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GFI for outside power?


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I need to run a few new outside outlets on new circuits for my light display. They're for LOR 16 channel controllers. I have the controllers that can handle 30 amps due to alot of incandescent lighting. I was just wondering what forum readers recommend for a circuit breaker for these lines? Should I go with GFI or just a standard circuit breaker on each line?

It seems that my other outside lines that are on GFI are real finicky if it rains out. I obviously want to run the light show even if its wet out. The GFI circuit breakers seem really costly too... about $40 each for a 15 or 20 amp.

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Guest Don Gillespie

I need to run a few new outside outlets on new circuits for my light display. They're for LOR 16 channel controllers. I have the controllers that can handle 30 amps due to alot of incandescent lighting. I was just wondering what forum readers recommend for a circuit breaker for these lines? Should I go with GFI or just a standard circuit breaker on each line?

It seems that my other outside lines that are on GFI are real finicky if it rains out. I obviously want to run the light show even if its wet out. The GFI circuit breakers seem really costly too... about $40 each for a 15 or 20 amp.

At the risk of sounding cruel, have you done a search about GFI's on the LOR forum, there has been so much discussion on this topic, over the last few years, please do the search so this thread doesn't turn into another battle ground

Edited by Don Gillespie
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I just used basic 20 Amp Circuit Breakers, but did use a GFCI outlet outside for the main outlet. Unfortunately that outlet went defective on Saturday afternoon 10/27 and had to be replaced by a standard outlet to get the show operating that evening. I know I had bought a second GFCI outlet for such a case, but having moved a few months ago, things get shuffled about and now I can't find the darn thing. Probably ended up in one of my Christmas totes in storage. And I've still got to get to those for setting up the Christmas Display!

So this does make me a bit nervous since I won't have the funds to get a replacement GFCI outlet until next month{November} when my next check arrives.

So to keep my show running {and no, I don't recommend this} I had little choice but to use a standard non-GFCI outlet in its place for the time being.

Otherwise I'd have to make the display go dark. So I'm pushing my luck for a few days.

Fortunately my display is more in out of the way areas where no one will be walking over cords, cables or display items, as all cords and cables are pretty much hidden inside or behind siding or ran under plants and bushes. With the exception of the cemetery area, which isn't really very accessible, even for me, just to get in there takes some contorting around Rose Bushes and other plants for me to do anything to the display.

So I'm hoping it'll be okay for a few days, at least through Halloween.

Note to Self: make sure to buy another two GFCI outlets for replacement and KNOW where the second is! Just in case one does happen to fail!

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I need to run a few new outside outlets on new circuits for my light display. They're for LOR 16 channel controllers. I have the controllers that can handle 30 amps due to alot of incandescent lighting. I was just wondering what forum readers recommend for a circuit breaker for these lines? Should I go with GFI or just a standard circuit breaker on each line?

It seems that my other outside lines that are on GFI are real finicky if it rains out. I obviously want to run the light show even if its wet out. The GFI circuit breakers seem really costly too... about $40 each for a 15 or 20 amp.

'Finicky' GFCI circuits are usually caused by water, which is there for PROTECTION!!! I can't emphasize that enough! If you're running anything outside, it should be GFCI protected. FOR YOU AND ANYBODY THAT VISITS YOUR DISPLAY!!! Kids, especially, are curious. Curious kids plus unprotected electrical displays are a recipe for disaster.

Now, there are a few things that you can do to protect connections from water intrusion, which will undoubtedly lead to a ground fault. Get all cord connections off the ground, especially out of standing water. Try to waterproof connections the best you can. A plastic bag and some electrical tape work wonders to keep most water out. And finally, if a GFCI trips or continues to trip, it is USUALLY for a good reason!! If it starts tripping, check connections and dry things out as necessary to mitigate the problem. Replacing the GFCI with an unprotected receptacle is NOT AN ACCEPTABLE SOLUTION!!

Hopefully I made my point clear..... :)

Good luck!

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I run a dedicated 100 amp outdoor sub pannel with 16 dedicated 20 amp breakers. all breakers then run to GFI protected outlets through underground wireing. Total cost with me doing a lot of the work was around $2000. A lot of money but if that saves just one person getting hurth then it is worth it. What price do you put on someones life? (But then again I have people walking around the yard too _Walkways only)

The problem is that can't put a price on it. Unfortunately, these devices are not cheap because the manufacturers know that the price of safety is not cheap and they can get away with charging it. But we, as responsible display creators, need to realize the problems that we face. Saving a buck or two is not worth it in the end! Beyond that, I would personally recommend that everyone here have some sort of balloon/liability insurance policy in place in case someone was ever to get injured. My wife and I have a $500,000 home owner's liability policy with another $1,000,000 balloon policy on top of that. The balloon covers everything from our primary home to our rental property, boat, cars and everything in between (Each of those is insured for $500,000 liability as well). It's CHEAP insurance IMHO, but I think the details of that are a discussion for another thread.

As a side note, this all became relevant to me after I almost killed myself in a motorcycle accident about 7 years ago. Close to $300,000 dollars in medical bills later, I realized how expensive it really is and all I really did was break my leg (My femur actually - Not a fun experience....). Fortunately my health insurance paid 100% of it, but again, a topic for another thread.

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Cue Mikes rant about not using GFCIs in 3..... 2......

:P

n_giff: Expensive? I wouldn't call a price that is less than a single strand of LEDs expensive: http://www.harborfre...hite-67516.html

Nope, not that expensive. But if you have less than a $1 in your bank account you can't just go get a replacement if it fails completely. Mine failed in completely dry weather, every time power would be applied it would trip, it was not doing this previously and the show had been running all month wet or dry without issue. So looking at everything, all cord connections are OFF the ground I could only conclude the GFCI outlet had finally tripped one too many times and now wouldn't stay on,

I really DO NOT and I emphasize DO NOT relish the fact I had no choice but to replace the outdoor GFCI with a standard electrical outlet, however, to try and rectify that, I moved the display outlets CB wire from their dedicated circuit temporarily to my kitchen CB which does have GFCI protection today. So hopefully all will go well until I can replace the outdoor outlet next month and put the display back on it's own circuit again.

Now I just have to put up with a very small dimming, well more like faint flickering of the interior house lights for a few days while the display operates.

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Guest wbottomley

I run a dedicated 100 amp outdoor sub pannel with 16 dedicated 20 amp breakers. all breakers then run to GFI protected outlets through underground wireing. Total cost with me doing a lot of the work was around $2000. A lot of money but if that saves just one person getting hurth then it is worth it. What price do you put on someones life? (But then again I have people walking around the yard too _Walkways only)

What! $2K? I know my show is much larger than your's and I have maybe $200 in a 50 amp portable subpanel with GFCI outlets installed. And I don't have any problems.

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I rectified my GFCI issue with the replacement of a standard outlet for the failed GFCI outside, I removed the wire to the outdoor circuit breaker that is for the display and then tapped it into my kitchen circuit CB that has a GFCI outlet on it. So hopefully this will be a sufficient workaround until I can replace that outlet with a new GFCI outside.

Initially this is how it was before I put in the dedicated 20 amp CB for the display, the outside main outlet was originally connected to my master bath circuit. So now it's on the kitchen circuit for a temporary fix until I can get a new GFCI to replace the one that went bad.

So I'm hoping this will be sufficient for the next few days anyway.

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I actually have the GFCI on the breakers which... I have to say it much easier to access then bending down in the dirt to rest an outlet with things plugged into it. I have also found that even tho they trip they do not weaken over the course of a season leaving me with a GFCI socket that will trip at 75% humidity.

Drew

That's what I'm considering for the new GFCI myself, that way I don't have to go outside and mess with wet outlets to press a button! Just open the panel and flip the breaker.

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The joys of using 12vdc and 5vdc lighting, No GFCI trips, I havent had a trip since I made the change and i run my show rain hail or shine with no issues.

But any outlet used for outside must have a GFCI and especially with christmas lights, the last thing you want to deal with is the death or injury of a child who has decided to go and touch your lights that were live due to not having a GFCI

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Guest wbottomley

The joys of using 12vdc and 5vdc lighting, No GFCI trips, I havent had a trip since I made the change and i run my show rain hail or shine with no issues.

Great point Eddy. I couldn't agree more. With the incorporation of more DC related products, those power hogs are a thing of the past.

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I rectified my GFCI issue with the replacement of a standard outlet for the failed GFCI outside, I removed the wire to the outdoor circuit breaker that is for the display and then tapped it into my kitchen circuit CB that has a GFCI outlet on it. So hopefully this will be a sufficient workaround until I can replace that outlet with a new GFCI outside.

So I'm hoping this will be sufficient for the next few days anyway.

