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Old 08-18-2009, 05:26 PM   #1
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GFCI between porch receptacles


A customer calls me because her back porch duplex outlet has suddenly quit working. When I start looking into possible problems I find that the back and front porch receptacles do not work and recently have. On the back porch, the lawn sprinkler system control box transformer is plugged directly into the outlet. I find a breaker in the panel that is labeled "outside receptacles" (miracle there), and it is not tripped. Just below and slightly to the right of the panel is a GFCI duplex outlet, odd place to have one, or so I thought. Further investigation reveals that the GFCI interrupts the line going to the front and back porch receptacles. This may have been a safety thing at first but now it's a problem. Every time I reset the GFCI, and test the receptacles, they work just fine. BUT-as soon as I plug in the transformer for the sprikler system, trip city. IMO, GFCI outlets will get weaker with each trip so I determine that this one needs changing. New idea here: change the GFCI to a regular duplex outlet, and change the dedicated breaker to 20 amp GFCI breaker. The system works now with the sprinkler transformer plugged in just fine. Could the transformer be sending some type of ground fault signal back to the GFCI receptacle but the 20 amp GFCI breaker doesn't detect it? Any suggestions here? Thanks, David

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Old 08-18-2009, 06:11 PM   #2
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GFCI between porch receptacles


Could have been just a weak GFCI outlet,If the tranformer is working now i would think bad GFCI Outlet

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Old 08-18-2009, 06:48 PM   #3
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GFCI between porch receptacles


Sprinkler timers are notorious for tripping GFCI's.


Well......notorious may be an exaggeration but I have seen it happen.
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:28 PM   #4
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GFCI between porch receptacles


So, I'm going to put this one to bed, along with me now. I do believe the GFCI was weak, and I believe the transformer suddenly developed some type of feedback to the GFCI that it recognized as a ground fault causing it to trip. The GFCI breaker seemed to solve the problem as to that little bit of feedback and gives protection to the outside receptacles. The only thing I did not really look at: to see if the transformer was blonde, that would explain a lot. Thanks,David
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:40 PM   #5
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GFCI between porch receptacles


Quote:
Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
Sprinkler timers are notorious for tripping GFCI's.


Well......notorious may be an exaggeration but I have seen it happen.
It's a totally understandable situation because the lawn sprinkler will --by definition-- have a ground fault. And the breaker, (probably) has a higher threshold for fault current. Or, (possibly) by being farther upstream from the fault. (Now more than ever)Don't Drink and Drive!!!
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