Circuit Breaker trips same time every day

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Art Caballero, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. Art Caballero

    Art Caballero New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Spring, TX
    I have 2 separate 15 Eaton ArcFault Breaker Type BRAF one for light and other for receptacles. They going to bedrooms and trips every morning at same time while were all asleep. This is odd.
    House was built in 2007. Do not have anything plugged in but lamps and radios that could cause tripping. Has anyone had same problem?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,271
    Location:
    New England
    Does it happen when the alarm on the radio goes off (should it have an alarm)?

    As a test, unplug everything that is plugged in and see if it still happens.

    At some point, when AFCI were mandated, they had some issues and tripped when they shouldn't. I may be a replacement may solve that.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  3. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,560
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Who are you going to call Ghost busters
  4. bluebinky

    bluebinky Member

    Messages:
    408
    Location:
    Santa Clara, CA
    Ghost busters? Maybe a capacitor bank being switched in by the utility as the load ramps up in the morning is injecting enough noise to trip your breakers?
  5. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,454
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    How can you tell it trips at the same time if you are asleep ?

    Do you have a automatic setback thermostat that is set for that time ?


    Good Luck.
  6. ActionDave

    ActionDave Electrician

    Messages:
    361
    Location:
    Colorado
    Ghosts are hard to track down. Start with unplugging and turning off everything that is on those two circuits and see if they still trip.
  7. Art Caballero

    Art Caballero New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Spring, TX
    Bluebinky, You are probably right. I tested both breakers last Sunday morning around 9:00 and problem went away until last night. Woke up last night for some reason at 5:25, just in time to have problem happen again.
    Went out to rest breakers at panel and guess who was up resetting his breakers. My neighbor. They are having same problem. Will contact utility company Monday.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  8. Art Caballero

    Art Caballero New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Spring, TX
    DonL, I have an automatic timer in my head. Always waking up early. It is genetic.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  9. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Thanks for the concept. Lord knows troubleshooting is a pain. And if the culprit is the utility, I would be slow to consider that.

    I'll file that one away.
  10. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,454
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Could be a Ham Radio Operator on your street making his morning schedule.

    I have heard that RF on some bands can really play tricks with some Arc Fault Breakers.

    Some of the newer and better models have better RF filtering.
  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,454
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    Did you find a cure yet ?

    You can Google "Eaton AFCI ham radio" and find some interesting facts about the Eaton AFCI.

    I would consider replacing the Eaton with a Square D.


    Have Fun.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  12. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    150
    Location:
    Michigan
    Umm.. I don't think so.. the tower would have to be inches from his wiring or blasting enough power for aliens to pick it up...
  13. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,454
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    Many Hams do not have towers. They are not allowed.

    They disguise Flag poles and use attic antennas because of Home Owner Associations.

    2000 watts can cause problems 1/4 -1/2 mile away, with just a simple dipole antenna.
  14. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    150
    Location:
    Michigan
    2000 watts, even coming from a full wave or half wave antenna, would induce such a miniscule signal at 1000 yards that I have serious doubts it could possibly interfere with a device that is looking for a low frequency kilohertz signal inside household wiring.

    Now, maybe if you stuck the antenna in the middle of the house and wrapped the romex wire around the home you might get something....

    I guess stranger things have happened and I'm not saying it is impossible, but I would have to see it with my own eyes before I bought into that... We're really talking about what amounts to a radio signal, and a weak one at that, interfering with a land-line for all practical purposes.

    Now, if one were to suggest it could interfere with a cell phone or a tv signal or a wireless baby monitor or something, that would be more inline...

    But then, RF signal propagation is not really my cup of tea....
  15. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,454
    Location:
    Houston, TX


    Here is a test that a Ham did, Running 100 Watts, and his neighbor about 400 feet down the street let him do some testing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsILD0Fce1s

    The audio is a bit low, but it shows what happened.

    This panels AFCIs were affected by the 17 Meter Band, with only a 100 watt transmitter.
  16. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    150
    Location:
    Michigan
    I'm absolutely astonished... My thoughts are: 1) I'd like to attach a spectrum analyzer to that guys ham setup to see if he's putting out any low frequency sidebands in the KHz range. 2) Hook the breaker up to a signal generator to see how faulty the design is that it would pop so easily.

    Radio frequencies are a lot like sound waves.. strange things do happen.. very interesting.
  17. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,454
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    I agree with You, This should not happen, But it does.

    Changing to another brand or model seems to be the fix. Some AFCIs have been discontinued because of this problem. Ham Radio is not the only thing that trips them, Ham Radio operators just pointed it out to the Manufacture, so they changed the design.


    It must be FM.
  18. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,271
    Location:
    New England
    House wiring can be a pretty effective antenna(e) depending on the frequency range. I had an electronic doorbell for awhile that could play different music, depending on how it was programmed, and I could easily hear him through the speaker on certain bands. Swapped back to a conventional bell. There were a few other issues, but that was a long time ago.

    Recently was shopping at a store near some Boston area TV transmitter towers...the remote on my car would NOT open the vehicle...had to get out the key. Luckily, (keyless door and engine start/stop) it did start up the car once inside. I'd been to that place previously with the car, and not had issues, but parked maybe 50' away - reflections, probably (and, no, it isn't the battery in the remote, it's still working fine months later). I've known people whose radio station presets were erased every time they drove by a certain area, but vehicles have gotten better over the years. RF can do some weird things.
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