why do my ballasts trip GFI?

E-A-G-L-E-S

New member
i bought two of those yellow plug in the outlet GFI's from my lfs....the one on the circuit i'm using for pumps, reactors, skimmer, etc. works fine.......BUT, the one on the other circuit that runs my AC Jr. which controls my lights and heaters and fans trips as soon as my elec. ballasts turn on, so i had to remove that one?
 

Blown 346

New member
Sounds like the GFI couldnt handle the power that it was being given.
I run my ballast for my lights on a seperate GFI and never have any problems. The minute I go to use the other outlet it will trip from either my pump or my ballast. I took the pump off and ran it to another outlet and things have been working fine.
 

Philwd

Premium Member
When your ballasts turn on you will get a surge. I stagger my lights turning on to avoid the surge tripping my gfci. Another issue can be the interference from the eballasts.
 

crumbletop

New member
I'm no expert, but this is what my understanding is based on asking around:

1) Electronic ballasts have to have RFI filtering in place to comply with device regulations. This RFI filter bleeds up to 1/2 amp.
2) GFI doesn't care about surges, etc -- only about a current flow mismatch between hot and neutral.
3) Because there is an inherant mismatch of current with the RFI circuit bleeding energy, the GFI can trip.

This apparently doesn't happen with magnetic ballasts because they don't have the RFI circuit. It can also apparently be hit or miss with electronic ballasts depending on how much current is being bled by the RFI circuitry.

FWIW, I too had my lights on an aquacontroller with a lot of other things. When my new lights tripped my GFI it shut the whole tank down. I am now handling this by adding a DC4-HD for my lights only -- hooked up to its own GFI, and then I'll run the rest of the items, heaters, fans, pumps, etc. on my DC-8 which will be on its own GFI. That way if my lights trip a GFI, everthing else will keep on ticking...

Jack
 

Philwd

Premium Member
I should clarify. The surge may push him way beyond the 11A he thinks he is getting.

Jack, I have my ACjr set up almost exactly the same as yours. Ballasts on 4HD and everything else on DC8.
 

shoman89

New member
I have to use filters on my MH ballasts or they trip my gfi's. I use the Tripplite power strips and they seem to clear up the problem.

--JeffP
 

E-A-G-L-E-S

New member
so i would need a strip for each ballast? because each ballast has to go into its own socket...

....and when my lights turn on on the AC Jr., only one single heater or one single fan is on,...so basically they are on their own DC8
 

crumbletop

New member
I'm not sure I follow the need for a single strip for each ballast. You could potentially do all ballasts on one strip, then have everything else on a separate strip with a separate GFI.

Jack
 

E-A-G-L-E-S

New member
but with only one strip for all three ballasts, only 'one' plug would go into DC8 of my AC Jr. ... which means they would all have to come on and go off at same time....i have three lamps over my 6' 210g and do not want all three on and off at same time :(
 

crumbletop

New member
ahh, I see. You are doing the GFI strip _after_ the DC-8, not before it. Yes, I think you'd need 3 strips in that instance... You could also go the same route I and Philwd did, and hook the lights into a DC4-HD and have that hooked into its own GFI.

Jack
 

crumbletop

New member
The DC-8 and DC-4HD are only directly linked via the communication cable (the phone cable). They are plugged in to separate wall outlets. This allows individual GFI for each, and would allow you to run each on completely different electrical circuits if you have your room wired that way. The DC-4HD is controlled by the AC the same way the DC-8 is controlled. You identify the unit by setting it up as the "B" unit, lets say, and then B01 is the first plug, B02 is the second and so on. The DC-8 can continue to be A01, A02, A03, ...

Does that answer what you are asking?

Jack
 

E-A-G-L-E-S

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7530311#post7530311 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by crumbletop
ahh, I see. You are doing the GFI strip _after_ the DC-8, not before it. Yes, I think you'd need 3 strips in that instance... You could also go the same route I and Philwd did, and hook the lights into a DC4-HD and have that hooked into its own GFI.

Jack


...but i'll still basically have the same amp draw on the DC4...:confused:
 

crumbletop

New member
Yes. The main difference is that the DC4-HD can handle 12amps per outlet and up to a total of 16 amps combined. If, when turning on your lights you always trip the GFI, then the DC4 will not help. I managed to trace my GFI tripping to a bulb that wasn't inserted all the way (that is the only thing I could find) and once seating that bulb all the way, the GFI hasn't tripped. So in my case, I'm going with 2 controlled power strips (the DC8 and the DC4HD) to give me extra assurance that if my lights trip my GFI, I won't loose the controller, and I won't loose the heater, pumps, fan, etc. In your case you might be stuck unless you can identify a scenario that doesn't seem to trip the GFI.

Jack
 

crumbletop

New member
Does the GFI only trip when all three lights are on? If so, you might try hooking up two lights to one GFI (maybe the 2x250s) and the other to another GFI (the 400). If that works, then maybe you can go the DC4-HD route and use it to control two of the lights, and leave the other light on the DC8.

Also, if you have the 2x250s set to come on at the same time, you might stagger them by 15 minutes. There are lots of permutations you might try. When I went through troubleshooting my system it was a huge PITA...

Jack
 

crumbletop

New member
I don't think the problem is your DC8, the problem is that your GFI is tripping. That is why I suggest experimenting with distributing the load across the two GFI strips that you have just to see if that improves things. If so and you still need the control then you can add a DC4HD.

Jack
 
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