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Old 05-04-2009, 09:31 AM   #1
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GFI Keeps tripping. Please advise.

Hello all,

There is an outlet underneath the aquarium stand with two receptacles. However, I have a total of 13 plug ins so in each receptacle I plug in a power strip to a total of two. Yesterday I bought a 48" T5 light strip and after running for about 15 minutes along with my other lights, the GFI started to trip. Now, I have to connect a power strip from another receptacle across the room to prevent the GFI from tripping. And when the GFI trips, everything is shutdown. Any suggestions to address the problem? Thanks Dai Phan
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:37 AM   #2
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Either to much electric draw on the single circuit (most probable), high degree of moisture from your sump in an enclosed area causing condensation or water getting into the strip/outlet.

You can't overdraw the circuit which is probably a 15amp circuit. Remember there are probably other outlets on that circuit as well. If you added 300/400 watts of lighting your probably over drawing your circuit.

Add the amperage draw from each piece of equipment on the circuit. If it's over the circuit breaker/GFCI limit then thats your problem.

There is no solution other than running a new independent circuit or finding an outlet on a different circuit nearby and moving some equipment there.

Just something to chew on
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:50 AM   #3
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Either to much electric draw on the single circuit (most probable), high degree of moisture from your sump in an enclosed area causing condensation or water getting into the strip/outlet.

You can't overdraw the circuit which is probably a 15amp circuit. Remember there are probably other outlets on that circuit as well. If you added 300/400 watts of lighting your probably over drawing your circuit.

Add the amperage draw from each piece of equipment on the circuit. If it's over the circuit breaker/GFCI limit then thats your problem.

There is no solution other than running a new independent circuit or finding an outlet on a different circuit nearby and moving some equipment there.

Just something to chew on
I really do not want to have extension cord all over the floor so is there something the electrician can install that allows me to have all the plugs in underneath the stand? I have three light canopies that use 6 plug ins. Will replace these with a single 8 bulb fixture help? DP
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:52 AM   #4
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You'll need a new circuit run from the main panel, or an existing receptacle branched off an existing one. Either way not a cheap route to go. Though better than a fire
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Old 05-04-2009, 10:54 AM   #5
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:57 PM   #6
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You are overloading the circuit, have you tripped the breaker yet?

Id get a surge strip that is also GFCI, then go from there.

I dont trip mine at all on the tank( amazing) however my wife trips the GFCI in the bathroom running only a blowdryer.

Id either replace the GFCI to two GFCI's( they make retro boxes and only takes about 15 minutes to do) or run an extension cord.
you are overloading it and causing it to trip, either get rid of some of the stuff you dont need like the air pump and you should be fine, I only have 3 cords plugged in for my tank. Light/Fitler and heater, nothing more nothing less.
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:15 PM   #7
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You are overloading the circuit, have you tripped the breaker yet?

Id get a surge strip that is also GFCI, then go from there.

I dont trip mine at all on the tank( amazing) however my wife trips the GFCI in the bathroom running only a blowdryer.

Id either replace the GFCI to two GFCI's( they make retro boxes and only takes about 15 minutes to do) or run an extension cord.
you are overloading it and causing it to trip, either get rid of some of the stuff you dont need like the air pump and you should be fine, I only have 3 cords plugged in for my tank. Light/Fitler and heater, nothing more nothing less.
Thanks I will look into that. I only triped the GFCI. These are the plug ins I have:

1. Light fixtures (6)
2. Sump light (1)
3. Powerheads (3)
4. Pumps (2)
5. Protein skimmer (1)

Tough to eliminate any of these. DP
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:25 PM   #8
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A single light would be a better option. Switch some of your fixtures around. By this I mean, put lights and skimmer on one plug and the rest on the other plug. You will have to fiddle with this and see what happens.
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:54 PM   #9
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power squids are your friend.

6-8 outlets 1 plug, run the lights off one squid and the rest off the other.

You are just overloading the outlet and causing it to pop, thats whats good about a GFCI. Itll trip but thats all that trips unless you really do a number and blow your box off the wall.
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:09 PM   #10
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It's very simple--you're overloading the circuit-period.
By trying to bypass it, by any other means, you are playing with fire, literally.
There are too many things drawing power from that circuit breaker in your breaker box.
Spend a couple of hundred bucks and get an electrician to run a new circuit to a place under your tank and split the load between two circuits.

It's far better than the alternative.

