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Re: Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters
Original poster: "R.E.Burnett by way of Terry Fritz <twftesla-at-uswest-dot-net>" <R.E.Burnett-at-newcastle.ac.uk>
Hi AL and all,
Nobody seems to have jumped in here, so I will offer what I know.
A couple of years ago I did some work for a company that were developing
a tester for "arc detecting circuit breakers". (They also make hand held
testers for checking conventional and Earth Leakage Breakers, etc.)
My understanding is that the arc detection circuit looks for RF noise on
the line at the instant when the load current goes through zero. Arcs
seem to become unstable when the current changes direction. These
breakers likely take advantage of this behaviour to give reliable arc
detection with good immunity to false trips.
At the time I was told that these breakers would quickly become standard
in the states so a method of testing them would be highly desirable.
This is actually the first I have heard about them. They don't seem to
have caught on over here yet.
This is about as much as I know about them, however I would not be too
worried about damage to the actual circuit breaker. They are built to
withstand equipment faults so it is unlikely anything you will do could
damage the breaker. Make sure you use a good quality line filter to
protect other appliances in your house ;-)
Original poster: "by way of Terry Fritz
Hi all. I have installed four of the new Arc Fault circuit breakers in
my new upgraded home panelboard and I noticed that these things have some
sort of circuitry built into the breaker, as shown by a cutaway picture
on the instructions that comes with them. I installed them because of
the old 1940 type metal sheathed BX style cable in some parts of the
house, the old rubber was falling off the wires at the lighting junction
boxes, and I thought it would be a good move to get these things since
all new homes built starting in 2002 will require these breakers to
comply with code. Now I notice that the breakers are warm to the touch
even with no load across them, the little circuit in each breaker must be
drawing a parasitic current as it monitors the hot/neutral wiring. But
what I am concerned with is this: Would my Tesla somehow destroy these
breakers or the discrete electrical components housed within the breaker
body? These things are not cheap! They cost $35.00 each for one 20 amp
breaker. Anyone on the list familiar with these new devices and any
precautions I should take, aside from giving up the coiling hobby? I am
eventually going to have them on even the newer romex plastic cable on
all lines in the house and am looking at 12 single pole and 4 double pole
breakers and the double pole ones cost almost $100 each. Your advice will
be most welcome. Thank you. AL.
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