Replacing Circuit Breakers With AFCI - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


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

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-03-2010, 04:40 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 21
Rewards Points: 10
Question

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


I have decided to replace all traditional 15/20A circuit breakers with AFCI.

The 40A and 30A circuit breakers are installed at the top and the 15/20A follows.

The issue I am facing is that the neutral wires now need to be connected to AFCI but since they are connected onto the neutral bar (the bar is mounted towards the top of the box), the wires are short.

Is there a solution to this problem while it would pass an inspection?

Advertisement

ozdiy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2010, 06:37 PM   #2
nap
You talking to me?
 
nap's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: sw mi
Posts: 5,407
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


a piece of wire spliced onto the neutral from the breaker. Wire nuts can be used. Crimp splices look nicer but are more expensive. If you use crimp splices, just make sure they are rated for the voltage.

while many believe it is illegal to splice a wire in a panel, it is not.

Advertisement

nap is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to nap For This Useful Post:
ozdiy (07-03-2010)
Old 07-03-2010, 07:03 PM   #3
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 21
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


Would it be legal to move the higher amp circuit breakers down to make room for the 15/20A ones? I can't find any reason why this would be a bad idea.

Last edited by ozdiy; 07-03-2010 at 07:06 PM.
ozdiy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2010, 07:10 PM   #4
nap
You talking to me?
 
nap's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: sw mi
Posts: 5,407
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


Quote:
Originally Posted by ozdiy View Post
Would it be legal to move the higher amp circuit breakers down to make room for the 15/20A ones? I can't find any reason why this would be a bad idea.
sure. There is no designated placement of breakers in a panel. Do what works for you. I do certain layouts because I see it as being aesthetically pleasing or a particular placement makes the wire a bit shorter (something you think about when using large wire and the boss is after you to keep costs in line).

Other than that, it is up to the installer to determine placement.
nap is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to nap For This Useful Post:
ozdiy (07-03-2010)
Old 07-03-2010, 07:15 PM   #5
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 21
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


Thanks! Yes, it makes sense to start with the big boys as you mentioned but now, I can save on some splicing of few cables by moving the big boys down 1 to 2 positions.

Thank you a lot for your help!!!
ozdiy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2010, 09:19 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


Quote:
Originally Posted by ozdiy View Post
I have decided to replace all traditional 15/20A circuit breakers with AFCI.
If you have a choice, and one AFCI has higher pat pend numbers on its case than the other one, get the one with the higher numbers. The numbers will probably be 5,000,000 and higher. This one
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6590754.html
is assigned to Pass & Seymour.

The Ozarks and Florida have an unusually high number of lightning strikes per year.
http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_lightning_strikes/
These strikes may affect AFCI operation.

The FL PoCo may tell you their minimum surge protector req'mts; the Ozark power company wouldn't speak to me.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-03-2010 at 09:30 PM.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2010, 10:14 PM   #7
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 21
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


Siemens ones already have some sort of 'false trip prevention filter', you can read about it here:

http://www.sea.siemens.com/us/Produc..._Overview.aspx

(I do not have the exact section/page but I read about it there. I read all the available info on that website)

I read that this is important when the load is created by motors, a vacuum cleaner for example that does create sparks.

I like the craftsmanship and material of Siemens AFCI. They also have 2 LEDs that indicate the condition of the AFCI when they are turn on, plus they indicate which of the 3 condition caused them to trip. The condition stays in the memory for 30 days and it can be manually cleared.
ozdiy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2010, 10:23 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South of Boston, MA
Posts: 17,248
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


Some have noted problems with certain AFCI when a lot of them are placed side by side
Scuba_Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2010, 11:23 AM   #9
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 21
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


My biggest fear is a reality.....

I replaced two cir. breakers with AFCI...all was fine for hours. Then suddenly one of the two AFCI tipped (arc fault to ground). I turned it on and it tipped immediately, and again every time despite that all load was removed from receptacles. One of the surge protector was turned off but stayed connected.

It was too late and I went to bed last night.

The next morning I was able to turn on the AFCI but it only lasted about 5-10 minutes and it tipped.

I noticed that the other one tipped also sometimes during the night but I was able to turn it back on (I need to investigate that one to see what is connected to it.).

Now, I have removed the surge protector and all runs fine right now. I suspected that the surge protector is the root cause with one of the AFCI and googled this one post here:
AFCI circuit breaker

I hope that was it with the first one (that protects lights in all 3 bedrooms and most receptacles in all 3 bedrooms).

Last edited by ozdiy; 07-04-2010 at 11:36 AM.
ozdiy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2010, 11:48 AM   #10
nap
You talking to me?
 
nap's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: sw mi
Posts: 5,407
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


sounds like the surge suppressor has a leak or it is shunting an over voltage that is existent all the time.

