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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

The circuit breaker dedicated to my media room is randomly tripping at times. It usually happens when something loud happens....It is a 15a arch fault breaker. The three main pieces of equipment that I have powered by the circuit aalong with their rated amperage are:

receiver - 8.1A
Sub - 6.3A
Projector - 3.9A

I also have a heater plugged into the room. So it is plausible that just these three are tripping the breaker.

How could I confirm that the breaker is not bad?
What would I need to do to replace it with a 20A breaker?


Thank you
 

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2 things. Remove the heater. Probably almost at full load with it alone. Second, change breaker to a non arc fault ONLY IF nuisance tripping still occurs. Your gear does not draw those values constantly, but the heater does.

If you still need the heater in the room plug it into another circuit. Use an appropriate extension cord (14awg or better) if needed. :T
 

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If the wiring in the walls is 14ga (which is appropriate for a 15A breaker/circuit), replacing the breaker with a 20A is not only against code but also dangerous and a potential fire hazard.

The amperage of the items you have on the circuit even without the heater is over 15A and when something loud happens, you're likely close to maxing both the receiver and sub which is 14.4A without the projector even.

Sounds to me like you need another circuit or 2.
 

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I am not an electrician, but here are a few things you can try out.

A "KillaWattmeter" to see if you are drawing more power than you should be http://www.homedepot.com/p/P3-International-Kill-A-Watt-EZ-Meter-P4460/202196388 . Sometimes you can check these out for free at your local library.

Another thing to check is the wiring... You can check it with something like this... http://www.amazon.com/GE-3-Wire-Receptacle-Tester-50542/dp/B002LZTKIA .

If it passes all the tests I would say the Breaker is bad.
 

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Sorry, should have made it clear in my post. A 15A standard breaker is the appropriate option ONLY IF nuissance tripping still occurs with the arc fault. ;)

You can also get 100% rated breakers, but they are expensive. A standard breaker is approved for 80% of max (rated) load all the time. Ie 12A constantly. Brief peaks at or slightly over rated will be ok, usually a few hours max. Sustained loads near or over will trip the circuit. Breakers have an inverse time constant. The higher the load, the faster the trip.

If any of this leaves you scratching you head, hire one of my contemporaries. An electrician can add a couple extra circuits and give you headroom for heaters etc. good luck! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all of the tips. I am going to look into a new/additional circuit.

I also have an insulation problem. the media room is over the garage and it is constantly the same temperature as the garage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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That tool is cool. I am going to go buy one just to check out all of the power consumption of all of the various devices in in my house.
I'll have to dig up the article that showed you how to modify it using external CTs so you can meter 100 amps on each leg of it :) Then you can monitor your whole home!
 

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Hi,

The circuit breaker dedicated to my media room is randomly tripping at times. It usually happens when something loud happens....It is a 15a arch fault breaker. The three main pieces of equipment that I have powered by the circuit aalong with their rated amperage are:

receiver - 8.1A
Sub - 6.3A
Projector - 3.9A

I also have a heater plugged into the room. So it is plausible that just these three are tripping the breaker.

How could I confirm that the breaker is not bad?
What would I need to do to replace it with a 20A breaker?


Thank you
It's not the arc fault breaker being the problem. It's everything.

I'm a State Licensed (Texas) Master electrician for starters.

Your loading is too great for a 15a circuit. More than likely it's ran with 14g wire. Even with JUST the receiver when playing loud levels will create enough load that will cause voltage drop this increasing amperage draw.

You really need at least two 20 amp circuits for your equipment and heaters are VERY much a large load. Tiny wall plug in heaters can be 1500W and are just like a hair dryer. These alone will require ONE circuit by themselves. Ever notice the lights dim when you turn on a hair dryer and/or vacuum? This is why and your trying to run all your other equipment on there as well.

The projector will run will run fairly stable on wattage/amperage. Your subs when playing loud will hit some pretty high PEAK draw and your amp will do this as well depending on the size speakers you are pushing. Now... at lower levels your equipment is not drawing enough power so its' fine but when loud you are pushing beyond the capability of the circuit of 15 amps!

Circuits are.... no.... SHOULD be designed to only operate up to 80% max. This is by code to allow headroom for peaks. This is for all circuits/design. For motor loads code says overcurrent protection should be rated at 125% of the load, say the motor is 10a well then code says 12.5a would be the MIN breaker size but allows you to oversize to the next available size (15a in this case).

A 15a breaker should not have anymore than 12a thrown at it for this reason.

Another factor you have to consider is wire size/voltage drop. If your panel is 50' away and you put 10amps of load on the wire with #14awg then you will have on a 120v circuit a voltage drop of 3 volts or 2.6%. Code also says that for ANY branch circuit you should not have any more than 3% voltage drop. Well with your projector, sub and reciever playing at loud levels you could very well be seeing 14amps+ of load which exceeds the 3% rule.

The other factor is when voltage drops and is lowered and the load remains the same.... amperage goes up. A watt is a watt no matter how you look at it. Watt is power consumption. It's a relationship of Voltage and amperage. If voltage goes down then amperage goes up to equal the same wattage.

You really should have a few more circuits brought in. Keep the 15amp but definitely bring in TWO 20amp circuits ran with #10 wire at the minimum for AV gear. If the panel is further than 50' then maybe need larger cabling.

If you have any questions I'll be more than happy to answer them. I know my math and electricity and can assist in any way... Just ask.
 

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I'm also a building operator (power engineer) and I can tell you that a heater will draw 11 amps continuous if it's 1200watts and 9amps if it's 800watts. That's your problem. Plus you said it's a ground fault breaker meaning it will be much more sensitive to spikes and ireguler voltage draws.
A receiver will not draw more than 5 amps even at full power ( I've confirmed this more than once with my own receiver) I also have two power centres with both voltage and amperage indicators and never have I gone above 4 amps on the one and 6.5 on the other. Two 15 amp dedicated circuits is plenty of headroom any more and it's over kill.
 

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I'm also a building operator (power engineer) and I can tell you that a heater will draw 11 amps continuous if it's 1200watts and 9amps if it's 800watts. That's your problem. Plus you said it's a ground fault breaker meaning it will be much more sensitive to spikes and ireguler voltage draws.
A receiver will not draw more than 5 amps even at full power ( I've confirmed this more than once with my own receiver) I also have two power centres with both voltage and amperage indicators and never have I gone above 4 amps on the one and 6.5 on the other. Two 15 amp dedicated circuits is plenty of headroom any more and it's over kill.
Haha... So what do you call my setup :yikes: I just posted in a separate thread lol. Would love your input
 
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