Portable GFCIs - good or bad?

Ocicat

Premium Member
I always hear it recommended to use a GFCI for your aquarium equipment, to lessen the likelihood of electrocution or some other electricity/water-related disaster. However, in looking around at the different GFCI products to decide what would work best for me, I came across this:

It is worth noting that some GFCI devices require a manual reset if the power supply TO the GFCI is stopped -- for example, by a power outage that might occur during a thunderstorm. GFCI receptacles that are installed as wall sockets are designed NOT to require a manual reset after a power outage -- when the power comes back on, the GFCI is still send power to operate a load.

Portable GFCIs, such as on extension cords that comply with OSHA standards require a manual reset after even a momentary power outage -- these cords are usually the heavier cords that might be found on a construction sight or at Home Depot. On a construction job site, this feature prevents your circular saw, for example, from starting up accidentally when the power supply is restored after an outage. If your aquarium filters, heaters, etc. are connected downstream from such a GFCI extension cord, you will lose life support for your fish after a power outage until you manually reset the GFCI.

This seems a bit worrisome - if I'm out of town for a couple of days, and the power just flickers, my fish could be without any water movement until I get back.

Is the only way around this to install GFCI outlets?? I was planning to just use a GFCI extension cord or GFCI power strip.
 

vonodie1

New member
I use a gfci extension on my freshwater tank (am not setting up salt until after we move as it will be a 180) and we have frequent power outages even if just for a split second and I have never had to manually reset the thing. It always has just came back on with the electricity.

It is one that I bought at home depot.

I hope that helps eases your mind.
 

jcraft

New member
if a GFCI trips, you have to manually reset them by pressing the reset switch. Regardless of whether or not its a GFCI extension cord, a GFCI inwall outlet or a GFCI breaker.

the only way i see to get around this if you aren't around . . . is to get someone that IS around to reset it for ya:)
 

MCary

Premium Member
He's talking about resets from power outages not from trips. I have a portable that I use for tools. It must be reset like you said if there is an outage. Installing one in the outlet box is pretty simple.

Mike
 

jcraft

New member
ok, just reread the quote

Obviously what I have stated is true- if for instance water gets into the outlet, the GFCI will trip and have to be reset.

As for when electricity goes out . . .
I had installed GFCI's that I bought at Home Depot that just plugged into the existing wall receptacle. I hated them. They kept tripping and I was having to reset them constantly. Now, I don't know if it had to do with the fact that they had to be reset after I lost electricity or whether or not I had to reset them because after power was restored, everything connected to the outlet would turn back on simultaneously, creating an initial surge that would trip the GFCI, but not the breaker.

I have since installed GFCI wall outlets and have had no problems whatsoever. Power comes back on, the GFCI stays on.

So my advice? Replace a couple of your wall outlets with GFCI's and don't even bother with those plug in's from the hardware store
 

mwood

Premium Member
GFCI's can quit working as they get old. I had to replace an outlet GFCI in my basement after it just wouldn't stay on one day. I was told they just ware out.

I can see the desire to have these, but I wouldn't have them on anything critical. You could put them on lights and some pumps, but I'd keep the essentials off of them.
 

samsfishnchips

Premium Member
Ocicat,

that makes sense, but for the price of a portable unit, I would just make one, but it would make better sense to cut power and installed one,

oh, and about anything portable, remember to put it where it would be unlikely for water to get to it, on the floor, ect, keep it up high, cause you don't want to lost power on one side, and still have power close to the ground,

sam
 

jay24k

New member
A good work around is this.

Have both. Run one solid pump on a non gfi. Run lighting and your in tank pumps on a GFI. For example, my external pump is on a non gfi in case the other trips. At least I have some flow going through the tank. If you are going on vacation, I'd take the GFI off if it is a pluggable one. Who is going to get electrocuted? GFI's don't help against arcing so I honestly wouldn't worry about it.

While you are home, definetly have one used and one not.
 

Philwd

Premium Member
I have 2 GFCI. I split my life support between the 2. In addition I have some hardware not in water on non-GFCI. Everything in the water that could zap me or the tank is on GFCI. They prevented a fire once.
 

HippieSmell

Occupy Reef Central
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8126514#post8126514 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by jay24k
A good work around is this.

Have both. Run one solid pump on a non gfi. Run lighting and your in tank pumps on a GFI. For example, my external pump is on a non gfi in case the other trips. At least I have some flow going through the tank. If you are going on vacation, I'd take the GFI off if it is a pluggable one. Who is going to get electrocuted? GFI's don't help against arcing so I honestly wouldn't worry about it.

While you are home, definetly have one used and one not.
This is what I do. Also, both of mine (I have 2) are portable, and I never have to reset either after a power outage.
 

Roland Jacques

Premium Member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8126514#post8126514 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by jay24k
A good work around is this.

Have both. Run one solid pump on a non gfi. Run lighting and your in tank pumps on a GFI. For example, my external pump is on a non gfi in case the other trips. At least I have some flow going through the tank. If you are going on vacation, I'd take the GFI off if it is a pluggable one. Who is going to get electrocuted? GFI's don't help against arcing so I honestly wouldn't worry about it.

While you are home, definetly have one used and one not.

Good thinking jay, i like it.:)
 

trendle

New member
A GFI is a must. If it trips, then there is a problem. Just a point fo those who are against them.

I use a portable. I don't know, maybe the fact that it must be manually reset after a power outage is good. Since I use a HOB overflow, it's kinda good to be there when the flow turns back on to avoid a flood....
 

Roland Jacques

Premium Member
i've never heard of have to reset gfi when power goes out and comes back on. that would suck bad IMO.

What brand has that problem? I want to stay away form that brand.
 

JC VT

New member
Mine is a portable and does not reset after a power outage. That is exactly why my tank crashed the first time, and why I have a negative opinion of them (atleast the portable ones). The second crash came because I just installed a mag ballast prior to leaving for winter break, and again failed to cut on, with obviously no electrical threat. I unfortunately had the heater connected to the GFCI as well.

I don't recall where I got it, some online retailer a long time ago. I thought it might have been DIYreef.com, but I could be wrong.
 

beetle-b

New member
just an fyi, if you replace a standard wall receptacle with a GFI receptacle, that entire circuit and all receptacles connected in series with that circuit is now GFI protected. So...buying multiples and connecting them seperatley, won't add any benefit unless they are on seperate electrical circuits.
 
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