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Old 09-28-2011, 09:49 AM   #1
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Gfi outlets keep tripping but not constantly


I have added a room in my basement. I ran a 20amp circuit to 11 outlets. There was a sale on GFI oulets so I just opted to make them all GFI's. I have double checked that all the GFI outlets are in fact rated for 20 amps and that the wire purchased was rated as such too. An oversight on my part was in buying the metal boxes to put the outlets in, i purchased the ones that were short in depth and the GFI outlets are a real tight fit (didn't find this error until after drywall was done ). I now also realize what a pain it is to reset the GFI's since it seems when 1 trips the rest down the line from that point trip as well. My plan is to take all the GFI's out except for the box where the line comes in and just put in regular outlets for all the rest, but before I do this I am wondering what is causing just some of my GFI's to trip just occasionally. I have it where it will go several days with no trips, and then randomly happen, get reset and then all is fine again for a while.
Note: the only things plugged into this circuit are a newer desktop computer, a tv, a sat. receiver, a modem, router, some external hard drives; the outlets that keep popping are not the ones with these devices plugged into them, the outlets that keep tripping are usually the begining outlets 1 through 5 in the series of 11
So my questions are:
1.) Can my circuit show a good ground through a tester but not truly have a constant ground that could vary enough to pop a GFI? Maybe the wire nut is not providing a constant?
2.) Could the amount of GFI outlets be part of the problem?

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Old 09-28-2011, 10:03 AM   #2
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Gfi outlets keep tripping but not constantly


If the room is finished, and not a laundry, bath, wet bar, unfinished, you do not need gfci in that space. If the outlet is tripping, it either means that 1) it is a cheap outlet, 2) you have the circuit hooked up wrong 3) Something getting plugged in is causing current leakage or 4) Your touching the side of the boxes with the outlet, so causing a dead short, not enough to trip the breaker, but enough to cause the gfci to trip.

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Old 09-28-2011, 10:14 AM   #3
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Gfi outlets keep tripping but not constantly


Proper grounding or lack thereof has no part in the operation of a GFI.

It also sounds like you wired GFIs downstream of other GFIs.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:14 AM   #4
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Gfi outlets keep tripping but not constantly


why not install a GFI cir. breaker and use standard 20 a. recp.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:26 AM   #5
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Gfi outlets keep tripping but not constantly


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Originally Posted by jerzeedivr View Post
why not install a GFI cir. breaker and use standard 20 a. recp.
That is how I did my kitchen, since I wanted to split the circuit between two walls, until I can get back to finishing the remodel. My sister's house in Granite City, IL, had a gfci for every outlet in her garage. I never got the time to see how the idiots had wired them.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:58 AM   #6
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Gfi outlets keep tripping but not constantly


Installing 20 amp receptacles in a house is a waste of money. Have you seen any appliances that needed the 20 amp configuration?
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
If the room is finished, and not a laundry, bath, wet bar, unfinished, you do not need gfci in that space. If the outlet is tripping, it either means that 1) it is a cheap outlet, 2) you have the circuit hooked up wrong 3) Something getting plugged in is causing current leakage or 4) Your touching the side of the boxes with the outlet, so causing a dead short, not enough to trip the breaker, but enough to cause the gfci to trip.
Room is finished and after reading these posts it appears I don't even need a gfi outlet on this circuit anyway, not sure why I thought that it would be better to have them. Back to the outlets tripping though, im positive that they are wired correctly (wires into the 'load') (Travelers to the 'line') on the back of the gfi outlet and wire nut all the grounds together...my guess is your correct on a wire maybe touching the metal boxes or that the gfi's are junk (even though I just purchased them), don't think that it is something that is plugged in because it was doing this before I had anything plugged in.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:01 PM   #8
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Gfi outlets keep tripping but not constantly


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Proper grounding or lack thereof has no part in the operation of a GFI.

It also sounds like you wired GFIs downstream of other GFIs.
Are you saying that a GFI outlet will still function properly without a ground connected>?
Yes GFI outlets are connected upstream and downstream from each other, what bearing does this have on a circuit?
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:06 PM   #9
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Gfi outlets keep tripping but not constantly


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Originally Posted by jerzeedivr View Post
why not install a GFI cir. breaker and use standard 20 a. recp.
I failed to mention that the circuit that I was using to create this room was already an existing 20a line (that i took everything off) with a 20a breaker back at the main box. My guess is that this line was originally intended by previous owner for a wood shop downstairs, hence the high amps. I have come to the conclusion that it would be best if I make all the outlets the standard 20a outlets and be done with thinking about GFI's!
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:13 PM   #10
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Gfi outlets keep tripping but not constantly


Yes, GFIs will function without a ground.

The incoming power should go to the line terminals, not the load terminals.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:14 PM   #11
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Gfi outlets keep tripping but not constantly


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Installing 20 amp receptacles in a house is a waste of money. Have you seen any appliances that needed the 20 amp configuration?
But doesn't the 20a line allow you to plug in more appliances/gadgets before you reach that max. that makes your circuit trip, I think that would be valuable in a home today with all the computers/tvs/gaming systems/etc...
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:18 PM   #12
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Gfi outlets keep tripping but not constantly


The ability to run more thing at once is a function of the breaker size, not the slot configuration of the receptacle. Even a 15 amp device is rated for 20 amp feed-thru.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:22 PM   #13
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Gfi outlets keep tripping but not constantly


"The incoming power should go to the line terminals, not the load terminals"
My typo...i do have them attached as you have stated
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:27 PM   #14
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The ability to run more thing at once is a function of the breaker size, not the slot configuration of the receptacle. Even a 15 amp device is rated for 20 amp feed-thru.
So if I have a bunch of 15a outlets saved up, I can install them on a 20a circuit without creating a harmful situation? I always thought the outlets had to match the breaker...
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:18 PM   #15
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Gfi outlets keep tripping but not constantly


Quote:
Originally Posted by INEEDHELPPLZ1 View Post
"The incoming power should go to the line terminals, not the load terminals"
My typo...i do have them attached as you have stated
You have a series of GFCI receptacles, with each one wired to the load terminals of the one before it? That's probably the issue. GFCI's will work when strung in series with each other like that, but they may nuisance trip due to minute leakage to ground through the GFCI sensor circuit in the downstream devices. How many of them do you have strung together? Rewiring them so each GFCI receptacle is fed straight from the line may fix the problem.

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