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Discussion Starter #1
Got a finished basement that has a few outlets. On one side, I have the TV and satellite receiver box plugged in, while on the other side, I have my home office with computer, monitor, printer and a mini desk cooling fan.

Just moved into this townhouse a few days ago and I am a complete rookie or novice when it comes to anything electrical (hence my choice of a username). Last night, when I went to turn off my fan, the computer, monitor, TV and satellite box receiver all went off as well (basement lights did stay on, which I understand might be a different "breaker").

I went to the breaker box and hit the RESET button on the "main outlet" where I saw was lit with a red light. Everything was fine after that. Happened again this morning when turning off that simple fan, so I obviously have some sort of problem. I just don't know what. Too much electricity being used? Is there anything I can do to fix this problem, besides not using the desk fan anymore?
 

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Retired Moderator
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I think that you are describing a GCFI outlet---not a breaker.

Take a picture---if it's a gcfi outlet--outlet could be faulty---fan might be faulty or wiring of outlet might be the cause.

Need a picture or better description.---Mike---
 

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I=E/R
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Does everything work until you turn on the fan? What do you mean by "desk fan?"
Look closely at the breaker that is tripping. Do you see anything like AFCI printed on the face of the breaker?
 

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I've seen this issue come up on this forum every now and then. The fan is tripping the GFCI protecting your basement outlets when you turn it off. I don't know why some fans do this. My only advice is to try a different fan.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses so far. I'm at work at the moment, but I'll post a photo later this afternoon.

Everything works fine prior to turning off the fan. The breakers themselves aren't affected... just below the breaker box, where there is an outlet, I find a red light, so I hit the reset button and that did fix everything. This outlet along with the breaker is on the side of the basement with the TV. My desk with the computer and fan are on the opposite wall in the basement.

It's a basic small fan, Honeywell brand. It's brand new, but I have had the duplicate model at my work office for 3 years now without any problems. Doesn't dismiss the idea that the fan I just bought for my home desk may be faulty.
 

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The breakers themselves aren't affected... just below the breaker box, where there is an outlet, I find a red light, so I hit the reset button and that did fix everything. This outlet along with the breaker is on the side of the basement with the TV. My desk with the computer and fan are on the opposite wall in the basement.
The receptacle you mention is, as McSteve pointed out, a Ground Fault protected receptacle which also protects the other receptacles.
The GFCI detects current leakage not overload so from your description, the fan is causing the fault.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The receptacle you mention is, as McSteve pointed out, a Ground Fault protected receptacle which also protects the other receptacles.
The GFCI detects current leakage not overload so from your description, the fan is causing the fault.
Is it plausible to take the fan back and exchange it do you think? Hopefully it is just THAT fan...
 

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Is it plausible to take the fan back and exchange it do you think? Hopefully it is just THAT fan...
It's a basic small fan, Honeywell brand. It's brand new, but I have had the duplicate model at my work office for 3 years now without any problems. Doesn't dismiss the idea that the fan I just bought for my home desk may be faulty.
Why don't you try swapping the fans between home and office for a couple days?
If it is truly the fan causing the problem then the GFCI should respond whether or not other equipment is running so shut down the computer before testing.
 

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Turning off a load that has a motor and inherent inductance, could cause a voltage transient in the power system. Maybe the GFCI is too sensitive and is tripping on this? Is the fan on a surge-suppressing power strip?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Turning off a load that has a motor and inherent inductance, could cause a voltage transient in the power system. Maybe the GFCI is too sensitive and is tripping on this? Is the fan on a surge-suppressing power strip?
The fan is plugged straight into a wall outlet.

I do have a special box adapter (not sure what the proper name for it is) where I plug my computer into. It has several other outlets, but I (foolishly?) thought it might be better to spread extra appliances to other outlets.

Also, I removed the potentially problematic fan and put a different one in its place (I had a different small desk fan from upstairs). I have had done a few tests with it, where I leave it on for several minutes, then turn it off, and I have not had any problems with it.

With the problem fan, I tested it again, by turning it on and off, on and off without any problems. Then left it on for five minutes, turned it off and it happened again. I have my receipt and box and am going to take the fan back.
 
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