GFCI Trips via Motorola CP200 Two-Way Radio??

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TRC

Member
Location
Atlanta, GA
I currently have a project located in the Bahamas and the governing electrical code is the Canadian Electrical Code 2006. With that said, I currently have a situation that has a light switch in the guest suite's bathroom (condo units) within reach of the bath tubs (within 1.5 meters of the bath tub).

CEC states (section 68-068) that the lighting circuit requires GFCI protection since the light switch is within 1.5 meters of the bath tub.

So the electrical contractor proceeded to install the GFCI breaker (Siemens QPF120) to meet the CEC code requirement. The lighting circuit that is being protected contains MR16 fixtures with electronic and magnetic integral transformers and compact fluorescent fixtures with electronic ballast only. No receptacles are on this particular circuit except for the lighting.

Nuisance trips started occurring on each of the guest suite's lighting circuit but we could not figure out why until we noticed that the electrical contractors two-radio (Motorola Radius CP200) was causing this GFCI breaker to trip as soon as the radio was keyed up to talk.

Now I know this sounds impossible or crazy but I did not believe myself until I went through the steps of testing the lighting circuit. I tested ground to hot (~119V), ground to neutral (~0.5V), evaluated the wiring for consistency and found nothing inaccurate or obviously wrong.

Can the integral transformers or ballast of the light fixtures be causing circuit to be imbalanced across the conductors just below the threshold of the GFCI breaker sensitivity (~5mA) and the motorola radio is causing enough interferrence to push the circuit to trip?

Any suggestions or ideas would be much appreciated.
 

dbuckley

Senior Member
Given its a Siemens breaker I'm surprised they dont build it the same way they do their European stuff, which has to pass CE certification. Radios tripping GFCIs in Europe is a fading memory.

Although this tripping is a nuisance, I wouldn't call it nuisance tripping, as there was never an electrical event, just a badly designed GFCI.
 

TRC

Member
Location
Atlanta, GA
I really appreciate everyones thoughts and input.

I'm I understanding that there is not a way to really correct this issue of the GFCI breaker tripping due to the two-radio in the area?
 

jim dungar

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Wisconsin
Occupation
Retired Engineer
dbuckley said:
Given its a Siemens breaker I'm surprised they dont build it the same way they do their European stuff, which has to pass CE certification. Radios tripping GFCIs in Europe is a fading memory.

Although this tripping is a nuisance, I wouldn't call it nuisance tripping, as there was never an electrical event, just a badly designed GFCI.
Partly because the radios also have to conform to the EMC directive.
 

dezwitinc

Senior Member
Location
Delray Beach, FL
Tripping

Tripping

I ran into exactly the same problem a few years ago.
We had set up a temporary riser through a high rise and couldn't figure out why the GFIs were constantly tripping during a checkout of the system.
Later that night at my house, the GFI in the kitchen tripped when I keyed the radio. Light bulb in my head goes off, problem solved.
After the building opened, we were sitting in a bar on the first floor when I got a call on the radio.
I stepped out into the lobby near the fire alarm panel, keyed the radio and evacuated the building when I sent the fire alarm into an alarm condition.
I haven't experienced any of these problems lately but am now paranoid to talk on my cell when I am in any proximity to a FACP.
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
The most recent revision to the GFCI product standard addresses tripping of GFCIs by RF energy IE less like to have them trip, so its a known problem. This revision went into effect last year, but there still may be old product available.
 
dbuckley said:
Given its a Siemens breaker I'm surprised they dont build it the same way they do their European stuff, which has to pass CE certification. Radios tripping GFCIs in Europe is a fading memory.

Although this tripping is a nuisance, I wouldn't call it nuisance tripping, as there was never an electrical event, just a badly designed GFCI.
They do not have radios in Europe......;-)
 

brian john

Senior Member
Location
Leesburg, VA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's because their music sucks.
Beatles, Stones, ABBA, yeah they all suck?


GE had this same problem (tripping not sucky music) with their Large frame Circuit breakers fitted with flux trip style GFP's in the a few years back (80's-90's).
 

benaround

Senior Member
Location
Arizona
Brian,

Two of the Beatles are dead, most of the Stones look like they are, and I

think you misspelled the name on the last group.

As for the comment I made, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

'If you change your mind, please, allow me to introduce the Walrus it's ?
 

sparky_magoo

Senior Member
Location
Reno
cowboyjwc said:
I haven't heard of that, but we had a job where a powerful CB radio was causing havoc with a resturants point of sale equipment.
As I youngster, I used to love shutting down operations at fast food restaurants by talking on my souped up CB while in line at the drive up.
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
I've seen this happen. The first time, it took me a while to realize it was the radio doing it. But yes, it does happen....I have first-hand experience with it.
 

ELA

Senior Member
jim dungar said:
Partly because the radios also have to conform to the EMC directive.

Interesting. They have to comform how?

Radios are intentional radiators.

I have spent a great deal of time qualifying equipment to meet the EMC directive for CE marking. Even equipment that meets the EMC directive will can still be upset with a slightly higher level of interference.

As part of EMC testing for meeting directives radios are often used during testing. When devices are designed to meet radiated immunity they are usually specified in volts/meter of immunity at various frequencies. A radio with a given wattage output will produce so many volts/meter interference at a given distance.

Most often it is stated that radios must maintain a certain distance away from sensitive equipment to avoid upsets.

Even if a piece of equipment has been designed to be immune to a certain volts/meter level it can still be upset if the radio is keyed up too close to the equipment.

There are also different levels of immunity required based upon the intended operating environment of the equipment. Something designed to be immune enough for a residential or commercial environment may not fair well in an industrial environment.
 

ELA

Senior Member
tom baker said:
The most recent revision to the GFCI product standard addresses tripping of GFCIs by RF energy IE less like to have them trip, so its a known problem. This revision went into effect last year, but there still may be old product available.

Do you happen to have a copy or reference to the GFCI product standard?
I would be interested to know what immunity levels they are being required to meet.
 

brian john

Senior Member
Location
Leesburg, VA
ABBA is ABBA I think, but I was never a disco fan and never did look at any of their LPs or CDs.

Beatles while missing two members were the rock band of the 60's leading the British invasion.

The Stones are IMO one of the best rock groups EVER. Keith while looking rough is still a great rocker and blues man...
 
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