GFCI tripping question

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  #1  
Old 01-17-06, 10:18 PM
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GFCI tripping question

I recently had to replace the controller in my hot tub and took the opportunity to bring the installation up to code. I installed an external 50A GCFI breaker box for the hot tub. I powerred it up and it worked fine. I pushed the test switch and it tripped as it should. I then decided the box was not readily recognizeable at night so I decided an led light would allow for seeing the box at night. I installed an outlet off of the box by splicing into the wiring on the load side of the GCFI (after the breaker). The hot tub is 220V and the wiring is L1, L2, neutral, and Gnd. I chose to install an outlet after the wires exited the breaker thinking the GCFI would also protect the outlet which I intended to plug an LED night light into to illuminate the breaker box. I ran L1, neutral, and gnd to the external outlet by splicing into the wire exiting the GCFI breaker. The breaker and the hot tub still work fine, but anything I plug into the outlet trips the breaker as soon as I power it up. If I do not use the outlet everything works great. Can anyone tell me what the problem is?
Thanx for any assistance.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-17-06, 10:47 PM
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Doing more research first.... -deleted post-
 
  #3  
Old 01-17-06, 10:55 PM
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GFCI outlet rewire question

I figured the problem might be something to the effect of what you have mentioned. Following this logic would it correct the situation if I ran the outlet off L1, neutral, gnd on the incoming side of the GFCI prior to the GFCI breaker in the circuit?
 
  #4  
Old 01-17-06, 11:11 PM
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GFCI outlet tripping question

I see the reply post was deleted. As I considerred the original reply I realized it did not sound right. The GFCI does not care if L1 and L2 carry different currents. As I understand it the GFCI looks for differences between neutral and Gnd.
This lead me to re-thinking the installation and I think I may have the answer. I believe I tied the neutral wire for the external outlet to the incoming neutral bus rather than splicing into the neutral wire exiting the breaker. As it is night time I am not going to open the box to verify this, but I am pretty sure that is how I wired it. This would cause a difference in potential between the neutral feeding the hot tub, and the one feeding the outlet. I will verify tomorrow and rewire as necessary.
 
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Old 01-17-06, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by spitinthewind
I believe I tied the neutral wire for the external outlet to the incoming neutral bus rather than splicing into the neutral wire exiting the breaker.
That's it right there. As soon as the neutral is used, there is an imbalance between the two hot legs because one of them gets some of its current to go straight to the neutral bus without going back through the breaker's internal coils. If you are going to use its neutral capabilities, you have to connect your neutral load to the breaker, and leave the breaker's neutral to the neutral bus in the panel. There, that makes a little more sense than my last post. It's past my bedtime...
 
  #6  
Old 01-18-06, 06:23 AM
StevenP
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It sounds like the OP has a recep. that is being protected by a 50 amp feed from the gfi breaker. If that is the case, that is definitely against code. You may protect receps with a max of a 20 amp beaker/fuse (or 15 amp if it is 14 a.w.g. wire)
 
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