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Old 05-26-2008, 07:27 AM   #1
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3-way on GFCI Circut


I recently added a couple of lights wired to a couple of 3-way switches. I am using a GFCI protected circut as my source of power for these lights. When I hooked them up the GFCI popped and will not reset. I tried replacing the GFCI with same result. I have doubled checked all my connections and everything looks good. When I take the GFCI out and replace with a standard duplex recepticle everything works fine.

What am i missing here, this has got me stumped?

Thanks for any help.

Mike

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Old 05-26-2008, 07:47 AM   #2
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3-way on GFCI Circut


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Originally Posted by DIY62002 View Post
I recently added a couple of lights wired to a couple of 3-way switches. I am using a GFCI protected circut as my source of power for these lights. When I hooked them up the GFCI popped and will not reset. I tried replacing the GFCI with same result. I have doubled checked all my connections and everything looks good. When I take the GFCI out and replace with a standard duplex recepticle everything works fine.

What am i missing here, this has got me stumped?

Thanks for any help.

Mike
Which side of the GFCI did you hook your wires going to the light? Line side or load side. If it were me I would hook it to the line side. It does not go through the GFCI that way.

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Old 05-26-2008, 08:10 AM   #3
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3-way on GFCI Circut


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Which side of the GFCI did you hook your wires going to the light? Line side or load side. If it were me I would hook it to the line side. It does not go through the GFCI that way.
The outlet I hooked into was a standard duplex protected upstream from the load side of a gfci. Everything worked fine until I brought the 3-way into the picture. Now the GFCI will not hold. Everything works fine when I remove the GFCI from the picture. I'm just wondering why the GFCI would not with the 3-way. I don't see how the introduction of a 3-way would unbalance the load enough to upset the GFCI. Obviously there is no short since the breaker is not tripping.

Thanks,
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:18 AM   #4
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3-way on GFCI Circut


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Originally Posted by DIY62002 View Post
The outlet I hooked into was a standard duplex protected upstream from the load side of a gfci. Everything worked fine until I brought the 3-way into the picture. Now the GFCI will not hold. Everything works fine when I remove the GFCI from the picture. I'm just wondering why the GFCI would not with the 3-way. I don't see how the introduction of a 3-way would unbalance the load enough to upset the GFCI. Obviously there is no short since the breaker is not tripping.

Thanks,
You have a neutral to ground connection somewhere, probably at a light fixture, but start at the farthest point on your new circuit and work your way back to find the problem.
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:19 AM   #5
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3-way on GFCI Circut


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Originally Posted by rong1 View Post
Which side of the GFCI did you hook your wires going to the light? Line side or load side. If it were me I would hook it to the line side. It does not go through the GFCI that way.

Why? He has a wiring problem that the GFCI found, now he knows he has to find it!
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:20 AM   #6
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3-way on GFCI Circut


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You have a neutral to ground connection somewhere, probably at a light fixture, but start at the farthest point on your new circuit and work your way back to find the problem.
Yes that is a very good advice.
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Old 05-26-2008, 09:54 AM   #7
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3-way on GFCI Circut


I agree with Chris, you have a neutral to ground connection. Look for a ground wire touching a neutral. The three way switches themselves would have nothing to do with tripping a GFCI.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:03 AM   #8
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Why? He has a wiring problem that the GFCI found, now he knows he has to find it!
True the problem needs to be corrected I should have stated that however, I do not like hooking up to the load side of a gfci to feed something else. Of course if it is required by code then it has to be done that way.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:08 AM   #9
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True the problem needs to be corrected I should have stated that however, I do not like hooking up to the load side of a gfci to feed something else. Of course if it is required by code then it has to be done that way.
Any particular reason for that? It's what the load side terminals are for.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:24 AM   #10
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Any particular reason for that? It's what the load side terminals are for.
Some motor loads will trip a gfci I have found. IMHO the terminals on the load side is to feed other recep's that are required to be protected. And yes I know that lighting loads and motor loads are different, it is a habit that I formed years ago.

