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Old 03-29-2013, 10:57 PM   #1
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Is this a bad GFCI? Why isn't my smoke detector interconnection working anymore?


Two questions.

First, in my garage which I rewired I'm adding outlets for ceiling mounted fluorescent lights. I had one in the ceiling, and it's at the end of a GFCI circuit covering outlets on one wall. So what happened this evening is that I finished wiring 2 duplex receptacles. This is after a switch. I have 2 fluorescent light fixtures working, and I start getting ready to mount the third to the ceiling. This third fixture is unplugged, in my hand when I bump it into a box on the floor when the GFCI pops. (Yes, I know, there's no reason these events should be related.)

So I try to reset the GFCI and it won't stay reset. I unplugged a turned off compressor from the circuit, and it won't stay on. I make sure the switch is off, then the GFCI stays on but trips when I flip the light switch. I unplug 1 light fixture, then the GFCI stays on. I try plugging a light into a different receptacle, GFCI trips. I unplug the second light, and only have 1 light plugged in. And now the GFCI won't stay untripped. I unplug EVERYTHING. The GFCI is reset. But if I plug in anything, the GFCI now trips.

Is there anything this could be other than a bad GFCI?


Second question. In the house (previous question was about detatched garage) I have put in a new circuit for interconnected smoke detectors. I have some of these on the first floor, but one at the top of the stairs is the one that tends to detect fires when I get smoke on the stove from things like cooking bacon. When this happens, it's necessary to take this smoke detector down and disconnect it and hide it until the smoke is clear.

Problem is I've noticed this one doesn't trigger the others to go off anymore. Is this a smoke detector problem or is it more likely something got pulled loose in the house wiring?

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Old 03-29-2013, 11:18 PM   #2
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Is this a bad GFCI? Why isn't my smoke detector interconnection working anymore?


It would be best if all the lights were on there own circut and it does not need to be on a GFI.
Are you sure all the smoke detectors are hard wired?

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Old 03-29-2013, 11:22 PM   #3
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Is this a bad GFCI? Why isn't my smoke detector interconnection working anymore?


I'm guessing you have a neutral touching a ground somewhere. The GFI will hold until a load is put on the circuit.

If your smokes are more than 10 years old, its time to replace them. If they are new, are they all the make/model? Not all interconnected smokes work well with other brands.
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Old 03-30-2013, 02:18 AM   #4
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Is this a bad GFCI? Why isn't my smoke detector interconnection working anymore?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
It would be best if all the lights were on there own circut and it does not need to be on a GFI....
Problem is with the current edition of the Code, cord-and-plug connected lights such as the OP is using still require GFCI protection if installed in a garage.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:13 AM   #5
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Is this a bad GFCI? Why isn't my smoke detector interconnection working anymore?


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Problem is with the current edition of the Code, cord-and-plug connected lights such as the OP is using still require GFCI protection if installed in a garage.
Yup. Even if the receptacle is at the ceiling.

I did a funny thing... the first box I originally set up for a light socket just to get a basic light in place, then changed it to a receptacle. When I did the change, I forgot that I'd put it on an already GFCI circuit and put in a GFCI receptacle.. Maybe I can push the test button and see if that stops the first GFCI tripping, then I'll know it's in the new wiring. It just seemed odd that it worked for a little while then started tripping at a gradually decreasing amount of load.

The smoke detectors are the same brand and model, I put in the whole circuit myself. As I said, it used to work interconnected. I put it all in somewhere around November 2010.
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:10 PM   #6
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Is this a bad GFCI? Why isn't my smoke detector interconnection working anymore?


So after trying to reset both GFCI's I turned on the lights and nothing tripped. I left them on, checked after some time (more or less than an hour, not sure) and they were still on. Several hours later I checked and the GFCI had tripped. I turned everything back on and it didn't trip again, so I left just one light on with the second GFCI tripped to see what happens.

I haven't had enough time to get into anything enough to disassemble yet.

I'm pretty sure the circuit is fine up to the second GFCI because it's been in use since 2011 without any difficulty. So I guess that means the newer wiring is more likely, I'll see if I get a chance this evening later to look.
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:12 PM   #7
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Is this a bad GFCI? Why isn't my smoke detector interconnection working anymore?


So I'm concluding it was a bad GFCI. When it continued to trip under load that had been on for some number of minutes, I figured I'd at least take out the second GFCI receptacle and put in a regular TR receptacle (not GFCI). While the wires were disconnected, I checked again and the first GFCI still tripped.
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:20 PM   #8
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Is this a bad GFCI? Why isn't my smoke detector interconnection working anymore?


Its a logical next step to take, but I have a feeling you will be posting again.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:26 PM   #9
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Is this a bad GFCI? Why isn't my smoke detector interconnection working anymore?


Well.. If you mean that the bad gfci was a symptom of something else... The recepacle had tripped earlier along with the circuit breaker when I was stripping a live wire. I'm guessing that's when it got damaged

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