What you're describing doesn't give you any GFCI protection outside..............................

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I rectified my GFCI issue with the replacement of a standard outlet for the failed GFCI outside, I removed the wire to the outdoor circuit breaker that is for the display and then tapped it into my kitchen circuit CB that has a GFCI outlet on it. So hopefully this will be a sufficient workaround until I can replace that outlet with a new GFCI outside.

Initially this is how it was before I put in the dedicated 20 amp CB for the display, the outside main outlet was originally connected to my master bath circuit. So now it's on the kitchen circuit for a temporary fix until I can get a new GFCI to replace the one that went bad.

So I'm hoping this will be sufficient for the next few days anyway.

A GFCI does NOT let me repeat NOT work that way you have connection points on a GFCI LINE and LOAD

LINE is INCOMMING power

LOAD IS POWER GOING TO OTHER DEVICES

TECHNICALLY YOU HAVE YOUR OUTSIDE CONNECTED TO THE LINE SIDE SO EVEN IF THE GFCI WOULD TRIP IT WOULD NOT KILL THE POWER TO YOUR OUTSIDE SINCE BEING THE OUTSIDE LINE IS CONNECTED BEFORE THE GFCI

ALSO ONE MORE THING about the kitchen load

NEC: 210.52(B)2 The two or more small-appliance branch circuits specified in 210.52(B)1 Shall HAVE NO OTHER OUTLETS

Edited by TitusCarnathan
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A GFCI does NOT let me repeat NOT work that way you have connection points on a GFCI LINE and LOAD

LINE is INCOMMING power

LOAD IS POWER GOING TO OTHER DEVICES

TECHNICALLY YOU HAVE YOUR OUTSIDE CONNECTED TO THE LINE SIDE SO EVEN IF THE GFCI WOULD TRIP IT WOULD NOT KILL THE POWER TO YOUR OUTSIDE SINCE BEING THE OUTSIDE LINE IS CONNECTED BEFORE THE GFCI

ALSO ONE MORE THING about the kitchen load

NEC: 210.52(B)2 The two or more small-appliance branch circuits specified in 210.52(B)1 Shall HAVE NO OTHER OUTLETS

Oh, then why is it when I press the TEST BUTTON on the GFCI everything OUtSIDE GOES DEAD? No Power to controllers, lights, ponds, NOTHING!

As for small appliances, there are NO appliances being utilized on these outlets, they are ALL CAPPED OFF with child protective caps, nothing plugged into them at all.

So I can not even understand how you say IT WILL NOT KILL POWER when there is absolutely NO POWER TO ANYTHING OUTSIDE. I tested to make sure of that AFTER making the temporary change using a digital multimeter, the circuit when tripped IS COMPLETEY DEAD OUTSIDE!. Especially when the Master Bath circuit is WIRED the EXACT SAME WAY!

Seems no matter what anyone does to make a temporary repair, it's never right, even if it is or may work until the permanent repair can be accomplished.

Fine you want that l just move it back to it's NON GFCI circuit and say to heck with it then? Since I can't use a circuit that IS NOT even in use for anything!

Edited by Orville
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Orville:

Where you tapped in was already protected by the upstream GFCI, so it too is protected.

A GFCI outlet has 2 sets of lugs. One is the LINE side - that is where the power comes INTO this GFCI. The other is the LOAD side - any outlets that are downstream of the LOAD lugs ALSO have GFCI protection.

In general when we wire outlets, we do this:

GFCI OUTLET --- OUTLET --- OUTLET --- OUTLET

However, what you probably did was

GFCI OUTLET --- OUTLET --- OUTLET

|

OUTLET

That is PERFECTLY acceptable (as long as you followed the NEC concerning wiring sizes, wire caps, box loading, etc...) Technically the outside outlet IS on the LOAD side - it's just there through another outlet that is downstream.

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Oh, then why is it when I press the TEST BUTTON on the GFCI everything OUtSIDE GOES DEAD? No Power to controllers, lights, ponds, NOTHING! In your last post

I removed the wire to the outdoor circuit breaker that is for the display and then tapped it into my kitchen circuit CB that has a GFCI outlet on it. By tapping in did you do it before the outlet or did you run a wire to the outlet

otherwise there is something electricially wrong power goes from you service panel to you device in this case that gfci

if you connected the wire from you outside breaker to the breaker that feeds your kitchen there is no way this is possible it would be like saying fliping a light switch turns off devices before the switch

As for small appliances, there are NO appliances being utilized on these outlets, they are ALL CAPPED OFF with child protective caps, nothing plugged into them at all. If they are kitchen Recepticals then they are appliance circuits according to the NEC

So I can not even understand how you say IT WILL NOT KILL POWER when there is absolutely NO POWER TO ANYTHING OUTSIDE. I tested to make sure of that AFTER making the temporary change using a digital multimeter, the circuit when tripped IS COMPLETEY DEAD OUTSIDE!. Especially when the Master Bath circuit is WIRED the EXACT SAME WAY!

