AFCI indicators should be inserted directly into the receptacle. Some AFCI indicators, such as the popular #61-165 model produced by Ideal™, offer a number of testing options. This indicator creates eight to 12 pulses of 106 to 141 amp charges in less than a second which should be recognized by the AFCI as a dangerous arc and cause it to open the circuit that it serves. The indicator can also test for nuisance tripping, the annoying tendency of an AFCI to open its circuit when it detects a safe, shared neutral connection. For this test, it produces a 300mA arc that should not cause the AFCI to trip. Some AFCI indicators conveniently incorporate a GFCI indicator into their design.
AFCI indicators are somewhat larger than GFCI indicators but they are operated in the same way. An inspector simply inserts one into a receptacle and navigates the menu in order to produce the desired electric current. The user will know that the circuit in question has been tripped if the AFCI device loses power. If this occurs following an AFCI test, the AFCI is functioning properly. The user should then go to the electrical panel to reset the AFCI breaker. If the test results in the failure of an AFCI breaker to open the circuit, then a qualified electrician should be contacted.