20 A Single pole circuit breaker trips

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Old 12-16-19, 12:15 PM
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20 A Single pole circuit breaker trips

There are only 2 outlets on the circuit, no junction boxes in-between. The circuit load is 13A. The breaker tripped intermittently initially, now trips more often during different times of day. I changed the 20A breaker to a known good one. Pulled out both outlets & they are well connected and grounded. I unplugged both appliances and the breaker continues to trip with no load. It does not trip when using either or both appliances but will trip after a period of time and even after they are unplugged. Romex with #12/3 (Hot Neutral ground) runs from panel to outlets. Easily traced and inspected. No damage to Romex. Any ideas?
 
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Old 12-16-19, 12:20 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Ground is not counted in cable sizing. You have 12-2 w/ground NM-b.
Are we talking about a standard breaker or one with a pushbutton on it for GFI or AFCI protection ?
 
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Old 12-16-19, 01:18 PM
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Pushbutton AFCI protection
 
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Old 12-16-19, 04:10 PM
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You said "easily traced and inspected". Does that mean that the wiring is not buried in a wall? That's unusual unless this is new construction.

I had a similar problem when I built my house. It turned out that a nail had pierced the cable during construction.

It was a real bugger to find. I started at the far end of the circuit disconnecting things and the tripping didn't stop until I disconnected the wire from the breaker. It turned out to be a nail though the cable on it's home run. I knew I had it isolated down to that cable. In my mind I knew nothing can go wrong with a cable. It wasn't until I bit the bullet, removed the cable and gave a thorough inspection when I found the hole where the tip of a nail pierced the outer sheath and nicked the insulation on the hot and neutral. Took half a day and I was in a really wonderful mood with colorful language by the time I found the problem.
 
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Old 12-16-19, 05:36 PM
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The Romex is visible. It runs from the panel along the open rafters and up through the kitchen sub floor. I've inspected every inch and tested continuity. When you asked about the ACFI push button on the breaker I thought you might have knowledge of problems with that type of breaker tripping falsely because it was notoriously too sensitive or something like that.
Do you think I should replace mine with a standard breaker without that AFCI test button protection? I can't think of anything else to try
 
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Old 12-16-19, 06:50 PM
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Is this by chance an older Eaton breaker?
 
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Old 12-16-19, 08:18 PM
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If the circuit requires arc fault protection.... you can't just replace it with a standard breaker.
I've never heard of an arc fault breaker tripping for absolutely no reason. Some trip with a light arc from within an appliance. If you have nothing at all on the load side..... it only leaves the wiring itself as a problem. A short from neutral to ground could cause it to trip while the circuit appeared to be working normally.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 02:29 AM
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What AFCI breaker, how old? I know Eaton had a problem with RF sensitivity, could trip for no reason.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 10:06 AM
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Eaton breaker was installed in 2015. Dual purpose combination Type AFCI/GFCI with a red blinking light and a white test button. I think I'll replace the Romex and re-wire the outlets, maybe I missed something.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 10:09 AM
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2015 and earlier Eaton AFCI's are known for false trips. Replace it with a new one. You are probably near a radio transmitter. Hundreds of cases of this issue. Reportedly, the word HAM, and/or the button color change is on the fixed ones, and Eaton will replace and get installed the later breakers free of charge.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 10:13 AM
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This sounds a lot like the problems of the first generation of AFCI breakers produced over 15 years ago. I think I would try buying a new Combination AFCI of the latest generation and try again. Not a Dual Function, but a CAFCI breaker.
 
 

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