Question about Cutler Hammer "CUTLER HAMMER" ARC FAULT SINGLE POLE CIRCUIT BREAKER 20 amp, 120/240 vac

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Our circuit breakers keep tripping. The house is only 12 months old and our electrician says the builder installed Cutler Hammer Combination type AFCI is the problem. Is there a problem with these being defective?

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They can be defective, but usually not. It is usually something that is plugged in that will not operate on the arc fault circuit. Brush type motors are bad as they are actually arcing at times. Unplug all devices, and try to find the culprit. These are for your safety, and once you find the problem devices you should be fine.

Posted on Sep 24, 2010

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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1 Answer

Chaf vs braf breakers


Hi Will,

I am an electrician and can help you with this problem.

The panel should have a label that provides the catalog number of the panel. Many labels also detail all the breaker types that the panel has been tested with by UL, FM or other recognized testing laboratory. It is a violation of the electrical code to install any breaker into a panel that it was not designed to accept - even it it fits or can be "made" to fit. This means if it is not listed as an acceptable breaker, it must not be introduced to the panel.

The BR20 AF and CH20 AF are both "Combination Arc Fault Circuit Breakers". This means either device is capable of interrupting current flow when either: (1) an over-current condition exists, or (2) when an arc fault is detected regardless of load.

The fronts look very different:


11_15_2012_2_26_33_am.jpg
The BR20 AF circuit breaker above.


11_15_2012_2_27_14_am.jpg
The CH20 AF circuit breaker above.

These breakers are NOT interchangeable. The CH series has fully exposed clips to engage the relatively flat (or flush) powered buss bar of the panel, while the BR series has a slot in the body that accepts a thin (blade-like), raised powered buss tab of a completely different style panel.

You should replace the breaker only with a like type, arc fault breaker. A similar looking, ground fault breaker is NOT a replacement for this breaker.

I hope this helps and good luck!

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1 Answer

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No - because this will cause the electrical wiring to overheat which could cause a house fire.

This may be helpful:
Basic House Wiring Circuits and Breakers

If a circuit is over loading then it may be because there are too many devices on the circuit which could be solved by removing some of the load, or an additional circuit may be installed for specific devices, such as a microwave oven etc..

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Turn the handle all the way to the OFF position, then turn it to ON. If it is tripping, then turn OFF all breakers, then turn ON the main. Turn ON each individual breaker until you find the one that is tripping the main. No offense, but you should consider calling a qualified electrician.

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Sounds like something is wrong with the light check the wiring. Unhook the light and try ther breaker if breaker does not trip then problem is in the circuit.

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I used to run into that being a service electrician all the time Smains! These problems can involve a little more legwork to figure out than some. The best advice that I can give you is, if at that age you can still find a part number on the breaker panel (they renamed them load centers to sound fancy lmao), if you can actually fine a legible one. Write it down and go to Eaton's website, then to load center. They have a parts number search that should take you right to your PANEL lol, and all the specs. I'm not there or if do it for you, hope this helps!!!

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If I remember correctly that is a pretty good size breaker, and I would strongly suggest that if you are not a qualified journeyman electrician or higher I would not go any further with this it can be extremely dangerous. Random tripping can be caused by several causes good chance that breaker is faulty. If this is the 2000 amp 600 volt breaker I strongly suggest calling a fully licensed electrician.

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You may have arc fault breakers in this area. Be sure to unplug all devices and try to reset breaker again. Some brush type motors will not work on arc fault breakers. If this is a brand new house then call the builder back and let him get the electrician back in.

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Turn handle to off position and then back on. Same as any other breaker. The red test button can be pressed which will trip breaker. If it trips immediately,unplug all devices on circuit and try to reset. Reconnect each device and see which trips breaker. If this goes to outdoor receptacle, check behind cover for moisture.

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Ground Fault circuit Breaker trips each time a load is applied


The most likely causes in their order of probability are: 1) water somewhere in the circuit causing the hot wire to ground; 2) a legitimate trip caused by a defect in a device plugged into the circuit; and 3) a defective GFCI breaker. In the first case, wait until it has been dry for about a week and see if it trips. In the second case, make sure there is nothing plugged into the circuit and try resetting. In the third case go ahead and put the regular breaker in, then put a GFCI outlet into the first box downstream from the breaker. If installed according to the directions, that outlet should protect all of the outlets downstream.

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