GFIs not playing nice with each other

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Old 05-14-17, 01:06 PM
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GFIs not playing nice with each other

I recently had an electrician install a new service meter and breaker box to power a pond fountain. The fountain and light kit are powered by a fairly sophisticated all-in-one control box manufactured by Kasco specifically for their fountains with lights: both the fountain and light kit plug into two outlets in the control box, a timer starts the fountain in the morning, an integrated photo sensor activates lights in the evening, and both lights and fountain shut off by the timer. The control box also has a GFI.

Kasco warned my that the GFI control box sometimes has problems if plugged into a GFi circuit and, sure enough, my GFI on the control box keeps popping every 24-48 hours. I inspected the fountain and it is clean and doesn't appear to be the issue.

I warned the electrician of this before installation and he just shrugged and said "code requires me to put this circuit on GFI - get a non-GFI timer if it turns out to be a problem."

But again, it's not that simple because the control box is not some run of the mill timer. It is important that I be able to use it!

The GFI on the power side is on the breaker itself - not the outlet. Can I just swap out the breaker with one that is not GFI, since the only thing that'll ever plug in will be the GFI control box?
 
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Old 05-14-17, 01:34 PM
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GFCI's will nuisance trip if they are plugged into each other. Bottom line. Do you have access to the GFCI in the Kasco box? If so, you can be safe in wiring in a regular receptacle, and protecting it with the GFCI installed by your electrician, or removing them both and installing a GFCI breaker, although it is more inconvenient when it trips. WHere in relation to the Kasco box did the electrician install the GFCI? Next to it? At the house? Is it outside?
 
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Old 05-14-17, 02:04 PM
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What's the model or part number of the Kasko unit ?

If they supply a standard A/C cord on their unit then they are wrong. An outdoor receptacle that that box plugged in would by code need to be GFI protected.

Most of those specialized timer boxes I wire are hard wire connected to non GFI power.
 
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Old 05-14-17, 02:17 PM
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My only concern was the receptacle it was plugged into. If it was outside it would need to be GFCI protected, making the one in the Kasco a duplication. I agree, Hardwiring the unit to a non GFCI source, even if it were outside in a WP box would be good.
 
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Old 05-14-17, 02:58 PM
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The control box is a Kasco C-25. https://www.amazon.com/Kasco-Marine-.../dp/B00HUXYARO

The GFI is incorporated into the control box - I don't know how I would bypass that.

The external, covered outlet it is plugged into is not GFI. But the outlet connects to a GFI breaker.

This entire setup - meter, breaker box, outlet - was installed outdoors exclusively so I could plug in and power the fountain.

Can I just swap out the breaker with a non-GFI version? Kasco does not appear to make a non-GFI control box.
 
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Old 05-14-17, 03:14 PM
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Can you not remove the internal cover, remove the GFCI and replace it with a Decora receptacle? Anytime you have more than one GFCI on the same circuits, you will run into the same problem. The problem is the outside receptacle. It must be GFCI protected, so the breaker is the right way to do it. Replacing the one in the Kasco makes it a done deal, protected without nuisance trips.
 
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Old 05-14-17, 03:49 PM
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Notice the really lousy reviews that control gets on the Amazon site listed.

I agree with Chandler, remove the GFCI receptacle from the control and replace it with a standard Decora receptacle. When the control fails come back and I'll tell you how to wire up a standard time clock and photocell to accomplish the same results.
 
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Old 05-14-17, 04:07 PM
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My control box is a little different than what is pictured. The GFi is a set of standalone buttons separate from the outlets. So I don't think I can just open up the guts of the controller and pull out the GFI. Or maybe I could, and then Kasco tells me I've voided my warranty on my big expensive fountain.

Is there a reason the outlet has to be GFI if the only thing plugged into it is already Gfi? Or is it just "the code says." I'm trying to figure out whether there is any risk resolving this problem by swapping the breaker.
 
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Old 05-14-17, 04:51 PM
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ANY receptacle located outdoors MUST be a GFCI type OR supplied power from a GFCI-protected source (the circuit breaker in this case). IF the control were hard-wired to the circuit breaker THEN the circuit breaker could be swapped with a non-GFCI type.

I suspect that the control you have contains a "faceless" GFCI device. If you could post either a picture of YOUR control or a manufacturer's cut sheet it would help us to help you.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 08:27 AM
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Here is a picture of controller I have.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]80771[/ATTACH]

The GFI buttons are hard to see but they are in the black rectangle to the left of the timer.

You can't really see the outlets in this picture - they are located in the cutout below the timer pointing downward from the top of the cutout. So you run your Fountain and Light kit power cords into the bottom of the box and they plug right into the outlet.

