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Old 12-15-2010, 01:57 PM   #1
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Puzzled with AFCI nuisance trip


Hi,
I setup my home theater system in the living room about a week ago and it has been tripping the AFCI randomly after 30 sec to 4 hours. The AFCI is an EATON 15A breaker in my panel

Setup:
* 58" Plasma TV Samsung (mounted over fireplace)
* Sony Playstation 3 (ps3)
* Energy RC-Micro 5.1 speakers
* Pioneer VSX 1020-K AV receiver
* In wall HDMI, Ethernet and Speaker wires.

Diagnosis effort:
* Plug all devices in the same circuit and wait. As soon as I switch on the receiver and turn it to HDMI it trips, tv shows the picture from ps3 and might trip immediately or anytime in 5 hours. TRIPS!
* Plug TV in different circuit using extension, NO TRIP ! (Tested for 8 hours)
* Plug everything else on different circuit, TV on offending circuit, NO TRIP (Tested for 8 hours)
* Remove everything from all receptacles, NO TRIP (Tested for 8 hours)
* Plug all devices in Kill-A-Watt via extension board to measure. TRIPS, but rarely (it once ran without tripping for a complete day)
* Kill-A-Watt shows 441VA max, 119-123V deviation, 59.99Hz and 0.97 power factor

Replaced:
* AFCI breaker with the same model.. TRIPS
* Finally replaced AFCI with the spare BR115 (Cutler-Hammer) already in the panel. NO TRIP

Conclusion:
* Something is leaking ground current over 30ma or I am having an arc fault ?
* Load is well below 1800VA that the circuit can handle, thus, normal breaker (BR115) doesnt trip

I would like to go back to my AFCI if possible or is it such a bad idea to just leave the non-AFCI breaker for the whole living room ? Am I going to damage something if any of my devices are leaking current to ground ?

I know i am violating code but I can just replace it back when i am selling the house.

I have ordered an APC LE1200 voltage regulator for the whole setup. Do you guys think it may cure the tripping if i go back to the AFCI ?

I have been running the whole thing on the same circuit with Logitech x5500 speakers instead of the the 1020-k and energy speakers for over 6 months (since I moved) without any issues.

Since it is such a hard problem to diagnose and that the electrician I call (house is under warranty) will just blame my HT electronics is the reason I am trying to solve it myself.. (also, its satisfying)

Thanks in advance for any insights.

Ravi

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Old 12-15-2010, 08:20 PM   #2
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Puzzled with AFCI nuisance trip


Update :
Moved all the above mentioned to it's own circuit (20a), with afci and TRIP !
I don't have cable only an indoor OTA antenna...

Now I don't know whats going wrong !! How can an electrician help me ?
I have replaced my receiver under warranty as it was the last thing to be added when this thing started tripping, but I now realize it was not the culprit...
I think the afci has a problem with the type of waveform being interpreted as an arc... So the apc le1200 can clean up the sine wave ?
Is it RFI ? Even so the le1200 RFI filter might be able to solve this ?
Will update this once I get my hands on one..
Fingers crossed !

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Old 12-15-2010, 08:39 PM   #3
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Puzzled with AFCI nuisance trip


Basic thing first .,

When you have everything unplugged did the AFCI breaker tripped or stay on ?

Then everything is on but the tv cable { and related assorted items } unhooked for a moment did that trip the AFCI breaker or not?

I am thinking there is something with the cable causing to get the AFCI breaker trip.

Let me pass you a very good tip to rule out the issue get a GFCI breaker and hook it up and see if that trip if not then you may have issue with other items { do the same way as above when you run the GFCI breaker test mode } so that way it can weed out the bad items with GFCI breaker.

I know with Coax cable cable may have bad connection.

Is this a standard cable or satalite or what ?

