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Country Discussion Topics
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Willy-N got a guestion
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buck    Posted 02-02-2004 at 21:55:11       [Reply]  [No Email]

on Arc fault circuit breakers. My son Is in Seattle and just replaced a regular light switch with a dimmer and the arc fault blew and will not come back on.Apparently no other changes or obvious problems but there seems to be quite a bit on this circuit-apparently in an attempt to get ma use ou of breaker. Are these arc faults troublsome. I am in virginia.

Willy-N More    Posted 02-02-2004 at 23:12:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
By reading up on them it seems you could have a problem with some kind of arcing like a fixture with a loose light bulb, faulty light switch arcing by not making good contact inside it. There are other things that could be causing a arc like worn motor brushes, loose wire conections on a wire nut installing something new, bad cord ect. If a dimer was put in, a wire nut may have not been put on tight or a wire is sliping out of it in the box that was just worked on. Pull on the wires to make sure they are conected good inside them after putting them on. Mark H.

buck    Posted 02-02-2004 at 23:49:16       [Reply]  [No Email]

Yes I was thinking along those lines and also have reservations about the use of dimmers with these things. My thinking is that it is just the "nature of the beast" to expect some small amount of arc in dimmers. This is a learning thing for me also . My first thought was to tell him to replace it with a regular breaker but besides being code now maby these things are a good thing. I will post back when he finds the problem and what actually caused it and possibly so do's and dont's on the application of these things. Thanks for your efforts and links on this

Willy-N    Posted 02-02-2004 at 22:36:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
Are you talking about a Ground Fault Breaker? If you are you could be running into problems due to age, excessive length of wiring on the circuit. The breaker may have been damaged by a few short circuits in the past, not over loads but those spark produsing shorts. The dimer may be causing a problem if it is defective. If he puts the switch back in and the problem goes away I would replace the dimer even if new. These breakers detect very small leaks of voltage/amps to ground to trip them. I would replace the breaker with a GFI Outlet Plug somewhere in the circuit where it is needed for saftey or code reasons. I would also try to get the lights off of it if posible unless they are in a bathroom near or over a bathtub or in a shower. This can be done useing GFI Outlets instead of the regular plugs where required to have the Ground Fault Protection and removing the breaker and going to a regular one. Mark H.

buck    Posted 02-02-2004 at 22:45:02       [Reply]  [No Email]

Thanks for quick reply. Arc fault not GFI. I went back to the original switch but could not get the Arc Fault to come back on. Says breaker handle is just soft and will not respond. This is in a 1 year old town house and the Arc Faults are now code for bedroom and living areas.

Willy-N NEW!    Posted 02-02-2004 at 23:02:22       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks learned something new tonight. Now they are putting them in Residental Homes. Here is a site that ralks about them. I just did a Google Search and found it. There are more sites on them also. Mark H.

Willy-N    Posted 02-02-2004 at 22:53:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
Haven't heard that name before but if you are having problems reseting the breaker trip it to the off posion real fast and solid. Then turn it fast snap action to on so it can reset. Made lots if money off people not reseting the breaker right on service calls. Mark H.

buck    Posted 02-02-2004 at 23:10:40       [Reply]  [No Email]

Thanks again. I have been trying to talk him thru this on the net and phone but as best we can figure out there is something wrong with this breaker. Sorta feel helpless when they fly the coop this far. This is his first home and wants everything right. He has already talked with an electrician there but is trying to find out all he can to know what he is up against. I am not famaliar with the Arc faults so did not know how they react. My son is attending Washington State for his Masters in English while working as a paralegal for a law firm. I'm right proud of him . Again Thanks muchly

Willy-N    Posted 02-02-2004 at 23:21:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
Read my last post on MORE. I think this will help. You could have a defetive breaker and if there are 2 of them in the panel he could switch them and see if the problem is still there. Also look for a loose white wire in the neutral bar in the panel or black wire going to the breaker. I can see how these new breakers could find all kinds of problems that people used to ask me why are my light dimming or sometimes the power goes off to some of the plugs. These problems took time searching the circuit for a loose conection in plugs, switch and light boxes. 99% of the time it was a loose wire nut or wire going into a quick wire conection starting to pop out of the hole on a switch or plug. Mark H.

Willy-N Read    Posted 02-02-2004 at 22:43:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
Here is a good link about them along with how they work and testing them. Mark H.

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