surge protector for a sprinkler controller

A couple of weeks ago I plugged a one outlet surge protector into a GFI outlet (well actually the next outlet adjacent to the GFI outlet; I think they are all wired in one series) in my garage and then I plugged in the transformer (plug) from my sprinkler controller (timer) into this surge protector. I noticed when I did this, the manual operation for my sprinkler no longer worked correctly and not sure what to do next, I removed the surge protector and plugged the transformer back into the same outlet and all was well again. If you need details about the brands involved I can get them later but does the GFI outlet have anything to do with the surge protector making the sprinkler controller not work correctly? In other words, if I did the same thing but dealt with a regular outlet, would I get the same result? To my knowledge, the gfi outlet, surge protector and sprinkler controller work fine individually. Sorry if I'm vague here but it was a couple of weeks ago and I was at a loss what to do next then. Today I mentioned this to a hardware employee and he seem to think it had to do with the GFI but I don't know if he is correct so before I go to more trouble running an extension cord to a regular outlet and try it all over again, I'd like to hear what the consensus of opinion is here.
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One vote for go do more work, and try the extension and regular outlet.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
A couple of weeks ago I plugged a one outlet surge protector into a GFI outlet (well actually the next outlet adjacent to the GFI outlet; I think they are all wired in one series) in my garage and then I plugged in the transformer (plug) from my sprinkler controller (timer) into this surge protector. I noticed when I did this, the manual operation for my sprinkler no longer worked correctly and not sure what to do next, I removed the surge protector and plugged the transformer back into the same outlet and all was well again. If you need details about the brands involved I can get them later but does the GFI outlet have anything to do with the surge protector making the sprinkler controller not work correctly? In other words, if I did the same thing but dealt with a regular outlet, would I get the same result? To my knowledge, the gfi outlet, surge protector and sprinkler controller work fine individually. Sorry if I'm vague here but it was a couple of weeks ago and I was at a loss what to do next then. Today I mentioned this to a hardware employee and he seem to think it had to do with the GFI but I don't know if he is correct so before I go to more trouble running an extension cord to a regular outlet and try it all over again, I'd like to hear what the consensus of opinion is here.
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I can see surge suppresser tripping GFI. Well, try using a regular outlet, and let's see what happens then.
Greg
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A GFCI normally just passes the current through itself with a 2-pole relay, so it shouldn't affect a surge protector at all. OTOH some surge protectors contain line filters (capacitor, inductor) that can affect power line carrier systems (household wiring is used for carrying signals). Does your sprinkler's electronic controller use power line carrier? However if your surge protector is the type that plugs directly into the AC outlet, without a cord, then I doubt it contains a line filter.
What happens when you try to run a high power device (hair dryer, power saw, full size vacuum cleaner) through that GFCI outlet and that surge protector? Does the GFCI or protector get hot, indicating a bad connection (and dangerous condition)? Do the sockets feel loose (do not stick anything but an AC power plug in there to test).
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On Dec 13, 10:13 pm, snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com wrote:

All the sprinkler systems I've ever seen use a wall wart type of transformer for power and then low voltage direct wiring to the control valves. So much is missing here. Like what does "no longer works in manual mode mean"? That seems to imply that the sprinkler control still works in auto mode? Does it have power, or not? GFCI tripped or not tripped. Can't expect answers with unclear data.
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On Thu, 13 Dec 2012 20:08:13 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

I know I was a little vague because I didn't really know what info was needed to help. I didn't bother to try the sprinkler in auto just in manual mode at the time. I quickly undid my surge protector when I realized it wasn't going to work correctly at least in the manual mode. It did have power tho so the GFI could not have been tripped. When I get a chance I'm going to repeat what I tried then and then try it with a non GFI outlet. I guess I have no choice :(
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If you're sure it had power, then it must have been operator error of some kind. It's just powered from a wall wart transformer, right? If it has power, no way the surge protector or gfi has anything to do with it.
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On Thu, 13 Dec 2012 21:31:44 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

Correct, just a wall wart transformer. I guess you are correct tho I'm puzzled but at that time I was in a rush. Next time I will take my time to observe more.
Just from the little I could read, some suspect gfi and surge protectors may not always be friendly together yet some say there are some gfi's with surge protection so go figure. Doesn't seem like any conclusion on this subject. I admit my lack of pictures and lack of info probably doesn't help any but at the time, I just tried to give the basic info since I didn't know what else mattered.
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I can imagine the conversation. "Does this surge proctetor make my butt look big? That GFCI is wearing the same dress I am. I hate her! I'll never forgive her!"
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Just from the little I could read, some suspect gfi and surge protectors may not always be friendly together yet some say there are some gfi's with surge protection so go figure. Doesn't seem like any conclusion on this subject. I admit my lack of pictures and lack of info probably doesn't help any but at the time, I just tried to give the basic info since I didn't know what else mattered.
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There is nothing that makes a properly functioning surge protector incompatible with a GFCI. A surge protector is nothing more than MOV semiconductors connected from the power leads to ground. Those MOVs do not conduct unless the voltage exceeds a point around 600V when they turn on and start to look leak a connection to ground.
Now, could you have a bad surge protector, that has been hit with surges and is starting to fail, conducting some current when it should not? Yes, I guess that's possible. But that is no different than anything else you have plugged in that has some kind of failure which causes a GFCI to trip, exactly like it's supposed to do. A partial breakdown in insulation in an appliance, would be a similar example, seeing an actual fault.
But why is that even an issue. You say the sprinkler controller was powered up, but would not work. I can't conceive of a GFCI, surge protector issue that could cause that behavior. Do you have a rain sensor or similar on it? THAT would certainly prevent it from turning on the sprinklers.
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On Fri, 14 Dec 2012 07:05:51 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

No extra sensors but I understand. Matter of fact, I have a rain sensor from another home I could hook up if I knew how to do it tho it's not that important and that's a question for another thread. Thanks.
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The movs have a capacitance and shunt the lines. Some current thus gets used.
Greg
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Are you suggesting that the small capacitance of an MOV that's used in a plug-in surge protector is sufficient to trip a GFCI?
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snipped-for-privacy@noemailaddress.com says...

Is this sprinkler controller a "wireless device" (sprinklers are not wired into this)?
If yes, some of those type of things use the electrical lines to communicate on. If that is the case, it could be the GFCI outlet is on the wrong "phase" of your electric panel or the surge protector is isolating the signal. The GFCI should not cause any problems.
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