If it is satallie set up you will have to double check the ground connection to make sure bonded properly { pay attetion to the splitters that where some issue will arise }

Merci.
Marc
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ravi (12-17-2010)
Old 12-16-2010, 10:46 AM   #4
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Puzzled with AFCI nuisance trip


It would probably be considered bad advice for me to tell you to replace the AFCI with a normal breaker. So I won't tell you to do that. I won't tell you that AFCIs are complete junk and trip all the time because they don't work right with modern switching power supplies on electronic equipment. And that they shouldn't be required at all because they were just stuck in the code because of corporate influence over the decision making process and have nothing to do with safety at all.
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:54 PM   #5
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Puzzled with AFCI nuisance trip


Thanks for the reply...
Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
Basic thing first .,

When you have everything unplugged did the AFCI breaker tripped or stay on ?

Then everything is on but the tv cable { and related assorted items } unhooked for a moment did that trip the AFCI breaker or not?

I am thinking there is something with the cable causing to get the AFCI breaker trip.

Let me pass you a very good tip to rule out the issue get a GFCI breaker and hook it up and see if that trip if not then you may have issue with other items { do the same way as above when you run the GFCI breaker test mode } so that way it can weed out the bad items with GFCI breaker.

I know with Coax cable cable may have bad connection.

Is this a standard cable or satalite or what ?

If it is satallie set up you will have to double check the ground connection to make sure bonded properly { pay attetion to the splitters that where some issue will arise }

Merci.
Marc
The AFCI did not trip with nothing on it. If I move everything to a different circuit that circuit trips. I dont have cable/sat.. only and indoor antenna for over the air channels..
If I switch off any one of the many devices on the circuit, it doesnt trip (atleast not for 8 hours)... nothing trips when I used a standard breaker (did not try to use a GFCI one)

I am kinda tired of this problem now (been troubleshooting it for weeks)
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:56 PM   #6
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Puzzled with AFCI nuisance trip


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gigs View Post
It would probably be considered bad advice for me to tell you to replace the AFCI with a normal breaker. So I won't tell you to do that. I won't tell you that AFCIs are complete junk and trip all the time because they don't work right with modern switching power supplies on electronic equipment. And that they shouldn't be required at all because they were just stuck in the code because of corporate influence over the decision making process and have nothing to do with safety at all.
I removed the AFCI for a standard one.. everything working... :/
I hate these AFCI breakers...

I added a Line voltage regulator (APC LE1200) which has a circuit breaker inside it.. its funny how the AFCI trip before even it could !
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:10 AM   #7
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Puzzled with AFCI nuisance trip


Somehow I did miss this part sorry about that I know you mention BR series breaker how old this breaker box is and was this AFCI breaker installed recentally or it was on for couple years ??

And what I heard but I don't have full confirmation on some electronic stuff the frame of electronic device is bonded with netural so you may see the AFCI kick out and I know few case it may trip the GFCI as well so that why I am not sure if that one of your electronic device cause the AFCI to kick out like that fashion.

The last time I have simauir issue but it was in basement we did use the GFCI { that time state of Wisconsin repeal the AFCI requirement } it did trip the GFCI out couple time and found a brand new TV cause this issue so talk to one of the big box store where my customer brought the tv and expain the situation and they exchange it and slove the issue right there.

But I am sure someone in this forum may know couple more trick with them as well so they should chime in anytime.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:56 PM   #8
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Puzzled with AFCI nuisance trip


update: As of today (6/6/2011) no problems after switching to the normal breaker... wonder when my house will catch fire
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:58 PM   #9
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Puzzled with AFCI nuisance trip


I did put the TV and the receiver on different circuits after reinstalling the AFCI and it did run for more than a month in between, but I couldnt handle the wire mess through the living room
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:00 PM   #10
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Puzzled with AFCI nuisance trip


Quote:
Originally Posted by ravi View Post
update: As of today (6/6/2011) no problems after switching to the normal breaker... wonder when my house will catch fire
Did you ever investigate the circuit to check for a loose connection?
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:01 PM   #11
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Puzzled with AFCI nuisance trip


I opened all wall sockets and checked if anything had come loose.. and did the continuity test on them... that looked good..
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Old 06-06-2011, 05:27 PM   #12
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Puzzled with AFCI nuisance trip


It is most likely an earth leakage problem,
Switchmode power supplies are most likely causing the problems,
Try putting an ac isolation transformer on the most likely culprits,
try the amp first and the television second.

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