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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello guys, I just set up my first saltwater tank and for some reason the newly installed 10 amp GFI keeps randomly resetting. I currently have nothing in the tank just saltwater, a CAP 1800 pump, a CAP 1200, a RIO 2100 pump, and a 200watt heater. Well, if I plug everything in a regular plug it will run fine for days. But if I plug it in in the GFI it keeps resetting it right after you plug it in then other times it works fine for hours then the next morning I find that everything is off!!! In addition, when the GFI is off and I meassure the voltage drop from the water and a different regular plug I get 120v and I am pretty sure my tank is not grounded unless even after the GFi is reset the neutral and ground wire continue to work. Sorry about the long post. Anybody have an idea about this???
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I doubt it because when I grabbed one of the pumps and tried to connect it to a GFI in the kitchen it popped that one too. But there is nothing wrong with that pump because when I plug it to a different pulg it does not blow a fuse. In addition the other pumps do the same thing and it cant be that all the pumps are bad right? I am going crazy with this and until I figure it out I cannot put anything in the tank!!!And I am dying to start putting live rock in it. Help please!!!:bawling:
 

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This is a strange one.....all pumps when plugged one at a time into a separate GFI--trip the GFI immediately? And they all trip the one at the tank sometimes.

Can I assume that the gfi in the kitchen is a permanent plug?

Is the one at the fish tank perm or on a cord? Is the kitchen on the same circuit breaker as the plug for the tank? On rare occasions I have seen where plugging in two GFI's in series can cause random tripping.

I would start by putting your meter back with one leg in the water and one on a good ground and then start unplugging your equip one piece at a time, until the stray voltage goes away. When it does that piece of equipment has a problem. Once we get rid of the bad equipment (or fix it) then we can detiremine if there is still a problem.

Good Luck....Do not stand in a puddle while testing your tank !
 

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Is your equipment trying to pull too much power through the GFI? You said it is a 10 amp GFI. Before I go too far where are you? In America we use 120 volts with 20 amp GFI's, I know in places like Europe they use 240 ish voltages, so it would make sense that the GFI would be 10 amp in that case.

If you are in America I would suggest you get a good 20 amp GFI, because all the stuff you are running could just be pulling more than 10 amps.

I had trouble when I set up my lights, I could not start 2 250 watt MH lights at the same time without tripping the GFI. The GFI that was in the bathroom (I tied into that circuit cause it was close to the aquarium room, and gets very little use) I had thought I was going to hook up to a different circuit that was not GFI protected, so I had purchased a GFI. I ended up switching out the GFI I had in my bathroom with the new one, and it stopped tripping.

I hope that helps?
 

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Is your equipment trying to pull too much power through the GFI? You said it is a 10 amp GFI. Before I go too far where are you? In America we use 120 volts with 20 amp GFI's, I know in places like Europe they use 240 ish voltages, so it would make sense that the GFI would be 10 amp in that case.

If you are in America I would suggest you get a good 20 amp GFI, because all the stuff you are running could just be pulling more than 10 amps.

I had trouble when I set up my lights, I could not start 2 250 watt MH lights at the same time without tripping the GFI. The GFI that was in the bathroom (I tied into that circuit cause it was close to the aquarium room, and gets very little use) I had thought I was going to hook up to a different circuit that was not GFI protected, so I had purchased a GFI. I ended up switching out the GFI I had in my bathroom with the new one, and it stopped tripping.

I hope that helps?
Their are 15 amp GFCI to,infact most are 15.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am in America. I cannot see how I can be pulling more then 10 amps at a time doesn't that seem like a lot for 3 pumps that are about 25 watts each and a 200watt heater??? Once I get home today I will try some things and then post results. Thanks!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is a strange one.....all pumps when plugged one at a time into a separate GFI--trip the GFI immediately? And they all trip the one at the tank sometimes.

Can I assume that the gfi in the kitchen is a permanent plug?

Is the one at the fish tank perm or on a cord? Is the kitchen on the same circuit breaker as the plug for the tank? On rare occasions I have seen where plugging in two GFI's in series can cause random tripping.

I would start by putting your meter back with one leg in the water and one on a good ground and then start unplugging your equip one piece at a time, until the stray voltage goes away. When it does that piece of equipment has a problem. Once we get rid of the bad equipment (or fix it) then we can detiremine if there is still a problem.

Good Luck....Do not stand in a puddle while testing your tank !
All the GFI's pop randomly or sometimes right at the beginning.
The GFI in the kitchen and next to fish is permanent.
Both GFI's are in different circuits.
I am assuming that the GFI is 10 amps since it was the cheapest at home depot. I noticed that the more expensive ones were higher amperage and were 20amp and 30amp. How can I be pulling more than 10 amps if the pumps it starts fine sometimes and that is when it pulls the most amps?

