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Circuit Breakers

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Rick, Feb 16, 2004.

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  1. Rick

    Rick Guest

    I'm building a new house and I've being told by the local electrical
    inspector that I need to have an Arc Fault Circuit Breaker for any circuits
    in bedrooms. I was wondering what does this type of breaker do I would
    think that it's something like the Ground Fault outlets that you see in
    Bathrooms or outside
  2. Louis Bybee

    Louis Bybee Guest

    It is a specialized breaker that will trip on an overcurrent event, or the
    "signature" of an arc fault irrespective of the current level. Such an arc
    fault might be a damaged lamp cord, loose connection, defective appliance
    that is producing a heat generating arc with current flow that is less than
    required to trip the breaker in an overcurrent mode. The idea is to trip the
    breaker before the arc can start a fire.

    Google "arc fault breaker" for a ton of information on the subject.

    Remove the two fish in address to respond
  3. Jamie

    Jamie Guest

    hmm, arc fault breaker?
    thats a new one on me.
    maybe he is talking about a GFI ?
    the last GFI i saw has the option to
    clamp and open the breaker at the outlet
    in the event of lightling hits etc and gounding
    problems or miss wired devices.
  4. Rick

    Rick Guest

    Ok if this type of breaker trips on a short (damaged lamp cord) then what's
    the difference between a high resistance short (lamp cord) and say turning
    on a light to an ohm meter there both a short of some degree
  5. Jamie

    Jamie Guest

    i just looked and it seems to be a very expensive elaborate breaker.
    paying $80.00 on the average for a Square D Home line is not my way
    of thinking per breaker.
    i just wonder how many fault trips it causes depending on the equipment
    connected to it.
    i suppose if the electronics is designed to force a trip from a
    transient pulse that normally wouldn't trip a thermal breaker would
    make some sense.
  6. Louis Bybee

    Louis Bybee Guest

    An Arc Fault Breaker will trip on an overcurrent greater than it's rating.
    The time to trip is an inverse time curve. The greater the overcurrent the
    quicker the trip.

    An Arc Fault Breaker also will trip when it detects a "signature" of an arc.
    This arc could be line to neutral or ground, with enough resistance limiting
    the current below the overcurrent trip rating of the breaker. While the
    current seen by the breaker might be below the overcurrent trip rating of
    the breaker, thus no trip, it could be significant enough to generate
    substantial heat, and a subsequent fire. The arc might also be a series arc
    such as a damaged conductor in a cord where the conductor is broken, but not
    separated enough to prevent arcing, or other defect (loose connections) in
    the current path producing the same type of heat producing arc. An arc
    welder is a perfect example of the heat potential that can be developed
    without exceeding the breaker trip rating. While the arc welder is a
    legitimate use of current, using one on a circuit with arc fault protection
    would result in the breaker tripping even though the circuit current rating
    wasn't exceeded.

    Early implementations of Arc Fault Breakers were plagued by false tripping
    from universal motor equipped devices, and other legitimate electrical
    consuming devices. Today's Arc Fault Breakers are much improved, but some
    normal use electrical devices still give them fits.

    They aren't cheap, but in most cases will protect against arc induced fires.

    Remove the two fish in address to respond
  7. Rick

    Rick Guest

    Thanks for the explanation, I guess the cost is irrelevant as I will not
    pass the final electrical inspection if I don't have one.
    Thanks again
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