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Thread: do we really need AFCIs

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by ActionDave View Post
    Well the people that are making us install them don't seem to be.

    What is it that makes you believe in the technology? Is it just because the people you know that worked on the design were good guys and you liked them?
    If you feel as strongly as you do get busy and address those "people" who are making you use them. It't easy to be critical but those who are more often or not take very little action but are very quick to complain.
    I worked for a major manufacturer and saw many R&D reports on AFCIs, did you?
    As I said I am a firm believer and impressed with the technology. However, just because the technology is there doesn't mean that it proves to be of practical use in the field.

    I'll leave it like that as if It were left to "people like you" there would be no technical advancement and we still would be using Edison base fuses for circuit protection in homes.

    If you believe as strongly as you do, start doing something about it or quit complaining. Get involved with the appropriate code council with documentation that back you opinion.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by templdl View Post
    ...If you believe as strongly as you do, start doing something about it or quit complaining. Get involved with the appropriate code council with documentation that back you opinion.
    Without the backing of hundreds of thousands of dollars for research, the CMP will never accept proposals to limit the use of AFCIs. They are here to stay. The best I could hope for is that the UL standard for AFCIs be revised to require a GFP function in all AFCIs as it appears to me that the GFP function it the most common trip.

    After reading the UL report that I posted in the first post of this thread, I am very confused as to how UL tests AFCIs with "arcing faults". The more I read about this, the less I believe that an arcing fault with enough energy to start a fire is even possible at dwelling unit voltages.
    Don, Illinois
    "It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority." B Franklin

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by don_resqcapt19 View Post
    Without the backing of hundreds of thousands of dollars for research, the CMP will never accept proposals to limit the use of AFCIs. They are here to stay. The best I could hope for is that the UL standard for AFCIs be revised to require a GFP function in all AFCIs as it appears to me that the GFP function it the most common trip.

    After reading the UL report that I posted in the first post of this thread, I am very confused as to how UL tests AFCIs with "arcing faults". The more I read about this, the less I believe that an arcing fault with enough energy to start a fire is even possible at dwelling unit voltages.
    I am not in disagreement with you Don. On one hand I am confident in the technology. On the other I question if the technology is practical. If the technology isn't a practical application it is not very useful. As I believe that I stated previously I am a believer in the technology by am extremely disappointed that it appears to be of no practical use. I was expecting a significant impact on the industry but have not been aware of any positive feedback. But it is now part of the code. We have to either have to abide by it or it must be rescinded. At this point I believe the code should recognizing AFCIs as I believe that the originally did before they made it as a part of the requirements. I don't think that they have passed muster especially when it adds a significant cost to installations.
    Some time Bach I believe that I saw a published standard for AFCIs. I'm not sure if I kept a copy for my file.
    Dave

  4. #44
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    Another shortcoming of AFCIs is that there is no guarantee of forward compatibility with them. If a product doesn't exist when the AFCI is programmed with that manufacturer's arc signatures, there is no way to flash newer arc signatures to existing breakers. On a per breaker level, it's not such a huge deal to make an upgrade. On a whole house panel level, it's another story. AFCIs can cost upwards of $1000 for some houses - similar to the price of a higher end laptop - while offering none of the upgrade capability of most other electronic devices.
    Peter A.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrosA View Post
    Another shortcoming of AFCIs is that there is no guarantee of forward compatibility with them. If a product doesn't exist when the AFCI is programmed with that manufacturer's arc signatures, there is no way to flash newer arc signatures to existing breakers. On a per breaker level, it's not such a huge deal to make an upgrade. On a whole house panel level, it's another story. AFCIs can cost upwards of $1000 for some houses - similar to the price of a higher end laptop - while offering none of the upgrade capability of most other electronic devices.
    It is almost certain that manufacturers will ride that train as long as possible before someone kicks them off.

  6. #46
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    I have to disagree with Dave a little on the technology part because of the original claim of being able to detect a series arc, the problem with this as back when they were first introduced is how do you differentiate between a good arc (switch closing or opening) and a bad arc, they claim there is a difference but I can not see how other then a good arc will only last a few cycles, this is why I offered to UL to use a gated input that would shut off detection for a few cycles so a good arc will not trip the electronics, they said thank's but that was about as far as it went.

