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Thread: Outdoor lighting, GFCI and photo eye question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Stanwood, WA USA

    Outdoor lighting, GFCI and photo eye question

    I am dealing with a set of outdoor lights and tripping gfci breakers at the moment. I have two actually but will start with the weirdest one first. I have a run of the mill led fixture with a built eye on it on the wellhouse. Works fine on the main power. I put in in a generator disco panel today and fired it all up to confirm it would run the well properly and that was fine. I had the interior light on while testing and went away with it all running (during daylight) and when I came back out after dark to shut off the generator, the lighting wasn't working. The GFCI was tripped. I tried to reset it and it wouldn't. Tried a couple times and no go. I flipped the disco to main power whsre it haz always worked and it reset fine. The only wild card in the mix was it going dark and the photo eye activating. The generator may have also been an issue but why possibly?

    So we add the second light... I have a 150 watt led yard light on a 20 foot pole. I had wired it up through a photo eye and wanted to test it so I put a plug on the wires to the eye and plugged in an extension cord. As soon as it got dark, the GFCI outlet I was plugged into tripped. I grabbed a Meter and tested everything I could come up with and could not find a fault that would cause it. Out of curiosity, I went to the wiring after the eye and tried it there and it worked fine. I didn't do anything with that one as I am waiting for the PUD to come connect the panel and drop a meter in there. At that point, I can do some better troubleshooting as I put a GFCI breaker on that circuit as well just as a safety measure, being as it's all in the weather. I have had lighting on a GFCI protected outlet feed before without issue but these are breakers.

    Am I wrong to think that photo eye controlled lighting does not belong on GFCI circuits? The generagor one is odd to me but now I have 2 that are vexxing the crap out of me. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Seattle, WA
    This thread was closed in accordance with forum rules. This forum is intended for use by electricians and electrical contractors, inspectors, engineers, and vendors. We are not allowed to provide how-to advice to persons who are not employed in this industry.
    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
    Comments based on 2017 NEC unless otherwise noted.

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