Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-23-2010, 03:42 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1
Share |
Default

Random GFI tripping


I have a GFI circuit breaker in my main panel for both bathroom outlets that trips randomly. It will reset but trips hours and sometimes days later. There seems to be no problems when everything is on and pluged in. Two blow dryers, curling iron, at the same time and doesn't trip. Should we replace the GFI?

amyfspence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-2010, 03:59 PM   #2
DIY'er
 
jamiedolan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Neenah, Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 2,032
Blog Entries: 2
Default

Random GFI tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by amyfspence View Post
I have a GFI circuit breaker in my main panel for both bathroom outlets that trips randomly. It will reset but trips hours and sometimes days later. There seems to be no problems when everything is on and pluged in. Two blow dryers, curling iron, at the same time and doesn't trip. Should we replace the GFI?
You could try replacing it and see what happens. It could be a bad breaker and false trips. Also could be something that is really causing a fault and it isn't in error. Are you sure the outlets / fixtures are all securely installed and there are no moisture / water issues?

Jamie

__________________
Jamie Dolan - Neenah, WI
Jamie Dolan Paw Dogs
Need Help Uploading Photos? Click here.
jamiedolan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-2010, 06:33 PM   #3
" Euro " electrician
 
frenchelectrican's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: WI & France { in France for now }
Posts: 5,369
Default

Random GFI tripping


Just before you plan to replace the RCD { GFCI } Breaker check the receptales for any moisture or anything out of normal format.

And make sure the ground { Bare } is not touching the netural otherwise it will trip the RCD pretty fast.

Most single pole RCD breakers typically run about 30 or so Euros.

Merci.
Marc
frenchelectrican is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2010, 03:48 AM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Eighty Four, Pa.15330
Posts: 1,212
Default

Random GFI tripping


I would suggest replacing the gfci breaker with a regular one,and use gfi devices where necessary. No feed through.
bobelectric is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2010, 05:32 AM   #5
Tool Geek
 
PaliBob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pacific Palisades CA
Posts: 2,488
Default

Random GFI tripping


Amy, Welcome to the Forum
I agree with bobelectric on replacing the breaker with two GFCI receptacles.
.
__________________
Disclaimer
& Stay Safe
.....Bob Lavery
PaliBob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2010, 07:26 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Canada (s/w ON.)
Posts: 2,294
Default

Random GFI tripping


At the moment I'm having a similar problem with a T8 flourescent fixture, with an electronic ballast. It has a pull chain switch and is plugged into a GFCI receptacle.

At random intervals when its shut off with the switch, it trips the GFCI.
I have plugged and unplugged this fixture and it never trips the GFCI. However, whenever I use the switch to shut it off, it causes a trip.
The switch is a single pole switch that opens the hot conductor only.
It my hunch that a collapsing magnetic field from the ballast is generating current in the neutral which causes the GFCI to trip.
I would suggest that any device that has a motor or transformer that has a collapsing magnetic field and a single pole control switch can very likely cause GFCI's to trip.
Wildie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2010, 12:58 PM   #7
Tool Geek
 
PaliBob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pacific Palisades CA
Posts: 2,488
Default

Random GFI tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildie View Post
...... I would suggest that any device that has a motor or transformer that has a collapsing magnetic field and a single pole control switch can very likely cause GFCI's to trip.
I have a related situation where a GFCI breaker feeds a ceiling fan (continually set to High speed) that is controlled by a wall switch fan speed control that has a slider switch that goes from Off, low,med, high.
If I rapidly switch from Off to med or high, the GFCI breaker always trips. If I go from Off to low, then wait for the fan to come up to speed, then switch to med, the GFCI breaker does not trip.

There are other lights and a few outlets on the same circuit but it is only the fan speed control that has ever caused a trip.

I built a GFCI margin tester to help find leakage problems but had no luck finding a problem with the fan speed control.

GFCI Tester
.
__________________
Disclaimer
& Stay Safe
.....Bob Lavery
PaliBob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2010, 02:45 PM   #8
Electrical Contractor
 
kbsparky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Delmarva
Posts: 3,360
Default

Random GFI tripping


If you have a surge-protected power strip in one of those bathrooms, replacing the GFI devices will not solve this issue.

