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Old 10-07-2003, 02:24 AM   #1
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Ground Fault Interrupter vs. a Grounding Probe

Given that salt water conducts electricity better than fresh water, I would like to protect myself from accidental shock.

Would a grounding probe suffice, or would I need a more expensive device like a ground fault interrupter? And could I connect my entire power strip to the GFI to protect myself from all my electrical devices?

And advice would be appreciated.
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Old 10-07-2003, 07:35 AM   #2
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you should have both, and you can get a GFI power cord at the home depot if u don't want to install an GFI outlet. If you do install an outlet, then pluging a power strip into that makes it part of the GFI curcit.
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Old 10-07-2003, 11:12 AM   #3
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The GFI outlet will save your life in an instant. Infact a GFI outlet should be suggested for anyone with aquariums not just saltwater folks.

The grounding probe is designed to drain off the minute voltate leaks that some of our equipment could/do put off. A spinning magnet within the power head can produce an external magnetic field unless its properly sheilded internally. This magnetic field in water that is disturbed could produce microvolts of electricty.

Many of our fish have very sensitive lateral lines that pick up this minute amount of electric and can cause the fish constant stress. Some have clamed that adding a grounding probe can help prevent/cure laterl line disease.
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Old 10-07-2003, 11:20 AM   #4
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Go with a GFCI. They can/will save your life.

A probe is simply completing an electrical circuit. You can still get shocked with a grounding probe. Not so with a properly functioning GFCI.

The probes are supposed to remove "stray voltage" from the system. But what doesn't make sense to me, is that if stray voltage has no where to go, it can't pass current. However, once your complete the circuit, you system can now pass current and everything in your tank has the possibility of getting zapped from the amps now being drawn.

Its kinda like the bird on the power line. Even though the bird is sitting on a 100,000 volt power line there is no circuit to ground. So even with the potential (voltage) of 100,000 volts the bird is fine. However, if that same bird should touch the pole and complete the circuit, it is instantly fried...
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Old 10-07-2003, 11:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Many of our fish have very sensitive lateral lines that pick up this minute amount of electric and can cause the fish constant stress. Some have clamed that adding a grounding probe can help prevent/cure laterl line disease.
I know a lot of people say this but I am not so sure. Most fish lateral lines do not detect electrical current. They detect differences in water pressure. similar to the way our ears detect differences in sound pressure. Only sharks and certain other bony fish are able to detect voltages in the water.

Now I have no idea exactly what bony fish are adapted to detecting voltages. But that would something interesting to research.
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Old 10-07-2003, 12:48 PM   #6
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Is this one good enough? I found many in the $50 range, this one is $25. Anybody know anything about this model?

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...?v=glance&s=hi
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Old 10-07-2003, 01:04 PM   #7
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Yeah it will work, but it would be cheaper to either replace the regular breaker with a GFI breaker (what I did) or replace the outlet with a GFI outlet. GFI breakers run around $35 while GFI outlets are around $15.

I would only buy what you are looking at if you are not comfortable replacing the breaker or outlet yourself. You will probably need several of those extension cords since I am sure you will need more than the 3 outlets that come on it.
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Old 10-07-2003, 01:09 PM   #8
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Neat, I did not know you could get a extension cord with a GFI in it.

IMHO It should work so long as the receptical you plug it into is really grounded.
I've only used the ones that replace an existing in-wall socket.
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Old 10-07-2003, 01:18 PM   #9
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Thanks to both of you for the reply.

Biggen, replacing the breaker or the outlet is not an option for me. My tank is in my office, and I don't think my employer would like it if I rewired my office.
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Old 10-07-2003, 01:25 PM   #10
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IMHO It should work so long as the receptical you plug it into is really grounded.
I've only used the ones that replace an existing in-wall socket
Ok. I am being a little picky. But I thought you might like to know how a GFI works.

In a perfect electrical world, incoming (hot) current is run through a electrical device and then the exact ammount that was hot is now returned through the outgoing (neutral) wire. It is basically a loop from the transfer station. A GFI constantly monitors the outgoing current to make sure it is the same amount as incoming. If it detects that even the smallest difference in current between these two (4 milliamps), it trips the circuit thus shutting off power.

It doesn't have anything to do with ground. That is a whole other class...

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