I have called Kasco to see if there is a workaround. If you are aware of any timer control boxes like this (turns one outlet on by timer, the other one on by photo sensor, and turns both off by timer) without GFI, please let me know. I don't even know what to search for.

I also haven't gotten an answer to my original question. Why does the outdoor outlet need GFI protection if the only thing plugged into it already has GFI? What's the worst that would happen if I just swapped the breaker for a non-GFI version? Simply saying "it has to be GFI" doesn't answer my question. Thanks!
 
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Old 05-15-17, 01:45 PM
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The outdoors receptacle needs gfi protection per code. Not all equipment has built-in gfi protection so requiring the receptacle to be protected ensures the protection is in place.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 02:26 PM
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I know it is required by code. I'm still trying to get an answer to my question: if the only device plugged into the outlet is already GFI protected, would there be any real harm in removing the duplicate GFI from the breaker?
 
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Old 05-15-17, 02:38 PM
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The code requires the protection for the receptacle. You cannot remove it simply because the equipment has it.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 02:43 PM
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Here, let me answer your question since everyone just keeps squawking the same thing over and over.. No, you can't remove the GFCI from the circuit. You have to remove it from this timer. It's simple - just remove the four screws holding the face plate on, remove any screws holding the GFCI on, remove the black and white wires from it and wirenut them together by color, and replace the GFCI and cover. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 02:52 PM
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The receptacle needs to have the GFCI protection because it is easily possible to unplug the timer control and plug in anything else.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 04:43 PM
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keeps squawking the same thing over and over
"Squaking"........really??? What you stated has been stated before. See posts 6,7,9,11 and 13. No different than what you said.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 07:06 PM
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Ok, so based on the answers I've been given, despite me reasking the question 3 or 4 times - the only reason the outlet needs to be protected is "because code" and the only underlying risk is that somebody plugs something in other than the GFI-protected fountain controller. To say that risk is "low" is an understatement.

If there is any other actual risk, please let me know! It's not helpful to just keep answering with "because code." You aren't my electrician and I'm not asking you people to violate code - I'm just asking an honest question because I'm curious about the risk that is the basis for the code.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 07:56 PM
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It is an outdoor receptacle. Any outdoor receptacle requires a GFCI. Regardless of your solemn scout's honor not to plug anything without its own GFCI protection into it. PERIOD. "Because code". Why can't you just accept that, do it properly, and move on?
 

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Old 05-15-17, 08:05 PM
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You have been told how to bypass the GFCI in the controler so why not do that?
 
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Old 05-15-17, 09:11 PM
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That's what I intend to do. I just wanted to know, out of curiousity, WHY code requires a GFi outlet even if the only thing plugged into it is also GFI. And instead of a straight answer (which is evidently "well, because someone might plug something else in) I got a bunch of stonewalling "because code." That wasn't my question, and I don't need to be patronized. It's absurd. Again, you're not my electrician - I'm on a message board asking for straight information. That's all.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 11:01 PM
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The NEC usually doesn't explain their code suggestions so we can only guess.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 11:21 PM
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ECMweb.com


Per 210.8(A)(3), all 15A and 20A, 125V receptacles outside of a dwelling unit, including receptacles installed under the eaves of roofs, shall be GFCI-protected. The only exception to this rule is that GFCI protection is not required for fixed electric snow melting or de-icing equipment receptacles that are not readily accessible and are supplied by a dedicated branch circuit in accordance with 426.28
.


GFI operation from H and G.com

GFCI . When you look at a normal 120-volt outlet in the United States, there are two vertical slots and then a round hole centered below them. The left slot is slightly larger than the right. The left slot is called "neutral," the right slot is called "hot" and the hole below them is called "ground." If an appliance is working properly, all electricity that the appliance uses will flow from hot to neutral. A GFCI monitors the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral. If there is any imbalance, it trips the circuit. It is able to sense a mismatch as small as 4 or 5 milliamps, and it can react as quickly as one-thirtieth of a second.

So let's say you are outside with your power drill and it is raining. You are standing on the ground, and since the drill is wet there is a path from the hot wire inside the drill through you to ground (see How Power Distribution Grids Work for details on grounding). If electricity flows from hot to ground through you, it could be fatal. The GFCI can sense the current flowing through you because not all of the current is flowing from hot to neutral as it expects -- some of it is flowing through you to ground. As soon as the GFCI senses that, it trips the circuit and cuts off the electricity.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 11:36 PM
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And instead of a straight answer (which is evidently "well, because someone might plug something else in)
That IS your straight answer. That's all.
 
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Old 05-19-17, 04:14 PM
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Seems to have fixed it! When I got back panel off everything was filled with frost.
 
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Old 05-19-17, 04:18 PM
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In May??? Gee you must have a late planting season.
 
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Old 05-20-17, 08:32 PM
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You didn't hear about the blizzard two weeks ago?
 
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