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Need help with circuit breaker tripping

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hey all,

I'm having some issues with the circuit breaker in my home theater room tripping. Here is a list of what is hooked up:
Panasonic 50" plasma
Pioneer Elite sc-35 receiver
Pair of Def Tech 7002 towers
Pair of BPVX rears
C/L/R3000 center channel
Supercube I subwoofer
PS3 slim
Xbox 360 elite
comcast HD cable box

Everything but the sub is plugged into a monster Powercenter HTS 1600, while the sub is just plugged into a nearby wall outlet on the same circuit for now. There is also some recessed lighting as well, hooked up to a dimmer switch.

The ciruit breaker is a 15a AFCI I believe.

There is also another tv set up next to the home theater on the same circuit, all hooked up to a cheap power strip, but I usually turn off that power strip when it isn't in use. That setup consists of a 50" DLP, nintendo Wii, and the old PS3.

The issue I'm having is that the circuit breaker seems to trip randomly. I could go weeks watching movies and playing games at high volume with no issues, and then one day the circuit breaker will trip, sometimes even when I'm just watching a tv show at regular volume. I'll reset it, and usually it will trip again and again until I unplug something, like the sub or the towers. I'll come back the next day, plug everything back in, and it might work fine for weeks. It has always tripped after the gear has been on for a couple minutes, and never has tripped while in the process of turning everything on. I've even had the other tv and ps3 on along with my entire home theater, and won't have any issues. I haven't noticed any patterns as far has having lights on or off either.

I realize there is a lot hooked up to the circuit, but I have a hard time believing it is just overloaded when it seems to trip so randomly. I would think if it was overloaded it would be tripping while turning stuff on, or only during loud parts of movies, or during times when the sub is going crazy, but not when I'm just watching a TV show with everything but the tv, receiver, and cable box turned off. I'm by no means an expert, so I may not really understand whats going on though.

Any help would be appreciated. Let me know if more info is required.

post #2 of 11
An AFCI CB is an Arc Fault Circuit Interupter. Without reviewing the load, it seems like it would be okay. Check all of your connections and cords (in the wall, receptacles, cords, etc.) as well as the lugs on the CB and the neutral bus in the panel. You may have some arcing causing a problem.
post #3 of 11
Thought about the obvious? A Bad breaker perhaps.
post #4 of 11
Also seems to me I've read a lot about these AFCIs being more sensitive than GFCIs. Can you add another circuit and spread the load around?
post #5 of 11
Originally Posted by tlogan6797 View Post

Also seems to me I've read a lot about these AFCIs being more sensitive than GFCIs. Can you add another circuit and spread the load around?

A standard, GFCI, AFCI circuit breaker will all have the same trip curve. Load is load -- there is no sensitivity about. What you get in addition with the AFCI is arc fault protection (trips on a arcing) and with the GFCI is ground fault protection (trips on ubalance of current), but as far as over current protection of a given series, they will all be the same.

If spreading the load helps, its going to be because you've isolated the faulty equipment to one circuit or another and if it is an arcing problem, you've likely corrected it in the transition.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Adding a circuit probably isn't an option (renting from a friend, and I'm not paying for repairs to his house).

Is there a way to troubleshoot this? Would it be possible that one of my components (receiver, speaker, tv, etc) is causing the circuit to trip? I can't think of any way to troubleshoot that, because if I disconnect something, and it stops tripping, how do I know if it was a faulty component and not just overloaded? The other issue is I can go weeks without it tripping, so it would be a lengthy troubleshooting process...

Are faulty breakers common?
post #7 of 11
I once had an Arc Fault breaker that was tripping all the time for no apparent reason. I thought I had a problem and checked all the connections on the circuit and they all appeared solid. I replaced the breaker and had no problems after that. Had a similar thing happen with a brand new 3 way switch I installed. Spent hours trying to figure out why it was not working properly. I replaced the switched and it worked fine.
post #8 of 11
Replace with a new outlet .. it's a cheap and easy job .. turn off power to it first ..
post #9 of 11
Try running your system with-out the Monster Powercenter.
Some power conditioners dump a lot of noise current into the safety ground and confuse the GFCI.
post #10 of 11
Most likely a loose neutral connection, either on the neutral bus bar in the panel or at the receptacle. This can cause small intermittent arcing, that can cause the arc fault safety circuit to trip. If that doesn't help, replace the breaker and the receptacles on the circuit.
post #11 of 11
I hate bumping an old thread but I had a similar problem. I had two computers each with an 800w power supply hooked up and a portable air conditioner in my room. I also had two monitors and a tv that were all going at the same time. This put an enormous load on the circuit breaker which wore it down fast over time, eventually the breaker kept tripping intermittently. I followed some tips here and in the end I had to replace the circuit breaker with a new one. I bought two new eaton cutler hammer circuit breakers 20 amp. 3/4in and replaced it. Then I made sure my two computers and the air conditioner were on a different circuit and I've been set ever since. Hope this helps.
Edited by prennia - 5/6/13 at 9:43am
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