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Thread: AFCI Circuit trips when I turn on lights

  1. #1

    Unhappy AFCI Circuit trips when I turn on lights

    has about 4 plugs and 4 lights/switches on it - all 110v/60cycles, on a 20 amp AFCI breaker: 4 wall outlets (2 in master BR), (1) GFCI outlet, (2) motion detectors (Incandescent), with bathroom bulbs over the sink on one and an overhead light on the other, a bath fan and an outdoor spot fixture w/2 bulbs...
    Is there too much going on/conflicts? Advice please... Thx!

    P.S: I didn't install this circuit!

  2. #2
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Don't rule out the possibility that you're actually generating an arc when you turn on the lights, and the AFCI is doing its job. Could be a bad switch, bulb socket, wiring, etc.

  3. #3
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    i would go with sloppy wiring, and a bad neutral to ground connection. Remove the ground and neutral in the panel and check for continuity.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default Afci

    Not sure about an AFCI, but a GFCI will trip if one of the devices is connected to a neutral wire for a different circuit.

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    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    Not sure about an AFCI, but a GFCI will trip if one of the devices is connected to a neutral wire for a different circuit.

    Same thing. Cant mixmatch neutrals from different circuits, I guarantee if the OP takes the light fixture down he will find a pinched neutral.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member mc_1_2_3's Avatar
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    Another question, do AFCI's have to be used for lighting cicuits in bedrooms or just mandatory for outlets?

    Thanks,

    Mark

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    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mc_1_2_3 View Post
    Another question, do AFCI's have to be used for lighting cicuits in bedrooms or just mandatory for outlets?
    I think the 2008 Code says "outlets", which in Code-speak means "any point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment". This includes "receptacles" which is what I think you mean when you say "outlet". What we common folk call "lights" are really "luminaires". I'm sure anybody with a copy of the 2008 Code handy can confirm/deny this.

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    Electrical Contractor jbfan74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    I think the 2008 Code says "outlets", which in Code-speak means "any point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment". This includes "receptacles" which is what I think you mean when you say "outlet". What we common folk call "lights" are really "luminaires". I'm sure anybody with a copy of the 2008 Code handy can confirm/deny this.
    It was mandated in the 05 code.
    Yes I am A Pirate-Jimmy Buffett

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    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Right -- I knew there were AFCI changes in the 2008 Code, mistakenly thought the bedroom requirement had changed somewhat.

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    DIY Junior Member mc_1_2_3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbfan74 View Post
    It was mandated in the 05 code.
    What exactly was mandated, AFCI's on bedroom receptacles only? Any other places AFCI's are mandated? I am framing my new house currently and will be wiring soon, so this info will be handy.

    Thanks,
    Mark

  11. #11
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mc_1_2_3 View Post
    What exactly was mandated, AFCI's on bedroom receptacles only? Any other places AFCI's are mandated? I am framing my new house currently and will be wiring soon, so this info will be handy.

    Thanks,
    Mark
    Your gonna need alot more info than just AFCI requirements...

  12. #12
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    You should contact your local AHJ (inspector) ASAP and find out exactly what your local requirements are. They may be following the 2008 NEC, 2005, or a local conglomeration of NEC, local variations, etc. You could actually wire your new house strictly conforming to the 2008 NEC and fail a local inspection.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member mc_1_2_3's Avatar
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    This isn't the first house I have built, but it is the first one with the codes, (in Pennsylvania). I used to be an electrician, so the fundamentals haven't changed, just some of the requirements, like AFCI's. Couldn't buy them around here when I was an electrician. I have been in constant communication with the inspectors before I even designed the house, let alone start digging.

    So, AFCI's in bedroom receptacles only, in general?

    Thanks,
    Mark

  14. #14
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Again, until the guys here know exactly what rules you're building under, they can't really give you the advice you're looking for. Your local inspector is the one to talk to. Also, depending on when you built that last house, you might be surprised to see how much what you consider "the fundamentals" have changed. If I may borrow from plumbing, there are only 2 fundamentals anymore, and only one of them is certain: electrons run uphill, and ******'s on Friday .

    Now, why on earth did that word get censored?

    As far as the specific issue of AFCIs goes, the 2005 Code requires AFCI protection on "all 120V, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit bedrooms". Note the use of outlets, rather than receptacles. I think the 2008 Code requires them on all circuits in the house, with, of course, some exceptions.

    If you've really been in constant communication with your inspector, you wouldn't be asking these questions here.
    Last edited by Mikey; 06-18-2008 at 04:53 AM.

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member mc_1_2_3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    Again, until the guys here know exactly what rules you're building under, they can't really give you the advice you're looking for. Your local inspector is the one to talk to. Also, depending on when you built that last house, you might be surprised to see how much what you consider "the fundamentals" have changed. If I may borrow from plumbing, there are only 2 fundamentals anymore, and only one of them is certain: electrons run uphill, and ******'s on Friday .

    Now, why on earth did that word get censored?

    As far as the specific issue of AFCIs goes, the 2005 Code requires AFCI protection on "all 120V, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit bedrooms". Note the use of outlets, rather than receptacles. I think the 2008 Code requires them on all circuits in the house, with, of course, some exceptions.

    If you've really been in constant communication with your inspector, you wouldn't be asking these questions here.
    Yep I'm a liar. Sorry for asking questions on this forum. Guess that isn't what this is for, right? From now on I will direct all questions to the local inspector and ignore pricks like you.

    Anyway, here is what PA code uses:


    Building Codes
    Search Printable Version Text-Only Full-Screen

    UCC Codes

    The UCC Administration and Enforcement regulation has adopted the following codes for use throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, effective 12/31/2006:
    International Building Code 2006 (base code for commercial construction)
    ICC Electrical Code 2006 (utilizes National Electric Code 2005 standards)
    International Energy Conservation Code 2006
    International Existing Building Code 2006
    International Fire Code 2006
    International Fuel Gas Code 2006
    International Mechanical Code 2006
    International Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities 2006 (provides alternative compliance approach)
    International Plumbing Code 2006
    International Residential Code 2006 (code for one- and two-family dwellings no more than 3 stories in height)
    International Wildland-Urban Interface Code 2006

    The codes currently in use under the UCC are the 2006 International Codes issued by the International Code Council. No supplements to the 2006 codes will be adopted for use. The next code changes will occur in 2009 (when the next triennial versions of the I-Codes are adopted by regulation).

    Good day,
    Mark

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