AFCI breaker won't stay on


Old 02-03-16, 06:17 AM
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AFCI breaker won't stay on

New construction here (modular), I installed 3 track lights on 3 different pre-installed boxes in our living room, all of them switched on the same switch. The circuit to these lights also feed 3 exterior lights. Today was the first time that I've ever switched the breaker "off" to install the track lights.

After installing them I tried to switch the AFCI breaker back to "on" but it doesn't stay in the"on" position, it just goes to the middle reset position. After pulling it to "off" position and trying "on" again, it does the same thing.

The breaker has been "on" and we've used the exterior lights a few times with no problems, and it didn't rain today so I don't think moisture was a problem. I'm thinking maybe I installed the track lights wrong, but I paid close attention during install and it was very straight forward. Since the switch for the track lights and exterior lights is in the "off" position when I try to turn the breaker "on", shouldn't even faulty wiring for the track lights not be preventing the AFCI from turning "on"? Shouldn't it trip only when I switch the lights "on"? Does this mean the problem may be a faulty AFCI breaker?

Thanks for any guidance you can provide!
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Old 02-03-16, 06:21 AM
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With the light switch "off", shouldn't bad wiring on my part not affect the breaker until I turn the switch to "on"? If so, since the switch is in the "off" position and the breaker won't stay on would this mean a bad breaker?
Old 02-03-16, 07:10 AM
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Light Fixtures

Show us photos of the connections for the light fixtures and switch.
Old 02-03-16, 08:09 AM
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Does the AFCI breaker have a blinking code?
Old 02-04-16, 05:51 AM
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Shouldn't it trip only when I switch the lights "on"?
Not necessarily. If you wired something incorrectly and caused a dead short in an area in the box where the switch is or elsewhere in other boxes just trying to reset the breaker will be impossible. This would hold true no matter what type of breaker you are using; a regular breaker, AFCI or a GFCI, a dead short will trip any of these.

You mention much about moisture and outdoor lights on this circuit, are you sure this is a AFCI breaker and not a GFCI breaker?

To test to see if it is a dead short first you can pull the hot wire (black) from the affected breaker and place it in a regular breaker temporarily and try to energize the circuit you just worked on. If it trips immediately it is then a dead short and again will trip no matter what breaker you are using.

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