arc fault tripping

nizak

Senior Member
Have an arc fault breaker that trips as soon as the switch is turned on to some can lighting in a bedroom.wall outlets are on the same circuit and work fine when a load is put on them.if I take the lamps out of the cans and turn on the switch it holds as well.could one of the thermal devices in the cans be causing this? Any help appreciated.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Have an arc fault breaker that trips as soon as the switch is turned on to some can lighting in a bedroom.wall outlets are on the same circuit and work fine when a load is put on them.if I take the lamps out of the cans and turn on the switch it holds as well.could one of the thermal devices in the cans be causing this? Any help appreciated.
Thermal device could be causing problems, I wouldn't focus too hard on that just yet though, have you tried installing lamps until you find which lamp or luminaire seems to be giving trouble? Once you find one move that lamp to other luminaires to help verify if it is the lamp or the luminaire causing problems. I wouldn't rule out any potential bad connections at a socket either.

Lamp type could also be non compatible with the AFCI, like maybe some CFL's or LED's create a waveform the AFCI doesn't like, incandescents shouldn't give you this kind of problem though.
 

A/A Fuel GTX

Senior Member
Location
WI & AZ
I had the exact same issue a couple of years ago. They were Halo cans and it turned out that the screw that holds the lampholder to the support bracket was in the wrong hole thus creating a N-G short when the lamp was engaged. Simply moving the screw to an adjacent hole solved the problem.
 

A/A Fuel GTX

Senior Member
Location
WI & AZ
Did the breaker only trip when the lamp was installed in that particular socket?
Yes. I was scratching my head so I actually sent the can back to Halo and they discovered the screw in the wrong place. They compensated me monetarily for the time I wasted troubleshooting. It was a couple hundred bucks if I remember correctly.
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Placerville, CA, USA
Occupation
Retired PV System Designer
I had the exact same issue a couple of years ago. They were Halo cans and it turned out that the screw that holds the lampholder to the support bracket was in the wrong hole thus creating a N-G short when the lamp was engaged. Simply moving the screw to an adjacent hole solved the problem.
That fits perfectly with tripping either a GFCI breaker or the GF section of an AFCI breaker.
OP: Does the AFCI breaker in question distinguish between an arc or GF event?
 

nizak

Senior Member
Distinguishing between a/f and g/f? Are all afci's designed to do this? Particular one in question is a HOM115.
 

nizak

Senior Member
If I recall Siemens afci's have a indicator that tells what type fault has occurred. HOM do not.
 

curt swartz

Electrical Contractor - San Jose, CA
Location
San Jose, CA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Square D HOM and QO have a memory and will tell you the reason they tripped.

Cutler Hammer CH also have a memory. Its optional on the BR series.

Ge removed the GF circuitry so no need for a memory. In my opinion that was a big mistake on GE's part since the GF circuitry is the most important part of an AFCI breaker.
 

A/A Fuel GTX

Senior Member
Location
WI & AZ
Square D HOM and QO have a memory and will tell you the reason they tripped.

Cutler Hammer CH also have a memory. Its optional on the BR series.

Ge removed the GF circuitry so no need for a memory. In my opinion that was a big mistake on GE's part since the GF circuitry is the most important part of an AFCI breaker.
How do they relay the information? The ones I'm using were purchased quite some time ago so apparently this feature is more recent.
 

nizak

Senior Member
How would one go about retrieving the info that the breaker has stored? I don't see any type of indicator on the Him breaker.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Square D HOM and QO have a memory and will tell you the reason they tripped.

Cutler Hammer CH also have a memory. Its optional on the BR series.

Ge removed the GF circuitry so no need for a memory. In my opinion that was a big mistake on GE's part since the GF circuitry is the most important part of an AFCI breaker.
I have not seen this feature yet but has been a while since I have used any new AFCI's from them.

How would one go about retrieving the info that the breaker has stored? I don't see any type of indicator on the Him breaker.
I think Siemens was the first to have that ability, and had an indicator light on the unit that would flash a code telling you the reason for the trip, or something similar to that.
 

nizak

Senior Member
Schneider Sq d website has a troubleshooting guide for afci breakers.Looks like the amount of time (in seconds) that it takes the breaker to trip indicates the type of fault that's occurring.
 
Top