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Old 05-17-2009, 08:08 PM   #1
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question on breakers?


Im not to savy on afci circuit breakers, are they the same as a gfci circuit breaker? I put a afci breaker in my panel to protect the bedroom circuits but it keeps tripping like 50 times a day and im not sure why? there is 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom on the circuit. lights and plugs. Is it some how the lights making it trip?

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Old 05-17-2009, 08:34 PM   #2
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question on breakers?


You probably have a circuit fault, like a neutral touching a ground or a loose connection.

You need to get that checked or check it yourself.

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Old 05-17-2009, 08:45 PM   #3
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question on breakers?


Does the breaker trip with the circuit wires disconnected? Don't take apart your inside wiring before determining whether you have a bad breaker or not.

I've learned the hard way on this one .....
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Old 05-17-2009, 10:09 PM   #4
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question on breakers?


The [probable] reason for your Combination(?) Arc-Fault Circuit Breaker tripping is because you have a GROUNDED NEUTRAL. Which, if you're not an electrician, means. That the NEUTRAL (White) wire is touching the base of a metal box or a GROUNDED lead. Additionally, if the breaker trips often and not always, is due to the fact that you [probably] have a loose connection. I'd explain the procedure to find the grounded Neutral (with a gfci Circuit Breaker) but it's too hazardous for someone who's not working in this line professionally!!!
The best advice in such cases is to call someone who works with Electrical wires for a living!
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Old 05-17-2009, 10:36 PM   #5
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question on breakers?


2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom sound like alot for 1 circuit. How many total lights and outlets are on the circuit?
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Old 05-17-2009, 10:58 PM   #6
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well the circuit works fine with just a regular single pole breaker in there but when I put the afci in it trips. is there a difference between afci and gfci breaker?
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:03 PM   #7
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question on breakers?


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Originally Posted by JohnCarpenter View Post
2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom sound like alot for 1 circuit. How many total lights and outlets are on the circuit?
Actually except for the fact that there is a bathroom on this circuit, its not un-common to have 2-3 or more rooms on one circuit. Parents place all three upstairs bedrooms including outlets and lights all share a 15 amp circuit along with the hard-wired smoke detectors. I don't think the circuit has ever tripped or been anywhere near an issue with it tripping at all. Nowadays I wouldn't wire anything up that way, just because of the growing demand for electricity in the house.

Basement remodel I am doing at my house, I have put 7 outlets in the bedroom all on their own separate 20 amo circuit from the lights. The 6ft minimum requirement from the door is met, but in most cases there is less than 7-8 ft between outlets; every wall but one (door/closet wall) has 2 outlets on it.
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:33 PM   #8
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Most electricians around here run a home run to the switch box, then hit about 6 outlets on a 15 amp circuit. ( A bedroom light, closet light, 4 to 6 outlets in the room) total 6 to 8. Not necessarily in the same room. Whatever is closest to save wire.

National Electrical Code Article 220.3 (B) (9)

circuit to 80 percent of trip rating, then 0.80 X 15 = 12 Amps. 12 Amps X 120 volts = 1440 Volt-Amps per 15-Amp circuit. 1440 VA / 180 VA per receptacle = 8 duplex receptacles per circuit allowed.

For a 20-Amp circuit, you are allowed (.8 x 20 X 120)/ 180 = up to 10 duplex receptacles per circuit.
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:39 PM   #9
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GFCI gaurds against a short to ground. AFCI gaurds against a break in the wire (conductor). Which is the primary cause of house fires.
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:14 AM   #10
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question on breakers?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnCarpenter View Post
National Electrical Code Article 220.3 (B) (9)

circuit to 80 percent of trip rating...
Which version of the NEC are you getting this math from?

2008 just says:
Code:
220.14 (J) Dwelling Occupancies. In one-family, two-family, and
multifamily dwellings and in guest rooms or guest suites of
hotels and motels, the outlets specified in (1)(1), (1)(2), and
(1)(3) are included in the general lighting load calculations
of 220.12. No additional load calculations shall be required
for such outlets.
(1) All general-use receptacle outlets of 20-ampere rating
     or less, including receptacles connected to the circuits
     in 210.11 (C)(3)
And 220.12 says dwelling units are 3 volt-amps per square foot lighting load. Which is pretty easy to meet.
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:22 AM   #11
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question on breakers?


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Originally Posted by spark plug View Post
I'd explain the procedure to find the grounded Neutral (with a gfci Circuit Breaker) but it's too hazardous for someone who's not working in this line professionally!!!
The best advice in such cases is to call someone who works with Electrical wires for a living!
If he can figure out how to install an AFCI breaker, then he can troubleshoot this problem.

You don't need a GFCI breaker to troubleshoot this, you just need to disconnect the circuit entirely at the panel and use a continuity tester on the ground and neutral (after removing everything from the circuit). If you have any doubts at all, you should just turn the main off and leave it off while you do the testing.

Last edited by Gigs; 05-18-2009 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:45 AM   #12
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question on breakers?


In the panel, trace the hot wire from the afci to the cable entering. In that cable, is there a red wire going to a separate breaker? Afcis and gfci single pole breakers will not work with multi wire branch circuits (two hots sharing a neutral).
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:17 AM   #13
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question on breakers?


"Reversed hot and neutral wires

Shared neutral wiring on single pole circuit breaker circuits: this is already an existing problem with GFCI's on multiwire branch circuits.

Incorrect or accidental connections between the ground and neutral wire:

A common source of accidental ground-neutral connections occurs when an electrician over-tightens the clamp connector on BX (armored cable) where it connects to a steel junction box.
We saw that his over-tightening the connector pinched inwards the edges of the BX cable. If the BX cable edge cuts into the hot wire the electrician (or Matthew) discovers this fault immediately when power is restored to the circuit. But if the cable edge cuts into the neutral wire, the electrician (or our brother in law) does not discover this fault until a GFCI or an AFCI is installed on the circuit, or until someone touches a supposedly safe armored cable wire exterior and gets a shock.

Normal arcing in appliances: Nuisance tripping that could occur from the normal arcing that occurs in some appliances (such as a vacuum cleaner motor) has been considered in the design of the AFCI circuit. The AFCI is designed to tell the difference between this ordinary arcing and the type of arcing in a circuit that may cause a fire."

I guess there could also be a ground fault.

And one OP lived near a radio station and had to get filters from the AFCI manuf. for the thing to work properly.
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:47 AM   #14
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question on breakers?


Quote:
Originally Posted by rgsgww View Post
In the panel, trace the hot wire from the afci to the cable entering. In that cable, is there a red wire going to a separate breaker? Afcis and gfci single pole breakers will not work with multi wire branch circuits (two hots sharing a neutral).
nope it is only a 14/2 so another circuit is not sharing the neutral.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gigs View Post
If he can figure out how to install an AFCI breaker, then he can troubleshoot this problem.

You don't need a GFCI breaker to troubleshoot this, you just need to disconnect the circuit entirely at the panel and use a continuity tester on the ground and neutral (after removing everything from the circuit). If you have any doubts at all, you should just turn the main off and leave it off while you do the testing.
Ill try the continuity testing today. This is in a sub panel where the grounds and neutral are seperate but what if this was in the main panel where all the grounds and neutrals land together, would an afci work then?
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:51 AM   #15
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question on breakers?


Let me pose this simple question. Did you remove the circuit neutral from the bar in the panel and place it on the other screw on the breaker?

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