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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I closed on a 2004-built home this past week. The first TV we tried to plug in was a 32" LCD, in the master BR. With no signal or other connections (just power, nothing else) to the TV, it would trip the 15-AMP GFCI breaker every time. I doubt this matters, but the TV was sitting on a plastic rolling cart, which in turn was on a carpeted floor.

I tried the TV in one of the other bedrooms and the breaker tripped there as well, at least 3 times before I stopped. All three bedrooms are on 15-AMP GFCI breakers, so I'm betting the TV (as well as our other TVs) will trip the breakers in all three of them.

The same 32" TV works fine in the living room, which is not on a GFCI breaker (don't recall the amperage).

The previous owner left the house completely furnished, so I know that she just had a two-prong old-school coax only TV hooked up in the master bedroom (two of them actually, and no others that I know of). I never met her but talked to her once to get the combination to a built-in safe, and she didn't seem like much for electronics, and probably never plugged much of anything into any outlet.

Also, the master bedroom and bath are on the same 15-amp GFCI breaker. I'm guessing I might end up splitting that circuit into 2 separate ones to resolve this problem?

Can I just replace the other GFCI breakers in the bedrooms with non-GFCI ones?

I am tech-savvy, but not terribly versed in electricity. I'm not afraid to hook up a multimeter or mess around with a breaker box (safely of course), so suggestions, recommendations, tests, etc. are welcome. Thanks in adcance!!

Oh, FYI my 1-year home warranty doesn't cover improperly installed wiring - it's "working as designed", not broken. Can you believe that? Well, maybe that's appropriate, I don't really know, but it sure pissed me off.
 

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Licensed Electrical Cont.
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You are referring to AFCI breakers, not GFCI. Better know as arc fault breakers.

This is a very common problem with AFCIs, even with newer aplainces. Unfortunately there is little recourse as the breakers are required by code in most areas.
Replacing the breaker should be your first step. Breakers from several years ago were not as reliable as today's.
 

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An AFI will trip almost anytime you plug a powered device in. Almost all newer TVs have a certain amount of powered on circuits so the remotes will work. Try plugging the TV in then while it is already plugged in rest the AFI.
 

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Blame the private corporation who wrote the NEC, and your state legislature for making it a law. You could try complaining to them in that order as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
An AFI will trip almost anytime you plug a powered device in. Almost all newer TVs have a certain amount of powered on circuits so the remotes will work. Try plugging the TV in then while it is already plugged in rest the AFI.
Not sure what this means. You want me to have the TV plugged in with the circuit shut off, then turn the circuit on?
 

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Modified.
Try plugging the TV in then while it is already plugged in reset the AFI.
That threw me for a loop too..

"AFCI -- Stopping fires and rendering electronics unusable for over one years!"
 

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I would put a regular 15 amp breaker in if I were in your situation. I know, I know. But this is what I would do in my house. Your house was built in 2004. Were AFCI's required. Check into that. Keep in mind this is something I would do with no concerns. I cannot advise you to do it though. :wink:
 

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Yes, hypothetically if I were doing lots of electrical work on my own home this year, I would not have installed a single AFCI breaker or receptacle. Purely hypothetical, because of course that would have been against code. :whistling2:
 

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Not sure what this means. You want me to have the TV plugged in with the circuit shut off, then turn the circuit on?
Plug it in the wall, then if it trips just reset it and turn the TV on, it shouldn't trip then.

An AFCI breaker is designed to trip when it detects an arc in the electrical circuit. I'm not an expert on them, but I'm sure someone here is. Am I correct in assuming that if a small arc happens inside the receptacle when you plug something in, can that register the arc fault?
 

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An AFCI breaker is designed to trip when it detects an arc in the electrical circuit. I'm not an expert on them, but I'm sure someone here is. Am I correct in assuming that if a small arc happens inside the receptacle when you plug something in, can that register the arc fault?
No, it's usually just because of the way that the power supply draws power.

AFCI detect > 50 amps drawn over 8 half-cycles.

I suspect, but I have no direct evidence, that the AFCIs are sampling the current draw many times per second, lets say 500 times per second. If your power supply happens to be drawing more than 50 amps in a pattern that happens to interfere with the sampling rate (such as a harmonic multiple), then you get a nuisance trip.

This is a completely untested hypothesis, however.
 

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…Replacing the breaker should be your first step. …….
In 2004 AFCI's were brand new a some manufacturers had recall as Dave pointed out in a previous thread:
Keep in mind Square D had a recall of AFCI breakers back in 2004
About 700,000 units - I had one
I returned it to HD & had it replaced
The older AFCI's had blue buttons, they changed the color to green
Just because your button is blue doesn't mean it is bad
Check the site(s) for the bad LOT numbers

http://www.us.squared.com/us/square...85256F19005EAE4F/$file/afcirecallFrameset.htm



http://www.consumeraffairs.com/recalls04/square_d.html
Maybe you have some of the recalled Breakers.
If not I'd still replace it because in 5 years the mfg has changed their process.
.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Plug it in the wall, then if it trips just reset it and turn the TV on, it shouldn't trip then.

An AFCI breaker is designed to trip when it detects an arc in the electrical circuit. I'm not an expert on them, but I'm sure someone here is. Am I correct in assuming that if a small arc happens inside the receptacle when you plug something in, can that register the arc fault?
It's not tripping when I plug it in, only when I turn it on. This TV has a switch as well on the back, similar to many computer power supplies. I've tried plugging the TV into the switch with this siwtch turned on and off, and I've tried not resetting anything as I reset the breaker, but it's always the same result. As soon as I hit the power button on the front of the TV, it trips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I would put a regular 15 amp breaker in if I were in your situation. I know, I know. But this is what I would do in my house. Your house was built in 2004. Were AFCI's required. Check into that. Keep in mind this is something I would do with no concerns. I cannot advise you to do it though. :wink:
Just spoke with a county building inspector, and AFCI is required by code :furious:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
***UPDATE***

OK, so the problem seems to have been with just that one television. We finally brought over the other LCD we have, which is bigger and draws double the amperage, and it worked fine on all outlets. I guess maybe there's a short in that television.

After the bigger TV worked, a bulb went off in my head...I wondered if maybe the metal brackets for the wall mount that were still attatched to the "problem" TV was causing a short. I took the mounting brackets off, but it was still causing the breaker to trip.

That TV is going either in the garage or on the porch, as we are getting a projector in the living room and the 42" will be a Bedroom TV.
 

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Just a side note the bathroom receptacle should not be on the same line as the bedroom receptacles (IRC 3603.4). Guess they missed that during inspection huh? If they are on the same line the GFCI and ACFI may be causing each other to trip (same as running two GFCI's on same circuit). I'm not sure if thats correct but I will run it by my electrical sub when I get back from my vacation.
 

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Just a side note the bathroom receptacle should not be on the same line as the bedroom receptacles (IRC 3603.4). Guess they missed that during inspection huh? If they are on the same line the GFCI and ACFI may be causing each other to trip (same as running two GFCI's on same circuit).
2 GFCI's on the same circuit are installed all the time & will not cuase each other to trip. 2 GFCI's 2nd one installed off the LOAD of the 1st will not cause false trips. It is done all the time - usually by people who do not know they can just protect a normal downstream outlet off the 1st GFCI
 
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