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~DOC~

GFCI issues

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I know what a GFCI is just forgot about them and we had a heck of a rain storm last night. Needless to say POP then  reset then POP then reset POP UGH

Couple questions

1. Anyone try plastic wrapping connections?

Yes the food stuff Lol 

Its clingy and does well in the colder temps

Best it’s super cheap

I already did it but hope someone tried and may have some feed back.

2. Should I worry about all connections or only the ones on the ground?

3. Any additional recommendations?

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I position the ones in the air so they drip Away from any opening that can hold water (sockets face down as long as the wire into the back is sealed, otherwise: Sideways (Make a loop and tiewrap it in place), so there is no easy way in

Edited by TheDucks
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Just keep in mind that what keeps water out also holds water in. I would prefer Ducks way, hang them so the water drips off and if water does get in it will dry much much faster.

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Last year I had a problem with candy canes tripping the GFCI breaker several times during a light rain.  Turned out that a few of the candy canes had the unused female socked face down into the grass/ground.  I ended up capping the female plugs with childproof outlet covers and put a landscaping brick under the connection between the male plug and the extension cord.

image.jpeg.68fded853c64eeec26263784e7c54

 

I think as long as you do something about the connections and unused female sockets near the ground, you should be OK.

Edited by Speedster
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6 minutes ago, Mr. P said:

Just keep in mind that what keeps water out also holds water in. I would prefer Ducks way, hang them so the water drips off and if water does get in it will dry much much faster.

You should see my MT. It got flooded yesterday. I have always placed it in the same place. Went out this morning hoping to set up my mini trees, one controller on MT controls some of my minis. All ground lights and plugs under water. Never dried out. Ground is over saturated.

Hopefully tomorrow I can get in there and use my cinder blocks to elevate the lights so it doesn't happen again. Figured living here 6 years its never flooded. I believe the loose ends I will just zip tie them to themselves. Next year I will use the double base system just like my 10' mega tree has. Snow last year and this year a flood.

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I always do what speedster does, I use the child protectors and lift the plugs off the ground. I never wrap anything but I do pull the leaf blower out and blow off the cord connections before each show just to blow out any water after a rain.

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I went and bought a lot of these after the holiday season 2 years ago. get them on sale after Christmas.

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For my display, In the past I wrapped my trees in incandescent lights and they were always the culprit due to the water getting into the bulbs and following theater on tree down to ground. I had installed a relay on the hot of each tree channel. If the outlet tripped I would flip a switch inside to quickly disconnect the trees and continue the show. 

I have since switched to mounded LEDs in the trees and haven’t had a trip yet. 

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I understand the GFCI and why it’s in place. We didn’t have them when I grew up. At least what I remember. I actually thought of wiring a bypass. That would allow me to switch off the GFCI when I am home during heavy rains.I can hear the comments coming. But it’s all good. My thought I am home, no one getting out of their car if they know I am home.

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14 hours ago, ~DOC~ said:

I actually thought of wiring a bypass. 

Shakes head...  It is NOT all good.

GFCIs are your LAST line of defense in case something unforeseen happens.  I don't care how big of a fence, how many signs, or if you are home or not.  People, especially children, who are entranced by your beautiful display WILL find a way to touch something.  

Safety requires MULTIPLE levels of reinforcement.  The accident WILL happen in the blink of an eye, it will not be something you can prevent simply because you are home.  You could be outside handing out candy canes and within 2 seconds a child has run across your lawn and grabbed onto a wireframe - a wireframe that just happens to have a bare wire.

Take a step backwards and assess if you are willing to live for the rest of your life knowing you killed someone's child JUST so you could run in the rain.

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I agree with DevMike.  If you are tripping: Find and fix the reason. Lots of us have shows that do run in the (heavy) rain. Dont strap plugs and outlets directly on a wire frame: put a strip of tubing over that area first. Baby proof plugs and dielectric grease. cord connection covers for ground level, elevate when possible.  OR more Low Voltage lights With the Controller / PSU well protected

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I found this great tool for finding and fixing the problems when they occur: A leakage current meter.

 

lcm.jpg

 

Clamp around a strand and it will tell you how much AC current is leaking to ground.  Helps narrow down which controller has the problem(s), and from there which light element(s), and from there if it's the element itself or an extension cord, or even the controller pigtail.  

I've already found one bad extension cord and a light strand that had water inside the pass-thru connector.   Also found a few mistakes I'd rather not own up to.  :D

I snagged it for half price (sale or mistake, I don't know) from Amazon.    It's currently $226.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072MLT7HH/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

 

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2 minutes ago, jtomason said:

I found this great tool for finding and fixing the problems when they occur: A leakage current meter.

 

lcm.jpg

 

Clamp around a strand and it will tell you how much AC current is leaking to ground.  Helps narrow down which controller has the problem(s), and from there which light element(s), and from there if it's the element itself or an extension cord, or even the controller pigtail.  

