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Old 08-27-2010, 11:29 AM   #1
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Default window A.C. compressor trips AFCI breaker

Okay, the question I'm about to ask, may have been asked and answer in
a past Post. So please for give me.


This summer in Vermont was very hot. In the year 2004 customer added
a new bedroom to his existing home. The general purpose outlets/duplex
receptacles where feed from a QO SD Homeline 20 amp. rated, AFCI circuit
breaker.

This summer while using a 120 volt cord & plug window A.C unit install in
his bedroom, he complain to me that the AFCI circuit breaker was tripping alot.
A this tripping was associated with the A.C. compressor coming on.

I made a service call, and this AFCI Breaker, installed in the year 2004
with blue marking doesn't trip for me.

Now does anyone out there, know if a new one, replacing the old existing
one, will solve this customer problem.

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Old 08-27-2010, 11:45 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by partimer31 View Post
Okay, the question I'm about to ask, may have been asked and answer in
a past Post. So please for give me.


This summer in Vermont was very hot. In the year 2004 customer added
a new bedroom to his existing home. The general purpose outlets/duplex
receptacles where feed from a QO SD Homeline 20 amp. rated, AFCI circuit
breaker.

This summer while using a 120 volt cord & plug window A.C unit install in
his bedroom, he complain to me that the AFCI circuit breaker was tripping alot.
A this tripping was associated with the A.C. compressor coming on.

I made a service call, and this AFCI Breaker, installed in the year 2004
with blue marking doesn't trip for me.

Now does anyone out there, know if a new one, replacing the old existing
one, will solve this customer problem.


Possibly, I would guess two things:


1) the a/c is going bad

2) but what is more than likely happening is an arc fault breaker that old does not recognoze the arc signature created by a hermetic refrigerant motor. They produce internal arcs that have been identified and accounted for in the new afci's but not the old ones. If a new, up to date afci doesn't fix the problem, I would bet his a/c has problems yet to arise.


Last edited by mcclary's electrical; 08-27-2010 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 08-27-2010, 02:06 PM   #3
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Weren't the blue arc fault breakers the recalled ones?
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Old 08-27-2010, 03:22 PM   #4
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Cool window A.C. compressor trips AFCI breaker

Many thanks to, mcclary's electrical for your well though out reply to my
my post. Very interesting information you provided.

Just one thought of my own, what do you me that the A.C. unit may
come down with problems, yet to be determine.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by partimer31 View Post
Many thanks to, mcclary's electrical for your well though out reply to my
my post. Very interesting information you provided.

Just one thought of my own, what do you me that the A.C. unit may
come down with problems, yet to be determine.



If a new arc fault doesn't fix the problem, the problem is failing insulation in the motor, that will eventually let go, if that is the case, the arc fault breaker is doing exactly what it is designed to do.

I would megger the unit compressor(completely isolated) and that should tell you what's happening
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:01 PM   #6
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Old bar fridges tend to trip them as well..
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:03 PM   #7
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......After the underwriters cert. throw the AFI in its rightful place, the trash and install a standard breaker.
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:08 PM   #8
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......After the underwriters cert. throw the AFI in its rightful place, the trash and install a standard breaker.


Good advise


The thing might be keeping the house from burning down for all you know
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:10 PM   #9
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......After the underwriters cert. throw the AFI in its rightful place, the trash and install a standard breaker.
Thats a hack job

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Old 08-27-2010, 10:25 PM   #10
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If the customer has a regular duplex receptacle in the house have him either run a cord or move it there for testing. Also, he should look through the outside louvers at the inside of the condenser coil. They are usually pretty well clogged up. I don't understand why they don't install filters there as well, but they don't. Anyway, if clogged up it will run on hi head pressure all the time and when it cycles ,off and back on, some really wierd things can happen with the internal overload device...klixon. If really clogged...unclog it.
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:54 AM   #11
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Thats a hack job

~Matt
Sorry, I'm just one who's had to devote too much of my own time to deal w/ this POS code mandated infertile device that trips when customers plug in blow dryers or other motor load appliances. I don't support corporate lobbying and government mandating for a breaker that's not proven to be effective . Read the fine print.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:48 AM   #12
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I have found only 2 AFCI's ever that were's tripping for a reason.

