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Thread: Beat the elephant in the room (again!) about AFCI breakers...

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sw_ross View Post
    Interesting. Have you completed the course?

    It's sad that there has to be a course established on how to trouble shoot issues with AFCI breakers.

    I'm interested/curious enough about the course content to spend a couple of hours doing it on a weekend.

    Why is it that when I was an apprentice and AFCI's were only required in bedrooms (mid-2000's) we never had issues with AF tripping (that I can remember)?
    Now that they're required everywhere issues with them are practically expected.


    Those were branch feeder AFCIs, and looked for high current series arcing (short circuits). When they came out with series arc protection nuisance tripping shot up. On reason being that high current arcs are not sensed below 75 amps, where as series arcs stop being sensed below 5 amps.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sw_ross View Post
    Interesting. Have you completed the course?

    It's sad that there has to be a course established on how to trouble shoot issues with AFCI breakers.

    I'm interested/curious enough about the course content to spend a couple of hours doing it on a weekend.

    Why is it that when I was an apprentice and AFCI's were only required in bedrooms (mid-2000's) we never had issues with AF tripping (that I can remember)?
    Now that they're required everywhere issues with them are practically expected.
    I believe the first AFCI was a series arc and the combination series/parallel came about a few years later. There were issues with vacuums, chop saws, etc and we became accustomed to using those items on non protected outlets. Our newer vacuum does not trip them.
    We do enough panel change outs at new locations that would trigger the AFCI rule. We expect problems with MWBCs but generally in the older homes, we can do away with them. The homes I wired in the 70s and 80s would be a different scenario. Danged near everything was MWBC.

    My guys are usually adept and tenacious enough to find the problem. Include the customer in this process. Let them know ahead of time that AFCIs can be a nuisance. We had a customer in her 80s that noticed hers occasionally tripped when she used one particular switch. A new switch took care of it.

    A Certain brand did/does appear to have problems with intermittent tripping. We don’t use it.
    Tom
    TBLO

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sw_ross View Post
    They were normal length, 1 1/4” - 1 1/2”.
    They hung the Sheetrock 2-3 months ago. It wasn’t until I put the permanent LED fixtures and dimmer switches that the tripping started.

    I know there’s always a possibility that I’ve got a bare ground that is intermittently touching an exposed portion of a neutral. I’m not casting 100% of the blame on afci’s, but it’s just frustrating to have to deal with something that from the HO’s perspective “I caused”.
    You changed the load. Not only that, but now that it is finished there may be other inherent load changes. These sometimes trip from things that are not even occurring on the "load side", which is frustrating for both user and installer, you did everything like you were supposed to and it still has a problem.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptonsparky View Post
    Of course! You're guilty!
    It's the same in most jobs-- I work in IT, and the last person to touch the program, even if it was 3 years ago, caused the current problem and gets to fix it! (:

  5. #25
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    Update to this AFCI issue...

    I was at this house a couple of weeks ago because they also wanted a ceiling fan installed in their liv room, along with finishing out the basement.

    At that time they were still having AF tripping issues (AF indicator on breaker). It also periodically affected an existing AFCI breaker on the main level, a circuit which I'd never touched and they'd never had an issue with.

    The only thing in common with those 2 circuits was a 3-G switchbox at bottom of the stairs that had the stair 3-way (pre-existing) and my 2 basement family room SP switches.

    So when I was there to install the ceiling fan I had re-worked that switch box, checking all the wire connections and attempting to keep the stair light wiring folded in a way that they were as far away from the other 2 basement switches as possible in the switchbox.

    If you remember, earlier in the troubleshooting process I had taken out the new dimmers to see what affect that had. It didn't really seem to help since the breaker continued tripping.

    After reworking the switch box a couple of weeks ago everything appeared to be fine. I talked to the HO last week and he said it hadn't tripped since I did that. Assuming the issue was "fixed" I went there yesterday to re-install the dimmer switches.

    He texted me last night to say it had tripped!

    The dimmer switches are Lutron C-L toggler switches, obviously rated for LED's.

    Not sure if there's an internal issue with one or both of the switches, or some interaction between the dimmers and the fixtures.

    Even without the dimmers the circuit had tripped, until I re-worked the switchbox.

    This is frustrating! I'm contemplating changing out the dimmers, but that's not a guaranteed fix and costs me money.

    As I go further into this troubleshooting the project is starting to pull money out of my pocket instead of put money in my pocket!

    Maybe in the future I'll avoid projects that involve a Siemens panel since that's the only one I've have issues with regarding AFCI's...

    I just don't make money on projects that involve AFCI's and Siemens panel.
    No problems with CH, or Sq D...

    I can't, in good conscience, ask the HO for my final payment until this issue is resolved.

  6. #26
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    Others have had problems with CH and especially QO. The latest units seems to help. Good luck.

    Reading your last post again points to the dimmers.
    Tom
    TBLO

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