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Old 09-23-2008, 06:33 PM   #1
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Default AFCI nuisance tripping

I am looking for any documentation regarding nuisance tripping of AFCI circuit breakers. Have a customer who is unable to use the vacuum in any of the five bedrooms in her house. The house was built in '02 or '03. Thought I might try replacing a 2002 afci breaker with a newer model. While at supply house, Eaton rep happened to be there and he said the issue is the vacuum, not the breakers. Not that the vacuum is defective or "wrong", just that those particular motor windings are incompatible with the afci. They are CH style bkrs. I asked for more info and he got back with me later in the day. " I couldn’t find any literature right off hand but we have people in Pittsburgh that do nothing but trouble shoot AFCI issues.
Please give them a call while you are at the house with the homeowner to troubleshoot the problem."
Just curoius if anyone has any input, short of me telling the lady to buy a new vacuum...Thanks

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Old 09-23-2008, 07:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by crk1a View Post
short of me telling the lady to buy a new vacuum...Thanks

Try another one,vacuum. seriously.But don't buy one,
The only equipment problem that I have had with AFCIs' (not CH) were 110 v smokes. Found 2 once that the breaker did not like.
most likely a fault in the equipment. Perhaps the surge of the unit starting.
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Old 09-24-2008, 06:24 AM   #3
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I've had problems with vacuums and AFCIs before myself.

Luckily, these were larger homes with a bath in each bedroom, so I could suggest using the bath receptacle to plug the vacuum into.
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:01 PM   #4
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Default issues

We've had a ton of issues with arc faults, espically when people are doing finish carpentry, its the windings in the motors of alot of these things that arc when started and throw the breaker. Had an inspector tell us 2 weeks ago, once its inspected do what ever you want, leave em in, take em out, whatever. haha. But ya we've had alot of issues. One house actually had to replace a handful of them, homeowner would leave, come home a few hours later and a handful of arc faults would be tripped.
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Old 09-27-2008, 08:18 AM   #5
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I say nice try, but the problem is actually with the breakers. Are these vacuums and power tools causing or creating arc faults? …No!
Are they causing 30 mA ground faults? …No!
AFCI’s are truly untested, unproven, unreliable and unnecessary technology that has been foisted onto the electrical trade and it’s customers. The original series AFCI’s were a pant load and the new Combo AFCI’s are even more so. They are as close to 100% pure BS as you will find anywhere. They are in no way as significant or equivalent in importance as the development of the GFCI was or is like so many attempt to relate and to compare them to. All of the laboratory and field-testing for these is biased, irrelevant and useless.

If the NFPA really wants to save lives, they should find a way to limit the effect of portable electric space heaters in old buildings with already antiquated wiring systems, such as by lowering the wattage ratings that these can be manufactured at.
The annual onslaught of fires from the use of these because of overloaded electrical wiring and contact with combustibles will begin next month, when the weather starts getting colder and fuel prices continue to rise. Should be a banner year!
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:17 PM   #6
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I agree with KayJay.
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Old 09-28-2008, 04:03 PM   #7
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Default h

Its all about the manufacturers. They make these products and then push them into the code book to make money. Just like tamper resistant plugs, joke,same with having arc faults everywhere,joke. Just another way for someone else to make money.
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Old 09-28-2008, 06:14 PM   #8
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Those early AFCI breakers are mostly junk. In most cases where we had nuisance tripping like you described, replacing the breakers solved the problem.

We had one case where the vacuum worked on one bedroom circuit, but tripped the breaker when plugged into the next bedroom circuit. Replacing the offending AFI breaker fixed that one.

We often times have had AFI's tripping with no apparent load on them. Before taking the circuit apart, we have learned to remove all load wires from the breaker and test again. Too often the blasted thing will trip out with no wires attached to it at all!

These were all Cutler-Hammer Eaton products, the instigator (read: LOBBYISTS) who force-fed these into the Code!
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Old 09-28-2008, 08:53 PM   #9
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I agree with the others, arc-fault breakers are just another way manufacturers have legislated the use of their products. Or should I say legislated their profits!

It seems these days that just about anything can be sold in the name of safety, and our elected imbeciles will force it upon the public, whether we like it or not. There seems to be an awful lot of safety theater, safety products, safety talk, etc. which is nothing more than a smokescreen behind which the government gains even more control of the people.

20 years ago it was environmentalism. The California wildfires,, among other disasters, have proved the foolishness of the concept of 'Rule By Zealots'.

The same idiocy is happening to our trade, and the victims (that'd be you and me) have been rendered completely powerless to oppose it.

Sadly, Rob
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:35 AM   #10
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We have had a lot of problems with Cutler Hammer's AFI's too. I don't like any of Cutler Hammer's products...SQ-D all the way.
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