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Understanding Arc Fault Breakers

Category: PQ Theory, Analyzing Waveforms

Understand Arc Fault Breakers, how to detect them and how to monitor "false positive" trips.


Arc Fault Breakers (or AFCI breakers) are sensitive breakers that augment traditional breakers’ functionality by using logic and signal processing to determine whether or not an arcing condition is present.


Sometimes, non-traditional loads and other power quality phenomena – while not a problem in and of themselves – can generate “false positives” resulting in nuisance breaker trips.


This white paper gives an overview of Arc Fault Breakers, some of the power quality conditions that may lead to “false positives” and some ways to attempt to detect what specifically is causing a breaker to trip.


AFCI breakers are a class of intelligent breaker that trip not only when current exceeds a maximum specified level, but also when current drops below a minimum specified level and an “arcing event” has been detected.


This white paper includes:

  • What are Arc Fault Breakers?
  • Electrical Code
  • Arc Faults
  • How They Work
  • Identifying the Source of an Arc Fault Trip
  • From the Utility's Perspective

Download White Paper Here