GFCI Breaker keeps tripping

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by Shameless Plug-in, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. Shameless Plug-in

    Shameless Plug-in New Member

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    I've been unable to get a complete charge without resetting the GFCI breaker on the outlet. It seems to trip after a couple of hours. I live in a an apartment and have to run an extension cord to make it to the street. I am using a 12 gauge, 15 AMP, 25-foot extension cord. There is a GFCI on the outlet because it is located outside. I did run a longer, 50-foot, 14 gauge cord to an outlet inside without the breaker and was successful with a complete charge. The cord was a little warm. I'd rather use the outlet outside because it is a much shorter run.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome to priuschat! :) could be a bad gfi, is it yours to change?
     
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  3. Shameless Plug-in

    Shameless Plug-in New Member

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    It is mine. Guess that would be an easy way to find out if that's the issue. Thanks.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    or you could try something else on it that pulls 11 or 12 amps. hairdryer? or maybe try a different extension cord to rule that out.
     
  5. Shameless Plug-in

    Shameless Plug-in New Member

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    And if I try the hair dryer idea and the breaker doesn't trip... Then what?
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    let's cross that bridge when we come to it.;)
     
  7. Shameless Plug-in

    Shameless Plug-in New Member

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    Got it. Thanks.
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    of course, 3 hours is a long time to run a hair dryer, but you would need something that pulls a lot of amps. try the extension cord first, that's the easiest.
     
  9. Shameless Plug-in

    Shameless Plug-in New Member

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    I did try different cords. Gonna see what happens with a replacement breaker and hope that's the issue. I agree that running a hair dryer for 3 hours is a bit much.
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    all the best!(y)
     
  11. retired4999

    retired4999 Prius driver since 2005

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    Well! Your hair will be dry! :D
     
  12. retired4999

    retired4999 Prius driver since 2005

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    I had a GFCI in my kitchen next to my sink never used the outlet in 20 years, one day I was washing my hands and smoke came rolling out of the GFCI. Melted, They do go bad, but I did not ever even use it! Go figure!
     
  13. rogerv

    rogerv Senior Member

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    Just the other day I had a problem with a GFIC tripping (not the one where I plug in the EVSE) and an electrician told me they are super sensitive. You could try swapping it out as suggested above and see if that cures the problem. Otherwise you have to trace all the outlets on that circuit. I found one outlet in the garage was on the same circuit with three in bathrooms along with the GFIC outlet itself. A loose wire in any of the outlets down the line can cause the tripping. In my case the run to the garage started in the same bathroom as the GFIC outlet, so we just isolated those wires rather than try to run new wires. A little inconvenient losing that garage outlet, but I can run to it from another garage circuit later if I need to.
     
  14. Michael33

    Michael33 Member

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    You could use an electric heater for a 12 amp load for three hours. Just make sure it has a tipover switch and overheat protection, and that it's not going to set something else on fire. An oil-filled electric radiator would be safest.
     
  15. chesleyn

    chesleyn Active Member

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    Before I widened my driveway, we had to park our two cars tandem in the front driveway. I bought a 15 amp cord extension cord and charged that way on 120 for at least 3 months with no problems. The extension cord will not be the cause of the GFCI tripping. If something else is running on the circuit at the same time, that may cause the breaker to trip.

    Everyone should be charging (regardless if they are charging at 120 or 240) on a circuit that is solely used for the vehicle.
     
  16. rogerv

    rogerv Senior Member

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    In the situation I described above, I forgot to add that absolutely nothing was plugged in anywhere in the circuit when the GFIC tripped. I replaced it and all the outlets before the electrician came out and was able to find the problem. So a short can trip it from anywhere in the circuit.
     
  17. GSW

    GSW PRIUS POWER

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    I have a suggestion. Obviously the 50 foot 14 gauge extension was not only too long, but the wire was to small, ("The cord was a little warm"). Damage to the GFCI was done. You are now using a shorter 25' extension with larger 12 gauge wire , which is good, but you may have to replace the GFCI. If the appartment internal wiring is a 12-2 romex the breaker at the breaker box should be around 20 amps, (depending on the electrical code in your state). If you wanted to dedicate that GFCI to charging only you may have some options, but I would check with the appartments electrician.
     
  18. scotrinaf

    scotrinaf Junior Member

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    A GFCI outlet is intentionally made to trip at the slightest variation in situation. This can be due to moisture, grounding out, heating up, etc... It's always a good idea to replace the GFCI receptacle (or GFCI breaker depending on the way it's wired) first to make sure it is working properly. The next thing is to make sure you are running a heavy enough drop cord for the appliance (or car) that is plugged into it... I'm not sure what the amp load of the Prius is, but let's say it is 12 volts, to account for voltage drop over distance, go to the next size up drop cord. Instead of a 15amp (14 gauge), go to a 20amp (12 gauge) cord.
     
  19. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    I feel the need to clarify something here. The GFCI has a current transformer that compares the current in the HOT (black) wire to the current in the NEUTRAL (white) wire. In normal operation the current going out on the hot wire should always equal the current returning on the neutral wire so the differential will always be zero.

    If it detects ground leakage current, then there will be current going out on the hot wire that is not returning on the neutral wire. If the amount of ground leakage current exceeds something like 5 mA (o.005 amps) the GFCI will trip.

    So, to me you either have ground leakage current in your drop cord, your vehicle charger or a defective breaker. The voltage drop or heating in the cable could cause the breaker to trip on overload but not on GF. Is the GF button tripped or the circuit breaker tripped?
     
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  20. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    If you have an extension cord ... or bad connectors, coupled with a load of over 1kW, yes, a gfi can trip. It can take as little as an imballence of 5 Ohms for a gfi to trip, and you CAN loose that much on an extension cord and/or heafty load. Not that I'd reccomend it - there are ways to (safely) spoof gfi's. I've used a 1 to 1 isolation transformer so that I can combine 2 120v sources to reassemble power back to 240v. Normally attempting use of a "quick 220" device on 2 120v legs would trip gfi's. But if you're motivated - there's always a work around.
    ;)
     
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