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Old 07-24-2012, 09:54 PM   #1
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afci breaker/vacuum


i have a situation i just cant solve.

1. i have a hoover upright vacumm
2. i have a total of 12 afci circuits

when the vacuum runs, it trips one of the circuits (the dining room pantry circuit with a total of 8 receptacles including 1 gfci receptacle). swapping the circuit breaker with another afci circuit breaker does not help. the vacuum does not trip any of the other afci circuits (yes i tried all 11 others ).

started experimenting last night by disconnecting selected receptacles from the dining room/pantry circuit. had it last night so it ran with two of the rec disconnected. with those same 2 still disconnected, plugged it in to a different receptacle on the same circuit this evening and it tripped after 10 seconds. an hour later it didnt trip at all. then the next time it insta tripped. just for kicks swapped the breaker with yet a different afci breaker one last time. again, insta tripped.

have tightened/redone all connections. running out of ideas - any suggestions?

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Old 07-25-2012, 09:25 AM   #2
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afci breaker/vacuum


Following this with some interest to see if anyone has any insight.

I also have AFCI breakers on most receptacle circuits. One vacuum, an inexpensive Dirt Devil, has no issues. The other, a cheap Kenmore, will trip some but not all AFCI’s randomly. The vacuum power switch has two positions, one to turn on just suction and a second to start the beater brush. What I’ve learned is that when I quickly move the switch from off to position II, it may trip. If I slowly move from off to position I and then to position II, I’m fine. Once the vacuum is on, I’m good – no latent tripping.

Also, my craftsman shop vac will trip an AFCI breaker if plugged directly into a receptacle with no extension cord. Use an extension cord and everything is fine.

These kinds of issues, combined with the cost of the breakers, are why so many people dump on AFCI protection.

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Old 07-25-2012, 09:51 AM   #3
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afci breaker/vacuum


Vacuums typically use a brush style (Universal) AC motor and as such there is heavy electrical noise induced on the lines. You can see the arcing yourself if that part of the motor isn't covered. As the brushes and commutator wear and get pitted the arcing on this point can get larger and more pronounced. Well what is an AFCI designed to do? Trip on arcing. Hence the inherent conflict. I suspect you just have the perfect storm of wire length, sensitivity of AFCI breaker and "noisiness" (arcing) of the vacuum motor. Adding an extension cord could reduce the problem due to the natural filtering of the parallel lines down the cord.

You can try opening walls and otherwise making a mess, buy a new vacuum, try a different brand of AFCI (vendors will design filtering schemes in the AFCI differently), or just live with it and plug the vacuum into the outlets less bothered by this.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:42 AM   #4
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I didnt rip out walls but did make a mess.

My temporary solution was to put a regular breaker on that circuit and stow away the AFCI until I someday get a new vacuum.

Yes, its a code violation for these 8 rec but I can live with that for now.
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:23 PM   #5
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Watch the Siemens' video on their intelli-arc device.

A vacuum cleaner trips the breaker so of course the guy replaces a lamp switch.

I had to e-mail Siemens to resolve this apparent non-sequitur.
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silversport View Post
Following this with some interest to see if anyone has any insight.

I also have AFCI breakers on most receptacle circuits. One vacuum, an inexpensive Dirt Devil, has no issues. The other, a cheap Kenmore, will trip some but not all AFCIís randomly. The vacuum power switch has two positions, one to turn on just suction and a second to start the beater brush. What Iíve learned is that when I quickly move the switch from off to position II, it may trip. If I slowly move from off to position I and then to position II, Iím fine. Once the vacuum is on, Iím good Ė no latent tripping.

Also, my craftsman shop vac will trip an AFCI breaker if plugged directly into a receptacle with no extension cord. Use an extension cord and everything is fine.

These kinds of issues, combined with the cost of the breakers, are why so many people dump on AFCI protection.
Hello,

I'm new here, and my english is not very good, so apologies.
I am in France but often I go to U.S.A.
Great country.
I electrician and I work with Americans, and I have some knowledge.

For your problem:

-You have certainly a small leak to ground when you move suddenly in position 2 (Perhaps a small insulation fault in the switch )

-Or you have the same effect caused by a capacitor for example if there is one.

In fact if you have the slightest imbalance between phase and neutral (few watts) even a very short time, it is sufficient.

If this can help you,



Regards,

French ICC
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by French ICC View Post
Hello,

I'm new here, and my english is not very good, so apologies.
I am in France but often I go to U.S.A.
Great country.
I electrician and I work with Americans, and I have some knowledge.

For your problem:

-You have certainly a small leak to ground when you move suddenly in position 2 (Perhaps a small insulation fault in the switch )

-Or you have the same effect caused by a capacitor for example if there is one.

In fact if you have the slightest imbalance between phase and neutral (few watts) even a very short time, it is sufficient.

If this can help you,



Regards,

French ICC
Funny thing is that when it is plugged into a GFCi receptacle or a GFCI circuit it doesnt trip, even though GFCi have 5 ma tolerance for ground fault vs 30 ma for AFCI.
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:09 PM   #8
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I find the older commutator / brush motors arc a lot, which i suppose the afci's pick up....~PS~
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:11 PM   #9
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I had to e-mail Siemens to resolve this apparent non-sequitur.
well the switch is a non sequitur, the entire afci deal an ad hominem

just mho....

~CS~
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by kevinp22 View Post
Funny thing is that when it is plugged into a GFCi receptacle or a GFCI circuit it doesnt trip, even though GFCi have 5 ma tolerance for ground fault vs 30 ma for AFCI.

OK.
The default is on a specific circuit or all circuits where there are afcis?
Regards
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poulet Steve View Post
well the switch is a non sequitur, the entire afci deal an ad hominem

just mho....

~CS~
Yes, and don't forget what Vin Diesel said.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:32 PM   #12
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Yes, and don't forget what Vin Diesel said.

"The theory is when we know everything and nothing works. The practice is when everything works and nobody knows why. Here, we gathered theory and practice: Nothing works ... and nobody knows why! "

Albert Einstein
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:24 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by French ICC View Post
Albert Einstein
Who?

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