New AFCI tripping

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Old 01-29-17, 01:08 PM
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New AFCI tripping

So, a house in my neighborhood burned down, presumed electrical fire. I decided I wanted to try and upgrade my breakers to afci to avoid the same fate. I have a Square D Homeline 200amp panel in my basement. I swapped out the 15 amp breaker in the master bedroom (Second floor). It tripped immediately. I went and unplugged everything in the room. This time it turned stayed on. I can plug into the outlet (which is the first thing on the circuit) just fine, but if I switch on the fan, overhead light, or recessed lights, (each on their own switch) the breaker trips. Everything works fine if I put the original breaker back in.

The afci will tell you the fault, and it says it is a ground fault. The wire comes from the basement, goes to a bedside outlet, then splits to go to the other side of the bed and to the three switches that control the fan and lights.

I just wanted to see if anyone has advice on how to troubleshoot this issue before I either give up or call an electrician. Thanks.
 
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Old 01-29-17, 01:21 PM
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Welcome to the forums! On the surface it appears you have a ground wire touching a neutral wire. That will cause an AFCI to trip. Looking deeper, it could be the way you connected it to the panel. Of course, we can't see that. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
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Old 01-29-17, 05:41 PM
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Check to be sure the AFCI is connected correctly,with the breaker turned off remove the 3 switches from the box and be sure there are no bond (bare) wires touching the neutral (white) wires,do all the other outlets on the circuit work?
 
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Old 01-30-17, 09:10 AM
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Definitely ground and neutral are interconnected somewhere in this circuit.
 
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Old 01-30-17, 02:39 PM
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I didn't think to take a picture of the breaker in the panel. However, I'm pretty sure it was installed correctly. It labels the terminals for black and neutral wire on the breaker, then the pigtail goes to the neutral bar in the panel. Everything works fine with the original breaker (not AFCI) re-installed.

I tested all of the wires independently with my multimeter. There is continuity between neutral and ground on the wire from the panel (wasn't sure if that was normal or not). There is no continuity between any of wires (neutral, hot, or ground) on any other wire I tested.

Not sure what other tests or inspections I can perform. A friend suggested I check to make sure that my lights and fan are grounded. Given what I have found when replacing some fans and ceiling lights, I would not be surprised if the ground wire is not attached to the fan or recessed lights. I just have not had a chance to open up the junction boxes and see what is connected. Would not having a ground attached trip the breaker?
 
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Old 01-30-17, 03:07 PM
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Pull the switches out of their boxes, leave them hanging wires well separated. Turn the switches on then turn the breaker back on. Does the AFCI trip?
 
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Old 01-30-17, 03:15 PM
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At the main panel box with the circuit breaker off, disconnect the circuit neutral wire from the AFCI breaker or the neutral bus. Test for resistance between that wire and the neutral bus. Any number other than infinity (some meters show this as exactly zero) indicates there is a connection between ground and neutral somewhere in the branch circuit. You need to measure resistance on the ohms scale as continuity is not a sensitive enough test to find weak connections that will trip the GFCI.
 
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Old 01-31-17, 02:40 PM
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Well, it looks like chandler was right. I opened the box again to test the resistance as suggested by ipbooks. Just to be sure, I traced the black wire back to find the appropriate white wire. Well, in my rat nest of a panel, I must have crossed wires last time. So, I had the wrong neutral plugged into the afci breaker. I tried it again with the correct neutral wire connected and everything seems to be working fine.

I did go ahead and check the resistance as ipbooks suggested. From the unconnected neutral to the neutral bus bar, resitance was 1.4M ohms. My meter will report OL (or something like that) if it is infinity. I went to the room and turned everything on at one time, and nothing is tripping, so I guess we will see how it goes.

Thanks everyone for your advice!
 
 

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