Help: iMac G5 tripped AFCI circuit breaker - ehMac.ca
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Old Dec 14th, 2006, 03:44 PM   #1
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Help: iMac G5 tripped AFCI circuit breaker

Hi there:

My iMac G5 has been working great for the last 1.5 years. Yesterday, I moved the iMac into an upstair bedroom. Unlike the rest of the house, the bedrooms' wirings are protected by AFCI circuit breakers.

FYI, AFCI supposedly "is expected to provide enhanced protection from fires resulting from unsafe home wiring conditions. Typical household fuses and circuit breakers do not respond to early arcing and sparking conditions in home wiring. By the time a fuse or circuit breaker opens a circuit to defuse these conditions, a fire may already have begun."

Every time I turn on the iMac, it trips the AFCI circuit breaker. The electrician said that the problem is with my iMac as other appliances, including hair dryers, and clothes iron work fine (yes, I do iron my clothes). He said that the iMac wiring produced some "arcing", which in turn, tripped the AFCI breaker. The electrician is adamant that the problem is with the iMac and not the electrical wirings of the house.

Has anyone else experienced this? The iMac works fine downstair when it is plugged into a non AFCI circuit breaker.

If the iMac is the culprit, is it wise to continue to use it downstair?

I'm asking here because I don't believe that apple support will be able to help me with this, other than telling me to ship it in for repair.

Thanks for all of your help in advance.
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Old Dec 14th, 2006, 03:54 PM   #2
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the iMac G5, at least the 20" I think, had issues with faulty power supplies - that might be something to check.

Do a quick check on the support.apple.com site and they might have a serial number lookup to see if your machine could be affected. Do you have Applecare?
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Old Dec 14th, 2006, 03:57 PM   #3
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Try placing a surge protector on the line before your iMac - worth a shot!?!. It appears, as is the case with GFCI outlets, AFCI outlets are less than perfect. In a well wired environment, I find these "code upgrades" an annoyance.
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Old Dec 14th, 2006, 05:56 PM   #4
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The GFCI outlets (and perhaps the breakers) do need replacing after a while. We had some that gave us problems after 10 years, replaced the outlets with new GFCI outlets, problems went away.
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Old Dec 14th, 2006, 06:50 PM   #5
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I have a number of systems on those breakers (including an iMac) no problems.
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Old Dec 14th, 2006, 07:59 PM   #6
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Keep in mind, folks... we're talking about AFCI versus GFCI outlets; quite different.
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Old Dec 14th, 2006, 08:07 PM   #7
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I should clarify that my systems are all on a circuit with arc-fault breakers.

I assume this is AFCI.
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Old Dec 14th, 2006, 08:30 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of your help. I'm going to do a bit more investigative work over the holidays. As we have 2 AFCI circuit breakers (fairly new as the house is roughly two years old), I'm going to set up the iMac in another bedroom on the other AFCI breaker to see what happen.

My options in no particular order seem to be:
1. replace the AFCI circuit breaker
2. purchase a good surge protector.
3. not using the iMac in the bedrooms

btw, any suggestions on what constitute a good surge protector?

Cheers
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Old Dec 14th, 2006, 08:43 PM   #9
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Just an aside regarding Arc-fault...

The breaker on this system is not to protect from bad household wiring but from items with poor cords or failing switches, etc. For instance, that old lamp that everyone seems to have. You know the one. The one that you have to fiddle with the switch to get it to stay on. Or that PowerBook adapter that crackles when you plug it into the wall. Well that crackling will trip your AFCI.

A surge protector doesn't stop outgoing surges, it protects items plugged through it from surges on the household wiring. It might help but I doubt it. If you want something in between, try a UPS (uninteruptable power supply). The UPS won't trip the AFCI circuit and should stand up to the rigours of a crackly power supply. Best of all, if the power goes out, your iMac won't.

My recommendation, check the iMac against the power supply warranty, it's most likely the problem. Get a UPS anyway.
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Old Dec 14th, 2006, 09:20 PM   #10
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Just an update, I took your advice of checking the support site and found this article on "iMac G5 Repair Extension Program for Power Supply Issues" here.

My EMC no. is the same as that mentioned in the article so I'm going to call the authorized retailer tomorrow and see what the steps are at getting the power supply replaced.

Will keep you all updated and thanks for all of your helpful suggestions.

Cheers and Happy Holidays
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