Afci tripping

JJWalecka

Senior Member
Location
New England
A customer has a vacuum that keeps tripping the afci breakers....I don't feel it's a wiring issue and he says he has tried different vacuums on different branch circuits all keep popping the breakers

My question is could you recommend a filter or something that the vacuum could be plugged into to eliminate the nuisance tripping?

Someone mentioned a Belkin home theater surge suppressor at Home Depot. "make sure that it has an EMI/RFI of up to 75 decibels and a frequency range of 150Khz to 1Mhz."


i would appreciate any feedback
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Swap the afci out with a gfci to rule out any wiring errors then contact the supply house or manufacturer about getting the newest model afci to replace. They keep updating them.

...and or buy a new vacuum. My spouse, after a friendly suggestion or two, learned to run the old vacuum off of circuits that were not AFCId. The new vacuums stopped the problem entirely.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
I had a customer that had an old Electrolux canister vacuum she would not give up, so I changed out to a newer combination afci, and that seemed to solve the problem. I could have changed it to a regular breaker, because at the time we had no permitting and inspections, but her husband was a circuit court judge, so I wanted to make sure it was done by the book! :lol:
(He was known as the hanging Judge LOL)
 

curt swartz

Electrical Contractor - San Jose, CA
Location
San Jose, CA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
When AFCI's first came out there were definitely know issues with some vacuum's especially older ones. I have not had any complaints in the past 10+ years so most of the issues must have been resolved either by the vacuum manufacture's or AFCI firmware. Maybe both.

Your post states the customer has tried different circuits and different vacuums. I would not put much into what they are telling you. That could easily mean they have plugged the same vacuum into 5 different receptacles that are on the same circuit and the same breaker trips every time. For troubleshooting never believe what the customer tells you. :)
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
I had a customer that had an old Electrolux canister vacuum she would not give up, so I changed out to a newer combination afci, and that seemed to solve the problem. I could have changed it to a regular breaker, because at the time we had no permitting and inspections, but her husband was a circuit court judge, so I wanted to make sure it was done by the book! :lol:
(He was known as the hanging Judge LOL)
Shoulda put his heating system on one too. Lets see who he hangs when everything freezes up while he's away.

-Hal
 

synchro

Senior Member
Location
Chicago, IL
Occupation
EE
I had a customer that had an old Electrolux canister vacuum she would not give up, so I changed out to a newer combination afci, and that seemed to solve the problem. I could have changed it to a regular breaker, because at the time we had no permitting and inspections, but her husband was a circuit court judge, so I wanted to make sure it was done by the book! :lol:
(He was known as the hanging Judge LOL)
This reminds me of a co-worker who told us he had decided to splurge and buy his wife a $1000 wedding anniversary present. But when he gave it to her he was surprised that his wife did not seem very happy. He said in retrospect he should have taken a cue when even the high pressure salesman was hesitant when he was told it would be a wedding anniversary present.
...The present was a "top of the line" Electrolux vacuum cleaner. :slaphead:
 

Knuckle Dragger

Master Electrician Electrical Contractor 01752
Location
Marlborough, Massachusetts USA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I would try to troubleshoot the problem to remedy the situation making sure all ground-faults are clear and the circuit breakers are up to date, like some of others have mentioned.
Please let us know how you make out.
 

SparkyTrev

Member
Location
Alabama
I would plug the vac into a cct that is not afci'd and see if that brkr trips. My suspicions are that the vacuum is probably old and the motor worn, causing an afci to trip. When the appliance is new then Ill flip flop and TS the brkr first.
The two biggest perpetrators on my service calls are old vacuums and new vfd controlled washers. Usually its the vacuum, and then usually its the brkr that needs updating for the newfangled smart appliances.
One other oddball you can try is to take the vacuum cord and roll it up into an "ugly balun" about 8-10 turns and then plug the vac in, sometimes that balun will filter stray common mode RF created by the vac and prevent nuisance trips....sometimes.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
I would first replace the breaker with a new version. This has solved many of the problems that I have seen.

The sad thing is this lets you know that earlier versions of these AFCIs were not really ready for the market and the manufacturers were just letting the public finance their research and development .
 
I would first replace the breaker with a new version. This has solved many of the problems that I have seen.

The sad thing is this lets you know that earlier versions of these AFCIs were not really ready for the market and the manufacturers were just letting the public finance their research and development .
Here is a quote from Electrical Contractor magazine that I copy and pasted in a previous thread where an manufacture spokesman admits that they have been beta testing on the public,,,,
Combination-type AFCIs add a layer of intelligence to the operation of the basic, run-of-the-mill circuit breaker. Their internal circuitry monitors waveform characteristics and heat to detect potential problems.


“On top of having the thermomagnetic caps, it looks at the sine waves that come off the power line,” said Ashley Bryant, product manager with Siemens. 


Though manufacturers might use slightly different approaches, each has, in general, developed algorithms that enable the breakers to ignore patterns outside normal ranges that are the harmless byproducts of electronics, appliances and other common household loads.


Over the years, AFCIs have had their detractors, including opponents who argue the devices can trip in the absence of a true fault, called “nuisance” tripping. Manufacturers admit that the technology had issues, especially in its early days, in part because every home’s electrical load is unique, and developers weren’t able to test every possible combination of loads and breakers.

When you design any product, you design it to meet certain standards,” Bryant said. 


In the case of AFCIs, this is Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standard 1699, Standard for Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters.


“You do as much testing as you possibly can, but as soon as you put it out in the field, there are going to be surprises,” she said.
The article is gone now. Here is the link where it used to be...http://www.ecmag.com/section/safety/...ds-toward-afci
 

synchro

Senior Member
Location
Chicago, IL
Occupation
EE

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
When you design any product, you design it to meet certain standards,” Bryant said. 


In the case of AFCIs, this is Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standard 1699, Standard for Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters.

Isn't this kind of like which came first, the chicken or the egg?

-Hal
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
The first commercial job I did with them, was a three story assisted living center, all mc cable, bolt in afic breakers, Siemens if I remember correctly. Lots of nuisance tripping, but not because of rfi or arcing motors, but heat. The electronics in the breakers created a lot of heat, in fact so much, a 42 circuit panel board full of them was almost too hot to touch! Went back to Siemens on it, they warranted it, and paid us to replace all of them with a newer style.
 

JJWalecka

Senior Member
Location
New England
Update. Spoke to manufacturer of Murray afci breakers they recommended I purchase a. " minuteman mms110 ". I have yet to see if it corrects the issue
 
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