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Old 05-23-2012, 02:51 PM   #1
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GFCI outlet question


I'm adding an outlet mostly for power tools in my garage. Sometimes the saw goes crooked and pulls an extra load. I would like to avoid going to the main panel to flip the circuit breaker. If I use a GFI at the outlet will a surge from the saw trip there instead?
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:01 PM   #2
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GFCI outlet question


No. A GFI is NOT an overcurrent device.
Either way it doesn't matter, you need a GFI anyway in the garage. That is as long as this is a 15 or 20 amp 120v receptacle/circuit

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Old 05-23-2012, 03:01 PM   #3
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GFCI outlet question


Most likely not. A GFCI measure the difference in voltage going out and coming back in not surges.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:07 PM   #4
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Most likely not. A GFCI measure the difference in voltage going out and coming back in not surges.
"current"
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:09 PM   #5
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GFCI outlet question


Sorry "Current" is correct. I typed that from my phone and couldn't edit it.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:09 PM   #6
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GFCI outlet question


puttster -

is the current breaker a gfci or an afci?

seems odd that a momentary power surge would cause a breaker to go. if a 30 amp ac circuit breaker can handle the 40+ amps of the compressor start up, a regular breaker out to able to handle the saw.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:36 PM   #7
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GFCI outlet question


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Originally Posted by puttster View Post
I'm adding an outlet mostly for power tools in my garage. Sometimes the saw goes crooked and pulls an extra load. I would like to avoid going to the main panel to flip the circuit breaker. If I use a GFI at the outlet will a surge from the saw trip there instead?
puttster

If the current outlet is on the same branch circuit of other things like a few lights and such then this may be part of the problem.

You might benefit from running a new line (12AWG) straight from your panel with a 20A breaker and a 20A GFCI in the garage and reserve that for your saw. This way the full 20A is available for the motor and not consumed by lights and other loads.

Also if your saw motor is configurable (some are under a service panel) maybe you can change the motor to 240V from 120V and then you'll halve the current used and reduce the voltage drop to the panel. You'd need to run a 240V circuit to the garage for this though so it might not make sense for you (then saw can only be used on 240V).

To me a dedicated 20A 120V GFCI in the garage is the best option for this.
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kevinp22 View Post
puttster -

is the current breaker a gfci or an afci?

seems odd that a momentary power surge would cause a breaker to go. if a 30 amp ac circuit breaker can handle the 40+ amps of the compressor start up, a regular breaker out to able to handle the saw.
The current breaker is AFCI. The surge is not really momentary, it might last 5-10 seconds, depending on the wood and the determination of the user..

Last edited by puttster; 05-23-2012 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:05 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by puttster View Post
The current breaker is AFCI. The surge is not really momentary, it might last 5-10 seconds, depending on the wood and the determination of the user..
In garage it should be GFCI not AFCI.
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:08 PM   #10
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GFCI outlet question


that is probably part of the problem.

I have 2 different AFCI circuits that will not work with my vacuum - "insta-trip". Funny is have 5 others in which the vacuum works just fine. Still troubleshooting that one after checking and re-checking every connection

In reality if the garage receptacle serves lots of other loads you should run a new circuit with either GFCI breaker or receptacle.

If it serves only garage/outdoor receptacle and lights loads ditch the AFCI and add GFCI protection where required.

I agree with cusious b though - new circuits solve a multitude of problems
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by puttster View Post
The current breaker is AFCI. The surge is not really momentary, it might last 5-10 seconds, depending on the wood and the determination of the user..
The breaker could be weak if it's been tripped numerous times. Regardless, a dedicated circuit is a very good idea for heavy tools like this. As others have said, all receptacles in a garage must be GFCI protected.
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:14 PM   #12
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GFCI outlet question


OK thanks, I went and got a GFI receptacle for an extra $8. I hope it pays off.
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:48 PM   #13
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Ok, dumb question. I thought GFCI were only needed for bath and kitchen where there is water. Why would a garage need it?
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:54 PM   #14
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GFCI outlet question


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Originally Posted by puttster View Post
OK thanks, I went and got a GFI receptacle for an extra $8. I hope it pays off.
You have some answered question. What size breaker is tripping a 15 or 20 amp?
What size motor is on this saw?
The AFCI may be tripping from a noisy motor or a loose connection somewhere in the circuit.
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:55 PM   #15
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GFCI outlet question


not a dumb question. gfci is used for 15 and 20a circuit receptacles where water and electrcity mix (code required). dont have the code section handy but a summary:

1. kitchen receptacles
2. bath receptacles
3. receptacles within 6 feet of sinks
4. outdoor receptacles
5. unfinished basements
6. garages
7. buildings under construction
8. crawl spaces
9. around pools
10. laundry
etc.....


Last edited by kevinp22; 05-23-2012 at 09:00 PM.
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