I've already found one bad extension cord and a light strand that had water inside the pass-thru connector.   Also found a few mistakes I'd rather not own up to.  :D

I snagged it for half price (sale or mistake, I don't know) from Amazon.    It's currently $226.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072MLT7HH/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

DOH! Forgot I had one of those in my toolbox. Anyway I knew I was going to get some shaking head comments. It’s still in place all.. 

 I’ve only had one other GFCI incident since making some adjustments. Plastic wrap seemed to do the job for this year. This next year I am going to build some covers out of PVC to house each plug. 

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2 hours ago, jtomason said:

.....   Also found a few mistakes I'd rather not own up to.  :D....

Confession is good for you. &/or laughing at ones self. And maybe we all can learn from it. We want details!!

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3 hours ago, DevMike said:

Shakes head...  It is NOT all good.

GFCIs are your LAST line of defense in case something unforeseen happens.  I don't care how big of a fence, how many signs, or if you are home or not.  People, especially children, who are entranced by your beautiful display WILL find a way to touch something.  

Safety requires MULTIPLE levels of reinforcement.  The accident WILL happen in the blink of an eye, it will not be something you can prevent simply because you are home.  You could be outside handing out candy canes and within 2 seconds a child has run across your lawn and grabbed onto a wireframe - a wireframe that just happens to have a bare wire.

Take a step backwards and assess if you are willing to live for the rest of your life knowing you killed someone's child JUST so you could run in the rain.

Yep. My show went dark 2 nights this season during rain storms. So? I’m really the only one that even cared. And I sleep good. 

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2 hours ago, jtomason said:

Also found a few mistakes I'd rather not own up to.  :D

You can't leave us hanging.  Like Mega Arch said:  Fess up!

 

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Had the end of a string in the gutter which trapped enough water to wet the entire bottom of the string. 

Used an indoor extension cord (I had no SPT-1, OK?!) and failed to secure the other outlets in it.  

I am ashamed. 

 

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2 hours ago, jtomason said:

Had the end of a string in the gutter which trapped enough water to wet the entire bottom of the string. 

Used an indoor extension cord (I had no SPT-1, OK?!) and failed to secure the other outlets in it.  

I am ashamed. 

 

Gutters can be terrible. The wind flips icicles up into my gutters. They are not sealed lights like all my minis and mega trees are. Could be my problem. We all use indoor cords as well.

I thought you might have something really ugly to reveal. Well, maybe the next person...,

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Nah, nothing truly ugly.  

 

More rain today again caused a lot of ground leakage, so I cancelled the show tonight.   Should be sunny for the next several days, so hopefully I can *really* waterproof it after it dries out a bit.  Got a bunch of outlet protectors, plastic light stakes to raise stuff, and some dielectric grease.

 

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On 12/20/2018 at 9:26 AM, aidancar said:

For my display, In the past I wrapped my trees in incandescent lights and they were always the culprit due to the water getting into the bulbs and following theater on tree down to ground. I had installed a relay on the hot of each tree channel. If the outlet tripped I would flip a switch inside to quickly disconnect the trees and continue the show. 

I have since switched to mounded LEDs in the trees and haven’t had a trip yet. 

I be interested in knowing exactly how you did this? Can you explain more in detail or have a drawing / pictures of how you did this. 

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On 12/21/2018 at 10:37 AM, DevMike said:

Shakes head...  It is NOT all good.

GFCIs are your LAST line of defense in case something unforeseen happens.  I don't care how big of a fence, how many signs, or if you are home or not.  People, especially children, who are entranced by your beautiful display WILL find a way to touch something.  

Safety requires MULTIPLE levels of reinforcement.  The accident WILL happen in the blink of an eye, it will not be something you can prevent simply because you are home.  You could be outside handing out candy canes and within 2 seconds a child has run across your lawn and grabbed onto a wireframe - a wireframe that just happens to have a bare wire.

Take a step backwards and assess if you are willing to live for the rest of your life knowing you killed someone's child JUST so you could run in the rain.

Hi Mike point taken. It’s still running under the GFCI and I am continually looking for how to improve for next year to avoid trips. Safety is always on top of my mind. You did bring up something that I forgot about. I am in the country and have farm animals. My fence is electrified. As of last night I have been turning it off. Wow never thought about that one. Duh!

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On 12/22/2018 at 2:27 PM, ~DOC~ said:

I be interested in knowing exactly how you did this? Can you explain more in detail or have a drawing / pictures of how you did this. 

Oh wow, sorry for the late response, I forgot to check for notifications to this.

Here is a quick drawing that will work provided you know which channels are causing the issue each time.

The variation I made is slightly different as my "indoor switch" is actually an Alcorn McBride show controller that detects a ground fault and automatically kills those problem channels before automatically resetting the GFCI. If it happens a second time they stay off and broadcast an inclement weather voice line until the rain stops and I reset it.

So I have a 5th relay zip tied on which connects to the Alcorn Controller through that barrel connector. All you would need would be a rocker switch as shown but run its wires inside.

Let me know if that makes sense

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1iMbQb0cWr2o5GI5a9KZBCPcB-_nMTbE5?usp=sharing

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