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GFCI Help

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GFCI Help

Postby bbok » Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:07 pm

I have full intentions of building a controller based off of Swede and the Electric Brewery that will give me all sort of button knobs and displays.

I had bought a 4 piece lot of spa panels with GFCI in them and had gotten 1 of the breakers/rails into my big panel and some of the plugs when I realized its been taking too much of what little free time I have...and I really want to get onto the distillation part.

So I have temporarily abandoned the nice big controller box I had been working on and taken 1 of the spa packs and poof its up and running and today I boiled 5 gallons of water in no time! :rkn: No sparks, fires or burning smells mark this as a success! I measured temps with my contactless thermometer and nothing got overly warm.

I wanted a BLUE LED to light to indicate voltage to the spa pack and a GREEN LED to indicate when the element was on. The BLUE one lights up and its great but if I leave the GREEN LED wired in, I trip the GFCI. I am in NA so I have 2 , 120 conductors, a neutral and a ground. Both LEDs are 120v off of 1 of the 120 conductors to ground in the spa pack. The BLUE LED is wired in ahead of the GFCI and the GREEN one (element indicator) after the GFCI > Light switch before it goes to the element (again grounded to the bar in the pack). The conductor the LEDS are run off is NOT the conductor that goes through the SSVR.

When the GREEN LED was left in I the circuit I get a brief illumination, but then the breaker tripped. The only thing I can figure is that the GFCI senses the LED and trips the breaker.

I will work on a diagram to see if that helps with the description.

Thanks
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Re: GFCI Help

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:37 pm

With a GFCI breaker, there will be a white wire coming off of it. This should go the the neutral bar in the panel. There will be a neutral lug on the breaker, this should go ONLY to the neutral on the load. If you tie them together, any 120v load will trip the breaker. If you connect a 120v load from one of the hots and the neutral on the panel, you will trip the breaker, use the neutral on the breaker instead.

If you have any questions, please post your wiring diagram and we can help you debug it.
John Barleycorn must die.
"and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn,
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: GFCI Help

Postby bbok » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:14 pm

GFCI COntroller.JPG
Thanks for the reply. I hope this describes it better

The blue LED goes from "load input 1" (Black, 120v) and then grounds to complete the circuit

The green LED goes from the same line, but after the GFCI and DPDT switch and to ground to complete the circuit
bbok
 
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Re: GFCI Help

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:01 am

bbok wrote: Both LEDs are 120v off of 1 of the 120 conductors to ground in the spa pack.
Thanks


Here is your problem. Ground should never be used as a neutral conductor. It should only conduct current in a fault condition. Your GFCI is doing what it is supposed to do, it detected a ground fault. If you want 120v you should use one of the hots and neutral .

In other words, according to your diagram, the blue led should connect between load1 input and neutral input. The green led should connect between the lead going from the dpdt switch to the element and the load neutral on the breaker.
John Barleycorn must die.
"and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn,
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: GFCI Help

Postby bbok » Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:59 pm

Many Thanks RWHB. I will give that a try. Question though: Why doesn't the operation of the BLUE LED set off the GFCI?
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Re: GFCI Help

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:43 pm

bbok wrote:Many Thanks RWHB. I will give that a try. Question though: Why doesn't the operation of the BLUE LED set off the GFCI?


Because it is before the GFCI. A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) compares the current coming into it and the current going out. If they are different by more than 5 milli-amps it will trip. Still, just remember that ground (protective earth) is only for fault protection and should never be used as a current carrying conductor even though they are bonded together in your service panel.
John Barleycorn must die.
"and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn,
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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