GFCI outlets and AFCI breaker -- do they play nice together?

I want the maximum electrical safety for our teenager's bedroom. I understand that all bedrooms must now (in new construction) be supplied from Arc-Fault Circuit Interruptor breakers, so I would like that feature. But he will also be doing a lot of computer and amateur radio and other experimentation there involving electricity, so I think that GFCI protection would be an advantage as well. In the absence of combination AFCI-GFCI breakers (Cutler-Hammer CH panel), is there any objection to using an AFCI breaker in the panel and GFCI-protected outlets (fed from the AFCI breaker) in his room?
MB
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AFCI will be plenty of protection. GFCI is for use around damp or water locations.

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I suggest you find someone local and talk to them. Your confusing arc faults with ground faults. Ground faults are used to protect living creatures when there water around. Arc faults are designed when you put 1250 watts on that 1000 watt extension cord the breaker will see the arc fault and shut down the circuit. I would not use both in series with out an electrical engineer to review the installation. The combination might be less than useful, I.E. tripping all of the time.
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It is absolutely fine to use Arc-Fault breakers and GFCI outlets on the same circuit. They each provide a completely unrelated type of protection, and one has no effect on the operation of the other.
Arc-Fault breakers detect arc-faults, and an arc-fault presents no direct danger to the user of equipment attached to the circuit (unless he hangs around long enough to be injured by the ensuing fire caused by an arc-fault). GFCI outlets protect users of outlets and users of equipment that is plugged into those outlets.
Neither of the above protective devices protect someone who comes directly in series with the power supply if that person is not also making ground contact. In other words, if you stand on a cardboard box and hold two copper wires with damp hands and stick one of the wires into the hot side of a receptacle and the other into the neutral side of the receptacle, a large amount of current will flow through your body and you might die. Neither the GFCI nor the Arc-Fault breaker will trip unless you keep holding the hot wire and fall off the box and make contact with the ground.
If you want more electrocution protection then what a GFCI provides, you can add an isolation transformer. Search google for <medical grade isolation transformer> for more information.
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You Asked wrote:

I think an isolation transformer provides the same protection as a GFCI, just maybe a little more so because a GFCI will allow a very small leakage to ground. If you grab an output terminal of an isolation xformer with one hand and the other terminal with the other hand, you're screwed.
To the original poster, Install an AFCI in the breaker panel because the code requires it for the kid's bedroom. Install a GFCI receptacle and see if it works -- they are cheap, and it doesn't cost you much to try it. It will certainly provide some electrocution protection. If you start getting a lot of false trips on either the GFCI or the AFCI breaker, replace the GFCI with a normal duplex receptacle.
Best regards, Bob
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You are correct, Bob. Thanks for adding that detail.
There is no known way to protect someone from being shocked if they are put directly in the path between the hot and neutral conductors if that person is ungrounded. If there is any chance of being directly in the current path, then appropriate protective gear (rubber gloves) should be worn.
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Actually, it's my understanding AFI breakers do provide GFI protection, but at a higher level, 30 mA vs 6 mA.
Tim S.

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Tim or Marty Shephard posted for all of us....

--
Tekkie

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Tekkie wrote:

Yes Tekkie you are wrong. An AFCI does indeed trip if the imbalance current in the circuit exceeds 30 milliamperes. -- Tom H
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