GFCI tripping - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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GFCI tripping

I probably need to call an electrician after the weekend to figure out what is causing the problem with my GFCI, but want to make sure I understand correctly how it works before wasting what likely will be a couple hundred on a call for someone just to tell me I'm an idiot.

I recently set up a 75g tank and decide I should convert the outlet for the tank to a GFCI. There are two sets of wires in the box. It works fine with just the live wires connected to the GFCI line terminal; however, when I add the second set of wires to the load terminal, the GFCI trips and won't reset.

It appears that a large portion of the lower level (walkout basement) is on this same circuit. So, I can't convert to GFCI without losing power to most else downstairs. I assume this means there is a problem with the other outlets or baseboard heat that may be connected downstream.

If I connect all 4 wires in the box to the line terminals, until I can get an electrician, am I correct in understanding that the receptacle (tank) will be protected but the problems will remain downstream and they will continue to not be protected?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 08:53 PM
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You probably have an issue down the far end of the circuit. An electrician needs to do the necessary things to trace and fix the issue, unless you're handy with taking apart and rewiring receptacles properly. The first thing you can do is figure out what receptacles are on the same circuit and unplug any devices from those, see if that makes a difference. Try to remember if there is any other devices on the same circuit that tend to have tripping issues in the breaker box. Any clues that might help trace the problem. When you replace the old receptacle to this box, do those other receptacles still work as before? If not, you may have damaged a load line in the box, a short where it leaves the box maybe.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks-I think it might be some baseboard heat that had been disconnected (wires cut and capped) when we moved in. Nothing else really plugged in down there. I have a circuit tracer and na outlet tester out in the garage I can try tomorrow. It's getting too dark to play with the power off.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 09:02 PM
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lol, It's been over 20 yrs since I've lived up north, it didn't dawn on me what you meant by baseboard heat. At first I thought you were thinking the circuit might be overheating for some reason.


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Before moving to DC, I worked at the University of West Florida in Pensacola and also as the Scientist for the Sarasota Bay National Estuary Program for several years.

I could handle some Florida weather and fishing right now
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-14-2007, 11:26 PM
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lol, And my AC just kicked on wile reading this.


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 07:09 AM
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You should invest in one of these and check every outlet in your house. I believe WalMart has them for half that price.....DC
http://www.appliedtel.com/Site/Shop/...spx?prdID=3656
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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DC-
Thanks- I have that and the circuit tester. It got too dark too fast yesterday after work. I like to cut ALL the power when I am working on an outlet.

I just haven't used them in the new (to us) house. I guess I better get in gear and fix everything (and/or call an electrician) since we also have young children. The house was built by a builder as his "forever home" so they went high tech on the HVAC and plumbing/water treatment, but the electricity is still 1970s (patched and no GFCIs in the baths or kitchen).

Are there any "strips" that have GFCI protection built in them? I'd still like to get the tank protected while sorting the house out.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 09:30 AM
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I know you probably already know this, but...

Are you hooking the power coming from the pannel up to the line side and the outlets down stream to the load side? Also, did you attach the gound wire to the GFCI? If these things are in good shape, then it sounds like you have a ground fault down stream which is causing the GFCI to trip.

One other possibility is that the GFCI is bad. It does happen. I have replaced a few over the years because they aren't any good.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiscuitSlayer View Post
One other possibility is that the GFCI is bad. It does happen. I have replaced a few over the years because they aren't any good.
Good point BS, I always forget about those little [email protected]$#%rds until I've waisted 15 minutes looking for the problem elsewhere


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-15-2007, 04:44 PM
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DC-
Thanks- I have that and the circuit tester. It got too dark too fast yesterday after work. I like to cut ALL the power when I am working on an outlet.

I just haven't used them in the new (to us) house. I guess I better get in gear and fix everything (and/or call an electrician) since we also have young children. The house was built by a builder as his "forever home" so they went high tech on the HVAC and plumbing/water treatment, but the electricity is still 1970s (patched and no GFCIs in the baths or kitchen).

Are there any "strips" that have GFCI protection built in them? I'd still like to get the tank protected while sorting the house out.
I use http://www.fireshield.com/ . Here is where you can get one http://www.fireshield.com/storesbystate.htm , a lot of WalMarts and Home Depots carry them, I saw some at Meijers also. I also use http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...062&lpage=none http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...011&lpage=none http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...054&lpage=none . Check WalMart, some carry them and the price is better........DC
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-16-2007, 02:51 AM
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I have been considering a 75 gallon tank, stand, and canopy. One of the things I was thinking I might do is put receptical boxes in the stand (outdoor type) and install a GFI in the box. Then run a 3 prong power cable from the GFI to the standard wall outlet. It should provide ground fault protection for the aquarium but nothing else. Basically nothing would be connected to the load side of the terminals on the GFI.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-16-2007, 03:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiscuitSlayer View Post
I have been considering a 75 gallon tank, stand, and canopy. One of the things I was thinking I might do is put receptical boxes in the stand (outdoor type) and install a GFI in the box. Then run a 3 prong power cable from the GFI to the standard wall outlet. It should provide ground fault protection for the aquarium but nothing else. Basically nothing would be connected to the load side of the terminals on the GFI.

Thats exactly what I did. The best decision I ever made.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/eq...ur-tank-3.html

Brian

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-16-2007, 03:29 AM
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Thats exactly what I did. The best decision I ever made.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/eq...ur-tank-3.html

Brian
Funny thing is, I think it might have been that thread that gave me the inspiration to do what I said. Not sure if I would add 4 though... lol
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-16-2007, 03:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiscuitSlayer View Post
Funny thing is, I think it might have been that thread that gave me the inspiration to do what I said. Not sure if I would add 4 though... lol
I thought I was over doing it with 4 until now. I am using all 4. Then again you could always add more later if needed. I have the cabinet lights wired off of the load side on one of them so they are protected also. Just last week I added another switch with a step down transformer mounted to the outside of it for my semi-auto water change system. Its great not having to deal with my "python" for water changes now.

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