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Old 07/16/2018, 10:57 PM   #1
reefinmike
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GFCI/ electrical question

MODS- if this thread is in the wrong section, feel free to move it to the appropriate area.

Iíve always heard about the importance of having GFCI protection on your aquarium and I finally decided to make the switch after installing some supplimental t5 lights. I noticed that i would get a little buzz from my reflector when either of my t5 ballasts were on. I would not get shocked when they were unplugged. I pulled the reflector from a current 6 bulb fixture and retrofitted it in my canopy, cut holes for my kessils in the center and wired up two of the ballasts(4 bulbs) to endcaps. There was no ground wire coming from the ballasts so i did not wire that in.

Here is the weird part- I expected the gfci to trip when the t5s were plugged in which didnít happen. I stuck my arm in the water and touched the reflector and iím not getting shocked anymore, even when the lights are plugged into a nearby outlet i just installed on a different circuit. Nothing has changed, everything is still plugged into my apex and running exactly as it was before

Iím no electrician but i read the outlet instructions very well and was absolutely sure to not install the wires in the pass through slot which the instructions state can nullify the gfci. The outlet is the only one on a dedicated 20A circuit that an OCD electrician friend installed for my refrigerator. He insisted that the compressor could be damaged if i were running a toaster oven on the same circuit. The other two outlets on the original circuit powering the fridge are rarely used and never a high wattage appliance so i wired an outlet back in for the fridge and used the dedicated circuit for the aquarium. An outlet tester indicated both new outlets were properly wired and the gfci trips when i use the test button.

Any ideas on whatís happening here? Kinda strange for the problem to just disappear. Itís actually unsettling to not get shocked!


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Old 07/16/2018, 11:21 PM   #2
Daddi0
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Is it possible that the new hood is grounded and you did in fact ground the ballasts when you screwed them in to the metal body of your hood?


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Old 07/16/2018, 11:58 PM   #3
reefinmike
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There have been no changes to the system in any way, shape or form aside from unplugging my apex, wiring in a new outlet, and plugging it back in. The canopy was finished weeks ago and hasnt moved.


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Old 07/17/2018, 12:31 AM   #4
oreo57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reefinmike View Post
There have been no changes to the system in any way, shape or form aside from unplugging my apex, wiring in a new outlet, and plugging it back in. The canopy was finished weeks ago and hasnt moved.
Quote:
I pulled the reflector from a current 6 bulb fixture and retrofitted it in my canopy, cut holes for my kessils in the center and wired up two of the ballasts(4 bulbs) to endcaps. There was no ground wire coming from the ballasts so i did not wire that in.
so this was all done prior? And this config leaked to ground earlier?

Ballasts should be grounded at the frame AFAICT...



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Old 07/17/2018, 05:10 AM   #5
alton
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Your six lamp fixture may have been providing a grounding means for the shock that was coming from something else. If you have rubber soled shoes or padded carpet you are many times insulated until you touch something that is grounded like a metal light fixture. A GFCI will trip from 4 to 6 milli-amps. You can start feeling a tingle at 1, and 3 is a pretty good shock.


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Old 07/17/2018, 08:29 AM   #6
reefinmike
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Oreo- yes, i did the retrofit a couple weeks ago and would get a buzz every time my t5’s were on up until I installed the new outlet last night. I will have to properly ground the ballasts, i should have known to ground to the ballast body!

Alton- the shock only came when either t5 was on. No other configuration caused this. Last night i was in sock feet on laminate wood floor exactly as i had been the prior times i was shocked. Since i have the gcfi now i may try wet socks when i get home to seenif i get a buzz/ trip. Good to know the gfci trips at a higher(yet safe) amperage, i was somewhat reluctant to go gfci due to losing power on my system but the apex will inform me and i guess its better to have the tank lose power for an hour or two than getting a huge shock.


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