GFCI all of sudden tripping

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  #1  
Old 01-04-12, 07:41 AM
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GFCI all of sudden tripping

My son called me and has an issue with the GFCI outlet in his basement.
It is not a new installation, but all of a sudden his TV in his main floor
keeps tripping the GFCI outlet in the basement, when the basement TV is
plugged in. Where should I start and what should I test.

Its possible the basement tv hasn't been plugged in before, but I am not
sure. I will be heading over there tomorrow after work to get the particulars.
It sounds like when the basement TV is plugged in, it often trips the GFCI
outlet and the upstairs TV shuts off. The only change is that he recently had
Dish Network installed and I believe there is an additional box for the basement
TV plugged in as well. Sorry, but I will get more details when I can actually
look at it. Any advise on what I should look at will be appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-04-12, 07:55 AM
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Try the TV on a Different GFCI and see if it trips. If not replace the GFCI that is tripping. If there is Dish equipment plugged into the GFCI use an extension cord to test it on a different GFCI.
 
  #3  
Old 01-04-12, 08:20 AM
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Basically the GFCI would trip because electricity was able to leak to ground. And ground could be the 3rd prong on a 3 prong plug or the shield of a coax connector. What would be leaking is the neutral connection on the plug to ground.

I would most likely suspect the wide prong on a polarized 2 prong plug. Measure that with a continuity tester (ohm meter) to the outside metal (shield) of the coax connector. There should be NO continuity.

This could be either TV or both and/or a cable TV box.

And they should not do that (connect neutral to ground inside an appliance). If they want a ground, they should use a 3 prong plug! But with things made in China, they take shortcuts and don't do things like they should. Some things have phony UL labels.

Another test would be to unscrew the coax connector and leave the center part of the coax sticking into the hole, but the metal screw part not touching the metal on the TV's / cable box.

If there is a TV or cable box with a 2 prong plug and the neutral on the plug has continuity to the ground on the coax, I would report that to Underwriters Laboratories and/or the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The problem is that older homes have outlets which will accept a polarized plug either way or an outlet could be miswired. Then a hot connection could be connected to the ground on the coax. Someone touching the coax in that case could be electrocuted.
 
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Old 01-05-12, 06:47 AM
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Gfci

I looked at the wiring. The TV and cable boxes were not plugged in to a GFCI outlet, however there is one in the circuit that trips when the tv is plugged in(even tho the TV/cable boxes are not on). It appears that the circuit trips off if anything is just plugged in and not necesarily turned on. I plugged the tv/cable box into a different circuit and is working fine. I believe there is too many plug ins for the circuit, although the breaker is 20 amp and the wiring is right for a 20 amp circuit. I may just split the circuit and add another in the breaker box. I am not sure why there is GFCI in the wall outlet in the basement. Can I just replace it with a regular 20 amp recepticle? He does have a 1500 watt heater in the circuit. The outlet box where I plugged in the TV to make it work is in the same outlet. It appears that the top plug in is on a different circuit than the bottom plug in, in the same receptacle. It is marked that way as well and has separate wires to the breaker box. Why would someone do it this way. All of the wires/jct boxes, which are fairly new, are marked. All of the wires are in conduit and looks to be done really well. The only thing I didn't check when I was there is to see if the GFCI outlet is a 15 or 20 amp.
 
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Old 01-05-12, 06:55 AM
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Is the GFI in the same circuit as the GFI?

GFI's do not trip from having too many things plugged in or too much current usage. They trip because the current coming back does not closely match what is going out.
 
  #6  
Old 01-05-12, 09:56 AM
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GFCI's can have other outlets powered off of them and protected by them.

So in a basement there may be one GFCI outlet and the other outlets are wired from and protected by that GFCI.

The test is this: If the GFCI is tripped, do you lose power to the other outlets?
Then does power come back to those outlets when the GFCI is reset?

If yes, then those other outlets are "GFCI".
 
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Old 01-06-12, 08:54 AM
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Bill
The answer to both questions is yes
 
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