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Old 09-01-2013, 08:04 PM   #1
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cable tripping afi breaker


I wired my basement and I have a 20 amp afi breaker. All of the outlets have worked fine. Today I went to hook my tv up and the tv and satellite box both worked until I went to screw on the cable cord to the cable outlet. As soon as the cable cord touched the cable outlet, the breaker trips. Does anyone know what the problem is or how it can be resolved?

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Old 09-01-2013, 08:11 PM   #2
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cable tripping afi breaker


Kill the breaker, connect the cable then switch the breaker back on.

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Old 09-01-2013, 08:21 PM   #3
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cable tripping afi breaker


I tried that but it still trips after 2 seconds. I am in South Dakota, by the way.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:41 PM   #4
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cable tripping afi breaker


Is the breaker a combo AFCI/GFCI?
If it is, I think your problem is leakage from the set-top-box to the coax cable shield. I have actually received slight shocks while connecting the cable to the box.

The problem is that the set top box has a couple of capacitors on the line to the case, which is supposed to be connected to earth ground when the coax is connected. These caps are used as a line filter.
Since the box doesn't normally use a 3-wire cord, there is no where for the leakage current (through the caps) to go but through the coax cable shield.

When you connect the shield to the box, the leakage current from the line (hot) side of the power cord goes through the coax shield to ground instead of back through neutral to ground, thus causing an imbalance between hot and neutral, tripping the GFCI (and maybe an AFCI) breaker.
I would be willing to bet that your breaker is a combo type, since many municapalities require them now.

If you have a voltmeter, do this:
Set the meter to read AC volts up to 150V.
Plug the power cord into the outlet, but leave the coax cable disconnected at either the wall outlet or the box, but not both.
Now carefully measure the voltage between the outside of the coax connector on the box (or the wall jack) to the outside (the nut) of the coax cable. If the voltage is more than about 35V, that is probably the source of the leakage that is tripping the breaker.

One easy solution would be to plug the TV and set-top-box into a receptacle that is not protected by the AFCI/GFCI breaker.
But I would check with the service provider. Maybe they will replace the box, and the new one you get will have a lower leakage current that won't trip the breaker.

Here is a diagram of how to measure the voltage. Set the meter to read 150VAC or higher.
I hope this helps.



FW
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:17 PM   #5
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cable tripping afi breaker


I just had another thought on this. Check that the receptacle to which the cable box is plugged into is wired correctly. Reversing hot and neutral might cause the leakage from the cable box to be higher. I'm not sure about this, but it's worth checking. You can use one of those gadgets that has the three LED's to indicate wiring faults.

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