Arc Fault Protection and Detection


Himanshu Tangri
Nanda Kumar
Agostino Butti


Arc faults in electric circuits are recognized as an important cause of fire. The first Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) has been patented in 1980 in the United States. AFCI is a device designed to detect electric arc faults which was prescribed for use by the National Electric Code (NEC, US Wiring Regulation) in January 2008. The NEC describes it as ‘A device intended to provide protection from the effects of arc faults by recognizing characteristics unique to arcing and by functioning to de-energize the circuit when an arc fault is detected’. At the beginning of 2012 the Arc Fault Detection Device (AFDD) began to be introduced into the IEC world, culminating in the publication of Technical Product Standards IEC 62606 ' in August 2013, which sets out the requirements for arc fault protection devices. This paper underlines the importance of preventing electrical fires by using the new technology of AFDDs, which largely extend the protection offered by traditional circuit breakers like MCBs and RCDs. Product standard IEC 62606 and functional tests are reviewed, the functioning of AFDDs is explained and a method to design robust algorithms for arc fault detection is proposed.


How to Cite
Tangri, H., Kumar, N., & Butti, A. (2020). Arc Fault Protection and Detection. Power Research - A Journal of CPRI, 1–7.


  1. IEC62606. International Standard, General requirements for arc fault detection devices. Edition 1.1; 2017.
  2. ABB. AFDD Technical Guide. Arc fault phenomena and functioning of AFDDs. Document available online.
  3. IEC60364-4-42. Protection for safety - Protection against thermal effects.