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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    74

    Default Ideal Sure Test Circuit Analyzer - Upgrade for AFCI testing (breakers not tripping)

    Inspected a GE panel with 7 AFCI protected circuits. Six AFCI breakers would not trip from the branch circuit outlets using my Sure Test Circuit Analyzer 61-165. They would trip when the breaker "TEST" button was pressed.

    Talked to a local electrical distributor and they have heard of same issue from local "sparkys".

    Called Ideal and found out they have an upgrade (bulletin). They said the newer AFCI breakers have been modified to be less sensitive to nuisance tripping. So there firmware test parameters are being adjusted. However, if the voltage drop on the branch circuit is greater than 5% the Siemens®/Murray®/GE® breakers still may not trip with their tester.

    http://www.idealindustries.com/media...ter_notice.pdf



    Cutler Hammer has a circuit tester available AFGFTESTER
    Search Results - Eaton Corporation


    Here is Ideal upgrade text.

    Effective through March 31, 2009

    Dear Electrical Professionals,

    As of June 2008 (serial# 08260001 or higher), the IDEAL AFCI Branch Circuit Testers’ firmware has been modified to test Siemens®/Murray®/GE® CAFCI protected branch circuits. Our testing has found that if the branch circuit has greater than 5% voltage drop as tested by our SureTest® (61-165) with a 15A load, the Siemens®/Murray®/GE® breakers may not trip with our test tool. So, please refer to the testing methodology titled “GUIDE FOR TESTING AFCI PROTECTED CIRCUITS” posted on our website on the 61-059 and 61-165 product pages at IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. - Test & Measurement.

    IDEAL is offering an AFCI tester upgrade program for the SureTest® Circuit Testers and Circuit Analyzers as outlined below:

    Send in a 61-056 plus $90 and receive a 61-059
    Send in a 61-058 plus $75 and receive a 61-059
    Send in a 61-059, serial # 08260001 or lower and receive a free firmware upgrade
    Send in a 61-155 plus $125 and receive a 61-165
    Send in a 61-165, serial # 08260001 or lower and receive a free firmware upgrade

    To receive your upgrade:
    1) Obtain and complete a Return Goods Authorization (RGA) from our Tester Technical Hotline at 877 201-9005.
    2) Package the product, attach the RGA # and a check for the appropriate amount.
    3) For timely delivery, ensure to use a trackable shipping method with pre-paid postage, insurance and provide a return address. Send the package to the address listed below:
    IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC.
    Attn: AFCI Tester Upgrade/RGA#
    9650 Chesapeake Drive
    San Diego, CA 92123
    Sincerely,

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    Charles @ PreVue Property Inspections, Santa Fe, NM
    http://www.prevuepropertyinspections.com/
    "How can someone with glasses so thick be so stupid?"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Ideal Sure Test Circuit Analyzer - Upgrade for AFCI testing (breakers not trippin

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Smith View Post
    Inspected a GE panel with 7 AFCI protected circuits. Six AFCI breakers would not trip from the branch circuit outlets using my Sure Test Circuit Analyzer 61-165. They would trip when the breaker "TEST" button was pressed.

    Talked to a local electrical distributor and they have heard of same issue from local "sparkys".
    That's because there are *no* "AFCI Testers", the Ideal, as well as all others, are "Indicators", not "testers".

    They can indicate whether or not the AFCI will trip at the signal each of the "indicators" tests with, but the only ... I repeat ... *the only* ... true AFCI "tester" is the test button on the breaker.

    Each AFCI breaker manufacturer has a proprietary arc signature they are looking for and that they will trip on - there is as yet no common ground for AFCIs.

    Not only that, but why test an AFCI in a bedroom receptacle? The best way to test for proper AFCI protection is to have all of the AFCI breakers "ON", go around and make sure there is power to each receptacle, the ceiling fan/light is on, the smoke detectors are on, etc., then trip all of the AFCI breakers. Repeat the previous check making sure than nothing is "ON".

