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Thread: Arc faults tripping after wiring pump

  1. #1
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    Jan 2016
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    Arc faults tripping after wiring pump

    Wired a variable speed Pentair pump from an outside meter combo. A month later customer is saying nearly all of their arc faults on their inside panel are tripping. I could not get them to trip while I was there but still replaced them all since they were the older QO's that had issues, also I moved them around so they were not all together. Two months later they call and said it's happening again. All of this they claim is happening only when the pump is running and only began after the pump was installed. Can the frequency from these pumps affect an arc fault? If so what is the solution. We wire alot of them and this is the first one to do this.

  2. #2
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    Is this a pool pump or a well pump?

    There have been threads here with issues with their variable speed pool pumps and troubles with GFCI's.

    I have not had any such issues yet with their "Intellidrives" for well pumps, but have not run into many that had AFCI's on the same system either. I do have an Intellidrive in my house, doesn't mess with any GFCI's, but I don't have any AFCI's either. (And I don't plan to ever have them at this point).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Placerville, CA, USA
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    You may have to install an RF filter on the wiring to the pump drive (not between drive and pump) to keep the spurious arc signature from reaching the panel where the AFCIs are located.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1haz View Post
    Wired a variable speed Pentair pump from an outside meter combo. A month later customer is saying nearly all of their arc faults on their inside panel are tripping. I could not get them to trip while I was there but still replaced them all since they were the older QO's that had issues, also I moved them around so they were not all together. Two months later they call and said it's happening again. All of this they claim is happening only when the pump is running and only began after the pump was installed. Can the frequency from these pumps affect an arc fault? If so what is the solution. We wire alot of them and this is the first one to do this.
    Since I was told by a State Electrical Inspector to do this for nuisance tripping of afci breakers I haven't had a problem. Take the branch ckt conductors and twist the neutral and ungrounded together like a twisted pair in a cat 5 before terminating them. I was told by another electrician he does 3 twists and it gets rid of the nuisance tripping. I've done about 6 twists on 2 different panels and it worked. I asked the inspector if the afci breaker would still function properly and he said they tested it and it did. Seems they should incorporate this into the breaker design. Hope this helps.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pat04607 View Post
    .... I asked the inspector if the afci breaker would still function properly and he said they tested it and it did. Seems they should incorporate this into the breaker design. Hope this helps.
    Tested it how? Since everything about AFCIs is manufacturer voodoo there is no accepted field test except for the test button.
    Once in a while you get shown the light
    In the strangest of places if you look at it right. Robert Hunter

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ActionDave View Post
    Tested it how? Since everything about AFCIs is manufacturer voodoo there is no accepted field test except for the test button.
    True. Unless you use a (non-recognized) arc simulator, there is no way to be sure the operation is unaffected. But the theory says that it should not matter.
    Putting a heavy duty filter on the load side of an AFCI might cause some loss of sensitivity for that circuit.


    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldDigger View Post
    Putting a heavy duty filter on the load side of an AFCI might cause some loss of sensitivity for that circuit.
    but that is the whole point, making it less sensitive. too much filter and that afci allows arc fires to start, too little and pita tripping occurs.

    but nobody has confirmed yet, if the noise from pump drive is causing tripping based on some sort of resonance within the breaker itself, or if the noise is an actual arc signature.

    simply test, go to any metals supplier, get a 2-3" dia mild steel ring (usually 1/4" to 3/8" rod made into a ring), wrap all the ckt wires through/around the ring 3-4 times, then connect the wires back to the pump controller. see if your pita trip stops.




  8. #8
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    First we must spend $40-50 for each AFCI, then we must spend another buck or so to put in something to fool them to not trip. Think I should look into marketing these "filters"

  9. #9
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    Placerville, CA, USA
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    The OP's problem is that the pump circuit is causing trips at the other AFCI circuits in the panel.
    Putting the filter (or wire twist) as close as possible to the pump controller will have a minimal effect on the detection of actual arcs on the pump circuit, and no effect on valid signature detection on the other circuits.
    If the pita noise is getting from one circuit to another over the bus, twisting the load wires of the other circuits will not help at all.
    The PITA trips on the other circuits combine the arc signature from the pump with over threshold (>7A) currents in the other circuits.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    The OP doesn't say that the pump is on an AFCI, they say "nearly all of their arc faults on their inside panel are tripping". Sounds like the hash is coming in from the bus, so try twisting the pump's conductors (and I'd do that near the drive if possible, not in the panel). Heck, if the drive is fed with NM or UF, just twist that a few turns. Leave a note about it for the next electrician....

    I'm reminded of the old twin-lead TV antenna cable, which had to be twisted a bit. A full turn every foot, if I recall.

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