Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-11-2010, 08:35 PM   #16
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Chisago, MN
Posts: 23
Share |
Default

Newbie here finishing basement


Well guys, I'm really glad I came across this site (TOLD you I would be thanking you). I passed my rough in inspection. The inspector is a great guy and gave me some good tips for general wiring which was very helpful. So, thanks to everyone for their input. Greatly appreciated!

I found out through you guys and the inspector that indeed in MN you need AFCI breakers in every room except the bath and kitchen (and laundry I think too). New code, but the "cheat sheet" that the state posted for the homeowners who are doing the work themselves wasn't updated. Glad I asked.

I connected the breakers into the panel this afternoon. I tried wiring up the can lights so that I can remove the existing light fixtures. I can power up the circuit, but when I turn the dimmers on (they are 5 button LED dimmers) it trips the AFCI breaker. Guess I'll be troubleshooting to see if it's my wiring, a bad can, or a bad switch causing the issue.

I've heard of AFCI's being VERY touchy and prone to false tripping. Any truth to that?

sanny651 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2010, 08:58 PM   #17
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Chisago, MN
Posts: 23
Default

Newbie here finishing basement


OK, I'm a bit confused. I have one hot lead coming from the breaker panel to the junction box which holds 3 dimmers (each dimmer is controlling a bank of 2 can lights). So, I connected all of the white/neutral leads together, and did the same for the grounds. For what it's worth, the ground and neutral bars are bridged in my breaker panel. So, then I take the incoming black/hot feed and connect it to one of the 2 black wires on the switch. The other black lead connect to the hot lead running up to the can light.

I believe this is right. If the lights are turned off and I flip the breaker, it holds fine. As soon as I activate the dimmer to turn the light on, it trips the breaker. Out of curiosity, I unwired all the switches and installed a normal toggle switch and got the same results.

What am I doing wrong here? I should note that I'm short one light bulb (it was broken) so one of the three set of cans is missing 1 of the 2 bulbs...but that shouldn't have anything to do with anything.
sanny651 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2010, 09:26 PM   #18
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Chisago, MN
Posts: 23
Default

Newbie here finishing basement


OK, so here's some more troubleshooting. I disconnected all lines so that everything was as if I just started wiring the box for the first time. I hooked it up to a normal toggle so as not to damage the LED dimmer while I'm troubleshooting here. I wired in one can circuit (hot feed from breaker panel to one pole, black wire going to can on other pole, grounds tied together as are the neutrals). Same results....flip the switch and it trips the breaker. So, I disconnected the wiring in the first can (remember, there are two piggybacked off that circuit) and left everything not hooked up. It didn't trip the breaker, but the light went out on the breaker. I reset the breaker and the LED indicator came back on. So, then I hooked up the single can light and once again it tripped the breaker!

I'm at a loss here. I'm going to try installing a normal breaker for kicks (not an AFCI) to see what that does (if anything). Will report my findings.
sanny651 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2010, 09:31 PM   #19
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Chisago, MN
Posts: 23
Default

Newbie here finishing basement


Well, it would appear as though the rumors are true....I put in a normal breaker and it works just fine. Put in the AFCI and it trips. What can I do to make this work and still be up to code? There HAS to be a way...I'm not doing anything super trick here....
sanny651 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2010, 10:04 PM   #20
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Alabama
Posts: 608
Default

Newbie here finishing basement


1. Are you perhaps actually getting an arc fault? Any wires look like they might have been damaged?

2. Maybe a bad AFCI. Have you tried swapping it out with a different AFCI.

3. Try to isolate the problem starting from the breaker box.

Go back and disconnect everything at the switch box again. In the switch box, wire up a standard duplex receptical using JUST the hot/neutral/ground from the breaker box. Can you run something like a lamp from the receptical?

If not, then you know the issue is either with the AFCI or the wiring between the panel box and the switch box.

If so, you can move on to the wire running to the lights. Disconnect all the lights, replacing on of them with the duplex receptical from the switch box, and wire the switch box with a standard switch with the wires to just the duplex that's replaced the lights for the load. Can you run something like a lamp from the receptical?

