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Author Topic: If I don't use a GFCI distro on a genny, where is the ground fault protection?  (Read 5996 times)

Jeffery Foster

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If I use, for example, a 45kW generator at an outdoor gig, and choose not to use the GFCI outlets on the included distro, does this place anyone in harm's way?

I believe I've read where sound providers (among others) are *not* required to use GFCI outlets, (when it's reasonably expected that the general public does not have access to the outlets- feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken).  As our amplifiers are more prone to trip GFCI breakers, I'd like to not use them.  But of course, I can't take a chance of somebody potentially being injured.

Thoughts on this?
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Benjamin Gingerich

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If I use, for example, a 45kW generator at an outdoor gig, and choose not to use the GFCI outlets on the included distro, does this place anyone in harm's way?

I believe I've read where sound providers (among others) are *not* required to use GFCI outlets, (when it's reasonably expected that the general public does not have access to the outlets- feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken).  As our amplifiers are more prone to trip GFCI breakers, I'd like to not use them.  But of course, I can't take a chance of somebody potentially being injured.

Thoughts on this?
GFCI or not, I believe it's imperative to ground generators, a 6-9ft reusable rod could save evey life around in case of surges, lighting or other disasters. I watched an AC unit blow up on a non-grounded system a few days ago, very scary.
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Benjamin Gingerich
Project Manager - LifeSound Av - Macon, Georgia
Air Force Reserves- Electrical Power Production
AA Electrical & Mechanical Engineering

Jeffery Foster

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GFCI or not, I believe it's imperative to ground generators, a 6-9ft reusable rod could save evey life around in case of surges, lighting or other disasters. I watched an AC unit blow up on a non-grounded system a few days ago, very scary.

I agree with this.  However, this is much different than the protection that the GFCIs provide, correct?
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jasonfinnigan

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I agree with this.  However, this is much different than the protection that the GFCIs provide, correct?

I would use GFCIs I do. Sometimes they will shutoff do to a voltage drop somehow but the protection the provide is great. A circuit breaker and a ground rod will NOT stop someone from getting shocked, even if you put a 20amp cuircuit hot leg directly to the ground rod it will NOT tripp the breaker, just make the ground rod, and ground around it hot. at ground rod is for giving a reference/equal potential field

A GFCI on the other hand provides great protection against shock, I use them as much as possible. The check for the current going out and current coming back on the neutral if they are not the same (meaning there is a loss due to some issue or someone getting shocked) it will trip. keep in mind drawing too much current over a lower gauge for or too long of a distance can cause this to trip as well.
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jasonfinnigan

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As our amplifiers are more prone to trip GFCI breakers, I'd like to not use them.

Your amplifiers might have an issue. Is it all of them or a certain model? have you tried plugging them in directly to a gfci individually to see what happens?
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Ray Aberle

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Depends on what you're doing and where the outlets are coming from.

- Courtesy outlets on generator: GFCI
- Using 50A twist to spider boxes, where anyone can plug into them? They're GFCI.
- Cam lock from gennie to your distro-- well, the expectation is that the feeder cable from the distro is going to some sort of RackPack in an amp rack, where the public does not have access to the outlets. (The twist lock feeder cabling is also considered something non-accessible to the public.) Do those outlets need GFCI protection? (As far as I know) They do not. However, your "stage stringers," giving backline power to the band SHOULD have GFCI protection on them.

-Ray
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Kevin Graf

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GFCIs are not about Fault conditions!  That's what circuit breakers and Safety Ground wires are about.  GFCIs are about enough leakage current to kill you but nowhere near enough current to trip a breaker.
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Speedskater

Jeffery Foster

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Your amplifiers might have an issue. Is it all of them or a certain model? have you tried plugging them in directly to a gfci individually to see what happens?

All of our amps are QSC.  I honestly haven't conducted a controlled experiment with GFCIs to see if they will always trip them, or only a certain few, or a particular combination.  I should.  I do know that I have tripped a GFCI with them before.  But as we know, these could theoretically be leaking up to 3.5mA and still be UL rated.  Two of them on one circuit would exceed the 6mA required to trip.

That's why I wondered if I could use non-GFCI circuits off the generator yet still be safe.

Thanks for the input!
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jasonfinnigan

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Depends on what you're doing and where the outlets are coming from.

-Do those outlets need GFCI protection? (As far as I know) They do not. However, your "stage stringers," giving backline power to the band SHOULD have GFCI protection on them.

-Ray

This! for sure this will be where you are most likely to have issues.
Keep in mind if wired properly only the first outlet in your stringers needs to be a GFCI and the rest can be normal spec grade outlets and just pass through the GFCI as ground fault protection for the whole circuit.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 08:41:16 pm by JasonFinnigan »
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Kevin Graf

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Experiment with your power conditioners also. Some models dump the noise currentonto the Safety Ground wire which then trips the GFCI. That is the noise current bypasses the GFCI on the return path.
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Speedskater

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