GCFI False Tripping

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by W3ICM, Dec 28, 2018.

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  1. W3ICM

    W3ICM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Having some problems, so seeking advice.

    RF can trip GFCIs (also called Ground Fault Interrupt or GFI). I am only running 100 watts to a G5RV, and I may be tripping some GFCI. I have three that just wont reset. I tested them with a ground and outlet tester, and two of them show an "open hot."

    I don't know if the GFCI socket is damaged and needs replacing.

    Would appreciate your advice.


    Fred W3ICM
  2. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    In my experience, the inexpensive ones only last a few months, or a couple of years at best, with or without RF. After that time they start tripping and then won't reset. Don't buy the cheapest ones at Lowes, Home Depot, etc. The are, in my experience, the least reliable.

    Perhaps they last longer in other parts of the country where there aren't day after day of one-hundred degree temps. Many outlets that work well when the temperature is below ninety trip constantly when the temperature is a hundred and two. That makes them useless all afternoon, here, for about a month each summer.

    If, however, you have established that RF is the problem, one of the more expensive lines of outlets is designed to be RF resistant. Someone else will have to tell you exactly which ones, but I think they are made by Eaton and actually have the word "ham" in the product designation.

    It aggravates me that we all have to live with these over-complicated, fickle things, so a handful of idiots won't electrocute themselves each year, but that is life in the modern world.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
    N8VIL and K9ASE like this.
  3. W3ICM

    W3ICM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was surprised that the ARRL website has info...
    I also called the Bryant company and talked with tech support. The tech guy recommended a heavy duty version that costs around $70.

    I reviewed the specs of Leviton heavy duty hospital versions. I didn't see any mention of RF.

    Some models refer to compliance to a UL code.

    I am unsure of what make and model to buy.
  4. SM0GLD

    SM0GLD Ham Member QRZ Page

    You should not have any CM currents from your antenna running through you rig and into your power supply and then down the mains wire.
    Use a current probe to find out if you have CM problems https://www.robkalmeijer.nl/technie...ek/hambladen/radcom/1992/10/page33/index.html
    If you have try adding a CM-choke at the antenna wire next to your rig and one on the mains wire next to your power supply.

    ......then measure CM-currents again.
  5. KK6YAE

    KK6YAE Ham Member QRZ Page

    When a GFI trips, a plug tester will show an open hot. Otherwise, GFI’s make sure there is a balanced load going out on the hot wire, and returning on the neutral wire. My entire shack is fed with 20 amp rated GFI’s ($15-20 at most stores) and they never trip. I’ve could see a situation where lots of RF induced directly could cause one side or the other to sense more current, but that would mean you would not want to be hanging out within the same space, because that would be bad for you to sit in yourself. More than likely your power supply/amplifier, or antenna system is not working properly, and is dumping excess current back down to the receptacle, and the GFI is doing it’s job to open the hot because of the imbalance it senses between the hot, and neutral return wire.
  6. W0KDT

    W0KDT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The cheap-o duplex outlet GFCIs seem to have a service life. If possible, ditch it and put the correct OEM GFCI in your panel.
  7. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Had a similar problem and replaced the GFCI. Issue went away.

    It appears these things are not created equal.
  8. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm assuming these are older GFCI units. I believe that all GFCIs sold these days must comply with a newer UL standard which was updated some years ago to include RF immunity. I would first try a new spec grade $15 GFCI from Home Depot or Lowes or similar and see how it works. If you still have problems then a commercial/industrial grade from, say, Pass and Seymour ought to be sufficient (they often stock those grades at HD too). You can probably return the spec grade if you get it from Home Depot and return it promptly with the explanation that it trips erroneously. They are very good about returns.

    Years ago before the UL standard was upgraded I had lots of GFCI nuisance trips when I had an attic antenna (HOA). Using the commercial/industrial grade Pass and Seymour fixed the problem.
    KC8VWM likes this.
  9. KD9HRB

    KD9HRB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I had a problem with breakers tripping. Had a electrition friend swap the ones that were tripping. I then grounded the radio and amp. Got rid of coax and ran ladderline all the way to the tuner(dipole). Problems went away for the most part. Only thing left is the GFI on the yl's hair dryer, buzzes like crazy. I stay off when I hear the shower go on. I'm no expert on this one, advice was taken from the qrz forum. Running 600watts
  10. W3ICM

    W3ICM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was reading some customer reviews, and I found this ham radio-related one on a Leviton model. Good comments, but the product is $22.

    Leviton Model GFNL1-W R02-Gfnl1-00W Self-Test Tamper Duplex Gfci Receptacle with Guide Light, 125 V, 15 Amp, White
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Amateur Radio homes
    April 11, 2016

    Color: White Size: 15 Amp Verified Purchase

    I replaced one as a test and really liked it.. so I ordered several more. The nightlight truly does work well. I’m an amateur radio operator with antennas in the attic and every time I would transmit between 20 watts and 100 watts on any band a few of my original builder GFIC would trip or chatter/hum. Not all of them but the same ones every time. So I replaced them with these and the problem is gone. These have been really re-engineered over the last 15 years and are not sensitive to RF! I didn’t replace all my GFIC’s, just the ones that trip all the time. And now I have extra nightlights! I really recommend these to any other radio amateur out there. November 5 Zulu Yankee. N5ZY
    N0TZU and WB5YUZ like this.

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