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Author Topic: Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI's)  (Read 526999 times)
KF7CG
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Posts: 1063




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« Reply #615 on: April 01, 2016, 06:27:19 AM »

To the credit of the ARRL, they have worked long and hard with Eaton to get things to the point they are. Physical, building code, and financial problems slow progress.

The first crop of breakers tested to be "Ham" resistant passed in the ARRL Labs, but failed in the field. Some residential areas have few problems as building codes require all the wiring to be run in metallic bonded and grounded conduit (shielding at its best), in many others the construction of the building is all non-metallic and even what little conduit there is, is plastic.

From what I read, one could theorize the part of the sensitivity of a breaker to Amateur Radio is "antenna" dependent and is therefore tied to the vagaries of actual house wiring practices.

Not to say that the ARRL could not do more; however, they have done quite a bit only quietly.

KF7CG
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W1XWX
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« Reply #616 on: April 02, 2016, 07:52:39 PM »

KD4ES is exactly what we discovered during the presentation mentioned above. His house is fixed but at more than 100 watts he blows his neighbors Eaton arc faults. His do not trip, since he switched them all to the ones with the yellow button. So Eaton solcved the issue but in a new neighborhood where one builder built all the houses it's still an issue since your neighbors have the older breakers.
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Life's too short for QRP
ND8M
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Posts: 35




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« Reply #617 on: April 22, 2016, 06:07:19 AM »

I'm getting ready to rewire my old house, including meter, main, and sub panels.  Since I'll have to bring everything up to modern code, I'll be needing arc fault breakers for many areas.  Is the general consensus that the Eaton AFCIs with the yellow button made after January 2015 are the ones to use?  For the amount of money and labor this is going to take I'd hate to have to replace them again.
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W5YZ
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Posts: 112




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« Reply #618 on: April 23, 2016, 12:42:12 PM »

Take a picture of the breaker and send it to Joe Felo or post it here and maybe we'll be able to tell you if you have the right ones.
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W4TL
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Posts: 126




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« Reply #619 on: April 24, 2016, 06:51:25 AM »

Better yet, use another brand of AFCI's other than Eaton.  Most of the other brands seemed to be impervious to tripping with RF.

Looking back and knowing what I know now.  There would not be any Eaton AFCI's in my panel.

Terry, W4TL
« Last Edit: April 24, 2016, 06:59:49 AM by W4TL » Logged
W5YZ
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Posts: 112




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« Reply #620 on: April 24, 2016, 11:23:56 AM »

Hadn't thought of that Huh.  Best to avoid the problem in the first place!
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KC1BMD
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Posts: 273




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« Reply #621 on: April 25, 2016, 04:56:30 AM »

I have some Square-D AFCI's (in a Square D panel, of course) and have had no problems. I run 100W max.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 08:11:21 AM by KC1BMD » Logged
KF7CG
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Posts: 1063




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« Reply #622 on: April 25, 2016, 06:26:29 AM »

The only reason not to use AFCI's other than Eaton is the question of breaker to panel compatibility. Even though they may physically fit, some breakers are not listed for use with some panels and that is at least an insurance no no. It may mean that when the rewiring is done the panel brand is changed also.

It is somewhat of a rule of thumb and sometimes code, that the panel and breakers are the same brand or are in each others approved list.

KF7CG
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KM4SNH
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« Reply #623 on: April 30, 2016, 03:25:54 PM »

I recently got my General license and set up an HF transceiver in my shack. On the very first day, I tried to use 20m, and poof! the breaker for my shack and five more in the panel tripped. I had no idea what was going on. As you can imagine my wife was none too pleased. I did a google search and ran across this forum thread. When I went back to the panel, sure enough... 14 Eaton AFCI breakers. My house was built in 2013, right around the time this issue came to light.

I did some more experimenting, and they would trip at any power level on 20m. Even just tuning the antenna on 20m was enough to trip them. One of the circuits also consistently tripped when I operated on 40m. I checked with all of the neighbors in a 500ft radius, and none of them experienced any tripping. All of the other houses in the neighborhood are older, so they may not have AFCIs. One house was built this year, so it probably does, but maybe has a new version or a different brand.

I sent an email to Joe Fello at Eaton, and just yesterday I received a box with 14 new AFCIs. I will have them installed next week and report the results.

73,

Dan, N1ADM (formerly KM4SNH)
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W5YZ
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Posts: 112




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« Reply #624 on: Yesterday at 10:39:25 AM »

Dan, I forwarded your post to the ARRL President, K5UR, as an example of why it needs to republish an article on the AFCI problem.  Didn't include your name or call sign.  Gotta keep after them!
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W1VT
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« Reply #625 on: Yesterday at 06:22:43 PM »

A Google search on "arrl afci" or "arci rfi"  brings up this page

http://www.arrl.org/gfci-and-afci-devices

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VA3KBC
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« Reply #626 on: Yesterday at 06:26:54 PM »

Well I thought I had the problem licked with the new green labeled AFCI breakers.
I would still have them trip every once in awhile many on 80 meters.

What I ended up doing is purchasing a Common Mode Filter Choke / Noise Suppressor / Line Isolator from "My Antennas".

http://myantennas.com/wp/product/cmc-130-3k/

Problem solved. No more tripping the AFCI breakers. I run 500w on 160, 80, 40, 20, 17. No more tripping.

73, DJ
VA3KBC
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W4TL
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Posts: 126




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« Reply #627 on: Today at 05:43:27 AM »

Where did you install the install the choke?  At the antenna feed point or in the feed line near your transmitter?

Terry, W4TL
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W1VT
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Posts: 1774




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« Reply #628 on: Today at 06:39:04 AM »

The current digital archive by Nxtbook Media has a "full text search," which allows you to search for "afci" in past four years of QST.
But, I think it only searches the editorial content--not the advertisements.

Zack W1VT
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VA3KBC
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« Reply #629 on: Today at 01:22:06 PM »

Installed up at the feed point.
DJ, VA3KBC
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