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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy folks. I just signed up for this forum, so be gentle. I'm not a complete newbie as I'm going to school for HVAC and I've worked on my home quite a bit.

So here's the rundown: I have 2 dual-pole 15A GFCI Square D breakers that lead each to a split receptacle on either side of the kitchen sink. I have them wired independent of any other downstream load, as far as I can tell. So they are isolated circuits.

Every time I plug anything into these receptacles, it trips the breaker. And I've tried everything from nightlights to power tools.

Does this indicate a ground-fault somewhere? If so, would the fault have to be on that circuit, or could it be anywhere? Could it be in the panel?

As an added bonus, I've got a light switch that trips one of the GFCI breakers, even though it should be on a completely different branch. I tested another branch with my voltmeter and there was almost one volt from the neutral to ground...is that an indication of something?

I will accept any and all advice that won't burn down my house or fry me in the process.
 

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(2pole breaker)It's probably sensing an imbalance on the neutral. Did this breaker provide a load neutral terminal, and are you sure the neutral branch circuit wiring is isolated?

(Light switch) As above. The neutral is probably tied in with another somewhere, or inadvertently touching a ground.
 

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Is this a new installation? The circuit neutral must be terminated on the circuit breaker not on the neutral buss and the tab between the two hots to the recep must be removed.
 

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If the receptacle tabs weren't already removed the breaker wouldn't hold without a load. It would immediately single phase, and trip on overcurrent.
HUH??? :huh:
 

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I believe that since the 2P GFI breaker compares one hot leg to the other, it trips when its senses an imbalance eg. - night light in just one recptacle.
PLUS, kitchen counter top receptacles are required to be 20 amp, not 15...
hmmmmm....
 

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The OP sounds like they might be in Canada where split wired receptacles in kitchens were required.
 

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hmmmmm.... Okay I was wrong, Schneider (Square D) says you can use a 12/3 with a 2P 240 VAC breaker and not have it trip.
 

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what model breaker is it? does it have just one lever?

so you have two hots w/ one neutral and one gnd feeding two outlets?

why a dbl pole gfi? what type of wiring is running to the outlets?

is the breaker meant for a single dbl pole load? does the gfi require balanced load to operate correctly?
 

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hmmmmm.... Okay I was wrong, Schneider (Square D) says you can use a 12/3 with a 2P 240 VAC breaker and not have it trip.
As long as a load neutral terminal is available on the breaker, and connected correctly, the breaker will be able to measure the balance between L1-L2-N, and provide effective protection. Imagine all 3 passing through a CT. Current passing in/out will be equal through the CT as long as the circuit is isolated.

The problem is most likely with the neutral connection.

Is there a white pigtail of wire coming off of the breaker?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Whoa, I need to catch up. I just wrote a whole message and it didn't post, so here's the abridged version:

The breakers are Square D by Schneider Electric QO215GFICP QO Qwik-Gard 15-Amp Two-Pole GFCI Breaker.

I have 2 of them, each feeding its own split duplex on either side of my kitchen sink, with 14/3. The connector on the duplex outlets on the hot side is cut away (by me, and thoroughly).

The breakers have a white pigtail that the instructions told me to connect to the Neutral bus, and so I did.

I can plug a lamp or tool into the outlets and they will trip their respective breaker as soon as I turn it on. The indicator on the breaker shows that it's tripped, and the lever remains in the "on" position, which would seem to indicate the GFI mechanism tripped.

If it helps any, it seems like Vegas Sparky understands something of what's going on.

(switch) Should I isolate the branch circuits and search for continuity with the neutrals, one by one, at the panel? That seems to be the easiest way, at least that I can think of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Also, yes, I'm in Ontario, Canada. The code requires either the 12/3 configuration mentioned above, or a 14/3 split 15A GFCI, as I have.
 

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Did you connection the circuit neutral to the breaker?
 
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Whoa, I need to catch up. I just wrote a whole message and it didn't post, so here's the abridged version:

The breakers are Square D by Schneider Electric QO215GFICP QO Qwik-Gard 15-Amp Two-Pole GFCI Breaker.

I have 2 of them, each feeding its own split duplex on either side of my kitchen sink, with 14/3. The connector on the duplex outlets on the hot side is cut away (by me, and thoroughly).

The breakers have a white pigtail that the instructions told me to connect to the Neutral bus, and so I did.

I can plug a lamp or tool into the outlets and they will trip their respective breaker as soon as I turn it on. The indicator on the breaker shows that it's tripped, and the lever remains in the "on" position, which would seem to indicate the GFI mechanism tripped.

If it helps any, it seems like Vegas Sparky understands something of what's going on.

(switch) Should I isolate the branch circuits and search for continuity with the neutrals, one by one, at the panel? That seems to be the easiest way, at least that I can think of.
Where is the circuit neutral terminated? Is it properly terminated on the breaker and NOT on the neutral buss?
 

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I have never heard of a 240v GFCI breaker working on split 120v line. A 240v GFCI breaker monitors the imbalance on both hot legs, so if you have a line to neutral load on one side, the thing will trip. You need a special 120/120 gfci breaker.
 
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