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Old 07-09-2010, 06:40 AM   #61
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Hate to Sugget This But..


Sounds to me you may have arching in the wiring to the light. Did you recently hang any pictures, mirrors that may have nicked a wire? With only the light on you may not be drawing enough current to flip the breaker. If what I am suggesting is true then with the light on and any high draw device: fan, vacuum, toaster, you would blow. I know you said that it ran for days without the fan but for all those days did you put any high amp devices on the circuit?
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:28 AM   #62
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You might also try wiring the AFCI only to the devices that are tripping it, to eliminate house wiring as the cause.

The next thing is to figure out is if the AFCI is tripping on an arc fault or a ground fault.
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Old 07-09-2010, 10:59 AM   #63
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Thanks for the thoughts.
- The 'other circuit' is also protected with the same type of square D AFCI breaker.

- There was no construction or other physical trauma () to the area - no nail

- This event did start with an high-draw device (carpet cleaner) blowing the breaker.

- I'm off to get some more romex and I will test from the light fixture directly to the box with no house wiring to test light fixture.

- then, I'm guessing I'm going to have to do some demolition to fix this mess. The switch runs behind wood paneling that I will have to tear off, and I'll have to bang some holes in the ceiling. GRRRRRR.

THANKS AGAIN.
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Old 07-09-2010, 01:41 PM   #64
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Well we can at least rule out a few things:

A. I ran a wire directly from the breaker to the switch
1. light on = no fail

B. I wired a rec into the test circuit
1. light on = no fail
2. fan load on rec with light on = no fail

So, can I conclude that my failure is NOT in the lighting portion of the circuit? If so, then YEAH! I don't have to pull out the ceiling (I hope).

Guess I'm pulling receptacles?
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:18 PM   #65
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Another Test:
C. I isolated the lighting portion of the circuit at a JBOX
1. added the ceiling fan to the load = no fail

So, lighting circuit = no fail.


So, since I have a space in my box I put the lighting circuit on it's own 20 Amp circuit and now I can test the recs on their own.
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Last edited by Leah Frances; 07-09-2010 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 07-09-2010, 03:46 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
- This event did start with an high-draw device (carpet cleaner) blowing the breaker.
Then that device is valuable as a test load. Things that don't trip it don't give much info in this effort.

If you e-mail Square D they might have a tutorial on doing just this kind of troubleshooting. When you write them, call yourself LF Associates or sumpin'.
If you get one please post it.
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:01 PM   #67
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It may not be any problems with the wiring or devices in the house. Manufacturers of the AFCI breakers are having problems. It seems that radio frequency towers are causing the problems. I myself had this problem and Cutler-Hammer sent me new AFCI breakers that have been made especially for this problem. Installed them and have not had any problems.
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:07 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HIVOLT View Post
It seems that radio frequency towers are causing the problems.

Cutler-Hammer sent me new AFCI breakers that have been made especially for this problem.
Can you get identifying numbers for these? I'd like to look up the patent on this.
I'd think TV stations would be more of a problem, AM radio not so much. TV wavelengths are comparable to the size of a house.

Seems like these guys are owned by Eaton, so I e-mailed them.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-09-2010 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:27 PM   #69
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All I have are the catalog numbers for the new AFCI breakers.

CH115CAFA and CH120CAFA
BRC115CAFA and BRC120CAFA

I have a flier somewhere with the notice. If I can find it I will post it for you.
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:26 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
Then that device is valuable as a test load. Things that don't trip it don't give much info in this effort.

If you e-mail Square D they might have a tutorial on doing just this kind of troubleshooting. When you write them, call yourself LF Associates or sumpin'.
If you get one please post it.
Yeah - rented the Carpet Doctor - so I don't have it for a test. But I've got a powerful heat gun that likes to make things trip.

I'll just sign my name to an email to Square D. L. F. Wade, attorney at law.
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:03 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HIVOLT View Post
All I have are the catalog numbers for the new AFCI breakers.

CH115CAFA and CH120CAFA
BRC115CAFA and BRC120CAFA

I have a flier somewhere with the notice. If I can find it I will post it for you.
Thanks - I expect in a day or so they'll answer my e-mail about RFI/EMI and AFCIs.
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:11 PM   #72
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I expect that I have a failure somewhere in my circuit, amongst the receps.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:10 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
I expect that I have a failure somewhere in my circuit, amongst the receps.
If you haven't done so yet, go through the entire circuit and check all wire connections. A long time ago, one of the guys suggested you stressed a connection to the point of causing it to arc. That may be the culprit. Since there shouldn't be any hidden j-boxes, hopefully you can track the circuit from end to end and remake the joints.

I would suggest actually removing any wire nuts, looking at the wires for any signs of arcing (burn marks) and remaking the joint.. If a connection under a screw is loose at all, it could also cause arcing so make sure all screw terminals are tightened as well.

Obviously this is all with the power off to this circuit.

Do you have a non-contact electrical tester? It is a handy thing to have. You can use it for a quick check of a circuit for power. I would not trust my life with it but if you use a quality tester, it is generally quite dependable and it generally gives false positives more than a false negative.

Although I generally do not care for GB tools, I have had very good success with this specific tester:

http://www.militarytimes.com/xml/off...tester_800.JPG
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:38 PM   #74
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nap - I'm not a big fan of the GB either. I use a Santronics non-contact tester - it has a audible and visual indicator. I am a DEVOTED user of it. AND I always test my tester before every test.
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