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Old 06-15-2010, 10:47 PM   #1
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GFCI problems...replacing an old one...now tripping.


while remodeling the kitchen we are replacing the old GFCI outlet. We added three can lights on one switch, and a mini can light on a switch, but neither were on when this problem arose. The new GFI is the same 20A size on a 20A circuit. It worked fine for about three weeks, and now it is tripping. It will only stay on for about 4-5 seconds and then it will trip. I've read you can have issues replacing these if you have old wiring (we do). So i tried putting the old one back on, but the same thing happens. The only change i can see is that it has rained quite a bit here...but weve never had any tripping with water problems in the past. Is this a neutral problem?? if so, is there anyway to find out where it is on this circuit? and how do we fix it? The circuit has 2 lights (hallway and laundry room) then goes into the kitchen where it hits the GFCI then goes to one outlet next to it, a switch to the can lights, then the dishwasher and one more outlet and switch to mini can light. I would assume my problem would lie somewhere back behind the gfi (the hallway and laundry?) but im not positive.....Just don't understand how it would work completely fine without tripping once for three weeks, then all of the sudden not be able to stay on. Any help to possible solutions to check would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 06-15-2010, 11:09 PM   #2
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GFCI problems...replacing an old one...now tripping.


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Originally Posted by ams4life View Post
..where it hits the GFCI then goes to one outlet next to it, a switch to the can lights, then the dishwasher and one more outlet and switch to mini can light. I would assume my problem would lie somewhere back behind the gfi (the hallway and laundry?) but im not positive.....Just don't understand how it would work completely fine without tripping once for three weeks, then all of the sudden not be able to stay on. Any help to possible solutions to check would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Are the can lights, the dishwasher, and other outlet all being fed off the load side of the new GFCI? You do have the incoming power connected to the line terminals, yes?

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Old 06-16-2010, 03:29 PM   #3
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GFCI problems...replacing an old one...now tripping.


Im saying improper wiring. Make sure your load and line AND Hot Neutral are correct.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:36 PM   #4
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GFCI problems...replacing an old one...now tripping.


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Are the can lights, the dishwasher, and other outlet all being fed off the load side of the new GFCI? You do have the incoming power connected to the line terminals, yes?
Well the good news is that today its all working normal....im wondering if it was moisture, but from where i have no clue. Everything is dry, the only thing i can think of is the window next to that outlet was open, but there was no way rain could have gotten to the outlet, the only moisture would just be some damper air from it raining. but to answer your question yes, the incoming power comes from the same power as the lights from the other rooms. it goes to the GFCI, and then all the other stuff is being fed off of the load side. The incoming does not go straight into the GFCI, we had to run a line from where the incoming comes in to the next box over where the GFCI is because there was no room so there is one wire nut connection in there...would that make a difference? It doesn't seem to me that it should, but these GFCI's are so sensitive and goofy i don't rule anything out. The wiring in this house is not very good. They did a big remodel in '91. and it seems to me that the box was in the front of the house. They put the new box in the gargage in the back of the house and instead of running new electric everywhere. They simply ran everything from the old box through 1 1/2 conduit to the new box. So its really hard to tell with any part of the old house how this stuff is wired. I hate remodels. Im half tempted to just run this as a new line to its own breaker but it would be a ton of destructive work to do that. so im assuming the wiring to GFCI, and everything going off of that on the load side is correct right? would it be something goofy with the neutrals before the incoming power hits the GFCI? or does it have to be after the GFCI to cause a problem?
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:40 PM   #5
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GFCI problems...replacing an old one...now tripping.


Just make sure your Neutrals and Hots are on the right screw AND that your Line is coming in on the line side and subsequent loads are on Load side. Also, if you have any sort of a battery charger on a GFCI those cause problems with irregular tripping.

Other than that, the GFCI Might be doing its job.....youve got current to the ground somewhere.
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:13 AM   #6
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GFCI problems...replacing an old one...now tripping.


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It worked fine for about three weeks, and now it is tripping. It will only stay on for about 4-5 seconds and then it will trip.
The trip curve for a GFCI is mA < 20/(T^0.7) with T in seconds, so for a 4 second interval the mA leakage must be less than 7 mA. Water with impurities over some small distance [One millimeter? Ten?] with 120v applied may give you this value.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 06-17-2010 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:56 PM   #7
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GFCI problems...replacing an old one...now tripping.


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Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
The trip curve for a GFCI is mA < 20/(T^0.7) with T in seconds, so for a 4 second interval the mA leakage must be less than 7 mA. Water with impurities over some small distance [One millimeter? Ten?] with 120v applied may give you this value.
This is some great info. however im a bit confused by it. Does this mean if there was water within a few millimeters of the GFCI itself? or water within millimeters of anywhere along that line? or does it mean water touching the line and is a few millimeters long? (a drip or so) It is still working completely fine. Im beginning to think it was that really wet day because i didnt have any problems before that, and now after that. Which might mean an even bigger problem.....water. ick. Thanks for all the help

yeah the wiring is right, i just double checked. However, if i have current going to the ground, wouldnt it still be tripping yesterday or today? or if not....what would cause current going to the ground somedays and not others besides water?
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:10 PM   #8
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GFCI problems...replacing an old one...now tripping.


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This is some great info. however im a bit confused by it. Does this mean if there was water within a few millimeters of the GFCI itself? or water within millimeters of anywhere along that line? or does it mean water touching the line and is a few millimeters long? (a drip or so) It is still working completely fine. Im beginning to think it was that really wet day because i didnt have any problems before that, and now after that. Which might mean an even bigger problem.....water. ick. Thanks for all the help
It means water between anywhere along the hot lead and a ground, but there are other ways for current to flow between the hot conductor and ground.
It could be a flaky appliance.

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