multiple AFCIs tripping. You also have AFCIs tripping when unrelated circuits are being used.

So here is the "X-factor" with AFCIs. They have several operating modes... but one of them is (almost literally) listening to the power line for the sounds of arcing. You've heard it, it's the crinkle-crunch sound of a loose connection e.g. in headphones or speakers e.g. when plugging in or wiring up. As a result, AFCIs can "hear" strong arcing on other circuits.

This provides a clue as to what's going on.

The arcing could be occurring on another circuit. However it could also be on the main feed wiring from the pole (it's even possible for it to be the power company's own service drop, as they sometimes crack inside their clamps).

Now on the first video, listen carefully to the sounds around the breaker snap:

  • (turns breaker on)
  • clunk
  • BREAKER SNAP!
  • clunk
  • "huh."

That first clunk wasn't you. Something powered up. Then, for some reason it powered down, but from the ~500ms delay, I don't think it was due to power loss. I'd look closer into that.

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  • So you are saying that even though these circuits are not connected that the breakers could be tripping off of other circuits that are arcing even though that particular circuit isn't arcing?
    – TB3
    Jan 18 at 20:21
  • Yes, the "audio" metaphor is really on-point. A "loud" arc on another circuit will be "heard" by other AFCI breakers. It will be attenuated somewhat by going through the other AFCI and this one, but that's no better than a door - you can still hear yelling. Jan 18 at 21:06
  • OK, so that would explain why when a breaker would Tripp there might have been a separate one tripping with it. I'm in contact with EATON to get my other 3 breakers replaced through warranty. Once I get them I'll have the electrician come back and replace them. If the continue to trip he stated that it could be an issue with the appliance at that point.
    – TB3
    Jan 18 at 21:23
  • LOL well I guess. you could try that... I myself would start at what they all have in common, the service entrance wiring, and then focus on in-wall wiring problems in that circuit that has the code-1 trip. I bet every receptacle is backstabbed lol. Jan 18 at 21:49
  • I would but I don't have the experiance for that. I've lived here for almost 2 years without issue until now.
    – TB3
    Jan 18 at 22:46

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