First required by the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) in 1999, Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) technology is relatively new when one considers the history of electrical protection. As a potentially life-saving tool by helping to prevent electrical fires, AFCI technology is a priority for the engineering team at Leviton. Today, Leviton engineers are committed to advancing AFCI technology with their new Arc Signature Capture Program.

AFCI Protection

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates1 that nearly 50% of home electrical fires could have been prevented with the use of an AFCI device. Recognizing this, Leviton offers AFCIs and AFCI/GFCIs in both circuit breaker and outlet types to satisfy any application.

Leviton’s AFCI and AFCI/GFCI circuit breakers protect the entire branch, starting at the load center, from parallel and series arc-faults; outlet type AFCIs help protect any loads on the branch that are downstream from the outlet, as well as provide protection against upstream series arc-faults.

Going a step further, Leviton’s Smart AFCI and AFCI/GFCI circuit breakers capture arc incidents and send their unique ‘waveforms’ to the Leviton cloud for analysis. This opens up a new and exciting method of exploring enhancements in AFCI protection. Soon to hit the market, Leviton’s new Bluetooth-enabled AFCI outlet can also capture arc incidents and waveforms for analysis.

What is an arc signature and why is it important?

Arc waveforms are unique signals generated when an arc occurs. For example, the waveform generated by one microwave model during an arc event is likely not the same as that generated by a different model. It is important to note that not all arcing events are dangerous. During normal operation of electrical devices, naturally occurring “safe” arcs occur; for instance, simply turning off a light switch generates a small arc. The real challenge for AFCIs is to distinguish between these “safe” arcs and those which pose a hazard that can potentially lead to an electrical fire.

Once the waveform is captured, it is transmitted to the Leviton cloud where it can be analyzed by Leviton engineers and recorded. If a tripping incident has occurred and it is determined that the arc is being generated by a known source producing a safe arc, updates can be made to the product design and internal code to eliminate those specific tripping events. These updates can ultimately be sent remotely to connected devices.

To learn more about Leviton’s AFCIs visit

Sponsored by: Leviton Manufacturing Co.
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