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Old 06-10-2011, 09:34 AM   #1
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Lightbulb GFCI question

I posted originally about the Leviton GFCI. I have since received mine and beginning to wire my control panel. Originally I was going to wire the GFCI so it cut power to the entire panel if it tripped. However, since then I am thinking of only cutting power to the heater element. This way I can maintain power to my PID and timer. I am using a plastic NEMA enclosure so I am not worried about the box being charged and was thinking if the GFCI only cut power to the element I could set a low alarm at say 200F to know if the element was shorted. Otherwise if wired to the incoming 240v everything goes dead if the GFCI is tripped. Thoughts?

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Old 06-10-2011, 11:30 AM   #2
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You raise a great question. Keep in mind that the only time your GFCI will be used is when there is a failure somewhere else. That failure could be worn out wiring, damage (potential causes include heat & pinching), defective equipment, or installer error. Run through all the possibilities and combinations of possibilities.

If you have any other conducting path out of your control box you need to protect all of it with the gfci.

One example: what if a terminal screw loosened and a live wire fell off inside your box? What could it touch? Do you have a thermocouple that could carry line voltage to your kettle?

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Old 06-10-2011, 12:25 PM   #3
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That would be the only way of the box. I was thinking that a situation like that would trip the breaker though, wouldn't it? Guess I didn't say anything about that, but the panel is being hooked up to a dedicated 30amp breaker in my fuse panel. From what I have read about GFCI's, they do not detect shorts but rather only imbalances caused by current leakage. Am I wrong on this?

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Old 06-10-2011, 12:28 PM   #4
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I'd prefer that my possibly wet hands don't short anything out in my control panel, or worse shock the bejezzus out of myself. I'll be putting my GFCI before the control panel so that everything that could possibly get wet is protected.

Do what you wish, but keep in mind that putting the GFCI in after the CP gives you a bit of risk. If you are comfortable with that then go for it, but I wouldn't recommend it.

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Old 06-10-2011, 02:02 PM   #5
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If there was a ground fault, then it means you have a fairly serious problem to deal with and fix. Why do you care if the PID and timer stay on? You are going to have to unplug the system and repair it anyway.

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Old 06-10-2011, 04:09 PM   #6
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I agree with wyzazz that you should put your GFCI breaker before the control panel. I know that you've been bit before and survived, but that doesn't mean you can't die from another bite.

I know this is off topic, but I just wanted to say that I am so glad to see that the troll is not posting in this forum anymore. I was actually starting to get a little annoyed by him.

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Old 06-10-2011, 04:21 PM   #7
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Hey everyone I am being electrocuted but I still know how much time is left on my boil !!

Seriously protect all !

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Old 06-10-2011, 05:54 PM   #8
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Well the point was to have an alarm to know something was wrong but now that I think about it the alarm would be switched to the timer during the boil. doh!! Thanks guys.

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