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My non led lights are tripping my gfci breakers mostly when I flash a very large number of them on and off quickly. The run fine one controller at a time but when I hook all the controllers up I end up tripping the gfci. 

 

Any thoughts on what to do besides change my design?

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Since you said "breakers" (plural), most likely you have a common neutral somewhere between multiple circuits.  Can you describe in detail how many controllers, and how they are wired.  What I am looking for is something like this:

Controller 1 is CTB16 wired as a single AC feed on breaker 7

Controller 2 is CTB16 wired as dual AC feed with one on breaker 7 and the other on breaker 8

Controller 3 is CTB16 wired as a dual AC feed with both on breaker 8

Etc.

Also, do you have props that are metal (tomato cages or wireframes come to mind) that have large amount of lights and their wiring wrapped around them?

 

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I currently have 16 controllers and each controller is feed by its own 20 amp dedicated circuit with a gfci breaker in the panel. There is only one outlet directly wired to each breaker. 

 

During my testing today I was operating only 5 controllers. Each controller was running a 3,200 incandescent light pillars. 

 

When tested one pillar at a time there were no issues at all. When testing all 5 pillars together some of them keep tripping the gfci breakers when I would flash all 5 pillars on and off quickly. So roughly 65 amps of incandescent lights were being flashed quickly. 

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By chance are you using spt wire? Just curious if a male or female plug was put on incorrectly (backwards). Not sure if that would do it but It's  normally the first step in a process of elimination when I have any issues. But personally have not come across that before..

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1 hour ago, GriswoldStyle said:

By chance are you using spt wire? Just curious if a male or female plug was put on incorrectly (backwards). Not sure if that would do it but It's  normally the first step in a process of elimination when I have any issues. But personally have not come across that before..

I am not using set wire. 

 

This issue is really confusing me this year. We are at a new house with a new power system. I am similar with chasing and tracking down gfci issues. Sometimes after a big rain I can't run the display for a day or two. 

 

The weird problem this time is if I run just one controller it won't trip. I am only having tripping issues when multiple controllers are running. Each controller is feed by an independent circuit and they are all on there own dedicated 200 amp sub panel. 

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You mentioned new house with a new power system.  By chance are your GFCI devices also arc flash sensing?  That is the latest safety advance and detects arcing - which may be happening when you are hitting it with a a heavy incandescent load.

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Just talked with my electrician and they are the new ones with arc flash sensing called "PDF". 

 

He is getting just gfci ones ordered so hopefully that is the problem. Otherwise the testing will continue. 

40 minutes ago, radioguy1007 said:

You mentioned new house with a new power system.  By chance are your GFCI devices also arc flash sensing?  That is the latest safety advance and detects arcing - which may be happening when you are hitting it with a a heavy incandescent load.

Just talked with my electrician and they are the new ones with arc flash sensing called "PDF". 

 

He is getting just gfci ones ordered so hopefully that is the problem. Otherwise the testing will continue.

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AFCI are a pain.

I am not sure why modern wired houses need these (besides the code writers said so).

OTOH if you are in a older house with Aluminum wire.. YES (a cheap alternative to ripping out all that and replacement with copper)

GFCI do go bad and do false trips from events NOT under their protection (Not a wire error/fault, just EMI).

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So I am going to swap all of the breakers for regular gfci breakers. Hopefully that work but here is a little more information to see if there is a different problem. 

 

The problem happens while dimming all 16 channel on my pillar at a slight offset from each other. Each channel has 200 incandescent mini lights for a total of 3,200 mini lights. 

 

Any reason I should not be able to do this without tripping the breaker?

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So an update for anyone that comes across this thread. I swapped the combined arc/gfci breakers for standard gfci only breakers and the problem is gone. 

 

So if you are able to avoid using arc breakers that would be advised. 

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