Arc Fault Breaker


Old 06-01-05, 04:03 PM
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Arc Fault Breaker

Hi there, I have a slight problem with my bedroom breaker. It is an Arc Fault breaker with a yellow test button.

This morning, my bedroom plug-in lights and radio did not work. I went downstairs and noticed that the breaker was no longer towards the right, but was in the middle. I was hoping of resetting it the typical fashion, push it "off" and then switch it "on". However, I am not able to switch it off at all; it won't budge towards the left. I can move it towards the "on"-side, but it does not stick, it only stays there if I hold it with my thumb.

I'm wondering, if this means I have a problem with the breaker or if I am merely not using enough force to move it towards the "off" side (I've tried with at least 3 times as much force as that of the "on" side. I'm worried of breaking it).

Thanks, help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-01-05, 04:10 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Breakers do go bad. It could be a bad breaker.

Try unplugging everything on this circuit. That means all devices that plug in, and all light bulbs that screw into fixtures. Then see if the circuit breaker will turn off. If the circuit breaker still will not turn off, then try replacing the breaker.

Before replacing it, you might try swapping this breaker with a different on (of the same amperage) in your panel.
Old 06-01-05, 04:34 PM
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Well, after applying a lot of force (I used the flat side of a hammer), it finally went into the off. I then switched into the on position, I pressed the test button and immediately went back off. I decided to try it again (was much easier the second time) and I turned it on and did not test it. Turns out the power of plugs in my room works, but not the plugs in my ajoining bathroom (breaker did not trip). Any idea of what this all means and of how I can get the plugs in my bathroom to work again?

Old 06-01-05, 04:53 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Well, now we are getting somewhere. Go and get a receptacle tester. These cost about $8.00 or so at the hardware stores. It plugs into a receptacle and diagnoses the problem.

It sounds like a wire has come loose and you have an open connection. The tester may help us figure out what is wrong.

After that, you will need to open up and check every receptacle on the circuit. Somewhere a wire is no longer connected. The most likely culprit is a failed back stab connection.
Old 06-04-05, 07:09 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Harrisonburg
Posts: 744
I do not like the idea that you had to FORCE the ARC FAULT with a screw driver to get it to work. These are sensative devices and you need to ensure it is working correctly before putting your life in it's hands.

Do some more checking on that ARC fault as well and be sure it is should not have to force it to reset it....

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