Obviously check the voltage level but in all reality, most surge suppressors are not active until there is a very high over voltage.
nap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2010, 12:12 PM   #11
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 21
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


An 1 1/2 hour later it tipped again (with the surge protector removed).


Few possibilities:

1- faulty wiring (these homes where quickly built, the evidence is everywhere)

2- faulty AFCI (I can easily replace it, but I doubt it is faulty being new)

3- one of the device is causing the tipping (I will run all the devices on an extension cord with only few devices on the receptacle and will try to isolate the device)
ozdiy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2010, 12:28 PM   #12
nap
You talking to me?
 
nap's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: sw mi
Posts: 5,407
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


Quote:
1- faulty wiring (these homes where quickly built, the evidence is everywhere)
and very difficult to find

Quote:
2- faulty AFCI (I can easily replace it, but I doubt it is faulty being new)
try swapping circuits to a different AFCI already installed. If the same AFCI trips or the problem goes away, it is probably the breaker. If the trouble follows the circuit wire, it is something in the circuit.

Quote:
3- one of the device is causing the tipping (I will run all the devices on an extension cord with only few devices on the receptacle and will try to isolate the device)
that is the key to diagnosis. Remove a possible cause, one at a time I might add, until the problem goes away.
nap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2010, 12:28 PM   #13
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Posts: 777
Rewards Points: 500
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


In Canada there is alot of debate about using AFCI with light switches. Many say turning light switches on and off creates "false" arcs that will trip an AFCI. My last circuit design was going to be designed with both lights and receptacles on the same AFCI but I purposely separated them to avoid this. Something you can try and rule out.... might be that simple.

Also, AFCI's are very sensitive. A light bulb burning out will often trip an AFCI.
n0c7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2010, 12:53 PM   #14
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 21
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


n0c7, I do not turn on/off any lights or loads. I would think that the modern AFCI do know how to deal with lights and turning on loads. In addition, my vacuum cleaner (arcing motor by design) doesn't cause to trip AFCI.

Also you are talking about so called 'series arc' while I am encountering 'line to ground'. Good reading is here, explaining all 3 arc protections: http://www.sea.siemens.com/us/intern...COMBO-1209.pdf

If tipping is happening, NEMA wants you to fill out a form: http://www.afcisafety.org/report.html

Good reading here if somebody else has issues with AFCI:
http://www.thecircuitdetective.com/treereset.htm
http://www.thecircuitdetective.com/a...t_breakers.htm
http://www.sea.siemens.com/us/produc...view.aspx?rc=1

Because this is a 'line to ground' I am connecting all the two-prong devices into the AFCI receptacle and will run the three-prong devices of the extension cord to a receptacle protected by non-AFCI CB. I will run it like that for one week. If no tipping occurs then I will introduce three-prong devices one by one. Seems like a long project!

Last edited by ozdiy; 07-04-2010 at 01:36 PM.
ozdiy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2010, 01:42 PM   #15
nap
You talking to me?
 
nap's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: sw mi
Posts: 5,407
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Replacing circuit breakers with AFCI


Quote:
Originally Posted by n0c7 View Post
In Canada there is alot of debate about using AFCI with light switches. Many say turning light switches on and off creates "false" arcs that will trip an AFCI. My last circuit design was going to be designed with both lights and receptacles on the same AFCI but I purposely separated them to avoid this. Something you can try and rule out.... might be that simple.

Also, AFCI's are very sensitive. A light bulb burning out will often trip an AFCI.
there is nothing false about the arc created when flipping a switch. It is the nature of the beast and depending on the load on the switch, it can be quite an arc. Supposedly the AFCI breakers are designed to be able to ignore such an arc but honestly, I just not convinced AFCI is ready for the real world.

Heck, if you plug in or remove the plug on an appliance that is drawing current, you will get an arc as well. Just like the lights, the bigger the current draw, the bigger the arc.

the problem with AFCI is: arcs are a known, common, and accepted situation in much of our systems. Teaching the breaker the difference between an arc from a light switch, or a brushed motor, a relay, or unplugging an appliance compared to an unwanted arc from a short circuit appears to be a real problem, still.

Advertisement

nap is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
afci


Thread Tools
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
AFCI circuit breaker bryan1282 Electrical 14 02-11-2010 07:06 PM
Dead circuit, breakers not tripped mtrubee Electrical 4 05-11-2009 07:01 PM
Sub-Panel or Tandem Circuit Breakers? dgoldsmith Electrical 2 03-08-2008 01:34 PM
Adding new circuit breakers to 100 amp sub panel DrP Electrical 8 05-25-2006 11:05 PM
Replacing a circuit breaker PaulGray Electrical 3 05-13-2006 10:17 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts