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Anyone putting a GFCI on each channel?


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I was wondering if anyone wires a GFCI in line with each channel of their LOR boards? We've been getting lots of rain today and one of my controllers is tripping its GFCI. I have each board on its own GFCI and the one that trips has cords that are on the ground so its no surprise that this is the one that is tripping. What are the pros and cons of doing this...besides the cost. Also, does know any good places to get quality GFCI's cheap.

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Do you have "the hook up" for free GFCIs? That is certainly not an expense I'd want. I suppose I'd consider a specific channel or two if they were near a water fountain or similar hazard. My cords lay on the ground but I'm not having problems (yet!) with trips.

If you have a source for free GFCIs, let me know first. Thanks.;)

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JonB256 wrote:

My cords lay on the ground but I'm not having problems (yet!) with trips.


You're lucky. I used to say the same thing, but it's so dependant on the weather. We're not 'supposed' to get rain, or slushy snow, here in December. But for the past number of years, we always do, and it drives the GFCI's nuts. Some of these problems are due to my laziness, and just laying connections on the ground. But I had a bank of 8 channels I couldn't turn on yesterday (and not yet sure about today) because they just wouldn't stay lit. The problem seemed to be the mini's themselves in the trees. Really annoying.

I agree the GFCI on every channel would be far to expensive for me to consider, but it would sure be convenient. On the other hand, it might be difficult to discover a channel had tripped, depending on your sequencing and what the channel controlled...

-Tim
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Riddle me this...

What benefit goes GFCI protection provide that the fuses in the LOR board and the circuit breaker not provide?

My understanding, the GFCI is just "faster" and push-button resetable... or is there something else?

Seems like replacing the 15 AMP fuses in the LOR is still a lot cheaper than a $15 outlet on each channel.

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Russ wrote:

Riddle me this...

What benefit goes GFCI protection provide that the fuses in the LOR board and the circuit breaker not provide?

My understanding, the GFCI is just "faster" and push-button resetable... or is there something else?

Seems like replacing the 15 AMP fuses in the LOR is still a lot cheaper than a $15 outlet on each channel.



I think what he means Russ is he would like to make each channel of LOR have its own GFCI, instead of the entire LOR board and all 16 (or 8 ) channels on one GFCI.
That way if one string trips only that string's GFCI goes down, and the rest of the channels continue to function. He is not meaning to use it as a fuse, if I am reading this thread correctly.

I agree that is very expensive, and not too practical solution, although it certainly does make sense in addressing the issue where rain takes down the entire LOR driven display!

A very interesting thought, to be sure!

Greg
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Russ wrote:

Riddle me this...

What benefit goes GFCI protection provide that the fuses in the LOR board and the circuit breaker not provide?

My understanding, the GFCI is just "faster" and push-button resetable... or is there something else?

Seems like replacing the 15 AMP fuses in the LOR is still a lot cheaper than a $15 outlet on each channel.


GFCIs work much differently than fuses. Fuses cut off at a certain amperage. GFCIs cut off when electricity is leaking out of the circuit, which happens most often when the cords are wet and on the ground. Fuses only stop serious damage to other electrical components. GFCIs are there to protect you from shocks.

The only benefit putting a GFCI on every channel is for easier trouble shooting and the rain not taking out your whole display if you're not there to fix it. To me, that's not worth the cost of the GFCI on every channel and the work required to wire that up. Elevating connectors off the ground with plastic stakes seem to work well for me.
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My problem is that our grass still grows down here during the winter. I raised many plugs and all of the cords from control boxes are off the ground but the grass is now 8-10 inches tall and short of raising them with a yardstick my hands are tied. Tonight am totally dark.

Oh and on the fun side if i put a GFI on every cord coming out of a controller it would cost me right now about $2,600.00!! I think I will buy more lights instead.
Merry Christmas.:]

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tfischer wrote:

Fuses protect property and equipment. GFCI's protect life. They are entirely different and not interchangable.

-Tim


Well, I am worth more dead than alive.... :shock:

Just kidding, as I do value my life. However, the insurance money might come in handy for my beneficiaries....
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Go out and buy some bicycle tire tubes, cut them into sections and put the connection between the lights and the ext cord in it. Tape off both ends and you have a nice water resistant connection.

I did this for years when I lived up north, The wires would be burried under a foot of snow sometimes with now problem. (actually I used car tire tubes then since I got them for free)

John


Edit to add

Oh and don't get the tube for the skinny 10 speed bike tires, the fatter one from the kids bikes have more room to work.

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CUTTHEMUSIC wrote:

I was wondering if anyone wires a GFCI in line with each channel of their LOR boards? We've been getting lots of rain today and one of my controllers is tripping its GFCI. I have each board on its own GFCI and the one that trips has cords that are on the ground so its no surprise that this is the one that is tripping. What are the pros and cons of doing this...besides the cost. Also, does know any good places to get quality GFCI's cheap.

How would you go about doing that?
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rossg10 wrote:

CUTTHEMUSIC wrote:
I was wondering if anyone wires a GFCI in line with each channel of their LOR boards? We've been getting lots of rain today and one of my controllers is tripping its GFCI. I have each board on its own GFCI and the one that trips has cords that are on the ground so its no surprise that this is the one that is tripping. What are the pros and cons of doing this...besides the cost. Also, does know any good places to get quality GFCI's cheap.

How would you go about doing that?

Instead of plugging directly into a cord hanging from the board you would have to wire each one of those cords to a GFCI Receptacle. This would be a very expensive way to go.
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Oh you mean taking the LOR channel wire from the board pluged into a GFI thats wired to trip from a strand of lights that also gets plugged into it? Way too much work... I'll stick with the eletrical tape wrapped nice and tight, works fine for me.
Greg

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Could the GFI's handle the constant on and off without tripping? I talked to two PhDs in EE, they said more inlikely they'll have issues tripping. I connected my LOR boxes directly in GFI's. Also, your LOR is protected with the 20amp fuse, which should blow if too much current is drawn.

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I use a GFCI on power input to each controller. It rained on my display three times over December. I just shut down the controller that was tripping the GFCI and didn't use it. Safety first!

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Thanks interesting with the GFI's and why people were having problem with moisture. I live in Billings, MT where our weather is so unpredictable. We've had rain storms, snow storms, ice storms, and sleet storms within the past month. I ran my lights everynight without problem. I did take the little plastic children safety plugs and stuck into any open outlet to keep moisture out. It seemed to work very well. I got plugs that were burried in a foot of snow, frozen to the groud, and laying in standing water and didn't have any problems. I am just curious what other people are doing about the situation, that they keep tripping GFI's.

Craig

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CUTTHEMUSIC wrote:

I was wondering if anyone wires a GFCI in line with each channel of their LOR boards?



Simply put: No.

Too much expense for no added value. I use a 7A fast blow in-line fuse in each extenion cord to make sure I don't over-run a channel.
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On the subject of protecting connections from moisture. Has anybody used dielectric grease between plug and receptacle? I've been pondering ways to protect against moisture since a LOT of rain here in the midwest this year did cause some problems with tripped GFCI's. Seems a bit of dielectric grease at the connection would be quick and easy and provide 100% protection from moisture.

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Bob V wrote:

Seems a bit of dielectric grease at the connection would be quick and easy and provide 100% protection from moisture.

I personally wouldn't jump to quick on the dielectric grease because it has a tendency for moisture to get caught within the compound, which could make the matter worse. Grease is lighter than water. In a plug, the water is going to sink to the bottom, as the grease floats to the top. Which would make the situation worse by the grease not letting the water in the plug to dry out.

Another thing, is it really a big deal to add the GFI's to each channel? I know my channels were never ever on a steady burn for more than a couple seconds. I did not do the 15 mins of no activity with solid house lights on, than go to a show. I did continous shows.

The other thing to make sure you have stuff grounded when using the controllers, which reduce a lot of that excess voltage leakage at the plug.
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