GFCI question

Hi all,
Do GFCI receptacles go bad?
The GFCI receptacle in my garage keep tripping and I can't find a reason for it. When I say it keeps tripping, I mean only about once a week or maybe once in two weeks for the last two months or so. All I have to do is RESET it and it is good to go for another week or two.
The only thing that I can see that MIGHT be a common factor is that it seems to happen early in the morning. I say might because sometimes I don't go out into the garage (where the receptacle is located) until the afternoon so I don't really know when it trips. But most of the time I find it in the morning. that would make me think that it might be some morning dew or something like that.
I don't think that weather is an issue. It is hot here and the humidity is fairly low. I live in northern California about 50 miles inland from Oakland. Yesterday we had a 95 degree day and today is only about 75 and it tripped today. But there is no dew that forms in the morning. Not even on car windshields.
I don't think that it is caused by anything plugged into the circuit. There isn't anything plugged into any of the other receptacles on that circuit. In the garage there is a UPS plugged into it, and a power strip that I use for some of my smaller woodworking tools like random orbit sander or biscuit jointer. They are all put away when I am finished with them. Also, it never trips when I am using it.
Any ideas??
Wayne
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Yes, they can go "bad". They are electronic devices. Usually tho, the symptom is a GFCI that won't stay reset. It trips as soon as you take your finger off the reset button. Best way to find out is to replace the one you have...they're not that expensive. Within a week you'll know.

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in article _V4Ec.832$ snipped-for-privacy@newssvr25.news.prodigy.com, NoOne N Particular at snipped-for-privacy@pacbell.net wrote on 6/28/04 7:59 PM:

This is a long shot but may be worth checking out. Power strips and various appliances often have filtering. This may include capacitors from the hot and neutral connected to ground. Although the capacitive current flowing from hot to ground is usually small and does not dissipate much power, it may be enough to trip or almost trip the GFCI.
I have checked it out using a 0.25 F capacitor from hot to ground. If I used my calculator orrectly that would allow a current of about 11 mA on a 120 VAC 60 Hz circuit. That is enough to trip.
Bill
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Does the UPS have to stay powered? Can it be moved? try unplugging the ups/power strip, eliminate all easy possibilities.
If this is unacceptable, then if you have the <$20 to replace the outlet, and are comfortable doing so, go ahead. if the new one exhibits similar behavior you'll have to make replacing/moving the UPS/powerstrip acceptable. ;)
good luck.
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Thanks for the comments. Here are some responses to some....
1. The UPS does not *have* to stay powered. I just have it powered to keep the batteries up. If you leave them unplugged the batteries will go bad in an instant. It is a two piece unit weighing a total of 225lbs, so moving it isn't easy. The GFCI receptacle is the closest source of power.
2. The power strip that I am using has no filtering or anything like that. It is just a 6' long metal strip with 8 outlets that I took out of an old data communications equipment cabinet. It does have an on/off switchand a circuit breaker on the end, but that is all. I just remembered that there are actually two power strips plugged into the GFCI, but they are both the same type. Cheap, simple and unfiltered. And at the end of the day, there is nothing drawing any power from them except the UPS which should be very minimal.
So for now, I am just going to replace the receptacle and see what happens. Like someone said, they don't cost a whole lot.
Thanks again,
Wayne

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On Tue, 29 Jun 2004 19:08:32 GMT, "NoOne N Particular"

I had a unique experience with a GFCI...on one of my basement circuits. It would trip on a regular basis...usually once a month or so. And turning off the basement lights (fluorescent) is what would trip it. And...the GFCI was NOT on the lighting circuit!
It turns out that there was a defect in the old technology...which was resolved with the 2004 specifications. The fluorescent lights were tripping it!
So make sure you get a 2004 compliant one. Usually, that's all that's selling now...but some stores will still have the old ones in inventory. So read the label.
Good luck.
Have a nice week...
Trent
What do you call a smart blonde? A golden retriever.
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in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com, Trent at snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote on 7/8/04 7:28 AM:

I sure would like to know what the difference is specification is. Do you know?
Bill
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On Thu, 08 Jul 2004 23:38:17 GMT, Repeating Rifle

Not right off hand, Bill. And I don't have a GFCI handy.
But I think its actually spelled out on the box itself. I do remember reading about it somewhere.
Have a nice week...
Trent
What do you call a smart blonde? A golden retriever.
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NN> Do GFCI receptacles go bad? NN> NN> The GFCI receptacle in my garage keep tripping and I can't find a reason fo NN> it. When I say it keeps tripping, I mean only about once a week or maybe NN> once in two weeks for the last two months or so. All I have to do is RESE NN> it and it is good to go for another week or two. You might want to check the last ten days or so for responses to my inquiry on finding a GFCI fault. Kenneth's response gave detailed instructions for measuring resistance between the wires -- except for the turning the power off part. <g>
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