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Old 02-16-2010, 05:19 PM   #1
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New Fluorescent Ballast trips GFCI Breaker??


I have a 10 year old Fluorescent light in the kitchen and one of the old type ballast's went bad. So I decided to replace both ballasts with the newer electronic ones.

The fixture is 4' long, and has 4each T12 bulbs. Except for the ballast which went bad there were no problems.

I put the 2 new balasts in, and now my GFCI Breaker trips about 6 or 7 times, then the light will go on and stay on. After it's on, I can turn it off and immediately back on as many times as I want with no problems, but if I leave it off for a while, it will trip the GFCI Breaker again.

It seems like there is a capacitor or something in these new ballasts that is creating a surge that trips the breaker; Is that possible??

This GFCI Breaker has several circuits- Bathroom, Laundry Room, Garage, kitchen light.

So, should I try another GFCI Breaker, or just put a standard breaker in, and install GFI Recepticles in the bathroom, laundry room, and garage? Not sure I can determine which is first in the line.

Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,....marc

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Old 02-16-2010, 08:02 PM   #2
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New Fluorescent Ballast trips GFCI Breaker??


Seems to me you have too much stuff on a GCFI. Any chance you would be standing wet and barefoot changing a bulb in a florescent fixture with a switch for it turned on?

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Old 02-16-2010, 08:57 PM   #3
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New Fluorescent Ballast trips GFCI Breaker??


Quote:
Originally Posted by marc515 View Post
I have a 10 year old Fluorescent light in the kitchen and one of the old type ballast's went bad. So I decided to replace both ballasts with the newer electronic ones.

The fixture is 4' long, and has 4each T12 bulbs. Except for the ballast which went bad there were no problems.

I put the 2 new balasts in, and now my GFCI Breaker trips about 6 or 7 times, then the light will go on and stay on. After it's on, I can turn it off and immediately back on as many times as I want with no problems, but if I leave it off for a while, it will trip the GFCI Breaker again.

It seems like there is a capacitor or something in these new ballasts that is creating a surge that trips the breaker; Is that possible??

This GFCI Breaker has several circuits- Bathroom, Laundry Room, Garage, kitchen light.

So, should I try another GFCI Breaker, or just put a standard breaker in, and install GFI Recepticles in the bathroom, laundry room, and garage? Not sure I can determine which is first in the line.

Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,....marc
There's the possibility that you grounded out the Neutral wire somewhere. (that the bare (uninsulated) part of the Neutral wire is inadvdrtently making contact with the (grounded) frame of the fluorescent fixture.)?
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Old 02-17-2010, 06:25 AM   #4
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New Fluorescent Ballast trips GFCI Breaker??


Guys, as I noted in my original post: "I put the 2 new balasts in, and now my GFCI Breaker trips about 6 or 7 times, then the light will go on and stay on. After it's on, I can turn it off and immediately back on as many times as I want with no problems, but if I leave it off for a while, it will trip the GFCI Breaker again."

Once the light is on, I can flip the wall switch on and off numerous times, and the GFCI Breaker will not trip; If I had too much on the circuit, or had a wire touching somewhere, I would not be able to do that.

The GFCI Breaker will only trip if the light is left off for about 5 minutes or more.

It appears that there's a capacitor or something similar in the new electronic ballasts that causes an initial surge.

I triple checked my connections, and everything is fine.

So my question is, can the new ballasts cause GFCI's to trip doe to some type of surge?

For now, I am going to try a new GFCI Breaker (the current one is 30 years old); If that doesn't worrk, I will put in a regular breaker, and put GFCI Recepticles in the areas needed. Can I put multiple GFCI Recepticles on 1 circuit?

Thank you,....marc

Thank you,......marc

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Old 02-17-2010, 08:08 AM   #5
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New Fluorescent Ballast trips GFCI Breaker??


Is the breaker tripping
Or is the GFCI tripping & you need to push the button to reset
2 different things

And are you sure this is just a GFCI breaker ? IE not AFCI also ?
AH....With a 30 year old breaker I'd try a new one
What Mfg is the breaker/panel ?

Is this circuit lights only or outlets too ?

You are not required to update to new code, but:
New code requires a dedicated 20a circuit to the bathroom
Also a dedicated 20a circuit to the Laundry area
And I would have a dedicated circuit for the garage
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:20 AM   #6
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New Fluorescent Ballast trips GFCI Breaker??


1. The GFCI Breaker is tripping, and must be reset 5-7 times before the light will stay on. Once the light is on for a minute or two, I can turn the wall switch on/off and the GFCI breaker will not trip.

2. The GFCI Breaker has the following on it: Kitchen outlets and lights; Laundry room outlet; bathroom outlet & lights; garage outlets and lights; crawl space light.

marc
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Old 02-17-2010, 11:39 AM   #7
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New Fluorescent Ballast trips GFCI Breaker??


Quote:
Originally Posted by marc515 View Post
1. The GFCI Breaker is tripping, and must be reset 5-7 times before the light will stay on. Once the light is on for a minute or two, I can turn the wall switch on/off and the GFCI breaker will not trip.

2. The GFCI Breaker has the following on it: Kitchen outlets and lights; Laundry room outlet; bathroom outlet & lights; garage outlets and lights; crawl space light.

marc
Indeed. as Scuba Dave noted, and raised another possible issue. The question is; Whether this is an overload issue, a ground fault issue or an arc fault issue. Since you have several loads on that circuit, (other than measuring with a clamp on ammeter), the easiest and most expedient way would be to replace (temporarily) with a regular breaker of the appropriate size. Once you know what you're dealing with, you trace the problem. There's another possibility, that, since the breaker is more than thirty years old, the retaining spring inside, has lost some of its ability to hold the circuit. I encountered a similar problem on a service call, where the breaker on a central A/C unit was tripping intermittently for no apparent reason. (like a short or overload). It turned out that, since the circuit breaker was also used as the On/Off switch, the spring inside, (over the course of four years) wore out and could not hold the circuit. After the breaker was replaced, the problem disappeared.!
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:42 PM   #8
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New Fluorescent Ballast trips GFCI Breaker??


Well, I replaced the GFCI Breaker with a new one and everything's fine now. Guess the spring in that 32 year old GFCI breaker was a tad too weak.

It's always good to back to the basics.

Thanks guys,....marc

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