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Old 04-30-2009, 09:45 AM   #1
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GFCI nuisance tripping


My wife has been complaining that the receptacles in the basement aren't working. I added some last summer and put them all on a single GFCI. They would work fine, then she'd go down and plug something in. No power.

She would reset the GFCI, everything would work perfectly then a couple of days later.... the same thing.

I pulled the cover and the connections were right, tight, no problem. Still, the problem persisted, apparently under no load at all. We would turn everything off, and it wouldn't come on, but the GFCI would be in a tripped condition before we turned on anything.

I was ready to replace it, but was down in the basement with our toddler yesterday, and while I was getting clothes out of the dryer I heard her moving a chair. She climbed up, pushed the 'test' button and giggled.

"Happy, Happy, Happy!" she exclaimed.

Note to self: install future GFCI out of areas "easily accessible' to toddlers. I might want to suggest this as a code change for the next NEC cycle.

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Old 04-30-2009, 11:24 AM   #2
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GFCI nuisance tripping


Maybe press two buttons simultaneously to test a gfci?

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Old 04-30-2009, 11:43 AM   #3
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GFCI nuisance tripping


The new TR GFCI's Missed that when they came up with the name
Tamper Resistant
.
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Old 04-30-2009, 11:58 AM   #4
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GFCI nuisance tripping


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Originally Posted by PaliBob View Post
The new TR GFCI's Missed that when they came up with the name
Tamper Resistant
.
The tamper resistance they are referring to is a shutter system that won't allow a child (or anyone) to put a paper clip/screwdriver/whatever in the hot slot of a receptacle.
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Old 04-30-2009, 11:59 AM   #5
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GFCI nuisance tripping


I find the tamper resistant outlets ridiculous for use in ALL areas of the home. I can understand living room, bedroom areas where the outlets are closer to the ground, but areas not easily accesible like behind the fridge or over the range microwave, behind the stove, above counter tops should be allowed to be standard receptacles. The GFCI outlets are expensive to start with (compared to a standard duplex outlet) and now the Tamper resistant ones are even more expensive!
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Old 04-30-2009, 12:08 PM   #6
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GFCI nuisance tripping


They make a tool to prevent just this type of nuisance tripping:
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Old 04-30-2009, 12:34 PM   #7
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GFCI nuisance tripping


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The tamper resistance they are referring to is a shutter system that won't allow a child (or anyone) to put a paper clip/screwdriver/whatever in the hot slot of a receptacle.
I'm well aware of the TR situation. My point was that that for GFCI's the term TR definitely does not refer to the tampering seen by the O.P.
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Old 04-30-2009, 03:51 PM   #8
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GFCI nuisance tripping


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Originally Posted by PaliBob View Post
I'm well aware of the TR situation. My point was that that for GFCI's the term TR definitely does not refer to the tampering seen by the O.P.
Well, she wasn't exactly tampering with it by pushing the test button. At 2, she was just doing what toddlers do: investigating her world. We have started firmly saying: "NO!" when she tries to push it now. She covers her eyes, cries and runs across the room. It's very dramatic.

Not sure how much more expensive a new house would be with TR receptacles, GFCI and AFCI breakers, as per the 2008 NEC. Let's see.... let's say there are 50 receptacles in a three bedroom house. At $2 a piece (I saw them at Lowes for this) that would be $100. Even if they were $5 a piece that would be only $250. My house has five GFCI in it right now. Let's say a new house (and garage) needed 15. That's about $200, tops.

Say you need 20 AFCI breakers. According to a quick search of Amazon (probably not the lowest price you could find) they go for between 35 and 55 bucks a piece. Lets say the average is 45 bucks. That puts 20 breakers at about $900. So $1400 tops? For a 200K house? Not a really high price or percentage of the total house costs.

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Old 04-30-2009, 09:06 PM   #9
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GFCI nuisance tripping


You can pick up a belt a walmart for like $5.
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:12 PM   #10
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GFCI nuisance tripping


This made me really laugh - I was so ready for another GFCIs-are-the-devil rant.
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:46 PM   #11
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GFCI nuisance tripping


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This made me really laugh - I was so ready for another GFCIs-are-the-devil rant.
I personally have never had a problem with GFCI's tripping inappropriately. I have two in the garage (don't want to lose all my power if one trips, so I have isolated part of the circuit. One trips and it doesn't bring everything down and the lights are isolated on a non-GFCI part of the circuit so they won't go down at all).

Anyway, I have run all kind of power tools, including angle grinders, jig saws, circular saws (both 20+ years old) and have never had a problem. Ran a 16 hp shopvac on the end of a 125 feet of 12 gauge extension cord. No problem. The only thing that ever tripped my garage GFCI was a 6 inch, clip on fan rated at 0.6A. Funny.

Oh, I have blank face plates on her receptacles in her room, and safety plugs everywhere else she has access to. She has never shown any interest in a plug but the GFCI has a little glow light to indicate it's 'on' so she must zero in on that when she goes down to the basement.

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