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Eric walls

GFCI won't reset

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easier yet would be to run a test sequence that runs one channel at a time. Easy to do watch everything and see when it tripped

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easier yet would be to run a test sequence that runs one channel at a time. Easy to do watch everything and see when it tripped

Where's the fun in this?

Go get your hands dirty - or in this case -

wet.

Just kidding.

You make a great point.

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I don't know about anybody else but I have several test sequences that I use especially while setting up. you can just set the sequence editor to loop. a cascading sequence is very helpful in making sure that everything's working and in the right order

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Great ideas guys, and I'm going do that tonight if it's not pouring down rain. It's suppose to rain pretty hard here today.

 

I'll take each controller and run it through the hardware unity, and then try to find which controller and which strand is causing all this.  What a pain!  It was working last week so I wonder what happened?  At least I know it's one of the two controllers, or maybe both.  I just want to get it fixed because I have been telling people I put together these lights and now they aren't working the way I wanted.

I don't think the tent stakes are causing the problem but I could be wrong. They hold down the light string but I make a loop and bring the cord back up so it's off the ground.

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I use 2 zip ties 1 small 1 large make a loop with a large zip tie attach it to the string with a small zip tie then use the large zip tie to the ground. that way you have your strands isolated from the ground.I do this on the mega tree to stake the strands to the ground

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Check your cords going to the tree & arches. I've had GFI's trip only to discover some critter has chewed enough insulation off the cord to expose bare copper.

A thing to remember is that GFI's tripping can be an accumulation of leakage. If each strand leaks 1mA the GFI won't trip. Once you have enough strings lit & there combind leakage is above 5mA then they'll trip. I have to power each side of my Lor controllers with separate GFI's for this very reason.

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When I put together the controllers I only used 1 power cord.  Good idea of the zip tie loop to the tent stake.

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I also cut the plugs off the end of the strings of lights and use 18 gauge wire to extend them all the way to the controller. with everything soldered and shrink wrapped I minimize my problem areas

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agreed about plugging things in one at a time until you find the fault (make sure power is off while doing this).

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So I narrowed it down to the mega tree controller, now I have to find the individual strand if I can.

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I'm telling you run a test sequence with each channel on for about 3 or 4 seconds and then on to the next. Put it on loop go out front and reset your gfI and watch for when it trips.that will be the fastest way to find your problem. I had to do the same thing once

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Thanks, I will try that.  Might have to do it tomorrow, we have a high wind warning and rain for today. Suppose to get gusts up to 50mph.  Not much fun being in the front yard then.

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Finding GFI problems can be very frustrating & time consuming. It may not be just 1 string. Try your test with 1 string at a time then 2 at a time & so on, all the way till you have all strings lit. Hopefully that will narrow it down. It gets tricky when it's a combination of 2 or more, say string 3 & string 10

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Just an FYI - the only features that differentiate weather resistant GFI receptacles are a UV stabilized, high cold impact resistant thermoplastic face and a stainless steel mounting face.  internally, they are the same and are required to trip at the same 5 mA threshold as any other GFCI.  Are they better?  Maybe, but definitely not in the way most of us would think.  A 5 mA fault isn't going to care about better plastic and a non-corrosive strap.  Mega Arch's success is likely more attributable to the tamper-resistant closure feature and overall quality that Leviton brings to their products (yes, I'm a big fan of them vs other brands).  Add in the fact that they are new and have not been through any trip cycles and/or suffered from any internal corrosion on the contacts as yet and it's a whole bunch of positives in your favor to help keep the lights on.

There seems to be many threads on GFCI tripping right now. So to follow-up, I rechecked my specs yesterday on the WT series I previously mentioned. I wanted to see for myself exactly what features caused the sell price to be a little higher on this GFCI series than the normal indoor series GFCI receptacles. Knowing that they need to be installed in a weatherproof box or under the eave away from the elements, why state they are "better for outdoor use"?

 

They have rust resistant stainless steel straps and screws and have more durable cold impact resistant face and buttons, which are great features, as mentioned by SparkDr. However, internally, Leviton has "Conformal coated PC board to protect critical components from moisture". So I agree with the statement that I haven't suffered from any internal corrosion. And most likely won't.

So back to my previous posted statement of best GFCI I've ever used / sold / seen or read about. Even if you don't want to fork out a buck or two extra for a weather-resistant model, new models of GFCI receptacles, from most leading manufacturers, have addressed the high frequency noise nuisance trips previously found. If you are experiencing a lot of tripping and you can't just seem to find it, and if your receptacles are over 5-6 years old, might consider changing them out.

 

(Be sure to turn the breaker off before attempting this or any other electrical work you are not qualified for, and / or call an electrician... Just covering my check-book here so I'll still have money for more controllers.....)

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Well right now I think I have the issues solved. I checked all the strands on my mega tree, unplugged each strand, and then plugged each one at a time into the GFI.  I don't have a clue what I did but the whole thing is working now!

I did go and buy a very good weather proof, tamper proof GFCI receptacle, spent $20 on it.  If I don't get another trip I think I'll wait till the summer to replace it. It's cold and soggy out now.

I know what breaker goes to that circuit so it will be fairly easy.  Just shut that off and install the new one. Bought a new "in use" cover too.

 

The last week has been a total pain but thanks to everyone who helped me. This being my first year I only have a small display but my neighbors have all commented how they love the lights dancing to the music.  Some of them now want to get in on this.

Thanks again! I couldn't believe how much time, energy, and frustration I spent on this, I was starting to wonder if it was all worth it!

Eric

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it's worth it and it's very addicting. By moving things around I'm afraid you may have only temporarily fixed your problem that's why I suggested the sequence. By using a sequence you don't move everything and you isolate exactly where the problem is. which will lead you to a permanent fix. so keep your fingers crossed I hope everything else goes well for you. and happy lighting

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