Eaton Breaker 6 Blinks [Causes + Solution]

Electronics and error codes surround us. These days, even our toasters have an Internet connection! Finding out that your breakers have error codes when tripping is not surprising.  You’ll need to diagnose it yourself or bring in a licensed electrician if you walk to your panel and discover your Eaton Breaker 6 Blinks in your face.

The good news is that it’s comparatively easy to decipher an AFCI error code that has tripped. It only takes seconds as long as you know what to search for.

A blinking breaker means that

  • The end of the lifespan of the breaker.
  • Test has begun
  • Loose Wiring
  • Overload
Eaton Breaker 6 Blinks 1

Traditional breakers don’t blink, though. You are not having hallucinations if your breakers are flashing. Your electrical panel likely uses GFCI and AFCI technology.

Ground fault protection devices, or GFCIs. Whole house GFCIs are installed in the electrical panel, as opposed to regular GFCIs, which people install at individual outlets. They safeguard the entire house.

The names “AFCI” and “GFCI” are frequently used interchangeably. However, they have different meanings. Ground defects are unimportant to AFCIs. They react to arcing instead. If your breaker is blinking, one of the following causes may be to blame:


The AFCI technology in the blinking breaker likely tripped. If your AFCI has more than one LED, the color of the LED will indicate what went wrong and why the device tripped. GFCIs are the same. The kind of flashing light will reveal the fault’s nature. The light is flashing for your protection. The consumer is alerted that something is incorrect.

Test Has Started

Many AFCI and GFCI breakers in use today do automated tests. Pressing a button can fake a ground fault to test a GFCI. It must trip to demonstrate that you can rely on the GFCI to protect you from ground faults.

You can reset it by pushing another button after it trips. You can troubleshoot the GFCI to identify the issue if it doesn’t trip or reset. Nowadays’ AFCIs and GFCIs run these tests without human intervention.

Unstable Wiring

In particular, if the loose wire is producing arcing or a break in the power supply, a breaker may flash in response to loose wiring. When an issue is found, the breaker will let you know.


The breaker may blink to alert you that the current is about to cross its threshold if you overload it. You can attribute the blinking lights to overloading if you detect signs like flashing LEDs in your home or crackling plugs.

A breaker is meant to trip when the electrical system is overloaded. Some sophisticated breakers, however, will let you know when the load on the system is about to reach the point where it normally trips the breaker.

End Of Life Some Breakers

End of Life Some breakers have the awareness that their time on earth is going to an end. They will warn you by blinking an LED so you can find a replacement before they cease functioning altogether. Some breakers will make a sound that can be heard.

If the lights on your breaker are blinking, read the instructions. Does it mention flashing lights in any way? Manufacturers would publish the significance of a blinking LED in the user manual if they needed help, including one on a breaker.

Check the official website if you need help locating this information in the handbook. Expecting flickering LEDs in breakers from several manufacturers to mean the same thing is unrealistic. You shouldn’t rely on other people’s interpretations, especially if those views are based on breakers that aren’t the same as yours in terms of make and model.

Consult an electrician if you are unable to resolve the issue. Even if they don’t understand the flashing light, they can inspect the breaker for problems and malfunctions.

Why Breaker Light Blinking Red?

When the electricity “reaches 90% of the long-time pick-up setting,” the breaker blinks red.

A blinking red LED indicates that your Leviton GFCI has detected a fault after doing a self-test. A breaker in a receptacle is affected by this. Depending on the circumstance, the LED may flash or remain solid. After you reset the GFCI, the light will go out.

The light will blink at various intervals depending on the state of the Eaton circuit breakers (C and G Series). For instance, you will notice a heartbeat flickering whenever the current flow hits 20% of the breaker’s rating.

Why Breaker Light Blinking Red

The breaker will flash once every second if the current is between 20 and 80 percent of the rating.

As you can see, the type and model of the breaker will determine the precise meaning of the blinking red light. Expect an AFCI breaker to interpret its red LED differently than a GFCI or standard breaker. The only document that can offer clarification is the manual.

Why Breaker Blinking Red 5, 6 Times?

5 Times

On a “Last Known Trip Condition,” a breaker blinks red five times.

If anytime you turn on the gadget, the LEDs will turn on the gadget for five seconds if an AFCI trips. This will carry on for 30 days.

6 Times

A failed self-test is indicated by an Eaton AFCI breaker that blinks six times.

To put it another way, the AFCI performed a self-test, and the findings were unfavorable. The system detected a problem. Replacing the breaker is the safest course of action.

Breaker Blinking Yellow – Meaning

When you first turn on a Siemens 20A single pole AFCI, it will blink yellow for ten seconds. This is beneficial as it demonstrates that the breaker was connected properly. A current leak will also cause a yellow light to blink.

This highlights how crucial the handbook is. The yellow LED can be interpreted in various ways depending on the model. A yellow LED won’t be present on an AFCI breaker. Be prepared for a yellow TEST button.

