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Can A Surge Protector Trip A Gfci

author
Maria Garcia
• Sunday, 03 January, 2021
• 7 min read

In my science classroom all outlets on the lab benches are FCI protected--that's great. I plug in multiple computers into some of these outlets and use power strips to do this, but it seems there might be a problem occasionally with this.

(Source: www.aliexpress.com)

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The electrician told our head custodian that it wasn't good to use surge -protected strips with gfci, and I'm wondering if this is the problem and if so is there some way to mitigate it. Edit: Before posting this question I spent ~30 minutes searching E-SE site for any information on possible interaction between these two components, to no avail.

These 2 components are commonly used in residential and commercial electrical power distribution systems, yes? Deterioration of insulation can also result in small intermittent leakage currents to ground before the insulation actually fails and trips the GFI or breaker every time the faulty device is plugged in.

The connections to safety ground, if they leak any current, would indeed be the kind of unbalanced flow that the FCI is designed to detect and cut off. A properly designed surge suppressor shouldn't leak enough current to be a problem, under normal circumstances.

2) Move do eventually take enough surges to start to fail. I'm not sure what the failure modes are, but if one of them starts leaking more than its spec calls for that too could trigger the FCI.

Again, though, that's the FCI working as designed and telling you that the surge suppressor is no longer trustworthy. Since a move can conduct 5000 amps to ground during a spike it can easily trip the GFI.

Now you could plug a portable GFI into the surgeprotector, and it would work just fine. GFI's protect humans from electrocution by removing the hot if even a small amount of current goes to ground.

Not enough from a single device but given you are using power boards, it is the sum of many small leakage currents on one circuit. Should be possible to fault find, try substituting out the power boards for new or non surge protected model.

After taking several hits some MOVE's start conducting to ground at lower voltages until they fail. The way to eliminate false trips and still protect sensitive equipment is to install a “whole house” or main panel surge suppressor in the main with a dedicated standard inverse time double pole circuit breaker as required by the manufacturer.

Rock star: Bubble concert is safer than grocery store The FCI is a device that opens the circuit when the current to ground exceeds 4 mill amps, so it protects when there is a fault that allows the electricity to flow to ground rather than through the “neutral”.

The surge protector is a device that will prevent high voltage events like a “spike” from getting to your equipment (such as a computer). The surge suppressor detects higher than normal voltage incidents and electronically re-routes them to the return wire.

FCS are generally only needed where water can be present. The surge protector protects against power spikes that normally would not trip a FCI.

A FCI protects against leakages to ground that may not be sufficient to trip the circuit breaker but could be fatal nonetheless. In the electrical profession, questions still arise about what type of circuit breaker to use with surge protectors.

Most manufacturers do not test circuit breakers to determine performance when subject to industry standard surge current waveforms. Standard UL489-listed, Heating Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HAIR)-rated, thermal-magnetic breakers perform well when used with surge protectors.

“High inrush”-rated breakers (applications include motors and HID lighting, etc.) AFC breakers, which sense for line-to-neutral (L-N) and line-to-ground (L-G) arcs, may also nuisance trip during a surge event.

The same nuisance tripping may occur with ACFCI breakers, which sense for L-N, L-G, and series arcs. All of these “smart” circuit breakers are equipped with electronics, which makes them more prone to surge damage.

Therefore, surge protection is a good idea on panels with these types of breakers employed. However, industry standards show that 10,000A (8×20 microseconds) is the highest energy waveform you can be exposed to in a typical residential/commercial service entrance location.

In certain surge protector applications, a stand-alone circuit breaker is needed to ensure a safe and reliable system. Keep in mind that the fault current rating of the protector's breaker must be sized properly for the application.

This approach is sometimes implemented using a separate fused disconnect switch in series with the protector. The Photo (left) shows a setup whereby a 3-pole breaker is used to service the surge protector, which is equipped with a low-impedance 10AWG cable.

This type of installation affords the convenience and most of the safety aspects as a load center's breaker. It's also a good way to employ the specialty, high-performance circuit breakers mentioned earlier.

Using a dedicated circuit breaker with surge protection can improve overall system reliability. Dion Nero is an engineering manager with MCG Surge Protection, Deer Park, N.Y.

But unlike a circuit breaker (with common trip), fuses are not ganged. From a safety consideration, this may not be advantageous as power is present inside an already damaged piece of equipment.

A circuit breaker or a fused disconnect can easily be turned off to remove power to the protector. Keep in mind, if a surge protector has been tested at Underwriters Laboratories (UL) using a circuit breaker, substituting a fuse may void the UL listing and also may result in an unsafe installation, and vice versa.

Defective surge strips can cause FCI tripping. Verify: the outlet trips when the light is turned OFF? They have Move which short hot and neutral to ground with unusually high voltages (surges).

A surge suppressor has a light between line and ground. Usually, this light is just enough to trip a GFI, and has destroyed 2 Inverters of mine.

It's not that big of a problem since I don't really need the surge protector on that outlet (only a toaster oven and phone there), I was just wondering why it was doing what it was doing. But I don't think that could be the problem, I purchased them new when we moved in 4 years ago (since the idiot previous owners didn't fix the broken ones that were in here).

I don't know if it is wired correctly, it was in place when we moved in. Just a code note lights are not supposed to be on the counter top receptacle circuit by current code, but it may be grandfathered.

Just a code note lights are not supposed to be on the counter top receptacle circuit by current code, but it may be grandfathered. They seemed to have cut lots of corners and did things as cheaply as possible.

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