    Of course equipment that an arc is a normal part of its operation such as a welder and electronic igniter's and such would have to be dealt with separately, the electronic igniter's are of such a low current that the AFCI could be designed to ignore them, but a welder would be a problem.

    I have had some dealings with UL on the matter and a few here remember the e-mails I posted that went nowhere with them as they just brushed off my concerns even after they acted like there was a problem, but these problems were on long circuit runs when AFCI's required a 75 amp arc signatures to trip, well it must have had some effect because it wasn't long after that they lowered it to 35 amps or something around that.

    But still since I was involved with our state building commission I worked hard to get them removed just because they could not prove to us they worked as advertised, and the short time from the 1999 requirement of having to use them at the start of 2002 till we adopted the 2002 (which we removed 210.12) they proved to be very costly to the problems they caused because of too many false positives and or the fact they had so many recalls along with there were no options for multi-wired circuits which caused even more cost to be burden by the home owners, for the very little to none in safety they added.

    We must remember cost imposed upon the public is a big factor when adopting laws, like some said on here in the past "show me the body count" as to get a red light at an intersection their must be a reason and a design or product that is proved to reduce the deaths before you can add the cost of this design or product for the citizens of a state to bare the cost, it's called the "Need for a fix" the "options for the fix" and the "results of the fix" that a law makers must consider before being able for a change to be adopted into law, this breaks down to the body count or injuries, the redesign or product that will work to fix it, and the cost to the public if it out weighs the expense and need to the public, of course this is not always followed unless some watch dog group catches it.
    Wayne A. From: N.W.Indiana
    Be Fair, Be Safe
    Just don't be fairly safe

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by templdl View Post
    If you feel as strongly as you do get busy and address those "people" who are making you use them. It't easy to be critical but those who are more often or not take very little action but are very quick to complain.
    I worked for a major manufacturer and saw many R&D reports on AFCIs, did you?
    As I said I am a firm believer and impressed with the technology. However, just because the technology is there doesn't mean that it proves to be of practical use in the field.
    I don't think I was complaining. You agree that their is no evidence AFCI technology is effective. From what I have read on this forum by some members smarter than me there is no reason to believe that it ever could be. You are the one guy that said it could. I was, and remain, curious why?
    I'll leave it like that as if It were left to "people like you" there would be no technical advancement and we still would be using Edison base fuses for circuit protection in homes.
    There are plenty fuse panels in service that protect the wiring just fine.

    I did not start out in the anti arc-fault camp. It wasn't till I ran into a problem where the problem was the breaker, and there was zero possibility that it could be anything else, that I decided that what others were saying about them had merit.

    If you believe as strongly as you do, start doing something about it or quit complaining. Get involved with the appropriate code council with documentation that back you opinion.
    I'm a fatalistic guy, not a crusader. The forces that brought AFCI's into the NEC are far beyond anything I have the desire to engage with.
    If Billy Idol or John Denver is on your Ipod go and re-evaluate your life.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by templdl View Post
    Having worked for one of the leading developer and manufacturer I knew some of the design engineers personally. It is with all confidence that I believe in these products. However, the real proof is in the pudding, by pudding I do mean the insurance companies.
    I have been extremely disappointed that the insurance companies haven't found that the AfCIs haven't been determined to reduce fire losses. If it is determined that AFCIs save lives and fire losses I wouldn't thine that insurance companies would provide premium credits or other incentives to promote the use of AFCIs in old construction.
    As such I'm not seeing any results. Is the need for this product been overstated?
    Why would they give you a break in premium when they can FORCE you to install it by legistlative lobbying. That is what they call good business sense: reduce the payout, not the premiums. Big business - contrary to claim - is about win-loose. They win, you loose.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by templdl View Post
    Hoax? Definitely not.
    Hoax:
    1. An act intended to deceive or trick.
    2. Something that has been established or accepted by fraudulent means.
    Yes, hoax.

    Manufacturers outright lied to get the first AFCI rules into the code.

    When the fruad was exposed they had to change the design to combination AFCI.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwire View Post
    Yes, hoax.

    Manufacturers outright lied to get the first AFCI rules into the code.

    When the fruad was exposed they had to change the design to combination AFCI.
    Care to offer any proof of your claim?

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