That reason is not always easy to determine.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:10 AM   #13
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I have found only 2 AFCI's ever that were's tripping for a reason.

That reason is not always easy to determine.
I can say my bad taste started in 02 when I found they would trip for such things as a blow dryer , portable drill, contractor tools. I don't believe they were perfected. I don't believe they should have been made code before they were on the market and perfected. They did'nt pay for my time and gas to replace them.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:23 AM   #14
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I could count on my fingers and toes the tripping AFCI's I've had to troubleshoot, but I've never seen one that tripped on an "arc signature." The problem always turned out to be a ground-fault that was dumping the 30mA(?) GFP in the breaker.

Ground-faults are a pretty common mode of failure for hermetic compressors. I'd toss in a GFCI and see if it held, if it didn't, you'd have your answer.

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Old 08-28-2010, 03:20 PM   #15
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Cool A.C. unit tripping AFCI breaker when compressor kids in.

Got some real hot weather coming up, Big John, I think I try what you
suggested and test the circuit with a common GFCI circuit breaker.
Thanks. And yes I want to thanks everyone who posted to this thread.
I really helps to hear from you guys.

Edit: kicks in.
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:25 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Big John View Post
I could count on my fingers and toes the tripping AFCI's I've had to troubleshoot, but I've never seen one that tripped on an "arc signature." The problem always turned out to be a ground-fault that was dumping the 30mA(?) GFP in the breaker.

Ground-faults are a pretty common mode of failure for hermetic compressors. I'd toss in a GFCI and see if it held, if it didn't, you'd have your answer.

-John


Curious how you determined this? What testing? Assumption? How can you prove this statement?
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:36 PM   #17
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Curious how you determined this? What testing? Assumption? How can you prove this statement?
Sometimes one needs to think outside of the box......
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:19 PM   #18
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Curious how you determined this? What testing? Assumption? How can you prove this statement?
I can't prove all of them beyond a shadow of a doubt, but:

A) In several of the cases I found easily measurable ground-fault current.
B) In many cases I ended up finding and repairing an obvious ground fault, and that resolved the problem.
C) In cases where I could not find an obvious ground fault but knew what was causing the trip (one was a keyless lampholder) I could not find any signs or symptoms of arcing or heating. So, I am assuming for those, but I think it's a pretty safe assumption.

It's also a matter of odds: A ground fault in an electrical system is a lot more common than an arcing fault. Remember all it takes is 30mA to trip these things.

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Old 08-28-2010, 05:36 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big John View Post
I can't prove all of them beyond a shadow of a doubt, but:

A) In several of the cases I found easily measurable ground-fault current.
B) In many cases I ended up finding and repairing an obvious ground fault, and that resolved the problem.
C) In cases where I could not find an obvious ground fault but knew what was causing the trip (one was a keyless lampholder) I could not find any signs or symptoms of arcing or heating. So, I am assuming for those, but I think it's a pretty safe assumption.

It's also a matter of odds: A ground fault in an electrical system is a lot more common than an arcing fault. Remember all it takes is 30mA to trip these things.

-John

Not all brands of arc fault breakers have gfi protection built in.
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big John View Post
I could count on my fingers and toes the tripping AFCI's I've had to troubleshoot, but I've never seen one that tripped on an "arc signature." The problem always turned out to be a ground-fault that was dumping the 30mA(?) GFP in the breaker.

Ground-faults are a pretty common mode of failure for hermetic compressors. I'd toss in a GFCI and see if it held, if it didn't, you'd have your answer.

-John
I've seen vacuum cleaners cause them to trip. No ground fault there. Just the motor starting up.

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