11:08AM | 06/16/04
Member Since: 06/15/04
4 lifetime posts
Hello everyone, I'm the new kid on the block. I've been reading the BBS for some time now and now am in need of some advice.

This is a great place for info.

I have a GFCI outlet that trips for no reason that I am aware of. The computer/moniter etc. and alarm clock are plugged into the power strip that is using this outlet. Very minor stuff. Purchased this house 1 year ago and this has happened 3 times now. twice has happened during the night while sleeping, so the alarm clock never went off!! Question is:

What can cause this?

Thank you for any help you can give me before I call the electrician.


11:35AM | 06/16/04
Member Since: 02/21/04
138 lifetime posts
Well it could be a defective GFCI, it could be a surge in the line,or it could be a real ground fault in the devices plugged in to it. Where is it located? Usually you wouldn't need GFI protection on a computer, only in kitchens ,baths, basements,and outdoors. Do you fall into these areas? If not replace the GFI with a regular outlet, or a surge protected outlet for the puter. Otherwise replace the GFI with a new one.


11:59AM | 06/16/04
Member Since: 06/15/04
4 lifetime posts
Thank you so much for your quick response.

1.Outlet is in basement office but bedroom alarm clock, etc. are upstairs. So just certain things don't work anymore when this outlet trips.

2.I have a sure protector on computer but.. only the red light (surge protection) light is on, not the green gound protection light.

Should I replace all the GFI's in the house,

some of the outlet's upstairs have little green sticker dots on them.?? The previous owner did the wiring herself with help of classroom teacher/instructor. It did pass inspection.(and now I'm a bit nervous)

Tom O

01:15PM | 06/16/04
Member Since: 09/17/02
477 lifetime posts

The cause of the trips may be your surge protection strip. When you get a surge, the strip may, depending on the type of surge, conduct the excess voltage to ground. I'm wondering about that green ground protection light not being lit. It could be that you have no equipment ground at the receptacle you're plugged into or it could be a burned out light.

I suggest that you bring in an electrician to look at this circuit. If it is properly grounded, he may be able to re-arrange connections at the GFI so that your computer is not being protected by the GFI.

However, if you have an older house, the previous owner may have installed GFI receptacles so the old 2 prong receptacles could be replaced with 3 prong. Those little green stickers are making me suspicious. If that is the case, there is not much the electrician could do except run a new circuit for your computer (strongly recommended if, in fact the receptacle is not grounded).

Let us know how this turns out.



02:16PM | 06/16/04
Member Since: 07/01/03
549 lifetime posts
They don't mix. The surge protector has capacitors designed to dissipate voltage spikes. The GFI detects this as a current leak and trips. The GFI is designed to trip when input voltage and output voltage do not match. A few millivolts differential will do it. Do not plug surge protectors into GFI outlets. The surge protector does need a ground path to function correctly.
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