- Home


Air Conditioners | Dehumidifiers | Dishwashers | Disposals | Dryers | Freezers | Humidifiers | Ice Makers | Microwave Ovens | Ovens, Ranges, Stoves | Refrigerators | Trash Compactors | Washers | Water Filters

FAQs | Contact | Apprenticeship | Parts | Model Number Help | Newsletter | Beer
- > Do-It-Yourself Appliance Repair Help > The Kitchen Appliance Repair Forum > Refrigerator tripping GFI breaker on outlet

Find Appliance Parts & Diagrams Here
Enter a model number, part number, type of appliance, brand, or even a part description.

365-day return policy on all parts ordered through this site!


 Moderated by: BrntToast, RegUS_PatOff, appl.tech.29501 Search Our Sites for More Info!
New Topic Reply Printer Friendly
Refrigerator tripping GFI breaker on outlet  Rating:  Rating
AuthorPost
 Posted: Wed Oct 18th, 2006 01:10 pm
  PM Quote Reply
1st Post
bimbbobway



Joined: Mon Nov 21st, 2005
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina USA
Posts: 191
Flavorite Brew: Newcastle
Status: 
Offline
I have a refirgerator model #FRS26ZNHW2 that is being run off of a GFI circuit.The unit keeps tripping the GFI. We had found the reservoir for the water leaking on some electronic componets & thought that was causing.Replaced the reservoir(not leaking now) & unit is still tripping the GFI. Any suggestions?  When the fridge is plugged in to a non GFI outlleet it works fine.



____________________
http://www.mrappliance.com/wilmington
Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Wed Oct 18th, 2006 02:15 pm
  PM Quote Reply
2nd Post
AccApp
Fellow, Academy of Sublime Masters of Appliantology


Joined: Sat Jun 3rd, 2006
Location: Eatontown, New Jersey USA
Posts: 1788
Flavorite Brew: Hoegaarden
Status: 
Offline
Don't run any appliance off a GFI.



____________________
"When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

http://www.fixitnow.com/beerfund.htm
Back To Top PM Quote Reply

 Posted: Wed Oct 18th, 2006 02:44 pm
  PM Quote Reply
3rd Post
Trying to help
Fellow, Academy of Sublime Masters of Appliantology


Joined: Fri Oct 21st, 2005
Location: Georgia USA
Posts: 2390
Flavorite Brew: Moosehead,Bud,Bombay Sapphire
Status: 
Offline
Most of the vender's will either state it (not to use GFI outlets) in the manuals or confirm it if Customer Service or Tech Line called. 



____________________
If we saved YOU Beer $$ today, please make a donation to our beer fund by clicking the link below to help keep this site going. I charge $135.95 PLUS PARTS to do this repair!$! http://fixitnow.com/beerfund.htm









Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Thu Oct 19th, 2006 12:01 am
  PM Quote Reply
4th Post
bimbbobway



Joined: Mon Nov 21st, 2005
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina USA
Posts: 191
Flavorite Brew: Newcastle
Status: 
Offline
Thanks that’s what I thought.:)



____________________
http://www.mrappliance.com/wilmington
Back To Top PM Quote Reply

 Posted: Fri Oct 20th, 2006 06:33 am
  PM Quote Reply
5th Post
Keinokuorma
Fellow, Academy of Sublime Masters of Appliantology


Joined: Mon Jun 26th, 2006
Location: Finland
Posts: 1248
Flavorite Brew: Karjala - reilusti luonnetta!
Status: 
Offline
bimbbobway wrote: We had found the reservoir for the water leaking on some electronic componets & thought that was causing.
That may still be causing it. If there's any water or a path of oxidation residing anywhere, it can contribute to the problem. But however, GFI will be a nuisance at some point of the appliance life... grime, dust, grease etc. accumulate on the electrical insulations and cause minor leakage at some point.



____________________
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
- Ken Olson, Digital Equipment Corporation (1977)
Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Fri Oct 20th, 2006 12:36 pm
  PM Quote Reply
6th Post
bimbbobway



Joined: Mon Nov 21st, 2005
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina USA
Posts: 191
Flavorite Brew: Newcastle
Status: 
Offline

That’s interesting. I have been through electronics school and countless other electrical and mechanical training but I don’t understand how a GFI works. It was something that was never covered.

Nice beer in the avatar! Drink more beer!

