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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is this the right forum section for this topic?


I seem to be tripping a breaker. I am using a 15 amp circuit amp connected to a 15 amp arc-fault circuit interrupter breaker which I been told are known for tripping. I guess I'm putting too much power on that amp. After it tripped I can't get any power with what it's powering.


Everything connected to that circuit amp:

Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-151FD 60" inch plasma

Comcast HD CATV

Recessed ceiling lighting

Hallway light
 

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Mixing lighting and your gear is a problem. At a minimum separate the two uses. That should solve your problem. More info is needed to tell you how to do it.


A cheap way out would be to install compact florescent bulbs in all the light fixtures.
 

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It seems unlikely that you are overloading the circuit, unless you have an exorbitant amount of lighting installed. The TV is rated for 355.6 VA, which would be 3 amps. I don't have the specs for your cable box, but I can't imagine it being more than 2 amps. That leaves 1200 watts (10 amps) of headroom for your lights.


How much lighting is there on the circuit?
 

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I went through a similar issue. It took forever to find the issue. Ended up replacing all of the outlets and light switches on the circuit and that took care of it. Also check all of your light switches. Sometimes the rocker can be in a middle setting that causes a short.
 

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I think it is the lights; my understanding is that can (and most other) lights generally need to be run on 12-2 wire which calls for a 20a circuit breaker. If possible tap into a nearby 20a light circuit for you lights and see.... I'll just bet that fixes it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrong Hombre /forum/post/19516015


my understanding is that can (and most other) lights generally need to be run on 12-2 wire which calls for a 20a circuit breaker.

Wrong, Wrong Hombre
 

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Maybe 'need' would be the wrong word as it is not a requirement. After speaking to my electrician (whom I trust implicitly) again this is what he considers a best practice to prevent the kind of issues the OP describes.

Now I recognize that this might sound suspiciously like an unscrupulous contractor trying to run up his bill, keep in mind that I found this fellow after getting numerous bids to upgrade my electrical service; not one of the dozen or so electricians would even bid on moving the service underground (too expensive they said) he bid less than 2/3 their aerial price to go underground and invoiced me less than 85% of his bid. He also has 35+ years of experience, most of which were contracting for military installations.

20a and 12g wire were his recommendation to me for how I should DIY my lights in my HT. Furthermore he's been coming to pre-inspect my work at no charge. I'll take good free advice from an experienced professional anytime.

However, Unless you've got a ton of lights there I doubt it is an overloaded circuit especially considering the lights are probably out when you are enjoying the other electrical equipment on the circuit.
 

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Sounds like your guy is a good resource but his advice exceeds code. Nothing wrong with that, in fact that is an ongoing theme of Holmes on Homes. Code is 15 amp and 14 gauge is fine for a lot of residential circuits. We don't know how many lights and receptacles are on the OP's circuit or if a bad item could be the source of the problem.
 

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So, maybe not right, but definitely not wrong then, I'll take it when I can. I tend to over-design everything anyway, and generally feel that unless its going to cost a whole lot more the cost tends to be worth it in the long run.


Back to the topic I am somewhat confused by the OPs wording:


"I am using a 15 amp circuit amp connected to a 15 amp arc-fault circuit interrupter breaker"


Does this mean a 15a AFCI or a 15a circuit connected to a 15a AFCI? As I recall one would just replace a 15a circuit breaker with a 15a AFCI breaker. It almost sounds as if the two are... like... daisy chained together or something. Is there an auxiliary service panel?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrong Hombre /forum/post/19516716


Back to the topic I am somewhat confused by the OPs wording:


"I am using a 15 amp circuit amp connected to a 15 amp arc-fault circuit interrupter breaker"


Does this mean a 15a AFCI or a 15a circuit connected to a 15a AFCI? As I recall one would just replace a 15a circuit breaker with a 15a AFCI breaker. It almost sounds as if the two are... like... daisy chained together or something. Is there an auxiliary service panel?

I have a electrician coming tomorrow morning to take a look.


I need a little clarification on the proper names. The wall outlet that you plug the power chord into, that's a circuit outlet amp? and the breaker inside the breaker box is a circuit breaker correct?


The AFCI arc-fault breaker inside the breaker box is 15 amp.


After doing a little more investigating, that AFCI arc-fault breaker is powering:


Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-151FD 60" inch plasma

Coaxial cable outlet amp

Comcast HD cable box

4 recessed ceiling lights on a power switch and dimmer.

