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Old 04-19-2011, 02:18 PM   #1
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HELP with GFCI and AFCI problems


here's the issue:
-1 main box and 1 subpanel (plus a small subpanel in the garage with no problems)
-subpanel contains wiring for addition from about 3 yrs ago
-at least 1 time a few weeks ago, the master bedroom lights and other electrical shut off for a couple of seconds and went back on.
-also happened again on friday (and we went away saturday-monday evenening)
-came home and there were MULTIPLE different circuits that were not working and NO BREAKERS were tripped. ***2 are GFCI BREAKERS AND 1 IS AN ARC FAULT The rest of the house/circuits are fine. All of the ciruits that are affected are in the subpanel(but are randomly located, not together.)
TRIED THE FOLLOWING:
* FLIPPED ALL BREAKERS OFF, THEN BACK ON
* TRIED TO RESET THE ONLY GROUND FAULT RECEPTACLE CONTAINED IN ONE OF THE CIRCUITS AND THE BUTTONS WOULD NOT ENGAGE.
* TWO OF THE OTHER CIRCUITS HAVE GROUND FAULT BREAKERS and 1 is an ARC FAULT circuit interrupter
AND THE BUTTONS on the GFCI BREAKERS DO NOT DEPRESS AT ALL and THE BUTTON on the AFCI BREAKER DEPRESSES FULLY BUT DOES NOT ENGAGE.

??? IS THERE ANYTHING THAT WOULD CAUSE PROBELEMS SPECIFICALLY WITH GFCI and AFCI breakers??? As a group and not just individually?

SO....I can't figure out why some of the circuits are out, yet were not tripped. I'm thinking the red flags with the bedroom lights has something to do with all of this, but I have no idea what's going on.

HELP????
thanks,
Scott

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Old 04-19-2011, 02:56 PM   #2
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HELP with GFCI and AFCI problems


i had a GFI receptacle that failed and it would not reset. as a test, do you have a known good gfi breaker (of same size) that you could replace the "faulty" ones with?? try that and if still not reseting, there may be something in the circuit, like a load that is causing the trip.

try the "suspect gfi breaker in a circuit that is not having issues and see if it works there.

these are simple and $0.00 cost tests you can do to better understand your problem.

rod

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Old 04-19-2011, 02:59 PM   #3
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HELP with GFCI and AFCI problems


Quote:
Originally Posted by rs2004 View Post
here's the issue:
-1 main box and 1 subpanel (plus a small subpanel in the garage with no problems)
-subpanel contains wiring for addition from about 3 yrs ago
-at least 1 time a few weeks ago, the master bedroom lights and other electrical shut off for a couple of seconds and went back on.
-also happened again on friday (and we went away saturday-monday evenening)
-came home and there were MULTIPLE different circuits that were not working and NO BREAKERS were tripped. ***2 are GFCI BREAKERS AND 1 IS AN ARC FAULT The rest of the house/circuits are fine. All of the ciruits that are affected are in the subpanel(but are randomly located, not together.)
TRIED THE FOLLOWING:
* FLIPPED ALL BREAKERS OFF, THEN BACK ON
* TRIED TO RESET THE ONLY GROUND FAULT RECEPTACLE CONTAINED IN ONE OF THE CIRCUITS AND THE BUTTONS WOULD NOT ENGAGE.
* TWO OF THE OTHER CIRCUITS HAVE GROUND FAULT BREAKERS and 1 is an ARC FAULT circuit interrupter
AND THE BUTTONS on the GFCI BREAKERS DO NOT DEPRESS AT ALL and THE BUTTON on the AFCI BREAKER DEPRESSES FULLY BUT DOES NOT ENGAGE.

??? IS THERE ANYTHING THAT WOULD CAUSE PROBELEMS SPECIFICALLY WITH GFCI and AFCI breakers??? As a group and not just individually?

SO....I can't figure out why some of the circuits are out, yet were not tripped. I'm thinking the red flags with the bedroom lights has something to do with all of this, but I have no idea what's going on.

HELP????
thanks,
Scott
There is a very good chance you have a loose connection on the lines feeding the subpanel, either at the main panel or the sub. If these are aluminum wires, the change of them being loose is even greater.
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:00 PM   #4
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HELP with GFCI and AFCI problems


You may have lost one leg feeding the sub panel. Try resetting that breaker.
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:01 PM   #5
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HELP with GFCI and AFCI problems


The buttons on AFCI and GFCI breakers do not engage in anything.
They are only test buttons.
You reset a gfci and afci breakers the same way other breakers are reset.
All the way off, then back to on.
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:02 PM   #6
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HELP with GFCI and AFCI problems


What Househelper says
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:58 PM   #7
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HELP with GFCI and AFCI problems


thanks for the suggestions to all.
If the problem was with the connection from the main panel, why would only a small number of circuits in the sub panel be effected, and why just the GFCI and AFCI?

The buttons on AFCI and GFCI breakers do not engage in anything.
They are only test buttons.
You reset a gfci and afci breakers the same way other breakers are reset.
All the way off, then back to on.
I guess what I meant was that the button was not working, i.e. was unable to test the breaker.

I had gotten other feedback recently that it may have to do with a surge, that may explain why the more lectronically sensitive "specialty" breakers were effected as opposed to the more "mechanical" standard breakers in the same box. Does that sound like a legit possibility as well.

Thanks for the fast feedback. It helps a lot (when you don't know %*#@ about this stuff)
Scott
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Old 04-19-2011, 04:18 PM   #8
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HELP with GFCI and AFCI problems


Yes, a surge can trip or disable gfci, and afci breakers.
I had lighting hit a tree 50 feet from my house and every gfci receptacle in my house tripped.
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Old 04-19-2011, 04:26 PM   #9
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HELP with GFCI and AFCI problems


jbfan,
were you just able to reset the breakers after they tripped? Could the same type of surge actually ruin the breakers instead of trip them?
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Old 04-19-2011, 04:32 PM   #10
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HELP with GFCI and AFCI problems


Yes to both questions.
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:57 PM   #11
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HELP with GFCI and AFCI problems


Quote:
Originally Posted by rs2004 View Post
jbfan,
were you just able to reset the breakers after they tripped? Could the same type of surge actually ruin the breakers instead of trip them?
Not mine in France I have main RCD breaker just blew out not too long ago good thing I keep the spare one so have to swap it and get two new surge spuressors the computers are safe but not my oven have to order a new circuitboard { Special order due it wired up for 415 volts } ( that happend few days ago )

Merci,
Marc

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