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  1. #1
    Joseph Stevens's Avatar
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    Default How to test AFCI breakers

    Has anyone used any of the AFCI breaker testers? I was thinking about buying the Etcon AFCI tester and just thought I would see if anyone had any comments.

    Secondly do most of you test AFCI's? If so do you do it by the test button on the breaker or test it at an outlet with a tester? Thanks, Joe.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to test AFCI breakers

    I test them with the test button on the breaker.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to test AFCI breakers

    I have a tester that's supposed to test/ trip them, most of the time it doesn't work. Now I do it by tripping the breaker with the test button. I've had a few that didn't kill the power until I tripped the breaker all the way off by hand.

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
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    Default Re: How to test AFCI breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Stevens View Post
    If so do you do it by the test button on the breaker

    That TEST button on the breaker is the ONLY real way to test the AFCI breaker.

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

  5. #5
    Joseph Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to test AFCI breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That TEST button on the breaker is the ONLY real way to test the AFCI breaker.
    Great information as usual, but what makes you say this. A GFCI can be tested by connecting the neutral and ground but an AFCI obviously isn't that simple. What does the test button do that an AFCI tester cannot do?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to test AFCI breakers

    "That TEST button on the breaker is the ONLY real way to test the AFCI breaker."

    I believe it is more accurate to say:
    The test button is currently the BEST and most likely the only APPROVED* method to test an AFCI.
    * Unless the manufacture provides for an alternate method of testing, such as the manufactures AFCI tester.

    Last edited by Rick Cantrell; 09-07-2010 at 07:40 AM.
    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to test AFCI breakers

    Has anyone used any of the AFCI breaker testers?
    I do not

    I was thinking about buying the Etcon AFCI tester and just thought I would see if anyone had any comments.
    I think it would be better to save your money

    Secondly do most of you test AFCI's?
    I do

    If so do you do it by the test button on the breaker or test it at an outlet with a tester?
    Test button on the AFCI device

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How to test AFCI breakers

    To expand on Jerry's comment, UL only recognizes the TEST button on a GFI or AFCI breaker as a proper test method. There are too many variables with a plug-in tester.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to test AFCI breakers

    I test AFCIs (with the test button) only if I am CERTAIN that they are not powering any electronic equipment more complicated than a clock I can reset, otherwise I disclaim them, and recommend that they tested with the owner's written permission.

    I DO NOT want (for example) to be trashing anyone's hard disk because a PC's power saving functions misled me into be believing that the computer was "off".

    YMMV.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 09-07-2010 at 08:32 AM.
    Michael Thomas
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to test AFCI breakers

    Many manufactures of AFCI breakers recommend the use of the built-in "Test" button as the only meaningful method of testing the internal functions of the product.

    Hand held "testers", or "indicators", do not always work on all brands of breakers.

    Read Square D's explanation here.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: How to test AFCI breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That TEST button on the breaker is the ONLY real way to test the AFCI breaker.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    "That TEST button on the breaker is the ONLY real way to test the AFCI breaker."

    I believe it is more accurate to say:
    The test button is currently the BEST and most likely the only APPROVED* method to test an AFCI.
    * Unless the manufacture provides for an alternate method of testing, such as the manufactures AFCI tester.
    No, it is more accurate to say:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That TEST button on the breaker is the ONLY real way to test the AFCI breaker.
    Each AFCI operates by looking for a proprietary 'arcing' signal through its monitoring computer (basically that what an AFCI is, a breaker with a tiny computer in it monitoring the circuit for a predetermined signature of an arc), and each manufacturer has their own proprietary signal they are looking for, thus the only way to test each manufacturer of breaker is with the breakers TEST button.

    I've had a few "AFCI TESTERS", however, they were actually deemed (later on) to be AFCI INDICATORS" as they *may* "indicate" that an AFCI will function, or they *may not* - which is why so many do not trip all AFCI breakers.

    Some "AFCI tester" manufacturers have gotten together with some AFCI breaker manufacturers and licensed their signature to use for the AFCI testers, but ... the "AFCI tester" will not work on all brands, only those for which it has been calibrated.

    Thus, ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That TEST button on the breaker is the ONLY real way to test the AFCI breaker.


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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How to test AFCI breakers

    Jerry
    I wasn't busting your chops.

    But let me get this straight
    You think the words "ONLY real", more accurate describes and thus is the better choice, rather than "best" and "only approved".
    OK

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How to test AFCI breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    But let me get this straight
    You think the words "ONLY real", more accurate describes and thus is the better choice, rather than "best" and "only approved".
    OK
    Rick,

    Well ... ... er ...

    I read "BEST" and you are right, that is not as good, but then I read "APPROVED" and ... blew right over it ... so you are half right and I was half wrong.

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

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