Hallway light


I mentioned this to others and others say I should put in a dedicated 20 amp outlet with a 20 amp circuit breaker, 12 gauge wire, if I put in two outlets make sure both are on the same phase.
 

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"I need a little clarification on the proper names. The wall outlet that you plug the power chord into, that's a circuit outlet amp? and the breaker inside the breaker box is a circuit breaker correct?"


The wall outlet would be a receptacle; so a 15a AFCI receptacle and a 15a AFCI breaker, then. This seems redundant.


Assuming that really is all thats on the circuit, that shouldn't be too much for 15a and 14g wire even with everything running. I suspect the AFCI breaker.
 

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AFCI wall outlet receptacles are not common (if they even exist). The idea is to protect all the wires in the walls and plugged into the outlets. The breaker has two separate functions current overload and arc-fault.
 

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I didn't want to bait BigMouth any further, but since Speedskater broached the subject, I had thought that AFCI receptacles were vaporware at this point, which is why I assumed that the OP was referring to an auxiliary panel. From the research I've done in the last few hours, it seems that AFCI breakers aren't very reliable at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
From doing some more reading and asking around the consensus is that AFCI arc-fault breakers have their place, but they tend to trip from slight fluctuations, but they are good for safety and protect against fire harzards from overheating.


I am concerned about replacing the breaker with a non-AFCI breaker because I think I might have a overheating issue or something that is causing it to trip other than just being a faulty breaker. That AFCI breaker is warning me that something isn't right I think.


The solution I think would be to remove as many sources of power off that breaker and have it dedicated solely to my HT and put the recessed ceiling lights and hallway light onto another line and breaker.
 

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I have AFCIs and have never had a false trip. Of course, just before the AFCIs went in, all the receptacles and switches were replaced with new spec grade or better devices and all connections were checked.


FWIW some dimmers have been know to generate false trips at some settings with some AFCIs. Anything with a motor is a potential culprit although the processors in the AFCIs are supposed to be programmed to tell the difference. Sometimes what appears to be a false trip turns out to be a wiring problem with sufficient investigation. Grounded or shared neutrals can cause AFCIs to trip. The newer combination AFCIs can trip if you have a loose connection anywhere in the wiring.


A dedicated circuit for the AV gear is a good idea on its own. May or may not do a thing for your tripping AFCI. The load does not appear to be the problem. The problem appears to be something looking to the AFCI like an arc it is programmed to protect against, perhaps the dimmer, perhaps something as simple as a loose receptacle.
 

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I would ask him first to check the wiring of the circuit in question. He should know how to do it He should make sure connections at the breaker are torqued properly, make sure all connections in junction boxes are tight, make sure the hot conductor is not shorting to the the neutral or ground anywhere, make sure the neutral is not shared with another circuit (multi-wire branch circuit) unless it is on a double pole AFCI, make sure the receptacles and switches are in good condition (I would replace them with spec grade or better on principle if they aren't already), make sure the neutral is not in contact with the ground anywhere except the service entrance, etc. You may want to swap out the AFCI for another one to make sure it isn't the AFCI itself. You may want to swap out the dimmer for a different manufacturer/model to see if that changes the problem.


You should be trying to isolate the problem by removing equipment one piece at a time to see if anything makes the problem go away while you wait for the electrician. If you can consistently reproduce the problem with a minimal set of equipment, you are well on your way to solving the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm /forum/post/19517557


I would ask him first to check the wiring of the circuit in question. He should know how to do it He should make sure connections at the breaker are torqued properly, make sure all connections in junction boxes are tight, make sure the hot conductor is not shorting to the the neutral or ground anywhere, make sure the neutral is not shared with another circuit (multi-wire branch circuit) unless it is on a double pole AFCI, make sure the receptacles and switches are in good condition (I would replace them with spec grade or better on principle if they aren't already), make sure the neutral is not in contact with the ground anywhere except the service entrance, etc. You may want to swap out the AFCI for another one to make sure it isn't the AFCI itself. You may want to swap out the dimmer for a different manufacturer/model to see if that changes the problem.


You should be trying to isolate the problem by removing equipment one piece at a time to see if anything makes the problem go away while you wait for the electrician. If you can consistently reproduce the problem with a minimal set of equipment, you are well on your way to solving the problem.

Thank you, I highlighted and printed that out and will show him it.
 
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