Seems no matter what anyone does to make a temporary repair, it's never right, even if it is or may work until the permanent repair can be accomplished.

Fine you want that l just move it back to it's NON GFCI circuit and say to heck with it then? Since I can't use a circuit that IS NOT even in use for anything!

I rectified my GFCI issue with the replacement of a standard outlet for the failed GFCI outside, So hopefully this will be a sufficient workaround until I can replace that outlet with a new GFCI outside.

Initially this is how it was before I put in the dedicated 20 amp CB for the display, the outside main outlet was originally connected to my master bath circuit. So now it's on the kitchen circuit for a temporary fix until I can get a new GFCI to replace the one that went bad.

So I'm hoping this will be sufficient for the next few days anyway.

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Dev mike has it on the nose for it working

this is what I thought you were refering to orville but this would not work

Circuit Breaker ---------------------gfci ---outlet ------outlet

|

outlet

red not protected green protected

didn't mean any harm by posting this but I want to make sure people follow things saftly and according to the nec so people dont get in trouble

Edited by TitusCarnathan
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Dev mike has it on the nose for it working

this is what I thought you were refering to orville but this would not work

Circuit Breaker ---------------------gfci ---outlet ------outlet

|

outlet

red not protected green protected

didn't mean any harm by posting this but I want to make sure people follow things saftly and according to the nec so people dont get in trouble

yes, that's what I did "initially" the night the GFCI went dead. The first thing I did when I got up early the next morning when I had some daylight to illuminate things in the house was move the display to the a circuit that I knew was GFCI protected and all outlets would be downstream from it. Having to turn off the the entire panel in the dark when the display was operating to get it back up would have just been too dangerous to mess with, so I flipped off the display circuit and rewired a non GFCI, standard outlet in there temporarily. As soon as I can, a GFCI CB will be installed in place of the current non GFCI one to handle further issues.

But my current setup is main CB to GFCI and all outlets are downstream from it. My late father and grandfather were both electricians, as is my uncle, whom I actually had asked about this as long as I was not using the outlets in the kitchen for anything, being capped off so nothing does get plugged into them., said it should work for a temporary fix, but didn't recommend leaving it that way. Which I am not planning on doing.

I didn't want to re-tap in the bathroom circuit because every time my wife would use her darn blow dryer while the display was operating, the darn bathroom outlet GFCI would trip every time she turned it on. And is the main reason I went with the unused GFCI outlet in the kitchen for a temporary measure. Otherwise I'd have more than likely tapped back into the Master Bath where it was originally connected.

All I can say is manufactured homes are wired weird compared to a standard home, or at least mine is!

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Getting a few reports about this thread.

The GFCI topic will, on a large number of occasions, generate many responses. Please, keep them civil, or the thread will be removed.

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William I think this is more like round 20 or something but this is the last time I am doing this I will not be in argument 21...

I think I can end this argument once and for all because I am done on this topic on this message board

GFCI you need one becasue

+Legally required

+it provides Safety for

+++People

+++Equipment

if you dont want one then fine

-its not to code

-Damage may result to People and equipment

If you have one triping then there is a problem fix it dont get rid of the gfci

Thank you if you have any questions at all PM me

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and as I said earlier I am sorry for careing about peoples safety and well being I will no longer do that on this board

thank you and God Bless :)

Oh and as per my previous post as a Christan I could not stop careing about people and their safety so until the day comes that I get booted you will continue to hear from the cheif nitpicker when it comes to safety

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Well no more issues, found out while out looking some things over one of my neighbors IS also an electrician. He just happened to have a spare GFCI that he gave me to replace the defective one. So all is now back to normal operating and "legal".

Next time I'm NOT saying anything and just going to "keep it to myself" about having to temporarily use another method for short term fix that should have still been able to keep folks safe until the permanent fix could be accomplished. Which has now been done. Sorry no more popcorn..... :P

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