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Thread: Lutron Caseta is flipping circuit breaker

  1. #1
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    Lutron Caseta is flipping circuit breaker

    Help! I have a Lutron Caseta connected to an AFCI/GFCI circuit breaker powering four LED lights. But the circuit breaker frequently trips whenever the switch is changing dimness levels. It never trips while the lights are just sitting at a certain brightness level. It only happens when the the brightness is changing. I'm guessing it will trip approximately 20% of the time that I'm changing brightness. It can happen in either direction - brightness going up or down. It can happen when I'm starting with the lights turned completely off, or when they're already on and changing brightness, or when they're already on and I'm switching them off.

    Interestingly, the tripping almost always happens when I'm adjusting brightness directly from the switch or the pico remote. It almost never happens when I'm controlling it from the Lutron app, or using voice control from my Google Home. I noticed the app and Google home dim much more quickly, while the switches fade the brightness more slowly. I wonder if that has something to do with it.

    I've actually tried this on two different circuit breakers (same type) controlling two different kinds of LED's. The two types of LED lights are the Juno 6RLS and the Sylvania RT6. Here is a picture of the circuit breaker I'm using. Can somebody please offer some guidance? I'm at my wits' end.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    Does the breaker indicate an arc fault or a ground fault?

    Lutron has not tested any Juno fixtures. Juno says that fixture is compatible with the 6RLS. Lutron and Sylvania list their testing by a 5 digit model number. You can check for compatible LEDs at lutron.com\led.

    Arc fault breakers look for signals with a specific frequency. Some electronic transformers emit a signal very close to what the AFCI is looking for. The signal intensity would increase when raising or lowering the light. You can get a filter/choke to minimize the interference. It is similar to the one on a laptop cord. It typically goes in the electrical panel near the breaker. The filter/choke should be provided by the breaker manufacturer for compatibility.
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  3. #3
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    Ok, this is all good information. I once watched the circuit breaker trip while adjusting the brightness to see if either the "arc fault" or "ground fault" indicators turned on. Unfortunately neither one lit up, but I assume it was still one of those conditions being "detected" that caused the trip. Because what else would it be?

    I always assumed that compatibility with a dimmer would determine whether the lights properly illuminated, flickered, etc. But I didn't think that would be the difference between a breaker that's happy and one that trips. Am I wrong?

    I'm really intrigued by this filter/choke concept. I tried looking online for a "filter" or "choke" made by Murray (the circuit breaker brand, as you can see in the picture), but I wasn't able to find one. I'm not sure if I'm Googling the right terminology. Could you help point me to the right product?

    Thanks for all your help!

  4. #4
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    So I just spoke to the electrician who wired my home. He said they tried many different dimmers with many different kinds of LED lights and also different circuit breakers, and always had trouble with the breakers flipping. It turns out the problem has to do with harmonics in the power lines, not something I know much anything about. @randyc, would that choke/filter that you mentioned help with that?

  5. #5
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    Most breaker manufacturers now have a lower cost product line for residential use. Square-D has Homeline, Eaton has Cutler-Hammer (brown tab), Siemens/ITE has Murray. As you can imagine, the way you lower cost is to leave stuff out and/or use cheaper (i.e. inferior) components. I'll let you do the math on that...

    I'm a little surprised at your electricians response. There are millions of LEDs out there, on dimmers, that are not tripping breakers. The system consists of 3 components - the LED, the driver (transformer), and the dimmer. All 3 must be compatible for the system to work properly. Most retail products include the driver so as long as you stay with a known brand you should be ok. Manufacturers test their LEDs with various dimmers. Lutron's testing is much more intense so if there is a conflict, go with Lutron.

    I did find some documentation on the Murray AFCI. It said:

    The LED indicators will appear for 5 seconds each time the AFCI is turned "ON" up to 30 days after the last trip. One LED will be illuminated if the last trip was a result of an arcing fautl. Two LEDs will be illuminate if the last trip was a result of an arcing fault to ground. No indicator will be displayed if the AFCI trips as a result of an over-current condition.

    The over-current doesn't seem likely but you will not see the LED indicators until you reset the breaker.

    Level one is a filter choke provided by the breaker manufacturer. It has to come from them because it is engineered specifically to work with their breaker. The Cutler-Hammer one won't work with your breaker. Your electrician should contact his distributor and ask for some. It is a ferrous ring that goes around the neutral to minimize noise.

    Level 2 is an inline noise filter. It could be something as simple as a capacitor (https://www.amazon.com/PCS-PulseWorx.../dp/B002C7PBIK) or something more substantial (https://www.thehomeautomationstore.c...o-filters.html).

    Unless you have a giant, commercial UPS system in your house, I am going to vote no on the harmonics.
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  6. #6
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    So I totally didn't understand how the lights on the breaker work. After switching the breaker back on the two lights light up for about 5 seconds. I just assumed that was some sort of "everything's good to go" kind of thing, like how all the lights on your car dashboard illuminate when you turn the car on. I even tried another circuit that has never been tripped, and no lights turned on. So now we know the breaker thinks it's an arc fault to ground. So what can we make of that?

    Are you suggesting that if I purchase a Siemens/ITE circuit breaker and replace the Murray with that, then that could possibly fix the problem? Can I put a Siemens/ITE breaker on a Murray panel?

    I will ask my electrician again about getting a filter/choke. I had mentioned the filter/choke on the phone but he said he'd never heard of such a thing. So I'm not optimistic that I can get it. But if I try a level 2 option, how does that work? Is it as simple as placing it inline with the circuit? Would I have to buy one for each dimmer, or just one for the breaker?

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