GFI

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Old 02-19-01, 10:48 AM
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I have an outdoor GFI outlet connected to another outdoor outlet in the back yard. The GFI would trip off, I replaced the GFI thinking it had failed. It continued to trip off. I replaced the outlet in the back yard, as there was excessive corrosion and thinking there may have been moisture inside the socket. Still no luck.

The circuit was installed by the builder, I am assuming the underground cable is installed to code. (Inside a shielded PVC pipe).

Does anyone have other ideas as to the cause of the GFI outlet tripping?
 
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Old 02-19-01, 11:38 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
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Believe it or not, you may have an ACTUAL GROUND FAULT! Most people don't connect the name of the device with its purpose I think. When these things trip it's probably because it sensed a fault. Essentially they "know" if the current flowing in the white wire is the same quantity as that flowing in the black wire, within a very tiny margin. If these two flows don't match, it's because you have current going somewhere it's not supposed to be going, and this is current that could possibly end up going through a person.

If the underground cable was nicked during installation and water has gotten into your conduit (PVC pipe), there could be your problem. (There's no such thing as an underground conduit that doesn't leak.) You can test for this using an Ohm meter. You will have to disconnect both ends of the wires that go underground. With the POWER OFF place one probe on each of the white wire and ground. There should be no continuity at all (Infinite Ohms). Now do this with the black wire and ground. Should still be no continuity. If there is then you have a short in the wire.

Another problem that causes GFCI tripping, particularly outdoors, is moisture in the receptacle itself. You can replace the faceplate with a weatherproof-in-use style that will help a lot. One thing you can do to test if moisture is playing these tricks on your GFCIs is to dry them out. Just take the faceplate off and blow-dry the receptacle in place. Give the dryer a minute or two to evaporate any moisture that may have built up inside the recep and try resetting them. It's not usually the problem, but is possible. Good luck. Let us know what happens.

Juice
 
  #3  
Old 02-19-01, 05:02 PM
Wgoodrich
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Could you clearify when this GFI kicks. Does it work fine until it rains? Does the GFI kick immeadiately when trying to reset it?

If your GFI kicks immediately, then you could center down on the problem by disconnecting parts of the circuit on the load side of the GFI. When the GFI holds then try increasing the load towards the end of the circuit until it starts tripping again. This should center you down to the location of your problem by process of elimination.

If your GFI kicks just during or after a rain, then you might try to dry out the boxes then using silicon caulking to seal your weatherproof boxes or plates. This should seal out your moisture and solve the problem if leakage is the culprit.

If you have a cord plugged in 24 / 7 days then you need a weathersheild over that plug to keep the weather out. Looks like a cover commonly seen over thermostats in a commercial building only water proof without the slits in the cover.

Good Luck

Wg
 
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