    When completed, reset all of the AFCI breakers to "ON".

    That is the fastest, easiest, and most convenient method to test for proper AFCI protection.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Ideal Sure Test Circuit Analyzer - Upgrade for AFCI testing (breakers not trippin

    We folks are instructed to throw away are arc fault testers and test by button on the breaker only. As Jerry stated they are all slightly different. The only true test is at the breaker. If they don't pop, write them up or if there is still something on write them up. Again the only true test for an individual arc fault breaker.


  4. #4
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
    Jeff Remas Guest

    Default Re: Ideal Sure Test Circuit Analyzer - Upgrade for AFCI testing (breakers not trippin

    Press button on breaker and leave the AFCI "tester" in the truck.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Ideal Sure Test Circuit Analyzer - Upgrade for AFCI testing (breakers not trippin

    I posted the upgrade information for those whom may have experienced problems with the Sure Test and am reminded again of the limitations of test equipment and methodology.

    BTW... apparently Cutler Hammer believes there is some value in using their AFGFTESTER.

    Besides AFCI; the Sure Test analyzer can "indicate" wiring problems that can lead to personal shock hazards, poor grounding, false grounds, and/or no ground fault protection, insufficient voltage available under load, poor ground impedance, and high ground-to-neutral voltage etc. etc.

    So I will take it out of the truck along with the gas analyzer, multi-meter, moisture meter etc. etc.

    I spent 20 years managing design testing and validation of medical devices and do understand the interpretation, debate and nuance of "test", "verify", "indicate", "validate". Many times the test technology is limited and we had to improvise. And very often the the "test" improved the product.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
    I understand that ultimately the breaker "TEST" button is the "TESTER".

    Charles @ PreVue Property Inspections, Santa Fe, NM
    http://www.prevuepropertyinspections.com/
    "How can someone with glasses so thick be so stupid?"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Ideal Sure Test Circuit Analyzer - Upgrade for AFCI testing (breakers not trippin

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Smith View Post
    Besides AFCI; the Sure Test analyzer can "indicate" wiring problems that can lead to personal shock hazards, poor grounding, false grounds, and/or no ground fault protection, insufficient voltage available under load, poor ground impedance, and high ground-to-neutral voltage etc. etc.

    So I will take it out of the truck along with the gas analyzer, multi-meter, moisture meter etc. etc.
    Charles,

    I believe that Jeff will agree with me on this: NEITHER of us were saying to leave the SureTest tester in the truck, it is one of the best circuit testers out there.

    What Jeff was saying (I believe) was to leave "the AFCI test function" in the truck, i.e., don't bother pressing the button and "testing" the AFCI function with the SureTest AFCI "Test" button.

    I spent 20 years managing design testing and validation of medical devices and do understand the interpretation, debate and nuance of "test", "verify", "indicate", "validate".
    That is good, even great, however ... your previous post did "indicate" some consternation over the SureTest's ability to "test" and "validate", even "verify", that the AFCI was in fact tripping, should I say *not tripping* upon "testing" with the SureTest's AFCI "Test" button.

    Thus, you post "indicated" a lack of knowledge of the true function of that "test" button.

    Use the SureTest for analyzing circuits, that is what it is good at. It is also good at testing for properly functioning GFCI protection. Keep it in your tool bag, don't leave it in the truck.

    Just don't use 'that other' test button function thingy (technical term) as it does not create the function it says it does.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
    Jeff Remas Guest

    Default Re: Ideal Sure Test Circuit Analyzer - Upgrade for AFCI testing (breakers not trippin

    Yes Jerry, you are correct in what I meant.
    .
    I suppose I we will next power down the houses and use a megohmeter to thoroughly check the electrical system.

    I am using my Suretester again because my original one was replaced by Ideal with a brand new one that has a GFCI tester but not an AFCI. I had some bad luck with Surestesters until they sent me a new one that seems to work better.


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