AFCI Trips when refrigerator on another curcuit turns on

I have an issue where an afci curcuit is tripping, when the refridgerator that is on another curcuit turns on. I tried switching out the AFCI breaker and the same thing happened.
I kept removing things from the AFCI curcuit to try to analyse it, so now there is one brand new 12 guage NM 2 wire with ground cable that runs for 15 ft hooked up the the curcuit (it hasn't been stapled yet, and it the wires are capped at the end). I even removed the recepticle and this still reproduces consistently.
I will turn on the curcuit and it will be fine until the refridgerator that is on the other curcuit turn on. Then if will trip (with the AFCI light showing). If I remove the wire completely (so it is just the breaker, this the white wire hooked to ground, then it will not trip.
This is a new seimens panal and siemens breaker.
Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks!
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Ideas, I can toss out some, but this only swag:
1. I would ask myself, why put an AFCI on a circuit that has a good size motor on it. Bedrooms are only required to be AFCI protected. After that I might guess the living room might be the next place I would use AFCI in. So maybe removing it totally might be the proper couse of action. Check you codes.
2. If I had receptacles I wanted AFCI protected, and the frig was on it, I might run a dedicated frig circuit, so it won't trip the circuit I want AFCI protected.
Now these are just guesses, since I can't see your setup, but I would ensure all codes were met, and might go the route of seperating the frig from the AFCI circuit.
BTW: Is this a kitchen circuit and you mean GFCI instead of a AFCI?
imho,
tom @ www.BlankHelp.com
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Is the new Breaker on the same leg as the fridge or the opposite leg? Try swapping it with other breakers and see if the problem goes with it. Does the cable cross the fridge cable?
Sorry I can't be more helpful, but this is a tough one. There "must" be something wrong with the cable, but I can't imagine what it might be.
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1) It wasnt mentioned that when the circuit trips whethor or not the frig then loses power too, or not. Does it lose power too?
2) I agree with above that you should put the frig under its own dedicated line and breaker. Is this an old frig? May be time to get a new one?
3) The contacts in the frig, from the actuator or relay, could be dirty and need replacing. If they are this could cause sparking and a feedback surge being felt on the other circuit. If I am hearing all this correctly, the frig is most likely your problem, not the lines.
Dean
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The fridge is on a completely different circuit. When the AFCI circuit trips, the refridgerator stays on
If the feedback surge can be felt on a different line, then in general, that would make it very difficult to find the cause of the afci trip.
avid_hiker wrote:

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Ed,
I have attached some info I found on a search. I have attached the links also, this may help. But from what I have read, it sounds like this breaker is sensing an arc when your fridge kicks in. Still the question is how it senses on a seperate line. Again from the reading, these asti breakers are extremly sensitive, and may be sensing that feedback I stated earlier. Please read below........... I still say that your fridge is the culprit. Also check the below white wire attachment.....wonder if this coiled wire is attached properly? Hope this helps.
Dean
The White Wire
AFCI breakers require one additional step. You need to locate the white wire that is paired with the black wire in that circuit. The white wire actually attaches to the breaker as well. There is a coiled white wire that leads out of the breaker. This white wire attaches to the neutral bus bar in spot that is vacated when you disconnect the white wire of the circuit. Scared yet? If so, call an electrician! http://www.askthebuilder.com/B320_Installing_Circuit_Breakers.shtml
http://www.askthebuilder.com/320_New_Arc_Fault_Breakers_-_Small_Price_To_Pay_For_Peace_Of_Mind.shtml
Summary: Electrical fires happen every day in the United States because of electrical shorts that produce intensely hot arcs. An arc fault circuit interrupter senses these arcs and stops them, making them smarter than traditional circuit breakers.
These devices work and act like a traditional circuit breaker except that they are smarter. Many of these new devices contain small filters and logic devices that allow them to sense an arc just as it is about to produce the sparks and intense heat. If arcing conditions are present, then the breaker trips instantaneously.
Do not confuse these devices with the personal protection ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) that have been around for over 30 years. The GFCI circuit breakers, at the present time, do not have the capability to sense arcs.
The new arc fault circuit breakers are identified in section 210-12 of the 1999 edition of the National Electric Code. Beginning January 1, 2002 they will be required to protect branch circuits that serve residential bedrooms. http://www.askthebuilder.com/320_New_Arc_Fault_Breakers_-_Small_Price_To_Pay_For_Peace_Of_Mind.shtml
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Me again,
more searches.............
This very very helpful.........pdf file........definetly may help you.!!
http://www.crownonline.com/AFCI_circuits_troubleshoot.pdf#search=%22afci%20breaker%22
This is helpful also:
http://www.sea.siemens.com/reselec/product/rzafcifaq.html
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If white wire of that AFGI circuit makes any contact with any other white wire of any other circuit, then circuit will work just fine with any other breaker and AFGI breaker will trip.
That AGFI circuit cannot share a common neutral with any other circuit. And safety ground wire cannot make accidental contact with the white wire until all meet in the breaker box.
To avoid other problems created by defective appliance (ie. a switch that sparks when disconnecting), safety grounds of both circuits should remain separated. Does the refrigerator switching on or off create popping sounds on an AM radio not tuned to a strong station? Does only refrigerator cause tripping? Does another high current device (electric heater, power saw, vacuum cleaner) not cause same tripping?
These suggestions made only because it is not 100% clear what is and is not inside common boxes and shared with other circuits.
Assuming the AGFI is working properly, then something inside a common electrical box is making electrical contact between circuits. A problem never detected by conventional circuit breakers.
Ed wrote:

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You might try moving the neutral connection from the AFCI to another area of the neutral bar. If no help, then move the refrigerator neutral to a different area of the neutral bar.
--
Mr.E

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