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strang gfi problem.....

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I put my halloween floods out a little early this year to run blue lights to honor the cops killed lately.

I have two dedicated banks of outlets for the shows with a gfi on each bank.

The ONLY thing plugged in is one cmb24 with one of the common 350w power supplies. ...the show will run without issue (8p-12a), but some time the next day when the show is off whatever gfi its plugged into will trip. Its been bone dry here for a month.

Any ideas, could both outlets be bad (new last year)?

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Any chance they are actually AFCIs (arc fault circuit interrupters)? I've heard of some strange issues with those tripping from RF noise, motors, etc.

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Do you get a lot of dew overnight?

It doesn't take much moisture to cause a ground fault.

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Do you get a lot of dew overnight?

It doesn't take much moisture to cause a ground fault.

Not really, and the controller is under the porch with both ends of the extension cord off the ground.

The outlets are covered too.

FB_IMG_1411860029344_zpswy5qi3dv.jpg

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I'm with Darryl.  Here is what I think is happening:  

 

First, is that our power supply or one from someone else?  I ask, because ours is weather resistant, so the chances of it tripping a GFCI are minimized.  It's sealed and condensation can not form inside.  If it is our power supply I would be looking outside the enclosure for faults.  

 

If it's not our power supply, here is what could be happening:  All day long it is warm outside so condensation doesn't form.  In the evening the lights come on, which warms up the inside of your enclosure - again keeping the condensation at bay.

 

Now at midnight it shuts off and things begin to cool.  That allows condensation to form inside the enclosure - and more importantly inside the power supply you are using.  As Darryl said, it only takes a few milliamps of current going the wrong direction for a GFCI to trip.  

 

Enclosures, covers, whatever are not going to be air tight.  If air can get in, so can moisture in the form of humidity.  When things cool you may not even SEE the condensation but it will be enough leakage for the GFCI to trip.

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I guess thats possible, its not a sealed power supply, but it is in an enclosure and under a covered porch.

Our highs have been 95-100 and the lows in the 80's.

20141204_193551_zps86ovkcav.jpg

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Also i forgot to mention the fan on the power supply runs all the time if its plugged in, i assume that would help keep any moisture out.

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I would go the easy route first.  Change out one of the GFCI plugs with a new one.. if that doesn't help then you now have a spare GFCI should one go midseason.  If that fixes it, change out the other one and be happy you caught it before Christmas. Plugs are relatively cheap.

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I would go the easy route first. Change out one of the GFCI plugs with a new one.. if that doesn't help then you now have a spare GFCI should one go midseason. If that fixes it, change out the other one and be happy you caught it before Christmas. Plugs are relatively cheap.

This is what im thinking, i did have issues with them tripping durring Christmas last year too, but only when it rained and that was 80 ac channels so theres no telling where that was comming from.

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Humm... Bone dry huh?

What time do your sprinklers come on?

Those weatherproof when in use covers are for rain protection. Can leak when it rains sideways here. Definitely not going to like sprinklers shooting at them.

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Humm... Bone dry huh?

What time do your sprinklers come on?

Those weatherproof when in use covers are for rain protection. Can leak when it rains sideways here. Definitely not going to like sprinklers shooting at them.

Lol, i have NEVER watered my grass, its hard enough to keep mowed as it is.
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No, but probably not top of the line, the hardware store i got them from sells a lot of off brand stuff. Its only a mile from the house so its good for quick trips.

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The problem I have is that you were tripping last season when they were brand new. If you spend a few bucks more, can get an outdoor rated one. Mind you, they still have to be in a weatherproof box like you have, but the internal pc boards are coated and they use stainless steel metal parts. Cuts down on nuisance tripping and moisture issues with premature corrosion.

But here again, you had problems last year when they were brand new. Even cheap new ones, as long as UL listed, shouldn't have problems in the first year. So you may have a nick in a wire somewhere and as others have said, humidity getting in it and tripping. Or, possibly a loose connection on one of the receptacles you are feeding from the GFCI.

Since right now you are just using one controller, take your GFCI out and disconnect the hot & neutral wires feeding the other receptacles. Then you can rule them out if it still trips.

Also, I know you like the ground wire up from the "behind the sofa scenario", but the ground is designed for downward placing. The quality of the receptacle is graded on ground pullout. Nothing to do with your tripping issues, just bothers me looking at it... Just saying..

Hope you figure it out soon.

I say nothing to do with it. If new name brand like P&S or Leviton, nothing to do with it. If cheapo import, it may not lock itself out when wired incorrectly. Make sure, from your picture, you feed the wires on the bottom around the receptacles up to the next ones. GFCIs do care a lot that the electrons are flowing in the correct directions...

Edited by Mega Arch

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Also, sorry, random thinking as I'm tired - GFCIs work on imbalanced load too. So may not be moisture as we are thinking. So if you say nothing is on, then my thought of a loose wire comes back into play again. But another similar problem with imbalanced loads on GFCIs could be the way you set it up in the first place. Not saying you did, but I can't see in your panel. If you ran separate hot wires to the 2 different GFCIs back to the breaker box to get separate circuits - which I think you did, but if you are using shared neutrals - whaa laa trip ola. If that's the case, pull another neutral back to the panel for the other GFCI. Must try to keep them balanced out.

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The problem last year didnt start right away it was towards the end of the season, but i cant remember when the rain started, either way i agree new ones shouldnt start that soon.

Both banks have their own hot, neutral, and ground ran to the breaker box on separate reakers.

My daughters birthday party is at the house this weekendso i dont have too much time to trouble shoot right now, thats why i came on here for the help from you seasoned vets, to get ideas before i dive in.

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FYI:  After seeing your power supply and being told the fan runs 24/7 I retract my moisture theory.  I too would now be looking elsewhere :)

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Neighbors dog aint coming over and relieving himself on your outlets is he? :D  Just joking. He would have to be a very large dog to reach up there.

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Well i was at walmart this morning and they had the above mentioned tester for $7, and i picked up a ge gfci outlet for testing.

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Well i was at walmart this morning and they had the above mentioned tester for $7, and i picked up a ge gfci outlet for testing.

Have it plugged into the GFCI receptacles first. If they trip and reset properly, then test the downstream receptacles.

Hope it helps solve your issue.

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Will do.....thinking back im pretty sure in that breaker box the neutral and ground share the same bus bar, im not sure if that would cause an issue or not. I think i grounded my outlets to earth....but then again that same earth ground then continues to the neutral bus.

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If there are separate neutral bars for each side of the panel, make sure you take your ground and neutral from the same side.

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I think all neautrals and grounds are on the same bar in the breaker box.

I remember it being a little odd when i installed a new heatpump/a/c, in fact i bought a 10' groung rod at that time but haven't got aound to installing it, i was going to put 5' at the service drop and 5' at the a/c' breaker box.

ill pull the cover off the breaker box and post i pic soon as i can.

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