Troubleshoot Breaker Flickering Lights

Are there flashing lights in your house? The breaker might be broken. Your choices are as follows:

  • Avoid blaming the breaker for the flickering lights. You never know—the lights might be malfunctioning. You should check the breaker only when several lights are flickering simultaneously across several areas. Otherwise, if only one or two lights exist, the issue could be as short as a loose bulb.
  • Are there any powerful appliances in your home? They may result in electrical surges that cause lights to flicker.
  • To check for loose wiring, ask an electrician. A loose wire is not funny. It might ignite a fire.
  • Have you tripped the circuit? Dimming or flickering may result from overload or both. Most likely, you have too many appliances running at once. By turning some things off, you can put this hypothesis to the test.
  • Engage experts who can search for the causes of voltage variations. Small variations are typical. However, you need help if the variations are large enough to cause the lights to flicker violently.
  • Flickering may be brought on by your neighbor’s home using a lot of electricity.
  • It would help if you fixed your breaker. It is broken, or the connections in the panel are loose. Use a multimeter to test it.

Guide For The Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter Trip

Some AFCI circuit breaker manufacturers include built-in diagnostic codes to determine the cause of a tripped AFCI circuit breaker.

When both LEDs A and B on a Siemens one-pole AFCI circuit breaker are off, an overcurrent condition leads the breaker to trip.  It was an arc fault with LED A on and LED B off.  When the Siemens one-pole AFCI trips and LED A and B turn on, an arc fault to the ground occurs.

The two pole AFCI trip indicators from Siemens differ slightly.  An overcurrent condition is indicated by three yellow lights going out.  An arc fault on phase A is indicated by yellow light 1 being on.  An arc fault on phase B is indicated by yellow light 3 being on.  An arc fault to the ground is indicated by all three yellow lights being on.

Circuit breakers with a tan handle and the Cutler Hammer Type CH AFCI include blinking lights that show what caused the circuit breaker to trip.  A series arc is indicated by 1 blink.  An arc that has two blinks is parallel. 3 blinks indicate a little delay. 

A 4-blink indicates an overvoltage.  5 blinks indicate a ground fault.  The AFCI breaker must be changed if it blinks six times, indicating a self-test failure.  After the breaker has tripped, no blinking lights indicate an overload or short circuit.

Additionally, Eaton Type BR AFCI circuit breakers have a flashing LED to show the nature of the circumstance that triggered the trip.  There is no overload or short circuit when a light is not blinking, low current arc one blink. 

A high current arc has two blinks.  Three blinks indicate a brief wait.  4 blinks indicate overvoltage.  Six blinks are a self-test failure, and a new breaker needs to be installed.

The AFCI trip indication for Square D differs somewhat.  After a circuit breaker trips, turn the breaker back on while simultaneously pressing the Test button on the Type QO and Type Homeline AFCI circuit breakers.

If the breaker immediately trips after that, there is an earth-ground fault.  After a 2-second delay, the breaker should trip again, indicating a parallel or series arc fault.  A thermal overload or short circuit occurs if the AFCI breaker trips after 5 seconds.

For additional information on AFCIs and arc faults in general, download this document from Schneider Electric.


Finally, if an Eaton Breaker 6 Blinks, a specific problem must be fixed. The blinking pattern is a diagnostic tool to assist in locating the underlying electrical system issue. While the precise cause may vary depending on the type and circumstances, overcurrent, ground fault, or arc fault circumstances are typical problems linked to a six-blink pattern.

Immediate action must be taken to guarantee the electrical system’s safety and the breaker’s proper operation. If the underlying issue isn’t fixed, there could be electrical dangers, equipment damage, or even fire dangers. A professional electrician can assess the condition, identify the cause, and fix or replace the problem.

Such problems can be avoided with routine electrical system maintenance and frequent inspections. Furthermore, knowing the significance of blinking rhythms in Eaton breaks and being aware of the possible causes will enable electrical professionals and homeowners to act appropriately and quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

When the breaker blinks six times, what does that mean?

The AFCI breaker must be changed if it blinks six times, indicating a self-test failure. After the breaker has tripped, no blinking lights indicate an overload or short circuit.

How is a breaker made to flash?

A short circuit is an extremely significant cause of breaker trips. A short circuit is a link that shouldn’t exist between two electrical circuit nodes that are supposed to be at different voltages. A hot wire touching another hot or neutral wire can also cause it. Circuit damage, overheating, fire, or arc flash result from this.

What are the settings for the breaker failure?

For a 60 Hz electrical system, the settings for breaker failure timers are typically between 7 and 10 cycles. The straightforward single-bus, single-bus setup is the main focus of this technical essay. In actuality, a more thorough process is necessary for other transportation arrangements.

Why does a circuit breaker have a 15 on it?

15–20 amp circuits are typical in homes. Circuit breakers are capable of handling 80% of their amperage. Thus, a 20-amp circuit breaker can withstand roughly 16 amps, compared to a 15-amp circuit breaker’s capacity of about 12 amps.

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