GFCI is tripping

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  #1  
Old 12-15-10, 07:21 PM
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GFCI is tripping

Hi, I'm confused about what GFCI's actually do. In my finished basement I put one at the beginning of each run of outlets for safety, but now I've read I don't need to do so.

I'm still unclear as to what the difference is between when the GFCI trips and when the breaker trips. This all came up because I've had a work light, an extension cord, and an amp trip the GFCI for no apparent reason, with only a little draw on the circuit. The big problem is that it then shuts down music equipment and a computer when it trips. I've tried different GFCI outlets and they do the same thing with the particular work light. I'm thinking that I should remove the safety outlet on that circuit so that it doesn't shut down all the equipment anymore, and just let the 20 amp breaker do the work. I know they two don't do the same thing, but I don't understand what is happening.

I moved the light to the garage - it's always worked fine. It's a home-made halogen lamp mounted to a pedestal. I took it apart and checked the wiring to ensure the ground was connected and the hot and neutral weren't reversed. Everything looks fine. It's never popped a breaker, only GFCIs. Can someone explain what's going on with this light that I'm not understanding? I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, but I've used this light for many years. I must be missing something obvious.

Thanks-
 
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  #2  
Old 12-15-10, 07:25 PM
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not sure if this matters, but the GFCI is a 15 amp. Breaker is a 20.
 
  #3  
Old 12-15-10, 07:35 PM
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I suspect your homemade lamp has the neutral and ground coming in contact, possibly intermittently. The 20 amp breaker trips on either overload or a short circuit. The GFCI detects leakage and monitors the amount of power being used from the hot conductor and the amount returning on the neutral conductor. Any discrepancy and it will trip.
 
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Old 12-15-10, 07:46 PM
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ok, I did use wire nuts on each wire, and also taped them, but maybe it's the switch or something. It immediately trips the GFCI, so it's not intermittent. I flick the switch and poof. No troubles in a normal circuit.

I'm determined to figure out what makes this light do this! (and maybe learn something about GFCI as well)
 
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Old 12-15-10, 09:06 PM
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maybe it's the switch or something. It immediately trips the GFCI, so it's not intermittent.
How did you wire the switch?
 
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