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AFCIs and Treadmills


Paul MacLean
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My tale of woe...

About three months ago I replaced my old FPE panels with new Cutler Hammer panels. In the process the AHJ insisted that we put AFCI breakers on the bedroom circuits. Never mind that the 1977 house is wired with more than bedrooms on the circuit.

Two months later my wife's Proform treadmill trips the new AFCI on the bedroom circuit. I reset the AFCI and it trips the breaker again. I plugged the treadmill into another circuit and it still didn't work. Long story short, the treadmill technician finds a bad controller with an obviously burnt capacitor or something. I think - "Great - the AFCI worked."

Two weeks later the treadmill trips the AFCI again. The tech calls Proform and learns that their treadmills "are not compatible" with AFCIs or GFCIs. So I finally read the fine print in the Proform owner's manual it says they're "not compatible with GFCIs." AFCIs are not mentioned.

Today I am replacing my new AFCI breakers with standard 20amp breakers...don't tell the AHJ.[%|:-)]

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Originally posted by Paul MacLean

Today I am replacing my new AFCI breakers with standard 20amp breakers...don't tell the AHJ.

Schwinehund! Zee code nazis vill be at your door vithin 5 minutes und vill tromp you vith zheir shiny jack boots until you haff seen zee light! Und you vill like it! [:-fight][:-dev3]

Brian G.

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Originally posted by chrisprickett

Paul,

Try this: Replace the treadmill with an ice cream maker. That's what I did and the problem went away!

[:-bonc01][:-bonc01][:-bonc01]

Given my experience w/ AFCI's to date, I don't think they are effective @ much of anything other than confusing me & my customers. If I understood the basis of Douglas' talk @ InspectionWorld, he thinks they're near worthless (paraphrased, he was much more ariculate in his condemnation).

If they were required to be retrofit into all Section 8 housing & old rental properties, I'd be championing them. Since they are only going into new construction, where outlets are already installed on every wall & within a few feet of each other, what's the point? They strike me as a perfect example of mfg. lobbying adversely effecting code adoption practices.

And, let's not forget the ice cream maker solution; nice cold creamy ice creaammmmm ahghaghhhgggg......

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Originally posted by kurt

If I understood the basis of Douglas' talk @ InspectionWorld, he thinks they're near worthless (paraphrased, he was much more ariculate in his condemnation).

That was my understanding from the seminar as well, although it does sound like the next generation will be much more worthwhile.

Brian G.

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Yep, back when I was doing one-man remodeling work, I had a client who's treadmill popped the GFCI EVERY time he ran it. I tested, replaced, tested again and couldn't find anything improperly wired. About to lose my mind when I have a talk with the mfg. of the GFCI receptacle who explained that most exercise equipment won't work on these receptacles.

Solution was to install a hospital grade GFCI instead. That did the trick!

Too bad they're not making hospital grade AFCI's. Guess they don't figure folks recovering from kidney failures and heart transplants won't be plugging bad lamps into the wall outlets in intensive care.

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Originally posted by chrisprickett

Paul,

Try this: Replace the treadmill with an ice cream maker. That's what I did and the problem went away!

Chris, you met my wife at Inspection World. I like her like she is. I'm NOT going to suggest your solution. [:-crazy]The AFCI is gone now. The treadmill works fine.[:-party]

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Originally posted by kurt

Originally posted by chrisprickett

Paul,

Try this: Replace the treadmill with an ice cream maker. That's what I did and the problem went away!

[:-bonc01][:-bonc01][:-bonc01]

Given my experience w/ AFCI's to date, I don't think they are effective @ much of anything other than confusing me & my customers. If I understood the basis of Douglas' talk @ InspectionWorld, he thinks they're near worthless (paraphrased, he was much more articulate in his condemnation).

If they were required to be retrofit into all Section 8 housing & old rental properties, I'd be championing them. Since they are only going into new construction, where outlets are already installed on every wall & within a few feet of each other, what's the point? They strike me as a perfect example of mfg. lobbying adversely effecting code adoption practices.

I, too, sat in on Doug's presentation. After the meeting we talked a minute (I sent him my old FPE panels for training) and he thought the Austin code inspector was going overboard requiring the AFCIs in a replacement panel. I agreed.

...and I agree with everything Kurt says...errr...at least in this post. [^]

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Originally posted by Paul MacLean

Originally posted by chrisprickett

Paul,

Try this: Replace the treadmill with an ice cream maker. That's what I did and the problem went away!

Chris, you met my wife at Inspection World. I like her like she is. I'm NOT going to suggest your solution. [:-crazy]The AFCI is gone now. The treadmill works fine.[:-party]

And as you could tell from my physique, I could probably do without the ice cream maker!

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Originally posted by chrisprickett

Originally posted by Paul MacLean

Originally posted by chrisprickett

Paul,

Try this: Replace the treadmill with an ice cream maker. That's what I did and the problem went away!

Chris, you met my wife at Inspection World. I like her like she is. I'm NOT going to suggest your solution. [:-crazy]The AFCI is gone now. The treadmill works fine.[:-party]

And as you could tell from my physique, I could probably do without the ice cream maker!

But you're a wild man on the dance floor![:-jump2][:-jump][:-jump2]

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