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Old 01-11-2011, 02:05 PM   #31
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HELP - Strange AFCI Tripping Issue


Just so I understand.....you're suggesting to replace just the receptacle, correct?.....not the receptacle and the receptacle box....

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Old 01-11-2011, 02:12 PM   #32
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HELP - Strange AFCI Tripping Issue


What is being suggested is that you open up the box and check the the receptical and the wiring to ensure proper secure connections

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Old 01-11-2011, 02:13 PM   #33
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HELP - Strange AFCI Tripping Issue


Yes just the recepticle one at a time if you want, but don't use the stab connection, actually put the wire on a terminal.

If you find that the recepticle is wired by use of the stab terminals, thats all you may have to do, is change the wire to the recepticle terminal.
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:16 PM   #34
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HELP - Strange AFCI Tripping Issue


Exactly... just better put than I did.

thanks Jack
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:19 PM   #35
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HELP - Strange AFCI Tripping Issue


Got it (I hope)....kill the circuit, take each receptacle out to check for secure screw terminal connections and make sure none of them are connected with just the stab terminal.

I really hope I find something this time....
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:21 PM   #36
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HELP - Strange AFCI Tripping Issue


you've got it.. if you see any visible signs of arcing (burn marks), then change the outlet.

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Old 01-11-2011, 03:21 PM   #37
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HELP - Strange AFCI Tripping Issue


Chrispy, I would stop on the way home tonight and buy a couple of recepticles just incase, never hurts to have a spare around.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:29 PM   #38
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HELP - Strange AFCI Tripping Issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackofall1 View Post
Chrispy, I would stop on the way home tonight and buy a couple of recepticles just incase, never hurts to have a spare around.
Yup, I have a couple in the workshop....and a Home Depot across the street from my house

It would be hard to believe from this thread, but outside of electrical, I'm respectably handy
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:54 PM   #39
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HELP - Strange AFCI Tripping Issue


I know it's pretty "low tech" as a trouble shooting method, but...

If this is a branch circuit problem (likely if it's occurring on two different breakers tested by connection to the same circuit, and with no load on the circuit) you might try temporally interrupting the circuit at a mid-point outlet and see if the problem still occurs.

If it does, start shortening the circuit upstream 'till the problem is no longer present.

If it does not, start lengthening the circuit downstream until it reoccurs.

If it's a long (many outlets) circuit, you can speed things up by "halving" the test segment each time.
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:26 PM   #40
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HELP - Strange AFCI Tripping Issue


It is not unusual for a circuit breaker to be a little bit touchy
after it has tripped out.
They need a little time to cool down and reset properly.
This could be worse if you are running close to the trip out
point.
For instance if it is a 20a breaker and the load is close to 20a.
Perhaps check how much current is flowing in this circuit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrispy_g View Post
Hi folks, in Googling my problems, I came across this great forum and I looked through some other AFCI threads, but nobody has talked about the kind of problem I have.....

On the circuit that runs 2 of my bedrooms (and the hallway), recently (last month or so), the AFCI breaker was tripping at odd times. Mostly overnight to start with. At first, it was every few days, then it started happening almost nightly.

I should say, nothing in terms of what's plugged in or running has changed at all during this time.

First step was looking at all the outlets for obvious wiring issues and checking them with a volt meter (and checking the basement box and all the visible wiring there). This revealed nothing. So, we replaced the breaker (original was a Siemens 15A, replacement was the same, but now has the LED fault indicator).

I went almost a week without a problem, then bam, tried to turn on my computer and the breaker tripped. Okay, I know the first thing is to unplug and test things one at a time, which I've done several times. This is where it's odd. Once it trips, it seems nearly anything plugged into any of the outlets on the circuit will re-trip it. At one point, I was testing with a simple clock radio and it would trip it with nothing else plugged in. However, with the new breaker, it's become a bit less sensitive. The alarm clock alone won't trip it, but a paper shredder will (or TV, etc.).

HOWEVER.....here's the oddest part I discovered yesterday. This is after my computer went down and I tried the testing with the shredder at various outlets. I got to one outlet in the room and the shredder didn't trip it. I went back to another outlet and it DID trip it like before. So, I started plugging a bunch of stuff (via extension cord) into that one working outlet and could NOT get it to trip (with a computer, TV, and shredder all running). At this point, ALL THE OTHER OUTLETS WERE THEN FINE AS WELL! I could plug the shredder in anywhere and the breaker wouldn't trip (this testing was all done within a 30 minute timeframe). It hasn't tripped since that time yesterday.

There seems to be no pattern to the trips and while it does now seem to have something to do with load, when it's "working" nothing will trip it...and when it's "bad", nearly anything will trip it.

I should also say that when it's "bad" and I leave everything plugged in, the breaker will not reset. I have to unplug everything and then reset it...and then try things one at a time. That's what I did with the "shredder" test yesterday.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I have no problem calling an electrician in....but the advice I've gotten so far is that an electrician will only be able to find the problem during the "bad" times (which seem to be difficult to predict).

EDIT - I should also add that the other AFCI breaker that covers the other bedrooms NEVER trips. Ever....and I have an LCD TV and space heater that both get used frequently on that circuit. Also, we've been in this house for 5 years without issue (built in 2004).
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:24 AM   #41
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HELP - Strange AFCI Tripping Issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
I know it's pretty "low tech" as a trouble shooting method, but...

If this is a branch circuit problem (likely if it's occurring on two different breakers tested by connection to the same circuit, and with no load on the circuit) you might try temporally interrupting the circuit at a mid-point outlet and see if the problem still occurs.

If it does, start shortening the circuit upstream 'till the problem is no longer present.

If it does not, start lengthening the circuit downstream until it reoccurs.

If it's a long (many outlets) circuit, you can speed things up by "halving" the test segment each time.
It's only occurring on that one AFCI breaker, never the other one....and the breaker is indicating that it's an arc fault causing the trip.

The problem is so intermittent that your method would be unlikely to go through with....I can go days without being able to trip it and then go through a period where nearly any load will trip it over and over again....and then magically it will be okay again.

I didn't get a chance to take apart the receptacles yet to see if they're all wired properly to the screw terminals and not just the stab terminals.

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