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Old 01-18-2012, 01:24 PM   #1
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


The story is as follows:

1. I have a large aquarium.

2. I hate to work on the immersed electrical stuffs in it without GFCI

3. I fear that for all the time that I am not working on it any GFCI will trip for no good reason. The electrical stuffs must not stop for more than a few hours or the inhabitants will suffer

4. I do not when to stop the electrical stuffs to switch to GFCI. Sometimes pumps do not restart smoothly.

This is my plan.

I will not put GFCI for the first outlet nearest to the CB, outlet 1.

On the second outlet, outlet 2, next nearest to the CB, I will put in GFCI and connect the load to all the other outlets, number 3, 4 and 5 etc.

I will install a GFCI bypass with a switch (switch A) that connects the hot of outlet 1 to the hot of outlet 3. When the switch is open, there will be GFCI for oulet 2, 3, 4 etc; when it is closed, there will be GFCI in outlet 2 only, not for 3, 4, 5, where I will plug in my immersed electrical stuffs.

Will this work? Does switch A have to be a toggle (three position switch) or can it be just an on-off switch? That is, can there be parallel voltage source across the two load-taps of a GFCI?

I think at least a toggle switch should work.

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Old 01-18-2012, 01:31 PM   #2
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


Quote:
Originally Posted by highdeserthome
The story is as follows:

1. I have a large aquarium.

2. I hate to work on the immersed electrical stuffs in it without GFCI

3. I fear that for all the time that I am not working on it any GFCI will trip for no good reason. The electrical stuffs must not stop for more than a few hours or the inhabitants will suffer

4. I do not when to stop the electrical stuffs to switch to GFCI. Sometimes pumps do not restart smoothly.

This is my plan.

I will not put GFCI for the first outlet nearest to the CB, outlet 1.

On the second outlet, outlet 2, next nearest to the CB, I will put in GFCI and connect the load to all the other outlets, number 3, 4 and 5 etc.

I will install a GFCI bypass with a switch (switch A) that connects the hot of outlet 1 to the hot of outlet 3. When the switch is open, there will be GFCI for oulet 2, 3, 4 etc; when it is closed, there will be GFCI in outlet 2 only, not for 3, 4, 5, where I will plug in my immersed electrical stuffs.

Will this work? Does switch A have to be a toggle (three position switch) or can it be just an on-off switch? That is, can there be parallel voltage source across the two load-taps of a GFCI?

I think at least a toggle switch should work.
They make a gfi with an alarm that will sound if it trips, use it instead

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Old 01-18-2012, 01:41 PM   #3
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


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They make a gfi with an alarm that will sound if it trips, use it instead
When I am not at home sounds matters little.
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:46 PM   #4
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


Actually, if a frig is connected to a GFCI, if it trips all the food (can worth $100s) will spoil if you are not at home.

Do many people put the frig on GFCI?

If a frig is not on GFCI, then cleaning it with damp cloth is also risky, not as risky as working on immersed AC stuffs in a saltwatet aqaurium granted.
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:49 PM   #5
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


Has there been technological improvement in the GFCI in recent years to eliminate false tripping?
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Old 01-18-2012, 03:01 PM   #6
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


Commercial kitchens have had to put fridges and feezers on gfci's for years.
You are overthinking a problem that may never happen.

I've never had a gfci trip in my house without a reason.
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Old 01-18-2012, 03:39 PM   #7
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


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Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
Commercial kitchens have had to put fridges and feezers on gfci's for years.
You are overthinking a problem that may never happen.

I've never had a gfci trip in my house without a reason.
I have and many aquarium owners have reported tripping and great losses.

The lives in my aquarium are worth much more than $100 and have great sentimental value to me.

If the GFCI trips when I am not home for more than a day they will die.

Last edited by highdeserthome; 01-18-2012 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 01-18-2012, 03:43 PM   #8
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


Quote:
Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
Commercial kitchens have had to put fridges and feezers on gfci's for years.
You are overthinking a problem that may never happen.

I've never had a gfci trip in my house without a reason.
In a commercial setting people tend to be very conservative.

When you have a business you fear being sued or fined.

Are most frigs at home on GFCI?
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:15 PM   #9
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


This is a much discussed subject in the hobby forum. The question is on whether this plan will work.

First, if I use just an on-off switch, there will be parallal voltage source across the load lines of the GFCI. Will this matter?

Second, if I use a two-position toggle switch, there won't be parallal voltage source. But for a split second, time for the contact on the switch to close, the load on the GFCI will be open. Does this matter?
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:25 PM   #10
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


It is possible that when you have AC equipment immersed in saltwater there is higher chance of some small leak. This may account for GFCI not specifically designed for such application to trip.

I think it is 25 (or 250) ma difference between N and H that causes a typical GFCI to trip. Such a number may have to be higher.

A frig is different and may not have any leak at all.

At any rate, my problem is faced by all in the hobby and is often discussed in forums. People come back from vacation to discover the horror. Many shun the GFCI.
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:33 PM   #11
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


I noticed that there aren't to many responses, maybe you should just use a ground rod instead??
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Old 01-19-2012, 01:36 PM   #12
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


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I noticed that there aren't to many responses, maybe you should just use a ground rod instead??
Why would that help?
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Old 01-19-2012, 01:39 PM   #13
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


[quote=Julius793;827838]I noticed that there aren't to many responses, quote]

May be someone who really knows GFCI will respond, hopefully.
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Old 01-19-2012, 01:48 PM   #14
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


If I don't get any more info on the GFCI, I will use a toggle switch.

Worst is that the split second opening of the load causes the GFCI to trip and the setup does not work.

But I like to know if a parallel voltage across the load of the GFCI will matter. It will be good to know.
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Old 01-19-2012, 02:02 PM   #15
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GFCI special application--on demand for brief period


Quote:
Originally Posted by highdeserthome View Post
I think it is 25 (or 250) ma difference between N and H that causes a typical GFCI to trip. Such a number may have to be higher.

.
A Class A GFI trips between 4-6 mA.

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