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bob_moody wrote:

We have an 8 channel by 8 channel yard grid (which is an open invitation to GFI mayhem.) Only when it has rained do I lose this controller. I found last night (to confirm what TJ and Surfing said) that I had 3 channels that were culprit (2 horz and 1 vert).

I'm on my hands and knees in the yard blowing into sockets wishing I had a can of compressed air and praying no one drives up. After a couple of attempts they all start working. No more pops.. just lights...

So, that brings me to a question. When I first put up the display I basically had the cords on the ground. After the 1st rain, I decided to cover all the open plugs with those child proof caps.

Good idea? or just a different version of the bad idea of wrapping or taping the plugs?



Been using those child proof caps for 2 years now. Never had an issue using them as they fit very snug in the female receptacles at the end of strings and behid the male plug where they pass through. I've even had these get submerged underwater and not trip my GFCI or create any issues with my show.

But mine wasn't a combo of channels as I had ALL 80 ALL ON at 100% and the darn GFCI NEVER TRIPPED! Only when I tried running the show from the DC-MP3 Showtime Director or the computer, which was strange at best. Moved the items to a different GFCI outlet and no more issues.

So I'm thinking this one may have gotten worn down my first season, BEFORE I used those electrical outlet child safety caps during my first show in 2010 for Halloween and I was having constant trips, so it may just be worn out. Will replace with a new one later and see if the same thing occurs. If so, that is really going to contiune to puzzle me, especially when I turned on EVERYTHING 100% and the GFCI wouldn't trip!

So in retrospect here, I feel those child proof caps are worth every cent I paid for them, as well as the black spray paint to paint them since their original white color was just too reflective!

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Aaron Maue wrote:

Alright, now I have a question...  We've had 2 rainstorms this year.  I have 2 controllers that run my minis.  All minis are staked to the ground with a very sturdy (but metal) landscape stake.  In both storms, I had exactly 2 of my controllers go out - the 2 that run my minis.  I was attributing it to the fact that they're the only place in my show that I have incands and that the larger power draw overall was inviting a larger differential on the GFI and that was causing it to shut off.

If I read your post correctly, maybe I should be assigning the blame to my metal stakes holding the tress to the ground?

Thoughts?


If there is any bleed current traveling through the frame to Earth ground, then isolating the frame will open that circuit/pathway.

That doesn't cure the source problem, just prevents it from tripping a GFI. Assuming this is where the fault current is going, the frames would have a potential to ground and anything that closes that circuit would trip the GFI, or get a nice little shock if it isn't on a GFI circuit.


In response to the earlier post regarding water and conductivity... It is true that pure water (rian water) is not very conductive, however any contaminates (minerals, dirt, debris, dust, etc.) in the water do increase the conductivity substantially. If you see it on a surface, it is contaminated and therefore conductive.

From a safety standpoint, treat all water as highly conductive and take appropriate precautions when working on your display. In short, UNPLUG IT!! Water and electricity do not play well together!

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Bob, you can try a hair dryer on the outlets.. works lots faster, and cheaper than comp. air. I use it to dry off the boards that get too much condensation.

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Papa-LF wrote:

Aaron Maue wrote:
TJ Hvasta wrote:
Two weeks ago, we had a big wind storm come thru Phoenix, blowing everything over, so I grabbed a handful of 10" metal rods, cut off from the tomato cage snowflakes we made, bent the end into hooks, and.. yes I did.. pinned the cages to  the ground, no WAY they were gonna blow over!! Then I promptly left on a 4-day trip.. Wife kept calling/texting saying the GFI's keep tripping.. After the second day of half a show with no minitrees and arches (apparently on the same line, since fixed), I remembered abt the pinning rods.. Told her about them, she pulled them, reset the GFI's and everything worked again.. Good idea, just bad materials.. thats how I know to recommend abt troubleshooting GFI trips :P

Alright, now I have a question...  We've had 2 rainstorms this year.  I have 2 controllers that run my minis.  All minis are staked to the ground with a very sturdy (but metal) landscape stake.  In both storms, I had exactly 2 of my controllers go out - the 2 that run my minis.  I was attributing it to the fact that they're the only place in my show that I have incands and that the larger power draw overall was inviting a larger differential on the GFI and that was causing it to shut off.

If I read your post correctly, maybe I should be assigning the blame to my metal stakes holding the tress to the ground?

Thoughts?

Aaron



I love it when folks that are learning figure out and answer their own questions - Good Job! :D:):)

One other thing there, mini trees on metal frames have a tenency to do what you just described. There are a number of different ideas on how to insulate the mini tree from the ground - rubber hose - elevated - etc. Do a search.


Sometimes I'm a little slow, but I usually get there. Usually. :)

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Aaron, this is the 4th yr with LOR for me, but about the 30th yr for outside displays, and I'm as suseptable as any to having a good idea, but implementing it causes the Epic FAIL! Staking the cages down = good but using metal stakes = bad :( I'm probably just one more GFI trip away from sticking sixteen 3/4" pvc stakes into the ground and just dropping the cages onto them to keep them off the ground..

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Hi, I'm not sure if anybody is still reading this thread...

Last year I had built 8 shamrocks; I bought 3/16" steel rods and bent/welded them together. I wrapped lights around them and stuck the ends of the rods into the ground. My display worked fine last year, never a tripping problem.

I have a 6 ga line running to a subpanel; 2 15amp breakers leading to two GFCI outlets; the controller (I only have one so far) has the two power cords split between each GFCI.

So when I went to turn my display on tonight for the first time, the GFCI immediately tripped. Plugged/unplugged lights, and it seems when I read 4 shamrocks (I have 4 on each 'side' of the controller) the controller trips. After finding/reading this thread, I'm thinking I need to

a) get the child safety plugs for each string of lights
:D figure out a way to isolate the metal-framed shamrocks. Maybe pound 1/2" pvc into the ground, and put the shamrocks into those.

Does this sound to all like I'm on the right track?

Thanks for any help.

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dalewalt wrote:

Hi, I'm not sure if anybody is still reading this thread...

Last year I had built 8 shamrocks; I bought 3/16" steel rods and bent/welded them together. I wrapped lights around them and stuck the ends of the rods into the ground. My display worked fine last year, never a tripping problem.

I have a 6 ga line running to a subpanel; 2 15amp breakers leading to two GFCI outlets; the controller (I only have one so far) has the two power cords split between each GFCI.

So when I went to turn my display on tonight for the first time, the GFCI immediately tripped. Plugged/unplugged lights, and it seems when I read 4 shamrocks (I have 4 on each 'side' of the controller) the controller trips. After finding/reading this thread, I'm thinking I need to

a) get the child safety plugs for each string of lights
:) figure out a way to isolate the metal-framed shamrocks. Maybe pound 1/2" pvc into the ground, and put the shamrocks into those.

Does this sound to all like I'm on the right track?

Thanks for any help.



Sounds like you're on the right track to me. Those child safety caps work fantastic, been using them for going on 3 years now and never had any problems with them.

And I would definitely try to find a way to get the metal stakes out of the ground and into some type of insulating material like PVC pipe or some method to break that metal to ground connection. Not only that, if you have lightning storms in your area, those metal rods become and can act as lightning rods, frying everything attached to them, including your controllers connected to those lights.

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