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Rich
Rich, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience:  Over 35 years residential, commercial, industrial wiring, install, troubleshoot, service, maintain
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1. I am replacing a breaker on a circuit going to a storage

Customer Question

1. I am replacing a breaker on a circuit going to a storage building with a GFI breaker. There is a breaker panel in the storage building. When connected, the GFT trips, even with all of the breakers in the breaker panel off. If I disconnect the wires at the panel, the GFI stays on.
What should I test to find the problem?

2. The power meter panel where the GFI is now installed does not have a ground wire to the ground rod below. I first thought that it had been stolen (copper theft), but there is no evidence of a wire having been in the box. Don't I need one and is this related to question 1?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Rich replied 1 year ago.

Rich : Hello. I am Rich. I can help yiu today
Customer :

OK

Rich :

is the GFI in the main panel or in the storage building

Customer :

main panel

Rich :

and there is no ground connected to that panel .. is there a ground rod installed ?

Rich :

is this a main panel , first one at the power entrance .. or a sub panel

Customer :

I just thought of more info -- it is a double gfi breaker 220 circuit.

Customer :

there is an unused ground rod -- at the main panel.

Rich :

can you see a bare copper wire connected to the ground or neutral bus inside the panel that would be going to a ground rod maybe outside .. a lot of old houses had one rod inside that may have been replaced in an up grade of the electrical system

Customer :

I don't see anything looking like it goes to a ground rod, but I ddn't look for that. AL wiring not CU.

Rich :

on the bus .,. probably only one .. tyhjer should be all thye ground wires from thye circuits .,., maybe with the whites from the circuits .. a bare ground wire coming in from the power supply and a wire larger than the circuit wires that would go to a ground rod

Customer :

ok

Rich :

if it is not there , then you should add one to the system .. preferably outside .. a bit away from the foundation where you can drive it 8 fet deep

Customer :

There IS an UNUSED ground rod under the power panel (which is outside the house).

Rich :

a bonding wire should also go to the water pipe .. if copper .. or to the water pipe from the city if metal .. if there is a water meter then it should jump so both of the metal water pipes are bonded

Rich :

OK .. somehow I assumed that thye anel was inside .. sorry

Customer :

H2O pipe is out of the question buried a ways away -- can't find.

Customer :

The problem is the GFI

Customer :

Not working

Customer :

Or working too well

Rich :

OK .. if the GFI trips .. then it is sensing a fault in the system .. you should connect the ground rod to the system then try conneting the remote panel wityhout any brteakers on .. the add breakers one at a time

Customer :

I've done everything but connect the ground @ the main panel.

Customer :

I didn't remove the beakers in t eh remote panel.

Rich :

does when all the remote breakers \are off .. of removed .. trying to isolate the fault to the burried wire .. or the circuit wires in the storage bldg

Rich :

does the GFI trip

Rich :

........

Customer :

I disconnected the wires to the remote panel and the GFI didn't trip.

Rich :

first get a ground connected .. I am assuming 100 amp panel .;. # 8 solid copper ground wire .. better if you use two ground rods , because you are not using the water pipe

Customer :

Everything worked OK until I replaced the std. breaker with the GFCI breaker.

Rich :

if it did not trip with the remote panel connected ,, and the breakers out .. then the wire between panelo should be OK .. now if you connect each remote circvuit one at a time you should be nable to find the fault ..

Customer :

I didn't remove the remote breakers but I could.

Rich :

is thee a ground wire between the panels ? .. how many wires are runnming between the panels .. 3 with ground .. or just 3 ?

Customer :

4

Rich :

breakers should not matter ..

Customer :

3 + ground

Rich :

OK and is threre a ground rod at the remote panel?

Customer :

no

Rich :

OK .. why not use a regular breaker for the 220 in the main panel .. and use 120 volt GFI breakers where you need them in the remote panel

Customer :

I believe that code requires GFI on the circuit going to the remote building. Your idea is a good workaround.

Customer :

?

Customer :

Expert is: IN CHAT

Rich :

code requires a ground rod at the remote location and at the main panel as well

Customer :

Can do. Will it fix the problem?

Rich :

when you get gounds connected .. then I would try adding one circuit at a time to the remote to see if there is one of those circuits that is giving you the fault

Rich :

if you have other issues after you mess with this ... coke back to this thread and we can chat some more about what to do next

Customer :

Any other advice? Before I go off to work?

Rich :

not now .. get back to me after you work on this

Customer :

OK

Expert:  Rich replied 1 year ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

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