Surge-protector power strips can shunt power surges to ground, thus creating an event that the GFI senses as a ground fault. This will occur at random times, regardless of whether you are using anything plugged into it or not.
__________________
-KB

Life is uncertain -- eat dessert first!!
kbsparky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2010, 03:33 PM   #9
A "Handy Husband"
 
rjniles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: South Carolina Low Country
Posts: 3,889
Default

Random GFI tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildie View Post
At the moment I'm having a similar problem with a T8 flourescent fixture, with an electronic ballast. It has a pull chain switch and is plugged into a GFCI receptacle.

At random intervals when its shut off with the switch, it trips the GFCI.
I have plugged and unplugged this fixture and it never trips the GFCI. However, whenever I use the switch to shut it off, it causes a trip.
The switch is a single pole switch that opens the hot conductor only.
It my hunch that a collapsing magnetic field from the ballast is generating current in the neutral which causes the GFCI to trip.
I would suggest that any device that has a motor or transformer that has a collapsing magnetic field and a single pole control switch can very likely cause GFCI's to trip.
Would using a double pole switch (normally for 240 volt application) solve this problem? Interrupt the hot and neutral at the same time. Assuming you have the hot/neutral in the switch box and not just a switch loop.
__________________
Location:
Coastal South Carolina
rjniles is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2010, 04:07 PM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Canada (s/w ON.)
Posts: 2,294
Default

Random GFI tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
Would using a double pole switch (normally for 240 volt application) solve this problem? Interrupt the hot and neutral at the same time. Assuming you have the hot/neutral in the switch box and not just a switch loop.
Yes! i think that this would do the trick! This Chinese fixture cost me $18 and a pull chain DPST switch would probably cost this much again.
The OP's problem is that bathroom appliances are causing trips, and it wouldn't be practical to change a hair drier over to a DPST switch.

I posted my problem, so as to point out that its not likely that its a GFCI fault, its a bug with the use of various devices on GFCI circuits.
Especially, the questionable stuff thats coming from China, these days.
Wildie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2010, 10:18 AM   #11
Electrical Supplier
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 205
Default

Random GFI tripping


I would replace the breaker with a standard and GFCI outlet everything that needs to be.

Did anyone else notice this: "Two blow dryers, curling iron, at the same time and doesn't trip. Should we replace the GFI? "

I would IMMEDIATELY replace that breaker. It is NOT functioning correctly as an OCPD. Those 3 loads combined are in the neighborhood of 4000 watts or 33 amps........

As far as the t8 fixture goes, Tripping a GFCI could be expected when switching. Fluorescents rely on the grounded reflector to create the magnetic field. Ballasts must be grounded. 5mA current leak is all it takes to trip most GFCIs. Its just a bad combination of ballast brand and GFCI brand. Thats all.

Id say remove the GFCI and hard wire it in to remove the problem. (As hard wired fixtures dont require GFCIs)
LyonsElecSupply is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2010, 02:22 PM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Canada (s/w ON.)
Posts: 2,294
Default

Random GFI tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by LyonsElecSupply View Post
I would replace the breaker with a standard and GFCI outlet everything that needs to be.

Did anyone else notice this: "Two blow dryers, curling iron, at the same time and doesn't trip. Should we replace the GFI? "

I would IMMEDIATELY replace that breaker. It is NOT functioning correctly as an OCPD. Those 3 loads combined are in the neighborhood of 4000 watts or 33 amps........

As far as the t8 fixture goes, Tripping a GFCI could be expected when switching. Fluorescents rely on the grounded reflector to create the magnetic field. Ballasts must be grounded. 5mA current leak is all it takes to trip most GFCIs. Its just a bad combination of ballast brand and GFCI brand. Thats all.

Id say remove the GFCI and hard wire it in to remove the problem. (As hard wired fixtures dont require GFCIs)
The flourescent fixture is temporarily being used in the laundry area. The code in my area requires this GFCI receptacle.
I'm just on the verge of completing a reno. project and the lighting will be on its own circuit, when its finished.

Wildie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
GFCI keeps tripping on and off at random times helter Electrical 2 07-27-2010 08:32 AM
Problem with random tripping. Timb7 Electrical 12 04-30-2010 09:15 AM
Dead Breaker? and Nusiance Tripping... jasonblu Electrical 9 11-06-2009 06:13 PM
Random GFCI tripping, Data Rack theatretch85 Electrical 5 07-10-2009 08:20 PM
Tripping Wrong Breaker woodworksnmore@comcast.ne Electrical 15 03-28-2008 01:47 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.