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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

sparky GFI question

Author  [Modern View]
rhouston

06-09-2014 09:43:33
174.236.3.141



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21 year old gfi breaker keeps tripping. The only item on the line is a two prong power adapter for an electrical toothbrush. Question does anyone know if a gfi breaker when overloaded trips like a standard one where you have to move it to the all the way off position before it will turn back on? When I push the gfi test button it clicks all the way off and can be turned back on without setting it to off position first. I"m trying to determine if I"m having a gfi event or overload. I may just replace the outlet with a gfi unit and the breaker with a standard one. It"s cheaper and then I can tell between an overload and gfi event. It"s in a rental I wired all new 21 years ago, the inspector wanted gfi breakers not outlets.

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huntingreen2day2

06-09-2014 19:28:19
75.131.120.19



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to rhouston, 06-09-2014 09:43:33  
I would bet it is the tooth brush itself that is causing it to trip as a fault. My phone charger trips my GFCI receptacle sometimes. plug something else into the outlet for awhile and see what happens. Also if you change out the breaker and put a GFCI receptacle in make sure there were no other outlets that require GFCI protection on that circuit in line before the receptacle you change out. When they first came out with GFCI protection breakers were all that was available. No GFCI receptacles at that time.

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Dusty MI

06-10-2014 03:47:33
76.250.62.134



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to huntingreen2day2, 06-09-2014 19:28:19  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

When they first came out, they were in a box, much like a time clock used to auto turn on/off circuits.

Then a couple years they came out with them built in with circuit breakers.

GFI's came out about 1970.

Dusty



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MarkB_MI

06-09-2014 16:25:40
70.194.2.55



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to rhouston, 06-09-2014 09:43:33  
A cheap tool everyone should own is an outlet polarity tester with GFCI test. In a minute or two, you can verify every outlet in your house is properly wired, and test the GFCIs at the same time.



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Stan in Oly, WA

06-09-2014 22:03:24
174.31.217.48



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to MarkB_MI, 06-09-2014 16:25:40  
Hi Mark;

The description of that tester reads:

120 VAC GFCI Outlet Tester; 1/clam, 5 clams/master

What does the part about clams mean?

Stan



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MarkB_MI

06-10-2014 01:27:49
70.194.2.55



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to Stan in Oly, WA, 06-09-2014 22:03:24  
Hah!

Stan, that gave me pause, too. It's been 35 years since I picked up my degree in electrical engineering, but I think I would remember if there was an electrical unit of measure named "clams".

I think that's packaging information that HD probably didn't intend to show up in the product description. Translation: one unit per clamshell package, 5 clamshell packages per box.



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JMOR

06-09-2014 17:10:42
72.181.173.171



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to MarkB_MI, 06-09-2014 16:25:40  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to seeCurious.........how does it detect a ground/neutral swap?



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MarkB_MI

06-09-2014 19:08:24
70.194.2.55



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to JMOR, 06-09-2014 17:10:42  
There are certain faults it can't detect. Such as a ground-neutral swap, since ground and neutral are at the same potential.



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dr sportster

06-09-2014 19:28:59
68.192.203.250



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to MarkB_MI, 06-09-2014 19:08:24  
No I'm delirious because the Rangers are losing . No such test. How would that work anyway? NEVERMIND>



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dr sportster

06-09-2014 19:14:09
68.192.203.250



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to MarkB_MI, 06-09-2014 19:08:24  
I beleive the Gardner-Bender one does that . There are seven ways it lights the lights to test. Pretty sure one is ground /neutral swap.



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Ted in NE-OH

06-09-2014 16:18:03
65.25.30.63



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to rhouston, 06-09-2014 09:43:33  
Defective GFI breaker or incorrectly wired



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John T

06-09-2014 14:29:13
216.249.72.121



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to rhouston, 06-09-2014 09:43:33  
Like the other sparkies said, the GFCI trips if there's a ground fault, which can be as low as something like only 5 milliamps. Its NOT an overload protection device which may require like 20 amps to trip. If the panel breaker is tripping there's either a problem with that breaker or a wiring issue somewhere in the branch circuit. Try a regular receptacle at that location and see if the breaker still trips?? Of course, the GFCI itself may be bad, but its hard to say from here just what the problem is.

John T Retired EE

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David G

06-09-2014 15:04:23
205.215.206.18



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to John T, 06-09-2014 14:29:13  
John,

That is not entirely true, you can get combination breaker / GFCI devices that mount in the panel.

I think that is what he has.



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John T

06-09-2014 18:59:40
216.249.72.121



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to David G, 06-09-2014 15:04:23  
Yep, but I was talking about the in the wall units which are GFCI ONLY. Not being there I have no idea what kind he has grrrrrrrrr lol

Fun chattin with ya

John T



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David G

06-09-2014 19:05:03
205.215.206.18



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to John T, 06-09-2014 18:59:40  
It is always fun chatting with you also.



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dr sportster

06-09-2014 11:09:36
68.192.203.250



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to rhouston, 06-09-2014 09:43:33  
Gfi and overload are two different things. Place the wire from the GFI breaker [outgoing ] on the breaker next to it. If it doesn't trip replace the GFI breaker. If it trips the normal breaker next to it then you have a problem in the line. Also if you have another GFI somewhere else in receptacle form plug your tooth brush thing into it for a test. It sounds like a bad breaker as you don't have any amperage draw on that line now. { this is all assuming you already umplugged that device and reset the GFI and it tripped again otherwise you need a new tooth brush thingy.] Just curious as to what brand GFI breaker it is ?

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Cliff(VA)

06-09-2014 10:39:37
173.15.198.137



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 Re: sparky GFI question in reply to rhouston, 06-09-2014 09:43:33  
I would disconnect the hot wire from the breaker (turn the breaker off first) and see if the problem persists. If so replace the breaker. If not you most likely have some water or a problem in a junction box somewhere.

GFCI units are susceptible to lightning and line transients. I have replaced the GFCI outlet in my post lamp 3 times.

Breakers do go bad, but it has been my experience that that is the LAST thing you should suspect. They are there to protect you.

Cliff(VA) Working EE

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