Putting In GFI Outlet On A Timer For Xmas Lights - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 11-19-2008, 09:34 PM   #1
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Putting in GFI outlet on a timer for xmas lights

I bought all of the stuff today to put in a GFI outlet with a weatherproof box on the rim of my roof for Christmas lights. Right now I don't have any exterior outlets outside. I wanted to hook it up to a timer switch in the garage, and I wanted to see what you guys thought about that.

1. Will the switch turning on and off cause the GFI to trip?
2. I bought a Time All Indoor digital timer wall switch. Is this ok to use for Christmas lights? It says that it can be used with incandescent lighting only, not to use with a starter, compact fluorescent, or other electronic ballasts. Some of my lights are L.E.D.
3. It says 500 watts single gang or two gang installation. 40 watt minimum. What does 40 watt minimum pertain to?


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Old 11-19-2008, 10:30 PM   #2
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What does 40 watt minimum pertain to?
Those devices require a certain amount of current to function properly. They rely on the connected load to provide that minimum level of power, basically in series with the loads.

Any connected load less than the 40 watts can result in poor performance of those devices.


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Old 11-19-2008, 11:17 PM   #3
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I've had two of these for the past 2 Christmas seasons, I have 2 extension cords that plug into a GFCI receptical, The timers mount to the house then I run the Christmas lights from the timers. They work great. Read the wright up from the link, It has a digital readout that you program.I think I bought it in Walmart or Kmart. http://www.christmas-lights-direct.c...er-p-4937.html
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Old 11-20-2008, 01:31 AM   #4
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I'd return that timer and get a three wire model, one with a hot, a load, and a neutral terminal. The type with a neutral energize a relay, which can control just about anything a regular switch could.

An incandescent-only type timer relies on the incandescent bulb's filament to complete the circuit for its electronics, and light bulb of less than 40 watts has too much resistance for the electronics to receive adequate power to function properly.

Intermatic sells a relay-type of timer switch in the big box stores. Look for a "heavy duty" model, which is labeled to control, I believe, 0-1000 watts of any type of lighting.

Other brands are available, too, in other stores or online. Main things you'd look for in choosing a timer that control any kind of load (or no load at all) are a neutral wire, and the specification that it can control ballast-powered lighting and motors.

EDIT: The only reason, IMO, to use the two-wire incandescent-only type of timer switch, is if there is no neutral wire available in an existing switch box. Otherwise, it's a device that's severely limited in its usefulness compared to a three-wire model.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by thegonagle; 11-20-2008 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:23 PM   #5
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I would not put the timer in the LINE side of the GFCI receptacle. It might, as you suspect, cause it to trip when the timer turns on, just like some of them trip when you restore power at the panel or after a power outage.
I like the idea of using a 3-wire timer instead of that electronic (Triac controlled) one.

Install your GFCI receptacle in the garage (or other indoor location), connect the timer to the LOAD side of the GFCI, and then run your UF cable (needs to be UF if you're exposing it to the weather, but not if you're running it inside, to a box mounted outside, as long as none of the cable is exposed to weather) to the outside receptacle, which would not need to be a GFCI, since it is protected by the one in the garage.

The timer should be the permanent mount type (wall switch, or stand-alone box), so it can be wired directly.
I still like the old mechanical ones that have a heavy switch. They're enclosed in a metal (or plastic) box with KO's for your cable.
Nice thing about mechanical, is that they won't go wacky on you if the power dips, or you get a surge.
This is the one I am talking about:

Last edited by Ultrarunner2017; 11-20-2008 at 09:39 PM.
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