GFCI deadface keeps tripping....


Old 11-30-05, 02:41 PM
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GFCI deadface keeps tripping....

Hi all...hopefully there's an electrician lurking who might know the answer to this one...

About 5 years ago I had electricity run out via underground conduit to my detached garage out back...about 40 feet. The guy installed a GFCI deadface outlet (looks like any other GFI outlet, but no place to plug anything into, just the resent and trip buttons) onto the garage circuit. In the garage I have some inside florescent lights, a few outlets with nothing plugged into them, and an exterior light with motion detector. It worked fine for 5 years. In late August, I replaced the exterior light and motion detector, and the unit worked fine for about a month. Now it trips every night. It doesn't trip immediately when I reset the fact I reset it the other night and used a circular saw, 3/8" drill and the interior lights for about 3 hours and it didn't trip. The outside light even came on when I tripped the motion detector a few times. When I finally went inside, it was working, but the next morning it was tripped.

I have rechecked and reworked the connections on the light (black to black, white to white and ground to ground of course). I also replaced the bulbs to the ones I was using on the old unit, and I even replaced the GFCI deadface unit thinking it might be bad to no avail.

Next step is unhook the exterior light to see if that indeed is what's causing the problem. I'm 90% sure it is, but I'm not sure why it worked for a month, then started tripping the GFI. I also donít know what to do if it is the problem sinec I'm guessing a new light will cause the same problem.

One last thing, the electrical box the light is attached to is on the OUTSIDE of the garage....I don't think it's the problem as it's rated for exterior use, and there's a foam weather shield between it and the light.

So, any ideas how to tackle this short of putting out $200 for an electrician?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-30-05, 02:52 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Figure out what is tripping the GFCI and then figure out why.

You are on the right track. Remove the loads and then put them back one at a time. As you add a load, leave it in place for a few days. When you are sure the new load is not the problem, add the next load.
Old 12-01-05, 08:03 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,342
Old refrigerators are notorious for tripping GFCIs, more so as they get older. Do you have an old fridge out there?
Old 12-01-05, 01:37 PM
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No....nothing is plugged in to any of the outlets, except 2 interior florescent lights. The only thing on the circuit is the exterior light with motion detector.

If a tiny bit of moisture was getting inside the box of the exterior light, that could be the problem couldn't it? I thinking that might be what's going on.
Old 12-01-05, 01:48 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Yes, all moisture must be kept out.

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