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GFCI keeps tripping when all lights come on together


copotay
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Need some help, don't know if its my new controller that's bad or what

 

I have one residential 16 channel controller, mini director, I bought this year after Christmas and set everything up the day after Halloween. Everything ran and did fine then about two weeks ago my GFCI outlet tripped and would constantly trip when all the lights would come on together. I used the intro THX and then I tried another intro that starts but when all the lights come on it trips during that intro too on separate cards. Also during the intros I have every channel sequenced during the startup of the sequence with one two or three  four or five on going through the channels until the build up to the mass every channel and light on, then GFCI trips.

 

Also of note is I only have LED lights and am not overloading the channels, I piggy back three strands at the most on one channel and have a GFCI outlet on each recep outside. I also bought a GFCI protected short three cord extension and was using that. It would trip so I corded directly into the GFCI outlet and it trips the outlet when all light come on.

 

We have had no rain and I have checked all connections close to the ground making sure they are elevated. So I said maybe a bad GFCI recep. Changed it out and ran for the last week no problems, then boom all of sudden same thing tripping when all lights come on tonight. So I began unplugging a channel at a time starting at 16. I unplugged 14 and wow it worked it did not trip. Tracked down one 100 strand of LEDs on the Mega tree and a metal frame deer with 150 LEDs on channel 14. unplugged the deer, it worked, so I thought I might have found the problem. checked all the wiring and plugged back in the deer tried it, no go, it tripped. I left the deer unplugged again and ran, it tripped. So now it aint the deer. I unplugged channel 14 completely and now it trips with it unplugged. I then unplugged 13 and 14 it trips when it gets to the part of the intro with all the lights coming on. All the sequences will play fine going through every channel at different intevals until I make all the lights come on at once.

 

I made another SD card with all on static. The minute I put it in the director and the lights start to come on, it trips. I am at my wits end, I cannot figure out if its the brand new controller or something else. I know its a no no but I am about to take the GFCI outlet out and put a regular outlet. I should also mention I am in Louisiana and the humidity has crept in tonight with high humidity and dewpoints, but I would think if that was the cause the minute it would hit the channel that could be causing the problem, it would trip, but every channel lights fine until I make them all come on at once.

 

Hope someone can help and might have had a similar problem. I wanted some advice before requesting a work order.

 

 

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Ok, so you have metal framed deers. Do you also have them tomato cage mini trees with lights wrapped around them. Any other metal framed props with lights on them? Its hard to make others see this. But a capacitor is like a resistor to A.C. voltages. You can make a cap by running a hot wire next to a metal frame that is in contact to the earth/ground. many people have solved their problems with raising their metal props in the air on top of PVC pipe driven into the ground and the prop mounted on top of the PVC pipe stake.  BTW little current leaks are additive to the point of tripping the GFI. So singularly there might not be enough to trip, but add up enough of these leaks and the GFI trips. Keep your eyes open, there will be more with same problems showing up shortly looking for a fix... Read and learn... 

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Tks I understand what u are saying, I have three metal frame deer and 5 mini trees, I will unplug all of them and try it, the rest should be good. Do you believe the dew could have added to the leakage with the metal frames which is why it tripped once the ground got damp? During the last week it was not that humid and really no dew after dark

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The way to trace the GFI issue is to remove those elements, like metal items with lights - or just start with one ckt, test, add a second, test, etc.

Last year, I found the metal tomato cage trees, wrapped with lights were causing a GFI problem - I then mounted the tomato cage trees on PVC pipe to isolate it - that solved the GFI problem (except during very heavy rains).

This year, I am being very cafeful to isolate anything metal from the ground and hope to avoid any GFI problems.

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Forgot to add, I made a silent mp3 5 minute static card so all the lights would stay on, for some reason after about 30 seconds all the light just turn off, not a Gfci trip, all the lights just go off with the card still showing the red constant on. And the entire silent mp3 is sequenced all on. Is it supposed to do that?

Tks htebault that's my current game plan start making some PVC holders for the cages

Tks for the PVC tip that's what I will start doing to get them off the ground

tks htebault, that's what I will do, try and track down everything I have that is grounded with lights connected to it

The way to trace the GFI issue is to remove those elements, like metal items with lights - or just start with one ckt, test, add a second, test, etc.

Last year, I found the metal tomato cage trees, wrapped with lights were causing a GFI problem - I then mounted the tomato cage trees on PVC pipe to isolate it - that solved the GFI problem (except during very heavy rains).

This year, I am being very cafeful to isolate anything metal from the ground and hope to avoid any GFI problems.

 

tks for the nfo, I will take a shot at it

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Well, so far it worked, PVCed the 5 tomato trees with one pipe pounded in the ground and zip tied up off ground. Made some wooden stakes, instead of metal ones to hold the deer down from any wind and cut some small squares of plywood putting it beneath their feet. Going strong now thank y'all for the help. If something reoccurs I will post, oh and on the other deal with the silent all on sequence, do y'all have any thoughts why it goes out after 20 - 30 seconds? I tried it with another card and a song with volume, the song continues to play but with all lights sequenced to stay on the lights go out after a bit to total off. Am I missing something when sequencing or when I dump to the card from the hardware mp3 program?

