Hot answers tagged

45

Defective receptacle. Kill it with fire, before it kills you with fire. And if it has backstab connections (wires jabbed in back holes that auto-grab them) this is a good time to get rid of em. Because they cause this kind of mischief too.


19

Chances are about 90% that you have a loose connection in the outlet. If I had to guess, I'd say it is a "stab-in" wire connection on the back of the outlet (as opposed to the wire attaching with a screw), so that when you plug something into that outlet, it pushes the connector tighter onto the wire to complete the connection, but when you remove it, the ...


7

Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) An arc-fault circuit interruption device is designed to detect dangerous arcing within the protected circuit, and open (turn off) the circuit to prevent damage caused by the arcing. It does this using special circuitry to analyse the electrical characteristics of the circuit, looking for characteristics that match ...


7

The AFCI wire needs to connect to the neutral bus. Put it on the other side, or add on to the length of the wire with a wirenut.


6

Some surge protectors work by "redirecting" surges to the equipment ground, which is pretty much the definition of a ground fault. In this case, it's definitely possible that surge suppressors could be tripping GFCI receptacles/breakers (given a large enough surge). As for the AFCIs... When electrical contacts separate, they often create an arc between ...


6

National Electrical Code 2014 requires ground-fault protection for personnel in dwelling units for all 120 volt, single phase, 15 and 20 ampere receptacles installed in the following locations: Bathrooms. Garages Accessory buildings with floors at or below grade that are not intended as habitable rooms. Outdoors, except where receptacles on dedicated ...


6

For all new construction residential dwellings the answer is not too complicated. For older homes with existing wiring the answer is not as easy. A qualified electrician would need to assess the wiring conditions and even then only by trail and error could they determine if ARC-fault protection would be able to work. In some cases using an ARC-Fault ...


6

This could happen if the bedroom wall switch controls both the switched outlet and the overhead light, and is also a digital switch without a neutral wire. Try putting incandescent bulbs back in the overhead light, and if that fixes it (I'm assuming they're currently LED or fluorescent), then we have a better idea of what your problem is and how to help. ...


5

Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) receptacles are similar to Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) receptacles, in that they both operate on the Line / Load idea. When connecting an AFCI receptacle, downstream devices are only protected if they are connected to the Load side of the device. If devices are connected in parallel using pigtails on the Line ...


4

Combination-type AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacles (and breakers, too) are generally be designed to trip when any of the following conditions are met: Series-arc (arcs between hot and neutral/ground) Parallel arc (arcs where a single wire (hot or neutral) has a defect, or bad connection) Ground Faults (generally > 40 mA of unbalanced current) ...


4

For everyone's info, and because it could help someone else, here is the actual answer in my case. While I had connected the white wire coming out of the AFCI to the ground bar, I hadn't connected the neutral from the circuit to the AFCI. In my case it was because I didn't realize the extra screw terminal was actually there and the documentation wasn't ...


4

You'd have to remove the bonding jumper, and install a separate grounding bar. Notice in this image, there are clearly separate grounding bars installed.


4

There is no advantage and it adds an annoyance factor. Both breaker and GFCI outlet will both trip on ground fault. But the user has to remember the breaker must be reset first.


4

Mystery solved. We had a bit of a Car Allergic to Vanilla Ice Cream problem. Turns out the bedroom outlet is on the same switch as the basement lights. Whenever I went down to the basement and flipped a breaker, I left the basement lights on when I came back upstairs, since I was planning on going back down to flip the breaker back. So, because the basement ...


4

Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) receptacles only provides sufficient arc fault detection and protection in the portion of the circuit downstream from the receptacle. If AFCI receptacles offered adequate protection for the full circuit, you could install one receptacle and be done. However, NEC requirements for AFCI protection where an AFCI receptacle ...


4

Your plan will work. Some AFCI's have length restrictions to the first outlet Branch circuit 50' for 14 awg wire and 70' for 12awg NEC 210.12.A.3.B & 210.12.A.4.B. using one installed at the first outlet and installed according to manufacturer instructions you can complete your plan within code.


