Digital Timer On GFCI Circuit - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-19-2012, 01:01 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 10

Digital Timer on GFCI circuit

I want to put a digital timer on a circuit with GFCI protection at the breaker. I purchased a GE digital timer switch (which requires a neutral to, presumably, power the electronics in the switch) and when I opened the electrical switch box to install it, I realized there was no neutral for the circuit I wanted to control. There are neutrals for other circuits in the same box.

Knowing that it would probably not work, I did try to wire the timer using the neutral from another circuit. This resulted in a GFCI fault- presumably becuase the GFCI protection sensed an unbalanced load from the timer's circuitry going back via a different neutral.

I assume my options are the following:
1. Pull a neutral to the box for the curcuit I want to switch.
2. Replace the GFCI breaker with a standard breaker and replace the outlets on the circuit with GFCI outlets to provide required code protection (the circuit powers 2 outdoor electrical outlets that we use for holiday lights).

Can anyone comment and confirm or correct me?




TheRydad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2012, 01:25 PM   #2
Electrical Contractor
jbfan's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newnan GA
Posts: 7,027
Rewards Points: 650

The neutral must be on the same circuit as the hot.
Replacing the breaker does not correct the problem of the neutral on another circuit.

You can rewire the ciruit and add a neutral to the switch, or change the switch circuit to the same as the gfci.


"The problem isn't that Hillary Clinton lies. We all know she lies. The problem is that her supporters don't seem to care"
jbfan is online now   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to jbfan For This Useful Post:
TheRydad (05-19-2012)
Old 05-20-2012, 01:45 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: IL
Posts: 929
Rewards Points: 826

Go buy a different timer switch. I believe Intermatic makes electronic timer switches that don't need a neutral. It sounds like it will be a pain to fish a new wire for a neutral.
curiousB is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to curiousB For This Useful Post:
TheRydad (05-20-2012)
Old 05-20-2012, 03:17 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 10

Thanks for the responses. I know that replacing the breaker will not change the fact that I am using a different neutral, but if it is a non-GFCI breaker, then it shouldn't trip from the timer load, right?

The Intermatic switch looks like it will work for me. Home Depot has a switch that doesn't require a neutral, but only works on incandescent circuits. I assume it is sending a small current through the incasdescent lights to power the timer in the switch and, thus, wouldn't work on other types of loads.
TheRydad is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Garage GFCI Circuit Wiring Problem woodworkerjeff Electrical 23 04-06-2011 12:34 PM
Stairway light powered from GFCI circuit? jeh179 Electrical 10 03-23-2011 08:57 AM
GFCI Trips campbellpt Electrical 28 11-21-2008 03:06 PM
20A GFCI on 15A circuit jheavner Electrical 35 10-16-2008 03:45 PM
GFCI circuit Cossack Electrical 31 03-21-2008 12:34 AM

Top of Page | View New Posts


Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1