Last edited on Fri Oct 20th, 2006 12:37 pm by bimbbobway



____________________
http://www.mrappliance.com/wilmington
Back To Top PM Quote Reply

 Posted: Fri Oct 20th, 2006 02:30 pm
  PM Quote Reply
7th Post
Keinokuorma
Fellow, Academy of Sublime Masters of Appliantology


Joined: Mon Jun 26th, 2006
Location: Finland
Posts: 1248
Flavorite Brew: Karjala - reilusti luonnetta!
Status: 
Offline
The GFI will compare the "in-coming" and "out-going" current on that circuit, or L1, possibly L2, and N wire currents... or L1, L2 and L3 currents to the N current on a 3 phase system. It relies on the fundamental idea that current coming out of a circuit (in an ideal setting) is equal of magnitude and synchronously (but oppositely) phased with the current going into that circuit. 

On a single phase circuit it is simple: L1 current should ideally be equal to N current.

On a split phase circuit, N current should ideally be equal to the difference of L1 and L2 currents.

On a 3 phase "wye" circuit with Neutral in the electrical center point, the N current should ideally be equal to the geometric sum of the three L wire currents.

On a 3 phase "wye" circuit without N wire, or "delta" system, the geometrical sum of the L wire currents should be zero.

Anyway, the GFI looks for a situation where some of the current returning from the circuit is taking a different path than the N wire. This can be anything, like a mouse toasted between the fridge comp wires and chassis, or a sad classical example, a kid putting a knitting pin into the wall outlet while holding the radiator pipe... or something similar. It can also just be airborne "kitchen pollution" that adheres on the insulations, causing a narrow path for some current to stroll and take a longer way home.

The difference in the L and N currents is called "ground fault current". If this current exceeds the predetermined limit, say 20 or 30mA, the breaker will trip. There are GFI's with higher limits like 500mA, but they're no good for personal protection. They are designed to protect the connected machine from fire if an insulation fault occurs.

As it comes to the inner workings of the GFI itself, the older models contain a "comparison transformer" with up to four short primary windings, wired serially to each live and neutral wire of that circuit. The secondary winding has then a lot of thin convolutions, and the idea is that if the incoming and outgoing currents are equal (but polarized oppositely as the N current flows the other way) the magnetic fluxes induced by each primary coil will sum up to zero, and no voltage will be induced at the secondary winding.  If a ground fault occurs, the classical idea is that the secondary winding operates an electromagnetic armature to trip the breaker. The newer models have faster and more precise technology, but the main idea is the same.

One way to try to verify if the fault current in a machine is external or internal is to plug it into a non-GFI outlet and use a precise clamp-on meter over the connection cable... if that reads a steady current (should not) the machine is leaking current out of the circuit, unless it is a very special connection with multiple feed points... if not, there is an internal fault where the ground wire collects all. Not all clamp-on meters are precise enough to record currents this little.

Sometimes there has been GFI retrofitted on circuits that have "Swedish ground" (chassis grounded to Neutral)... in that case the GFI won't notice an internal situation, but you don't need anything else than the machine standing on a concrete floor or touching some plumbing... and that will probably divert enough current. Also, if a Swedish ground is implemented to a machine that is later on wired to a properly grounded circuit, but the loop is not removed, that will draw half the intended N current to the ground wire, which is WAY enough fault current. Consider these points too if you get to troubleshoot a constantly tripping GFI situation.

Last edited on Tue Jul 10th, 2007 12:23 pm by Keinokuorma



____________________
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
- Ken Olson, Digital Equipment Corporation (1977)
Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Mon Oct 23rd, 2006 01:26 pm
  PM Quote Reply
8th Post
bimbbobway



Joined: Mon Nov 21st, 2005
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina USA
Posts: 191
Flavorite Brew: Newcastle
Status: 
Offline

Awesome answer! Thanks! It helps a lot to understand how it works.:)



____________________
http://www.mrappliance.com/wilmington
Back To Top PM Quote Reply

 Posted: Tue Oct 24th, 2006 12:42 am
  PM Quote Reply
9th Post
Keinokuorma
Fellow, Academy of Sublime Masters of Appliantology


Joined: Mon Jun 26th, 2006
Location: Finland
Posts: 1248
Flavorite Brew: Karjala - reilusti luonnetta!
Status: 
Offline
Just corrected some minor points in the paragraph about the inner workings, and added points to consider when troubleshooting GFI circuits.

Last edited on Tue Oct 24th, 2006 01:11 am by Keinokuorma



____________________
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
- Ken Olson, Digital Equipment Corporation (1977)
Back To Top PM Quote Reply  

 Posted: Wed Mar 21st, 2007 11:59 pm
  PM Quote Reply
10th Post
Keinokuorma
Fellow, Academy of Sublime Masters of Appliantology


Joined: Mon Jun 26th, 2006
Location: Finland
Posts: 1248
Flavorite Brew: Karjala - reilusti luonnetta!
Status: 
Offline
A saga from a recent adventure, involving GFI...