4

No -- the 2014 NEC only calls out AFCIs for 120V, 15 and 20A outlets -- the dryer is 240V, so it doesn't need an AFCI. 210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection. Arc- fault circuit-interrupter protection shall be provided as required in 210.12(A) (B), and (C). The arc-fault circuit interrupter shall be installed in a readily accessible location. ...


4

You may be thinking of GFCI, whose purpose is to protect humans from shocks, and is mostly relevant on receptacles. The purpose of AFCI is to protect structures from bad wiring by tripping when wires arc from a bad connection. That is relevant anywhere there is wiring. In fact, it's a pretty good substitute for rewiring buildings with problem wiring, ...


4

There is an easy way to find out if your AFCI is bad. Disconnect the circuit but not the neutral from the breaker and see if it resets. If it does reset your AFCI is working and somewhere in your circuit you are getting an arc. Exactly where can take some work. Employ the normal troubleshooting method of disconnecting half of the devices and see if the ...


4

The side screws may have come loose, possibly because the outlet was improperly mounted. Once you've verified the power is off, unscrew the outlet from the box and make sure they haven't come loose. If your outlet isn't screwed securely to the box (or there's a gap that prevents that) you're pushing (or pulling) solely against the wires now. Over time, they ...


3

Plugging the vacuum into a surge suppressor with EMI filtering, should prevent the vacuum from tripping the breaker. However, if the vacuum is overloading the circuit, no filter will help. When I run my vacuum sweeper / paper shredder / treadmill / etc. it trips my AFCI. Eaton’s AFCI has been designed to work with devices with motors that are within ...


3

Turn off all loads on the circuits in question. Turn off the main for this panel. Possibly overcautious, but that's part of what's let me get old. Either: short the dead circuit, or turn on an incandescent bulb on it (main off, circuit dead, still dead - just the bulb/fixture/lamp turned on.) Pull neutrals and look for one with low resistance from the hot ...


3

While Tester101's answer was OK when it was written, the situation has changed now. CAFCI/GFCI dual function breakers (Square-D calls them DFCIs) are now widely available online through the big-box stores' websites; in fact, the green box nearest to me has the QO DFCI I linked in stock! Of course, any electrical supply house worth their weight will be able ...


3

An AFCI is a great addition to K&T wiring. While the conductors in K&T are separated by large distances, and even studs, they do come together at junction boxes which are often metallic. An AFCI adds a layer of peace of mind to the situation. Be sure to measure your K&T wire to determine gauge. It can take slightly more current than the modern ...


3

The AFCI worked as designed. It detected some small arc within the wiring and shut the circuit down. An AFCI has three detection modes: overcurrent, arcing and ground fault. Even a small amount of current imbalance will set the thing off. Be happy.


3

The dimmers are spewing radio-frequency hash into the power line, which confuses the AFCI into a false trip. It makes sense that it's more reproducible on an intermediate dimmer setting, because that's when the dimmer chops the line voltage aggressively, not when it's fully on or fully off. Bypass capacitors could help with this: 1 to 10 nF capacitors, X1/...


3

I think you are referring to a shared neutral/multi-wire branch circuit. These are commonly found in kitchens. They were and still are to code in many areas, but typically I believe their use is limited to kitchens. You should run a new cable back to the breaker box. If you were to run an independent cable then it is possible for it to break ...


3

Your electrician could add a SquareD sub panel that would have the four SquareD AFCI breakers, fed from the GE panel with a standard two pole breaker. AFCI breakers can be sensitive to certain loads. I've experienced problems with florescent lighting, power tools, and vacuum cleaners tripping the breaker.


3

If the AFCI was required in the first place, ie: the code in place when the circuit was originally installed (regardless if they are required now), then yes, removing it and replacing it with a standard breaker created a violation. The rest is a legal issue and not appropriate for this forum. Have your friend call the building dept for the ONLY accurate ...


3

Switches generate small, momentary arcs as part of their normal operation; AFCIs are designed to recognize and ignore these momentary arcs. However, holding the switch between positions (or taking a while to transition between positions) can lead to the arc sustaining itself, which damages the switch contacts and also causes the AFCI to trip because it sees ...


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