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Old 09-04-2008, 01:24 PM   #16
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GFCI intermittent nuisance trips


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Ok it would seem to me that the fluorescents are causing the problem like it or not. IMO the problem has to be emi/rf induced into the electrical system from the ballasts of the light fixtures. You might check to see if one of the lights is slow to start (light) on occassion. This may be the source of the intermittant tripping gfci.
A discussion on emi and rf nuisance tripping would entail many pages so I think best to isolate the problem to the fluorescents.
Thanks Stubbie, yeah during my searching, I found several entries about fluorescent lights occasionally causing SNAFU's and I also found so many citations of magnetic fields and rf nuisance tripping, that I got a headache just reading them. My theory is that when turning on the switch, that there is a sudden drop in power (if only for a millisecond) and somehow this is back feeding into the house and tripping the GFCI breaker.

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My suggestion would be to run an extension cord from other outlets and plug the porch into those and see if it still trips that gfci. I would include the bathroom receptacle on the gfci circuit.
That is a gr8 idea don't know why I didn't think of that yet. I will give that a shot.
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I would also be sure this gfci breaker is not old school and is of the newer type with improved circuitry for interference from emi/rf and the fluorescent ballasts should have THD of less than 10%.
Not unless they made those twenty plus years ago. I thought about that, but still with the two on separate panel boxes... WTF right!? Again though electricity is a wiley critter.

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Electronic ballasts are the most unstable and can emit rf in large doses if not shielded properly. You will see this in the cheapo light fixtures.
The fixtures were purchased at Lowe's and are supposed to be for outdoor use, so I think that defines them as el-cheapo's @ <$20 apiece. Thankx Stubbs for the ideas. I am gonna get this or go crazy tryin. ~~Joey~~

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Old 09-04-2008, 01:24 PM   #17
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GFCI intermittent nuisance trips


This would be the typical service to the mobile home having an outside 3 wire service rated pedestal (main) and a 4 wire service entrance feeder to the internal panel (sub-panel).

The porch appears to be plugged into a receptacle on an outside wall of the porch and then that receptacle is plugged into one coming off the service panel?

Last edited by Stubbie; 09-04-2008 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:32 PM   #18
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GFCI intermittent nuisance trips


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Can you describe how the fluorescent lights are wired?

You stated the porch was wired with receptacles, ceiling fan, and fluorescent lights, and that the porch is for now powered by using plug and cord at a GFCI protected outside receptacle.
If I stated that the porch is plugged into a GFCI protected outside receptacle, that is incorrect. It is plugged into a standard duplex receptacle that is hard wired into the external main panel box, with its own standard breaker. Sorry for the mix up.

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You also stated you used 14/3 to do this. I am having a hard time figuring out how this is wired, and how the lights could keep working in this scenario.
Again my, mistake, it should read 14/2 not 2, there is a common (white), power (black) and ground (bare copper). I have added pictures to better illustrate my situation. Thanks HouseHelper for the corrections, as I am a perfectionist by nature and really hate making mistakes, although I have no qualms in admitting that I am wrong. ~~Joey~~
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:37 PM   #19
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GFCI intermittent nuisance trips


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Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
This would be the typical service to the mobile home having an outside 3 wire service rated pedestal (main) and a 4 wire service entrance feeder to the internal panel (sub-panel).

The porch appears to be plugged into a receptacle on an outside wall of the porch and then that receptacle is plugged into one coming off the service panel?

Kinda... the wiring for the porch is temporarily wired to a standard three pronged plug and is connected to the receptacle fed from the outside 3 wire service rated pedestal (main), the other end is actually wired to the receptacle on the inside of the porch and from there goes on to feed the rest of the porch. No external receptacle on the wall of the porch. ~~Joey~~
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:56 PM   #20
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GFCI intermittent nuisance trips


Since this is a DYI forum, I thought that I would include a picture of the finished project



and a link to the photos from start to finish http://www.flickr.com/photos/30203369@N02/
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:08 PM   #21
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GFCI intermittent nuisance trips


ok, first off, I don't see the neutral crossover I thought might be present, so it might be the second one about the interference (its the same thing Stubbie is talking about)

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY!
All of those splices need to be in accessible boxes, not just nutted and taped together. For the life of me, I can't understand why you would splice it 12" away from a box... I would suggest taking care of it quickly before some of the more vocal electricians exile you from DIY land
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:33 PM   #22
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GFCI intermittent nuisance trips


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ok, first off, I don't see the neutral crossover I thought might be present, so it might be the second one about the interference (its the same thing Stubbie is talking about).
Please pardon my ignorance here, but you lost me here. SO you are saying that I should be able to eliminate a neutral crossover as a possible cause? And you are leaning towards the lights causing a magnetic field, or a power drop, induction or something?