A customer had a setup where they had run an extension cord for their washer and dryer to the basement, where they had no outlets... and it just turned out that they had done this with a simple two wire extension cord that had the plug artificially reshaped to fit the grounded outlet.

For background information, the North-European single phase plugs for the grounded and un-grounded circuits up to 16A have the neutral and live prongs at similar spacing, and the plug can be inserted either way (by definition the polarity should not matter). Anyway, the un-grounded plug is designed so that it will not fit a grounded outlet without illegal re-shaping. This is an old system designed to keep low insulation machines from being used in "wet" areas of the house, where grounded outlets are mandatory. Anyway, the grounded plug fits the un-grounded outlet perfectly although it does not get grounded. This does not readily pose a threat in a "dry" room with a correctly working machine, or so it was thought back when the system was designed.

Anyway, this customer had re-shaped the plug of the extension cord, to make it fit the outlet at the porch... then the cord was run through a ventilation hole to the basement where they operated the machines... turned out they had been doing so for twenty-some years wih nobody paying attention. They house had electrical renovation done some five years ago, but they didn't bother have the basement done, anyway the porch circuit was equipped with GFI in the process. The twenty-some year old washer and dryer worked satisfactorily (at least to an extent) until lately.

Their son had visited them recently, and by chance noticed their setup. He told them they will have to use a proper grounded extension cord for their safety. What he didn't know or care to tell them was that the present code forbids such an installation altogether, where power for a "wet" system is brought by an extension cord from another area of the home. He got them a 5 metre cord, they started using it... soon after they called in the electrician that a friend of theirs happened to know. By chance that was me.

Well, I went there, they explained that recently their washer and dryer have been tripping the breaker every now and then. And, they told that it must be something wrong with the extension cord their son brought them... they showed me the old one and said that everything was fine with it.

SO... my first observation was that their son was right to tell them to replace the cord. It was illegal for starters, and the somewhat legal cord readily pointed out the problem that the illegal one kept hidden: Their washer and/or dryer had insulation problems. Using them on an ungrounded circuit could have one day caused a medical problem. Perhaps using them on a grounded non-GFI circuit could have developed to trouble with the fire insurance... we didn't wait for the outcome. For the heck of it, I meggered out the new extension, which turned out perfectly good.

So it was left to the washer and dryer. Good to notice they were the domestic UPO brand... perhaps that made them through the 2+ decades. Examining them I noticed that the concrete under the washer had a puddle of water, and was deeply impregnated by water too. No fresh spill, this had been happening for a while. Also they had an old vented dryer that wasn't vented anywhere. So it was just circulating the moist air in the cramped room. Also for the heck of it, I tried them out on the old cord, and was able to read 0,02A on the clamp-on meter by clamping it over the cord... on the fringe of tripping the GFI even without the ground contact. Both machines were really noisy too, especially the dryer which screamed MDK.

I told the old man it is in their best interest to get a new set altogether, have a dedicated circuit for them wired in the basement, which I could do, and either vent the new dryer through the hole that was used for the cord, but perhaps they shoud get a condenser dryer.

Well these people were nice and accepted the proposition, we have contracted the wiring job for Friday and they said they will shop for new machines at the end of the week too. I proposed them to go on with UPO as they still seem to be well made if looking into the repair statistics.

Whoops :yikes: this is a laundry appliance repair adventure (LARA), but I added it here to join the rest of the GFI stuff.

Last edited on Thu Mar 22nd, 2007 12:09 am by Keinokuorma



____________________
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
- Ken Olson, Digital Equipment Corporation (1977)
Back To Top PM Quote Reply

Current time is 08:30 am Tell a friend about this page... all your other friends are doing it!  
- > Do-It-Yourself Appliance Repair Help > The Kitchen Appliance Repair Forum > Refrigerator tripping GFI breaker on outlet Top



Find Appliance Parts & Diagrams Here
Enter a model number, part number, type of appliance, brand, or even a part description.

365-day return policy on all parts ordered through this site!

FAQs | Contact | Apprenticeship | Parts | Model Number Help | Newsletter | Beer

Your Sometimes-Lucid Host:
- Home
"If I can't help you fix your appliance and make you 100% satisfied, I will come to your home and slice open my belly, spilling my steaming entrails onto your floor."


UltraBB 1.17 Copyright © 2007-2008 Data 1 Systems
Page processed in 0.1089 seconds (9% database + 91% PHP). 26 queries executed.

Web Analytics