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.


27

Not in your lifetime. Nah, it's cool. Eaton has owned Cutler Hammer since 1978. Alien breakers require immediate attention! BRLAFGF115 and BRLAFGF120 are fine. This looks like a Cutler Hammer "BR" 40-space panel that is full. The panel is perfect. Mergers & acquisitions are normal in that business. Eaton just chose to acquire Cutler-Hammer, instead ...


20

Dealing with the problem now: One of the first things to try is just swapping the breaker with an identical one in the same panel. In my experience, there's a lot of individual variation in the exact behavior of both AFCI breakers and appliances, that sometimes you can get the problem to go away just by using a different combination of individual components. ...


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 ...


14

What can happen... If you look closely at the way many AFCIs behave, they will trip on a gross ground fault. This is no accident; instead, they rely on this behavior to catch arcs-to-ground specifically (it's the same reason IEC systems use RCD protection panelwide). The converse of that is that an arc-to-ground will trip a GFCI as well. This is one reason ...


11

Don't ignore the possibility that this may be an actual fault in the appliance, or at least that the manufacturer may accept responsibility. I have had a similar issue with two different appliances (dishwasher and coffee machine) and in both cases the manufacturers agreed to treat it as a warranty issue. In one case they did a repair, and in the other they ...


10

Just got off the phone with both Leviton and Siemen! Thank you to Peter Duniho for having me file that AFCI Safety form, was super helpful in me getting in touch with Siemen! I'll put everything I've learned here so everyone else could potentially benefit from this. What can be the issue? False Positive: Some appliances have the tendency to produce a sine ...


9

GFCI and AFCI are as different as a seat belt, vs. the barrels on the highway that absorb impact energy if you would otherwise smash into a concrete bridge abutment. They are both vaguely about safety, but do totally different things. ThreePhaseEel discusses how some AFCIs include a limited GFPE capability, since it's a cheap way to detect some arc ...


9

Panels normally get replaced because more breakers are needed than are available in the existing panel or the total load requirements exceed the panel rating. Panels can also be replaced because the existing panel manufacturers have a history of inferior, unsafe products. You do not need to replace yours. Cutler Hammer makes great panels and Eaton has kept ...


9

Nope. Nope nope nope. You cannot use 210.12(A)(4) to put AFCI at an outlet. There are certain fairly rare cases where you can put AFCI at the first outlet. However, there is a misconception that has turned into a regular "old wives' tale", that one can skip the expensive AFCI breaker and just slap an ACFI recep at the first outlet. Oh no you can't! ...


8

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 ...


8

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.


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

Neutrals were crossed in the breaker panel. AFCI is happy now. Many many thanks 🙏 to everyone who took a few seconds from their busy day to help me.


6

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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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 ...


5

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 the FCC ...


5

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 ...


5

You're not on NEC 2020 yet, unless your state just adopted it. (MA has so far). Under NEC 2017, Code requires GFCI only in certain places (kitchen being one of those) and it generally does not require AFCI breakers in those places. The rationale being that providing both can be a technical challenge. So you probably do not require AFCI protection in the ...


5

Paint can act as an insulator so is it a hazard not normally. Wire nuts cut into the wire slightly so the nut itself makes contact if nothing else. Best practice would be to use a bit of sandpaper or scotch brite to clean the paint off and provide a better connection. In motors the red varnish is really thin. A 3m rep showed how well scotchlocks (there wire ...


5

Your grounds are certainly not the problem. More grounding is better, and an Ufer ground tied into the foundation is the best there is. 19 AFCI breakers, eh? And people wonder why we say "Go BIG" when buying service panels. They're all on the left side, but that doesn't indicate anything special - for instance they're not all on the same "leg&...


4

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/...


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

Most microwave ovens will generate arcs and sparks inside their cavity if they are run with an insufficient load, or no load whatsoever. The high-frequency content from these arcs is being coupled (likely capacitively) through the HV transformer section of your microwave onto the AC line, where the AFCI can then see it and proceed to freak out, thinking the ...


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

GFCIs will often nuisance trip with certain types of loads. For example many motors will trip the GFCI even though there is no leakage to ground. This is why there is an exception for the refrigerator's outlet. It's a good idea to have that on a circuit of it's own with no GFCI. A GFCI device doesn't generally measure leakage to ground, it compares the ...


4

If space permits, you could also run an additional isolated neutral buss bar (connected to the existing neutral bar, and isolated from the box/ground.) My main panel has 3 interconnected ground buss bars (left, top, right - power entry at bottom) to keep it convenient. Small change in the grand scheme of things. Use adequately sized wire for the ...


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