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BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY!
All of those splices need to be in accessible boxes, not just nutted and taped together. For the life of me, I can't understand why you would splice it 12" away from a box... I would suggest taking care of it quickly before some of the more vocal electricians exile you from DIY land
Okay, those are valid points, points that I made to my dad while he was wiring it. I can not figure out why he did that either. He really lost me when he made the first splice coming out of the receptacle and going into the first junction box. He made some absurd claim that he needed to do that because of what he was gonna do after the junction, referring to supplying the other receptacles and then the lights/fan. I also don't know why he bothered to run the run going to the other receptacles through the first junction box, when he was not going to tap into that line. Bless his heart, he is a seventy-two year old retired vending service technician. Oh he made one claim in response to my question of the first splice, that he only had so much room to wire things together in the junction box. Anyways, thank you for pointing that out and showing your concern dax. ~~Joey~~
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:56 PM   #23
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GFCI intermittent nuisance trips


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Please pardon my ignorance here, but you lost me here. SO you are saying that I should be able to eliminate a neutral crossover as a possible cause? And you are leaning towards the lights causing a magnetic field, or a power drop, induction or something?
On a couple of the pictures that show the door it looks like there was a cutout for maybe an old porch light? Did those wires get used at all or were they just capped off and left alone? If they were capped off and left alone, then yes, I think the neutral crossover can be eliminated, it looks like all the wire has the single path I was talking about.

The only thing left is the induction thing. The problem with the induction is that I would think it would require a wire from the GFCI circuit to be near the lights, and I don't see that. its a thinker...


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Bless his heart, he is a seventy-two year old retired vending service technician.
Parents... what are you gonna do with them
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:59 PM   #24
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GFCI intermittent nuisance trips


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Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
My suggestion would be to run an extension cord from other outlets and plug the porch into those and see if it still trips that gfci. I would include the bathroom receptacle on the gfci circuit.
That is a gr8 idea
don't know why I didn't think of that yet
. I will give that a shot.


***UPDATE** Okay, tried plugging the porch in on a receptacle on the GFCI breaker circuit. When I flipped the switch for the lights, they immediately tripped the GFCI (I am now kind of leaning toward replacing with a newer GFCI breaker). I then plugged the porch into the shop, and it took several times of flipping the lights on and off before it tripped the GFCI breaker in the house. So what does that mean? ~~Joey~~

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Old 09-04-2008, 03:10 PM   #25
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On a couple of the pictures that show the door it looks like there was a cutout for maybe an old porch light? Did those wires get used at all or were they just capped off and left alone? If they were capped off and left alone, then yes, I think the neutral crossover can be eliminated, it looks like all the wire has the single path I was talking about.
You are correct that there is wiring and and a cutout for the old porch light. They are not capped off, but are running to the motion lights on the eve of the porch. I omitted that circuit from my drawing, since they are their own circuit that is only connected to the motion lights and is totally independent of the reminder of the porch wiring.

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The only thing left is the induction thing. The problem with the induction is that I would think it would require a wire from the GFCI circuit to be near the lights, and I don't see that. its a thinker...
... no this thing is a


and is about to whoop my tail. Thanx Dax, glad to know that I am not totally inept. ~~Joey~~



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Parents... what are you gonna do with them
Ya gotta love'em.

Last edited by jejm1975; 09-04-2008 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:19 PM   #26
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You are correct that there is wiring and and a cutout for the old porch light. They are not capped off, but are running to the motion lights on the eve of the porch. I omitted that circuit from my drawing, since they are their own circuit that is only connected to the motion lights and is totally independent of the reminder of the porch wiring.
That may be the "antena" for the GFCI problem (assuming its on the GFCI circuit). Try disconnecting and capping both the hot and neutral wires (disconnect the ground, too) to the porch light back at the old opening and see if that solves it. If it does, reroute the wires for that switch so that it is powered from the new porch wiring and you GFCI problems are taken care of.
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:25 PM   #27
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That may be the "antena" for the GFCI problem (assuming its on the GFCI circuit). Try disconnecting and capping both the hot and neutral wires (disconnect the ground, too) to the porch light back at the old opening and see if that solves it. If it does, reroute the wires for that switch so that it is powered from the new porch wiring and you GFCI problems are taken care of.

Okay, but first... the wiring to the motion lights are on a switch inside the house, which is off, so could that still act as an antenna?
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Old 09-04-2008, 08:59 PM   #28
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Okay, but first... the wiring to the motion lights are on a switch inside the house, which is off, so could that still act as an antenna?
Yup, still could since the switch only breaks the connection to the Hot, the neutral and ground still have good path.
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:14 PM   #29
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GFCI intermittent nuisance trips


There are so many code violations and probable/possible miswires there, I don't know where to begin... I'll have to study those pix some more and get a few more sheets of paper to keep track...
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:29 PM   #30
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Not trying to be cruel, but that has to be about the worst wiring job I've seen.........ever!!!!

Pull the pictures off the web immediately before someone else sees them........ I'm serious as hell!

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