AFCI Problem - or not


Old 12-20-05, 10:40 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 455
AFCI Problem - or not

I recently added a bedroom to our log home. The roof structure is 10" thick SIP's and I ran a 12/3 wg up thru the ridge beam and down inside the SIP to a switch location for a Fan/Light Combo during the roof panel installation.

When I finally got around to connecting the fixtures and switches I found that the AFCI breaker for this bedroom tripped whenever I put a load on the circuit. This circuit has all the outlets, light fixtures and the Fan/Light. After disconnecting each outlet and testing with the same result, I finally disconnected the wires for the Fan/Light at the switch box, connected the Black lines and started checking voltages across various wires of the 12/3 cable going to the Fan/Light. I found that there was voltage where there shouldn't have been and came to the conclusion that the roof panel installers had inadvertently put a panel screw thru my wires.

Of course it was not possible to remove this cable and install a new one in the same location so I had to find another route - not really pretty but I managed to hide it well enough. Needless to say, I'm not happy with the SIP Contractor, but there's not much I can do about that.

The main thing is that the AFCI gave me a lot of grief trying to figure out where the problem was. OTOH, it did what it was supposed to do - prevent a fire danger.

I must admit that I was annoyed at the AFCI while trying to troubleshoot this problem. For a while I was sure there was a problem with the breaker and was actually tempted to put in a standard breaker in it's place. That wasn't really an option so I just kept plugging away until I discovered what was wrong.

I sure didn't expect the problem to be where it was, but I'm glad the AFCI did it's job.
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Old 12-20-05, 12:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Thanks for the story. We all learn from these stories.

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