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  1. #1
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    912
    Location
    Bloomington, IN
    Tractor
    Kubota, G5200, KAMA 454

    Default GFI tripping

    Ok. I've got an issue with a GFI breaker triping that feeds an outdoor water garden. I have tried several things that I feel has isolated every link in the system and it still trips...some times. It may go a week just fine or just a few hours.

    We have a few GFI breakers for indoor bath rooms. Off one of these GFI breaker circuits, the line feeds the pond pump.

    1 I replaced the pump that had worked fine for over a year, still triped
    2 Pluged an extension cord into a garage GFI recptical, still triped
    3 Changed wires in main breaker panel from GFI #1 to GFI #2, still triped

    So the entire original run, breaker/wire/out door recptical and pump have been replaced with new or as with the breaker just switched. The wire being eliminated via an extension cord may not be a good test. The pump is a utility pump used to pump out a wet basement and maybe the small GFI recpt in the garage could not handel the load? So maybe I need to run a new pc of romex to a new recpt by the pond. This is no easy task because the wires are in a wall!

    Any ideas?

    Patrick T.

  2. #2
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    17,313
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: GFI tripping

    Could the GFI itself be at fault?
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    2,086
    Location
    SW Ohio
    Tractor
    yanmar

    Default Re: GFI tripping

    A couple years ago we had problems with one circuit in the house that ran of one of the 5 or 6 GFIs we have. In this case the circuit began by running through a GFI receptacle, rather than a breaker. Eventually I consulted a friend who does som electric work. He explained that they have a spring which gets weak with age. Changed it out, end of problem. Similar problem with a GFI breaker, 20 amp, in the shop. Every few years it goes loony. Install a new one and we're good for a couple years. I've had the circuit checked and no problem was found. Go figure...I never knew they had such a short life span. The breakers have all been Square D too, so not a cheap brand.

  4. #4
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    310
    Location
    Maine
    Tractor
    New Holland TC55DA EHSS 4Wd

    Default Re: GFI tripping

    I've had to replace trip-happy GFCIs before, but given that you switched breakers that somewhat suggests that it's not the breaker. Could it be that the start-up load of the pump is causing the trip? I had a extra-sized old washing machine on a GFCI breaker once and with a full load the GFCI would almost always trip. It was the initial amperage draw that caused that (or so I concluded at the time).

    ~paul
    New Holland TC55DA EHSS FWD with 270TL loader and various other goodies........

  5. #5
    Veteran Member jwstewar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Posts
    2,291
    Location
    South Central Ohio
    Tractor
    2003 New Holland TC24D

    Default Re: GFI tripping

    You say it is a small utility pump. Is it rated for continuous duty? Could it just be over heating a causing resistance. We run 2 pumps for our pond. These are both external pumps now.

    We were using one submersible, but it started kicking the GFI last year. I replace the GFI outlet and it still did it. We replumbed and went with an external. For some reason I didn't toss the submersible and instead I cleaned it up. It sat out all winter. This spring we took an above ground pool down. I plugged the pump into a GFI outlet and low and behold it work w/o kicking. The pump ran for several ours at Mom & Dad's emptying the pool. Now the pump has been promoted to sitting in the shed.
    Jim
    New Holland TC24D

  6. #6
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Mar 2000
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    36,984
    Location
    Texas

    Default Re: GFI tripping

    The only time I've had a persistent problem with a GFI breaker and went to buy a new one, the dealer asked me why I needed a new one and said that probably was not the problem. That breaker was for two outdoor receptacles as well as one bathroom. I removed the covers from those two outdoor receptacles and found a few cobwebs in there. I blew them out with my air compressor, put the covers back on, and no more problem. The dealer had told me that just humidity with cobwebs would cause the breaker to kick off.
    Bird

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    Apr 2002
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    2,086
    Location
    SW Ohio
    Tractor
    yanmar

    Default Re: GFI tripping

    Quote Originally Posted by Bird
    The dealer had told me that just humidity with cobwebs would cause the breaker to kick off.
    I wonder if that's what happens to my brain when it gets humid............the cobwebs get wet and cause it to kick off.

  8. #8
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Mar 2000
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    36,984
    Location
    Texas

    Default Re: GFI tripping

    I really hadn't thought about it, Wayne, but now that you mention it, I have seen some evidence that I might have that problem myself.
    Bird

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    1,927
    Location
    Home-1+ acres New Hope, TX / 24 acres-Fannin County
    Tractor
    JD 950

    Default Re: GFI tripping

    As I understand GFCI operation (and I could be totally wrong), they have a very sensitive circuit that compares the current in the hot line to the current in the neutral line. If there is difference of more than 3-4 milliamps between the current flowing in and the current flowing out, the GFCI will trip. The idea being that if the two legs are not exactly equal, then current is leaking out somewhere other than where it should (i.e. a ground fault). That would explain how a damp cobweb could cause a fault.
    I believe it has nothing to do with overload.
    Bill
    "Whatever you are, be a good one." Abe Lincoln

  10. #10
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    5,850
    Location
    SF Bay Area-Ca Olympia WA Salzburg Austria
    Tractor
    Cat D3, Deere 110 TLB, Kubota BX23, Craftsman Mower

    Default Re: GFI tripping

    To avoid situations of having to trouble shoot entire circuits here at the Hospital... I spec that each required GFCI outlet have it's own GFCI receptacle... That way if there is a problem... no need to go looking for it.

    I also use Hospital Grade Hubbel GFCI's... Yes, they cost a lot more.

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