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Author Topic: Surge protector incompatible with GFCI? Really?  (Read 12506 times)

frank kayser

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Surge protector incompatible with GFCI? Really?
« on: November 07, 2014, 10:46:55 am »

I need a reality check here.


I've been told by the warranty department of surge suppressor manufacturer, a well respected/recommended brand here, that "I have been advised that the [product ID] will trip the GFI outlet they are not compatible they are for the standard outlet only."  I'm incredulous.


Is this possible?  Do I call BS here?


frank

[/size][size=78%](probably not enough specific information here, but I really don't want to drag any name through the mud in public.  PM me if you need more specifics, and we can chat offline)[/size]
[/size]

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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Surge protector incompatible with GFCI? Really?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2014, 10:50:21 am »

I need a reality check here.


I've been told by the warranty department of surge suppressor manufacturer, a well respected/recommended brand here, that "I have been advised that the [product ID] will trip the GFI outlet they are not compatible they are for the standard outlet only."  I'm incredulous.


Is this possible?  Do I call BS here?


frank

[/size][size=78%](probably not enough specific information here, but I really don't want to drag any name through the mud in public.  PM me if you need more specifics, and we can chat offline)[/size]
[/size]
Did it ever work?  A common issue is MOVs that have started leaking from previous hits.  This current can trip GFCIs, but a new MOV-based strip should not.
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frank kayser

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Re: Surge protector incompatible with GFCI? Really?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2014, 10:56:44 am »

Did it ever work?  A common issue is MOVs that have started leaking from previous hits.  This current can trip GFCIs, but a new MOV-based strip should not.
Two identical units, DOA out of the box. Allegedly, no MOVs - one of their brand's selling points.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Surge protector incompatible with GFCI? Really?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2014, 11:10:46 am »

Two identical units, DOA out of the box. Allegedly, no MOVs - one of their brand's selling points.

From what I've read, new surge strips can have up to 3 mA current leakage to ground and still pass UL listing. So while one won't trip a 6 mA threshold GFCI,  two surge strips hooked together on a common GFCI just might make it trip. Would be interesting to do some actual testing to know for sure. I have the metering to test this if they'll send me a few samples to play around with.
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Mike Sokol
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frank kayser

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Re: Surge protector incompatible with GFCI? Really?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2014, 11:28:12 am »

From what I've read, new surge strips can have up to 3 mA current leakage to ground and still pass UL listing. So while one won't trip a 6 mA threshold GFCI,  two surge strips hooked together on a common GFCI just might make it trip. Would be interesting to do some actual testing to know for sure. I have the metering to test this if they'll send me a few samples to play around with.
Thanks, Mike.

I've read about the surge strips in series, each leaking a minimum, but additive being above the 6 mA threshold here.


Both surge units I have tripped the two different GFCI outlets they were plugged into - a 20a outdoor receptacle at the center of town, and a 15a indoor receptacle in my home.  Nothing but a single surge suppressor (no load) was plugged in.


As for testing, is that your milliamp multiplier loop you'd be using?  I'm in your same general neck of the woods, and would be willing to make mine available for testing, or PM me, and I'll send you the specifics on brand and model, and let you deal directly with the manufacturer.


frank
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Surge protector incompatible with GFCI? Really?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2014, 11:35:13 am »

I still like the idea of GFCI built into the power strips.

It could be possible to make adjustable GFCI but I don't trust end users to not use that adjustment capability to defeat the functionality.

JR
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When in doubt do what's right.

frank kayser

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Re: Surge protector incompatible with GFCI? Really?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2014, 11:41:17 am »

I still like the idea of GFCI built into the power strips.

It could be possible to make adjustable GFCI but I don't trust end users to not use that adjustment capability to defeat the functionality.

JR
The more I think about it, the better it sounds.


Yeah, I wouldn't trust the end users with that "power", either.
frank
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Surge protector incompatible with GFCI? Really?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2014, 12:17:42 pm »

The more I think about it, the better it sounds.


Yeah, I wouldn't trust the end users with that "power", either.
frank
A surge supressor could be built into the GFCI power strip but upstream of the GFCI so leakage could be inconsequential.

JR
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Guy Holt

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Re: Surge protector incompatible with GFCI? Really?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2014, 12:40:20 pm »

The more I think about it, the better it sounds.

As you can see in the table below, Bender and Shock Block make a wide variety of GFCI devices - ranging from Class A devices with fixed 6mA trip levels and devices with user adjustable trip settings from 5- to 50mA.  Even though devices with adjustable trip levels are capable of providing personnel protection to UL943 Class A specifications when set for a trip level of less than 6mA and time delay of 100 milliseconds, they can not be used in place of Class A devices because the UL Standard for Class A requires a fixed threshold of 6mA (probably for the reasons John Roberts cites above).


For more details on how to use user adjustable GFCIs,  see my IA workshop on Ground Fault Protection at http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/html/481_GFCI_Workshop.html.

Guy Holt, Gaffer
ScreenLight & Grip
www.screenlightandgrip.com
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Surge protector incompatible with GFCI? Really?
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2014, 12:48:53 pm »


I've been told by the warranty department of surge suppressor manufacturer, a well respected/recommended brand here, that "I have been advised that the [product ID] will trip the GFI outlet they are not compatible they are for the standard outlet only."  I'm incredulous.


Name the brand here.  Explain to them that while that may be the case, and while their product may meet UL spec, it does not meet your needs since you need one that is compatible with GFCIs.  You won't be buying any more and you will  make  your colleagues in the industry aware of the unsuitability of their product for use in this industry.

The NEC and UL specs are MINIMUM standards-they do not necessarily indicate a quality product. IMO, it is not slamming a  brand/product to give an honest, fair assessment of its suitability for use-and if their warranty department claims that it is not suitable for use with GFCIs then that is just as much part of the companies spec as the info in the marketing brochure.

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Steve Swaffer

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Surge protector incompatible with GFCI? Really?
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2014, 12:48:53 pm »


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