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Old 07-03-2012, 10:17 PM   #1
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Trouble with GFCI tripping - first time electrical


So I am a first time DIY electrical guy. My GFCI outlet keeps tripping under, what seems to me, very little load.

Basically There was a GFCI outlet that I wanted to add additional outlets off of for convenience. So I chained 4 standard outlets off that GFCI. The last outlet had a switch added in line, so I could turn on and off the last plug (for a light). I tested everything by plugging a box fan into each outlet and it worked great, even the switch worked well. So I unplugged the fan and hung a 2 bulb shop light (plug in kind) plugged it in and flipped the switch and the GFCI outlet went pop, again and again. Now it was getting dark so there is a chance that the 150w security light kicked on while I was hanging the light, but not sure.

What could be causing this to trip and how to fix it?

Below is a diagram of how its wired before and after. 15 Amp, Romex 12/2 NM-B wiring.

GREEN BLOCKS ON, all other were off

BEFORE



AFTER (the GFCI and below outlets had power, but nothing plugged into them, only the 150 w light and the shop light were on when it tripped the GFCI)


What is causing this gfci outlet to trip and how should I fix it?

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Old 07-03-2012, 10:48 PM   #2
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Trouble with GFCI tripping - first time electrical


I would suspect the shop light if the box fan worked fine.

A GFCI compares the current flow on the hot wire with the current flow on the neutral wire. If some of the current is flowing through you (or through the ground wire), the GFCI will trip. That is how it protects you. So if there is a fault in the shop light, it could cause the GFCI to trip.

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Old 07-03-2012, 11:11 PM   #3
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Trouble with GFCI tripping - first time electrical


some fluorescent ballasts that are electronic will shunt some voltage to ground to power up the electronics correctly. I've seen cases where an open ground on an electronic ballast would actually cause a ceiling grid to liven up. Most likely this is where you leakage current is taking place.
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:00 AM   #4
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Trouble with GFCI tripping - first time electrical


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Originally Posted by andrew79 View Post
some fluorescent ballasts that are electronic will shunt some voltage to ground to power up the electronics correctly. I've seen cases where an open ground on an electronic ballast would actually cause a ceiling grid to liven up. Most likely this is where you leakage current is taking place.
So how should I proceed? Should I get a different light? If so, what do I look for to avoid the same issue.

As far as I can tell it is an electronic ballast, the light is made by Lights of America, which is a very cheap brand.

Last edited by ryan112ryan; 07-04-2012 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:17 AM   #5
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Trouble with GFCI tripping - first time electrical


The gfci does'nt monitor the security light .. just what is plugged into it. I would also be suspicious of the electronic ballasts. You said everything worked fine from that outlet until you plugged in the new light. Since the light is cord and plug from the factory I'd say the ballst is caausing your problem.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:34 AM   #6
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Trouble with GFCI tripping - first time electrical


Check the neutrals downstream from the gfci. You CANNOT tie the load side white neutral wire to other neutrals downstream of the gfci. The gfci will trip.

Failing this then it could be a leaky transformer in a ballast. That could allow a small leakage current to ground which is tripping gfci. Throw the ballast away and get a new one.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:37 AM   #7
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I would try a different light Ryan. A better quality light. If nothing else, ask the store to plug it into a GFCI before you buy it.
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Old 07-05-2012, 02:03 AM   #8
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Thanks for everyone's help. I went to the store and picked up two new shop lights, hung them and it worked like a charm! No more tripping of the GFCI outlet!

Thanks again for all your help!
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:16 AM   #9
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Great. Thanks for letting us know the outcome.

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