You're a doctor, do you advise unsafe shortcuts?
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:52 PM   #11
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You could try running your skimmer and sump light while your main light is off. Maybe that will lessen the load until you can find a permanent solution.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:55 PM   #12
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120 volt receptacles are fused/breaker protected at 20 amps
According to code those circuits have to be wired with 12 Awg which can hndle 25 amps of current @120 volts. Thus a built in safety factor. 20 amps is a lot of current for a typical aquatic setup. I think the problem is probably moisture related.
An easy way to check the amperage rating on the C/B is to read what is written on the handle.
GFCI circuits are used where there is a possibility or probability of being exposed to wet or damp conditions.
Remember ALL outlets on a GFCI circuit have to have a GOOD ground(green wire) and also be connected to a GOOD neutral (white wire) circuit.
The black wire is the “hot” wire.
It's a safety factor that a person should worry about..
Charles.
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Old 05-04-2009, 10:03 PM   #13
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Sorry,
I just thought about my post.
There ARE 120 volt outlets and GFCI outlets that are fused/breaker protected to carry more than 30 amps of current. BUT most residential receptacles are protected for 20 amps continuous.
Charles
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:04 AM   #14
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A single light would be a better option. Switch some of your fixtures around. By this I mean, put lights and skimmer on one plug and the rest on the other plug. You will have to fiddle with this and see what happens.
It won't work that way. Both receptacles in the outlet box are protected by the same circuit breaker.
Charles
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:54 AM   #15
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Actually I would venture that most residential households are on 15amp breakers for daisy chain outlet receptacles running 14/3 wire. To those that are encouraging the poster to try to work around this you are really giving very dangerous advice. IMO without knowing the exact equipment to see the amperage draw rating as well as what the amp breaker is and what else might be on that circuit there is no doubt what's going on. Worst case (but entirely possible) is a fire due to overheating of the wire, melting of the insulation and shorting.

Please get a qualified electrician to look at it, or turn some of the equipment off (prob some of the lamps).

BTW: you didn't mention heaters? Those on the same circuit too? 150W / 300W times how many?

Also, it's a saltwater tank so you need to understand the equipment requirements before suggesting getting rid of certain things
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:51 AM   #16
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Both CaptainAhab & cbwmn are correct depending on code for your area, 14/3 gauge 20 amps continuous or 12/3 gauge 30 amp. continuous also bath or kitchen circuits are usually GFCI outlets, one that is usually for lights is 14 gauge and not suitable. like has been said if you've not done any electrical work before, Please get a qualified electrician..... plus he has insurance and guarantees also.. Good luck on cheap one. Try and get one that's been doing it for long time and reputation for not being a rip off, good luck!
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:01 AM   #17
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Both CaptainAhab & cbwmn are correct depending on code for your area, 14/3 gauge 20 amps continuous or 12/3 gauge 30 amp. continuous also bath or kitchen circuits are usually GFCI outlets, one that is usually for lights is 14 gauge and not suitable. like has been said if you've not done any electrical work before, Please get a qualified electrician..... plus he has insurance and guarantees also.. Good luck on cheap one. Try and get one that's been doing it for long time and reputation for not being a rip off, good luck!
Please check the NEC National Electric Code book for more information.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:56 AM   #18
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Regardless of codes, or even whether or not the wiring is to code to start with, the basic fact is that to start with, the original poster needs to...

1. Find out which other outlets in the house are wired to the same circuit breaker as the outlet at the fish tank

2. Add up the wattage of all the devices on that circuit breaker, that are normally on all at once

3. Take that total wattage (Watts) and divide it by your voltage (110V) to get the approximate amperage in that circuit. For example, if you have 2000 Watts, then 2000/110 = 18 amps

4. Compare that total amperage to the rated amperage of your circuit breaker.

I think several folks have suggested this already, but it seems like it's getting lost in the code discussion. Regardless of codes, you have to figure out what you're dealing with. If the circuit is not overpowered, then you at least rule out one thing and can move on to others like faulty ground wiring in the house, or just plain miswiring somewhere. If it gets to that, then bring in an electrician.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:43 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Kurt_Nelson View Post
Regardless of codes, or even whether or not the wiring is to code to start with, the basic fact is that to start with, the original poster needs to...

1. Find out which other outlets in the house are wired to the same circuit breaker as the outlet at the fish tank

2. Add up the wattage of all the devices on that circuit breaker, that are normally on all at once

3. Take that total wattage (Watts) and divide it by your voltage (110V) to get the approximate amperage in that circuit. For example, if you have 2000 Watts, then 2000/110 = 18 amps

4. Compare that total amperage to the rated amperage of your circuit breaker.

I think several folks have suggested this already, but it seems like it's getting lost in the code discussion. Regardless of codes, you have to figure out what you're dealing with. If the circuit is not overpowered, then you at least rule out one thing and can move on to others like faulty ground wiring in the house, or just plain miswiring somewhere. If it gets to that, then bring in an electrician.
Hi,

This is exactly what the technician did. He installed another outlet for me to plug another power strip on that uses a different circuit. The old oulet shares my aquarium with my refrigerator and that is why it trips sometimes. After the installation, everything works well. DP
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:45 AM   #20
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Actually I would venture that most residential households are on 15amp breakers for daisy chain outlet receptacles running 14/3 wire. To those that are encouraging the poster to try to work around this you are really giving very dangerous advice. IMO without knowing the exact equipment to see the amperage draw rating as well as what the amp breaker is and what else might be on that circuit there is no doubt what's going on. Worst case (but entirely possible) is a fire due to overheating of the wire, melting of the insulation and shorting.

Please get a qualified electrician to look at it, or turn some of the equipment off (prob some of the lamps).

BTW: you didn't mention heaters? Those on the same circuit too? 150W / 300W times how many?

Also, it's a saltwater tank so you need to understand the equipment requirements before suggesting getting rid of certain things
In my aquarium I do not install heaters as I keep my room temperature at 72 degrees in the winter time. It has been over a year and the fish are doing well. DP
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