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Rain Tripping GFI on Controller


WLP3
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My installation has a large number of lights (about 20,000) on about 8 channels on one controller.  I am having issues with that controller tripping GFI when there is rain or moisture.  

Does anyone have similar experiences and does adding controllers to split up the number of lights on the controller help the situation?

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10 minutes ago, WLP3 said:

My installation has a large number of lights (about 20,000) on about 8 channels on one controller.  I am having issues with that controller tripping GFI when there is rain or moisture.  

Does anyone have similar experiences and does adding controllers to split up the number of lights on the controller help the situation?

GFCI is not a Over current device, so splitting the load won't help.

Find where the water and earth or metal meet your lights (plugs and outlets). Keep those out of puddles, positioned so they drain or try and shelter from rain

I use baby plug protectors (face dome upwards to act as umbrellas for ever socket, that includes stackables)

Use weather proof cord covers for extension ends that lay on the ground (the smaller ones only fit straight on ends), There are some Aussie beer can size units, for bigger plugs, but these don't work with the triple side outlets), and there are the almost gell like plug gaskets (they work, but they are $$)

 

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But they do work on total leakage. So splitting them up where the show is on multiple gfci rects does help a lot.  

But so does the above. Must keep off the ground. For bundles, I tape 3 or 4 empty water bottles together. Lay the bundle on top. Then cover with a $1 black plastic tub from wallyworld. Stake it down with 3 $0.50 tent stakes. 

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If you are a soft drink consumer, take empty (cleaned out) 2 liter soda bottles and cut the top off.  Turn upside down and put connectors inside the soda bottle.  You can fit fairly large connectors into a 2L bottle.  And they are dirt cheap!

 

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The limit is the power capacity of your controller and breakers.

For example.....

http://www1.lightorama.com/PDF/CMB16D.pdf

You need to determine the current draw of your light strings and do the math. 

A Kill-A- Watt power meter is a good investment for making sure you do not overload your controllers or breakers.

https://www.amazon.com/P3-P4400-Electricity-Usage-Monitor/dp/B00009MDBU/ref=asc_df_B00009MDBU/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167125429392&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13557614106429390568&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9013386&hvtargid=pla-306572288073&psc=1

Most people will tell you that 80% of the max is a good number to work to, gives you some overhead

One 15 Amp circuit, is a lot of LED's, but Incandescents consume much more power. 

 it depends on what lights  you are using.

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5 minutes ago, PhilMassey said:

The limit is the power capacity of your controller and breakers.

For example.....

http://www1.lightorama.com/PDF/CMB16D.pdf

You need to determine the current draw of your light strings and do the math. 

A Kill-A- Watt power meter is a good investment for making sure you do not overload your controllers or breakers.

https://www.amazon.com/P3-P4400-Electricity-Usage-Monitor/dp/B00009MDBU/ref=asc_df_B00009MDBU/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167125429392&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13557614106429390568&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9013386&hvtargid=pla-306572288073&psc=1

Most people will tell you that 80% of the max is a good number to work to, gives you some overhead

One 15 Amp circuit, is a lot of LED's, but Incandescents consume much more power. 

 it depends on what lights  you are using.

Faster typer. 

All good info. 

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Thanks, very much for your advice.  I just ordered a Kill-A -Watt to have on hand.  Nice thing to have.

It seems that the limiting factor with LED lights is really cumulative leakage rather than amperage.  My installation is on a pretty wet roof and it is nearly impossible, definitely impractical, to inspect the thousand or so connection points.  I am using commercial twist-lock connections on motherline and still having issues.

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For the last couple of years rain, moisture was giving me significant issues.  One of the causes was rabbits.  The rabbits would chew one wire somewhere in the 2 miles of zip cord I had and as soon as we have a rain/mist day the issues would arise and trip the GFI.  

This year I wired  6 GFI outlets solely dedicated to the show which has resolved all the issues I had before with moisture (opening night it rained) and have had only one chewed cord.  While researching GFI's I read that they do not have an unlimited service time.  I believe that the GFI outlets that I used the last few years were probably fatigued from being triggered many many times over the last few years and were part of the problem.  Knowing this before I wired the 6 new outlets may have resulted in replacing the existing GFI's and not needing to set up the new ones.  Hope this helps you.  All of us work so hard to get a show running and then issues like this can be frustrating.

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51 minutes ago, WLP3 said:

Thanks, very much for your advice.  I just ordered a Kill-A -Watt to have on hand.  Nice thing to have.

It seems that the limiting factor with LED lights is really cumulative leakage rather than amperage.  My installation is on a pretty wet roof and it is nearly impossible, definitely impractical, to inspect the thousand or so connection points.  I am using commercial twist-lock connections on motherline and still having issues.

Those Aussie sized plug guards will handle as big as NEMA L5-30's   https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Headz-Extension-Safety-Resistant/dp/B004IPZ6WU/ref=pd_sim_60_4?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B004IPZ6WU&pd_rd_r=31c58c3e-f0ca-11e8-b0b1-33fa73d4a09a&pd_rd_w=KNX8a&pd_rd_wg=0gcpe&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=18bb0b78-4200-49b9-ac91-f141d61a1780&pf_rd_r=THM3JJBRKG3XC468D873&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=THM3JJBRKG3XC468D873.

Are you sure it is your roof top that is the trip source?  Keeping things up, out of pooled water should usually do the trick.

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I use the child protective caps on all my female ends, pass through male to female plug at the beginning of a strand, and I also use them at the controller on any exposed female outlet and in unused channel dangles.  

I used to get a lot of GFCI trips before I did this too.  Sometimes if the Controllers are mounted on a stake or even a wall or other means, but the dangles are close to the ground and can get water splatter up in them, as well as dirt, mud and debris, is why I cap all unused dangles off with those Child Proof Outlet Covers. 

Also painted all of mine with a UV resistant Flat Black spray paint so they don't shine when light hits them. 

Been using the same child proof outlet cover protectors for 8 years now.  I also use the green light stakes at extension cord junction points to keep them off the ground along with the covers.   Haven't had a GFCI trip now in a very long time, even in the hardest rainstorm, display start s and runs with no problems at all.  And yes, I test the GFCI regularly to make sure it's functional and working correctly.

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