If not, then you know the issue is between the switch box and the lights.

If so, try replacing the duplex with one of the lights (again, only the light or only the recptical should be getting any power when the breaker and switch are on). Can you run the light?

If so, you can try adding on the other lights, one at a time until the breaker starts tripping again.

If not, then you know it's something to do with the lights.
HooKooDooKu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2010, 05:24 AM   #21
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Chisago, MN
Posts: 23
Default

Newbie here finishing basement


I sat on the couch last night thinking more about it and began wondering if my AFCI was bad like you indicated. I'll have to check into that. All of my wiring looks fine (not pinched, not nailed through, etc... I'll give your method a shot. I'll start with trying another breaker. Thanks!
sanny651 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2010, 07:17 AM   #22
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South of Boston, MA
Posts: 17,248
Default

Newbie here finishing basement


Quote:
Originally Posted by sanny651 View Post
Well, it would appear as though the rumors are true....I put in a normal breaker and it works just fine. Put in the AFCI and it trips. What can I do to make this work and still be up to code? There HAS to be a way...I'm not doing anything super trick here....
I'd do the test circuit as Hookoo said right from the panel
Eliminate the wiring/devices as a problem
Its really the only way to trouble shoot a problem
Test each portion by adding it back in piece by pieces/one by one

The fact that an AFCI trips does not mean its a false trip
I have 2 old lights that an AFCI breaker does not like
That was back on '04, Square D had a recall & I replaced the breaker
But I have not tested the lamps again
Scuba_Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2010, 08:59 AM   #23
Licensed Pro
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: SC
Posts: 1,535
Default

Newbie here finishing basement


How did you wire the AFCI? You must have the black AND the white for the circuit land on the breaker (each to its designated screw), and the white pigtail from the breaker wired to the neutral bus.
__________________
"Life is hard. Life is harder when you're stupid." John Wayne
HouseHelper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2010, 09:04 AM   #24
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South of Boston, MA
Posts: 17,248
Default

Newbie here finishing basement


Good point, the breaker does need hot & neutral from circuit attached to it
Then the AFCI white neutral goes to panel neutral bar
Make sure they are attached right
These 2 diagrams show different spots for the hot/neutral to attach on a breaker




Scuba_Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2010, 12:07 PM   #25
Chaz
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Northwoods of Maine
Posts: 33
Default

Newbie here finishing basement


Just a thought base on your question about AFCI's being touchy. They surely are. I care for a high-end estate, and a lot of the unusual equipment we have here sets these breakers of in a heartbeat. If I follow, you have dimmers on the circuit. Dimmers send out some weird interference. I'm wondering if the dimmers might be screwing with the AFCI. HooKooDooKu has given you great advice on eliminating each connected device until you find it. If eliminating the cans cures it, you may want to isolate the dimmers and reconnect the cans to see if it is the can or the dimmer.

This is not a suggestion from experience with with breakers as much as with dimmers messing up electronics on the same circuit.
CallMeChaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2010, 11:23 AM   #26
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Chisago, MN
Posts: 23
Default

Newbie here finishing basement


HouseHelper nailed it. Before I hooked it up I asked the sales guy (my normal "go to" guy wasn't there) how I hook them up and he said to just hook the neutral to the neutral bar and I was good. Now that I see how it's SUPPOSE to be wired, I re-wired it and it works fine. Thank you VERY much for the insight. I've not seen anything on how to wire these up before so this was very helpful.

Good thing I never claimed to be good at this, eh? This is exactly why I am having things inspected. Can't really afford an electrician and it's saving me a ton of money, even if I have to do some work twice.

sanny651 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
HVAC for finishing basement ossrocks HVAC 3 12-09-2009 12:15 PM
Newbie thinking about finishing his basement dewilliams07 Introductions 3 09-11-2009 12:59 PM
A few Q's on Finishing My Basement - Is there a FAQ on this? ossrocks Remodeling 6 01-07-2009 12:21 PM
How to 'start' finishing the basement... mcvane Building & Construction 18 06-04-2007 08:28 AM
A newbie basement finishing project DIY4EVER Building & Construction 6 05-11-2007 09:48 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.