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Thread: GFCI and Fluorescent lights

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    Wildcat44 is offline New Member
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    GFCI and Fluorescent lights

    I just installed two ESI296 Series lights with use T12 HO lamps. This is a new barn with two stalls. It is a 15A circuit breaker wired directly from the box to the GFCI. I have both lights plugged into the GFCI. If I put one tube (110 Watts) in each light I have no problem (little dim). If I put a second tube in light 1 it gets pretty bright but no problem. As soon as I put the second tube in light 2 the GFCI trips. I test light 2 by itself and it goes without tripping but once I put light 1 on it trips. 440 watts should not be too much for a 15A circuit. I did notice that if I leave lamp 1 on for some time by itself it did trip the GFCI (15 minutes) I did not try light 2 that way by itself. Is it the fluorescent lights causing the issue because of the HO tubes and how they cycle? I was told that all outlets in the barn have to be GFCI. I assumed the outlet for the cieling lights had to as well. The plugs were factory installed. (FL) Is there a better quality GFCI I should use for these type lights? Thanks for the help.

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    Speedy Petey's Avatar
    Speedy Petey is offline Apprentice
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    A GIF does not trip on an overload, so the wattage is not an issue as far as the GFI is concerned.

    You have a ground fault somewhere in the fixtures. Do they work plugged into a regular receptacle?

    I have never heard of HO lights with a cord. They actually came from the factory this way? I am suspicious that something is not right with the cord wiring.

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    Wildcat44 is offline New Member
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    yes

    Yes they had the wiring done, three prong cord. I got these from Menards. They plug in no problem. I will check my switch tomorrow. I have the outlet connected to a 3-way switch that I forgot to mention. The 3-way seems to work perfect. I connected the three way from a diagram at do-it-yourself-help dot com. I used the third diagram down. It is just strange that it trips once the 4th tube is installed in light 2. Although it seems to trip again when the light 1 was on for a bit as I said before.

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    HayZee518's Avatar
    HayZee518 is offline Deity
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    ok, being that this is a lighting circuit, why not wire direct off a 15 amp regular circuit breaker and forget the gfci. a gfci is for personnel protection. what are the chances you'll ever grab the fixture during regular operation? you wire direct you don't need a gfci. put this same thing on a receptacle you need a gfci.

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    Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HayZee518 View Post
    ok, being that this is a lighting circuit, why not wire direct off a 15 amp regular circuit breaker and forget the gfci. a gfci is for personnel protection. what are the chances you'll ever grab the fixture during regular operation? you wire direct you don't need a gfci. put this same thing on a receptacle you need a gfci.
    Good point.

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    Wildcat44 is offline New Member
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    I have thought that too but when I had the barn inspected the only comment the inspector had was that all outlets had to be GFCI. Since these plug in I am assuming I need a GFCI. I will call him Monday to verify if I need it for the lights in the ceiling. You are right who is going to grab a light in the ceiling. Guess to change the bulbs but the unit would be off....

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    HayZee518's Avatar
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    take the cord off, put in a romex connector and wire to the ballast. white to white, black to black, green to enclosure screw [green] parallel the other fixture and you are good as gold. mind you [and you said it] all receptacles need to be gfci protected. so instead of going to the expense of buying gfci recptacles which go for about 5 bucks each, use standard receptacles, just put in a gfi breaker.

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    Wildcat44 is offline New Member
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    Well I tried it with out the GFCI and it works good. I will do the route you suggested if the inspector insists on GFCI I will have to hard wire it and take the cord off.

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    HayZee518's Avatar
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    just never mind the gfci circuit - hardwire the flourescents and be done with it. you have a lighting circuit not a lighting receptacle.

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