Here is the test I did:
1: I physically unplugged everything and stuck one probe in the water and the other on a live extension cord. I got about 1 volt which is probably a discrepancy on the craftman meter.

2: I went and plugged in the heater in the GFI and it showed 0 volts once again.

3: I plugged one CAP pump and it gave me a reading of about 60 volts.

4: I plugged the second and last CAP pump and it gave me 120 volts with everything running.

5: I left everything plugged in but tripped the GFI manually and it gave me voltage reading even though nothing was running.

So my question is: Is the plastic housing on the pumps grounded? A friend told me that some water pumps have special plastic that is able to conduct electricity in order to ground the pump. Is this true?

Also I replaced the plug strip just in case to see if it pops it tonight.

Any ideas??
 

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You can have too many GFIs on a particular circuit. I had that problem. I just replaced some of the outlets less likely to need a GFI and the problem was solved. I'd keep the GFI on the aquarium outlet.
Don't forget to use drip loops so that water flowing down an electrical cord will drip on the floor and will not be able to climb up the cord and into the outlet.
I also have a UPS that can run my pumps for at least 24 hours in case the circuit trips of there is a power outage. I don't plug lights into the UPS because it would use of the battery too quickly.
 

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You can have too many GFIs on a particular circuit. I had that problem. I just replaced some of the outlets less likely to need a GFI and the problem was solved. I'd keep the GFI on the aquarium outlet.
Don't forget to use drip loops so that water flowing down an electrical cord will drip on the floor and will not be able to climb up the cord and into the outlet.
I also have a UPS that can run my pumps for at least 24 hours in case the circuit trips of there is a power outage. I don't plug lights into the UPS because it would use of the battery too quickly.
Do you know that any were down stream from the GFCI can be protected,so if you put the GFCI 1st in line of that circuit,the rest can be protected.And to many on one circuit,can cause nusent trips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I replaced the old strip that apparently had a GFI built in with a regular strip with the on and off switch and it did not pop during the whole afternoon and night. I will continue to watch it and see what happens but so far so good. Thanks for the help.:D
 

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GFI is a component designed to trip when there is a fault and provides a safe path back to ground. If you do not have a physical wire on the ground terminal in the wall, the GFI will not function properly.
Also the neutral and ground wire, cannot be reversed, otherwise it will not operate correctly. The green wire is a equipment ground, designed to carry fault current back to the panelbox.... The neutral conductor, usually white completes the circuit. If I were you, I would check the receptacle boxes/outlets with the power off and check the connections of the outlet to verify continuity and for tightness. A loose terminal in the box will cause your problem... A missing ground, equipment ground that is, will cause your problem.....
Just be careful or you might become the ground wire.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
GFI is a component designed to trip when there is a fault and provides a safe path back to ground. If you do not have a physical wire on the ground terminal in the wall, the GFI will not function properly.
Also the neutral and ground wire, cannot be reversed, otherwise it will not operate correctly. The green wire is a equipment ground, designed to carry fault current back to the panelbox.... The neutral conductor, usually white completes the circuit. If I were you, I would check the receptacle boxes/outlets with the power off and check the connections of the outlet to verify continuity and for tightness. A loose terminal in the box will cause your problem... A missing ground, equipment ground that is, will cause your problem.....
Just be careful or you might become the ground wire.....
:rotflmao:eek:k I already checked it and all the wires are good as far as I can see. So far it has not pop the GFI again after changing the strip and taking one of the pumps out.
So the other question is still unresolved. Are the pumps grounded through the casing? That would be the only way I could be getting a voltage difference when having everything off and testing the water and a different live plug? Thanks for the help.
 

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:rotflmao:eek:k I already checked it and all the wires are good as far as I can see. So far it has not pop the GFI again after changing the strip and taking one of the pumps out.
So the other question is still unresolved. Are the pumps grounded through the casing? That would be the only way I could be getting a voltage difference when having everything off and testing the water and a different live plug? Thanks for the help.
Sounds like a defective motor of one of your pumps or a surge of current possible due to overload.
The GFI works from current and time to protect both equipment and specifically, human safety. For example, say if you dropped a light into the water, the GFI will will experience a sudden rush of current in a momentary time frame. The GFI is specifically manufactured to trip at this sudden increase and usually it is in millamps. So if your pumps has a internal short, or water finds a way in, this should cause a trip. Like I said earlier, if a pump is locked or drags causing a inrush current, this could trip the GFI. Hopefully, yes to your question about the case grounding. Thats why you check to see if it is approved by UL and/or other reputable agencies that are suppose to enforce electrical standards....
 
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