But GFCI's have become alot more reliable than they were when they were first required years ago.

Just they way I do it pretty much sums it up.
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Old 05-26-2008, 02:03 PM   #11
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3-way on GFCI Circut


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Some motor loads will trip a gfci I have found. IMHO the terminals on the load side is to feed other recep's that are required to be protected. And yes I know that lighting loads and motor loads are different, it is a habit that I formed years ago.
Do you understand why they trip a GFCI?


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But GFCI's have become alot more reliable than they were when they were first required years ago.
This is simply not true, people got smarter not the device. There is NO such thing as a nuisance trip.
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Old 05-26-2008, 03:36 PM   #12
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3-way on GFCI Circut


It may be that the GFCI is too sensitive. It is normal for continuous running motors, such as pumps, to sometimes have small electrical fluctuations. Sensitive GFCI’s may detect this and falsely trip.



BTW I am a Licensed Journeyman Electrician and I belong to the union local 661. Being in the union or not being in the union in NO ways reflects the skill level of the Electrician. I started in the trade in the early 70's although I no longer wire houses I have wired more than I can count. Anyways I aint throwing rocks at you so please dont take this wrong. On a forum such as this a person has no idea what skill level the other person has so advice has to be given carefully least someone gets hurt or worse or the burn down their house. So I can understand why you would want to question me on things...

Anyways I am leaving , wiring a wind farm out of town so I will be gone for a bit.

See ya and have a good one.





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Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
Do you understand why they trip a GFCI?




This is simply not true, people got smarter not the device. There is NO such thing as a nuisance trip.


GFCI breakers are designed to cut the power in the blink of an eye if electrical fluctuations of as little as .005 amperes are detected. Because the GFCI is so sensitive, it is most effective when wired to protect a single location. The more outlets any one GFCI protects, the more susceptible it is to phantom tripping – shutting off power because of tiny, but normal fluctuations in current flow.


Chris I kept this simple so the non-electricians would be able to maybe understand it as well, given this is a DIY forum Also it is not cost effective to have one GFCI recp. by its self but in a perfect world it would be the best IMHO.

Last edited by rong1; 05-26-2008 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 05-26-2008, 04:14 PM   #13
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3-way on GFCI Circut


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Originally Posted by rong1 View Post
BTW I am a Licensed Journeyman Electrician and I belong to the union local 661. Being in the union or not being in the union in NO ways reflects the skill level of the Electrician. I started in the trade in the early 70's although I no longer wire houses I have wired more than I can count.
Welcome to the forum rong1. I started in the late 60's so we're from the same era.
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Old 05-26-2008, 04:44 PM   #14
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3-way on GFCI Circut


Quote:
Originally Posted by rong1 View Post
It may be that the GFCI is too sensitive. It is normal for continuous running motors, such as pumps, to sometimes have small electrical fluctuations. Sensitive GFCIs may detect this and falsely trip.



BTW I am a Licensed Journeyman Electrician and I belong to the union local 661. Being in the union or not being in the union in NO ways reflects the skill level of the Electrician. I started in the trade in the early 70's although I no longer wire houses I have wired more than I can count. Anyways I aint throwing rocks at you so please dont take this wrong. On a forum such as this a person has no idea what skill level the other person has so advice has to be given carefully least someone gets hurt or worse or the burn down their house. So I can understand why you would want to question me on things...

Anyways I am leaving , wiring a wind farm out of town so I will be gone for a bit.

See ya and have a good one.









GFCI breakers are designed to cut the power in the blink of an eye if electrical fluctuations of as little as .005 amperes are detected. Because the GFCI is so sensitive, it is most effective when wired to protect a single location. The more outlets any one GFCI protects, the more susceptible it is to phantom tripping shutting off power because of tiny, but normal fluctuations in current flow.


Chris I kept this simple so the non-electricians would be able to maybe understand it as well, given this is a DIY forum Also it is not cost effective to have one GFCI recp. by its self but in a perfect world it would be the best IMHO.
No prob, take care.

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