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AFCI testing


bigdogbonz
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What can anyone tell me about the testing process for AFCI's. I know what they are, but do they have the same setup as a GFCI with the Test and Reset button? Are they located in the Mainpanel or just on the outlets themselves. How do you test their function?

Thanks,

Randy (cant change username from bigdogbonz?)

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Hey Randy,

Welcome aboard.

Your GFCI tester won't trip an AFCI. You need a special AFCI tester, and the Suretest is the only one I know of, though there must be others you could probably Google up.

AFCI's are built into circuitbreakers and look similar to, but distinct from GFCI protected breakers. They have a test button on the breakers.

I'm new to the Suretest, but I like it a lot and would encourage all other electrically challenged inspectors like me to get one.

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Stupid question, but if AFCI's are located at the panel, cant you test them like a GFCI in a panel? Just press the test button and see if the AFCI trips? Wouldnt this be suffice; therefore why would you need the Suretest? Are there AFCI's at OUTLETS or only at panels? Is that what the Suretest is for...at the outlet?

Thanks,

Randy

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Originally posted by bigdogbonz

Stupid question, but if AFCI's are located at the panel, cant you test them like a GFCI in a panel? Just press the test button and see if the AFCI trips? Wouldnt this be suffice; therefore why would you need the Suretest? Are there AFCI's at OUTLETS or only at panels? Is that what the Suretest is for...at the outlet?

Thanks,

Randy

Randy,

To just trip them at the panel would assume that they are actually wired to the room they were supposed to be wired to. By checking the outlet withe Suretest, you make sure that the outlet trips the corresponding AFCI. I've done several homes where the AFCI breaker in the box was not wire to a bedroom.

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Hi,

The subject of AFCI's has been beat to death, stomped on, flattened out into paper and then rolled into cigarillos for Chris to smoke his asphalt with over on Mike Holt's electrical forum. If you go over there and check out the archives, you'll learn more than you'll ever want to know about the darned things.

FYI, SureTest is not the only one to make an AFCI tester. Two years ago Etcon came out with a piece of crap tester that was worthless. The following year, the fellow that owns Fox meter thought he could do better and he came up with the first AFCI tester that actually creates an arc fault(At least that's my recollection of his article at the time.) and eventually their tester showed up in the PE catalog last year. Up until then, you had to buy them straight from Fox meter for about $160.. The price seems to be coming down now that SureTest came out with a competing design.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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