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tks for the heads up on the wood, if it gives a problem I will change it out, yes on the mini director, I can't figure it out, I sequence the 16 channels all on throughout the whole 5 minute song, and all the lights just turn off after 20 to 30 seconds but the song still keeps playing. Maybe somebody with a director might have the answer if they ran into it before.

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I'm not exactly sure what's going on with your silent MP3 sequence or the one that is turning off your lights.   Could you please send me the files with your audio to: lightman13@hotmail.com and I can look at them and plug them into my MP3 Director?    

 

After I check them over, I may be able to help you resolve the issues you're having with them.

 

BTW: I had the same issue with my metal wireframe deer, I didn't have to put anything under mine to stop the GFCI trips, what was happening was the lights on the deer legs were too close to the ground and rain would end up splashing debris and water up into those lights.   Once I moved them up the deer legs, my problem no longer persisted and haven't had any isses with them being staked directly into the ground since, this now going on 2 years, the first year gave me fits until I finally figured out what was really going on!

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Tks Orville, I will send them to you shortly, The song will be a 5 min song that I used audacity to have remove the volume level of the song. I figured I had to have some song to be able do a musical sequence. The plan was to just slip in this card when I just want static lighting, no music, all lights on, that would loop.

 

Also thanks for the deer nfo, worked all last night after I fixed it for about two hours, cant wait for tonight, its already humid as heck outside no rain though, but I am sure the dew will drop just after dark.

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Tks Orville, I will send them to you shortly, The song will be a 5 min song that I used audacity to have remove the volume level of the song. I figured I had to have some song to be able do a musical sequence. The plan was to just slip in this card when I just want static lighting, no music, all lights on, that would loop.

 

Also thanks for the deer nfo, worked all last night after I fixed it for about two hours, cant wait for tonight, its already humid as heck outside no rain though, but I am sure the dew will drop just after dark.

I'll check my e-mail for them and see what's going on.  Hopefully we'll get your problem fixed in short time.    Here in "Sunny" Florida it's been a light rain in my area all day, deer came on tonight and are still running, even with the rain continuing and the ground being soaked.  And it rained last night as well, GFCI hasn't flipped it's button once.

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We're still working on trying to figure out copotay's issues.   It's weird because his sequence the first run through, at 20 seconds the lights went off, but when I re-ran it successive times after that, it worked 100% every time.  Very weird.   Then I rebooted my computer, re-ran the sequence, 20 seconds, lights off again, weird, then successive runs again, worked as it was supposed to.

 

So far I have created a new 5 minute silent MP3 that is a pure silence, no peaks in it, for him to try and see if that possibly corrects the issue, as his MP3 had some dips and peaks, not that that should affect the sequence, but anything is possible at times, so I asked him to just give it a try and see if that might have anything to do with the problem.,   

 

He's already tried redoing the sequence and got the same results further in with his original MP3 he created.  

 

He tried createing an animation file and that worked perfectly.    So next step is to possibly uninstall and re-install the LOR software, maybe on his initial install something just got slightly corrupted in the SE, making it think the lights should turn off at the point{s} he's having issues with.  

 

I checked thoroughly through the sequence, and there were no background or foreground effects set that I could locate anywhere, so that's not it either.

 

Hopefully we'll find the main problem creating this on his end and nip it.

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Orville has been a great help, the silent mp3 he return sent worked perfectly after he removed those small peaks and other spikes that me, running through Audacity, did not do. We are not sure that's what it was but something was telling the lights to turn off. Oh and one other point of interest is that I made the same sequence on a separate computer with the latest upgrade with a different song that I ran through Audacity, removing the audio, and it did the same thing, so after checking today in the sequencer under the audio on option, that song also had the same peaks not completely silent.

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That is the ONLY thing I saw in the sequence, was the MP3 had peaks, and for a silent MP3, you do not want any waveform, just a steady solid line, and that's how it should appear in the SE as well, if the Music Editor shows it as a steady, single line, the SE should display it exactly in the same way.

 

When I put cotopay's silent MP3 in my music editor, it was shown as a stereo MP3 and a steady line, but the SE showed peaks in the MP3 audio waveform!  Not good, so I created a brand new waveform of silence in my commecial music editor for the same duration of 5 minutes, loaded it into cotopay's sequence, waveform shown as one steady line, no peaks.  

 

Again, I don't know why the MP3 file would affect the lights the way it was, it shouldn't by all rights, but it was, some how, some way.   So the sequence was turning off the lights at 20 seconds the first run through, strange that it didn't do it on my machine after successive runs, unless I rebooted, then it would duplicate, but on cotopay's system, it was shutting down every time at the same place no matter what he was doing.

 

So hopefully the new pure MP3 without any peaks or sound aversions in it will continue to work out for him, but I do find it very strange and weird that it would turn out to be the MP3 that was causing the lights to shut down every time.  Again, stranger things have occurred.

 

So hopefully this has rectified his issue with the lights turning off, if it starts doing it again, we'll have to start investigating other options to see why and what is causing this to happen.

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