GFCI Problem

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re: "If there is an imbalance that means current IS flowing in the ground circuit."
That may be true, but that is not what casues a GFCI to trip.
Your original statement was "The GFCI breaker works by detecting leakage current on the ground wire" and that is the only point I am arguing.
Your statement implies that the device is monitoring the current on the ground wire (how else would it detect the current?) and when it detects the leakage current it trips.
You may call it semantics, but I call it science. The fact remains that your statement "The GFCI breaker works by detecting leakage current on the ground wire" is just plain wrong, regardless of how you try to justify it. I'll even give you some latitude and let you leave off the word "wire". The fact remains that the GFCI doesn't detect to leakage current on any type of ground circuit. Period.
It works by detecting the imbalance between the hot and neutral wires. Regardless of where the leakage current is going to, that leakage current itself is not "detected" by the GFCI. It is the *imbalance* between the hot and neutral that is detected.
Compare it to pressure-balancing in a shower valve. The valve itself will sense the difference in pressure (substitute: current) between the hot and the cold (substitute: neutral) and adjust itself to maintain the original balance (substitute: trip).
It doesn't "detect" the cold water flowing through the pipe (substitute: ground wire) to a toilet or a washer or a sink. All it knows is that there is an imbalance right at it's point of monitoring and it compensates for it.
That's how a GFCI works. Look it up.
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wrote:

I don't know if Croy gets it or not, but our friend JIMMIE doesn't appear to, at least not yet.
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Sticking yor finger in a socket and grabbing the water

That is not true. The second explanation is completely correct and all that is needed. Here's one to think about. I connect together two netural wires on a GFI circuit. What happens? It trips because there is an imbalance between the hot and neutral currents. There is no path to ground involved. Or I swap the neutrals on two differenct circuits. Again the GFI trips and no ground current is involved.

Yes, that true, but per above, it's not the only way to trip one. Originally Jimmie used the term ground wire. Now he's using ground circuit. I would say that's an improvement, but still very misleading at best. I agree with you that few people would hear the term ground circuit and think that circuit includes them standing on a wet cement floor. The more natural association would be to the ground of the circuit involved.

I agree.

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wrote:

Which I why further down I gave Jimmie the latitude to eliminate the word "wire".
His assertion that a GFCI monitors something other than the current flowing in the hot & neutral wires is where I (and apparently you too) have an issue.
We might also note with interest that we haven't heard from Jimmie in a while. Perhaps he has chosen to silently acknowledge his error in understanding the way a GFCI spends it's day.

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On Sun, 08 Jan 2012 11:14:31 -0800, croy

On Wednesday evening, I checked all the wiring visible from the attic, but didn't see anything chewed or otherwise out of whack.
I pulled the GFCI breaker from the panel again and found only a few dusty cobwebs on the buss bars, which I cleaned off. I replaced the breaker, and tightened the wire screws until my knuckles hurt.
I reset the breaker on Wednesday evening, and it hasn't tripped as of Sunday, mid-afternoon ( a record since this problem surfaced).
Since I can't come up with anything better, I'm going to claim cobwebs as the cause. I can't really imagine that cobwebs really were/are the cause, but I've got nothing else.
--
croy



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Call a priest, and have him sprinkle the wiring with lots and lots of holy water? I mean, put the holy water on with a garden sprinkler. That should have some effect.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
I reset the breaker on Wednesday evening, and it hasn't tripped as of Sunday, mid-afternoon ( a record since this problem surfaced).
Since I can't come up with anything better, I'm going to claim cobwebs as the cause. I can't really imagine that cobwebs really were/are the cause, but I've got nothing else.
--
croy




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re: "I replaced the breaker, and tightened the wire screws until my knuckles hurt."
I assume that you mean that you read the instructions for the breaker box and torqued the screws to their proper tightness.
From: http://www.ul.com/global/documents/offerings/perspectives/regulators/electrical/newsletters/MoldedCaseCircuitBreakersMG.pdf
"17. Tightening Torque All circuit breakers are marked with their rated tightening torque for all terminals intended for field wiring. This is a nominal value. If the torque is dependent on wire size, the marking indicates the range of tightening torques for each wire size."
Overtightening is not always a good thing.
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