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On off switch and GFCI breaker tripping

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  • On off switch and GFCI breaker tripping

    I searched and didn't find so if it's been addressed in the forum I apologize.

    Dont know a lot about pools but my new inground pool has a big 12V LED spot evidently powered by a pretty massive ACDC converter in the exterioir pump electrical box. A basic paddle SPST switch was installed between the transformer and a class A gfci 15 amp breaker to mains

    so today I replaced the paddle switch with an Insteon On/Off paddle switch with no success

    there wasn't a neutral on the SPST switch that the pool company installed and knowing my insteon switch requires a neutral I ran a 12 awg wire from the left bus bar of the pool box.(all white wires coming from that bar. And the manufacturer label asserting yes white is neutral..and my multimeter backing that up as far as I know)

    as soon as I close the breaker it trips.

    Killed the ground wire to make sure it wasn't a
    ground short. Still trips.

    Disconnect the load wire with just line, neutral and ground and no lights illuminate on my switch.

    Ive installed a lot of insteon switches so I'm pretty damned sure I'm wired correct but GFCI + Insteon is new to me

    any issues with GFCI breakers and insteon on off sw switches? Or maybe something else?
    Last edited by Holyhell; 09-05-2018, 08:47 PM.

  • #2
    This is probably in the neutral wiring. You cannot share neutrals on a GFCI otherwise it will trip at power up. You need to run the neutral from the breaker to the GFCI.

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    • #3
      there wasn't a neutral on the SPST switch that the pool company installed and knowing my insteon switch requires a neutral I ran a 12 awg wire from the left bus bar of the pool box.(all white wires coming from that bar . You cannot share neutrals on a GFCI otherwise it will trip at power up . Hi after reading your blog I have finally found some knowledge which
      I was looking for so long for that reason Thanks .






      Last edited by iosman; 02-26-2019, 08:09 AM.

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      • #4
        I've been annoyed by Insteon devices being incompatible with GFCI for some time, but just decided to look here to see if there is a solution.

        I wanted to protect my heat tapes with GFCI while still utilizing Insteon to control them. Same with my pool pump. It has proven impossible.

        SeanM. Please elaborate on what you posted here a year ago, because your comment makes no sense to me. The OP is using a GFCI breaker, which incorporates a neutral wire, connected to the neutral bar in the panel. He then ran a neutral wire to the Insteon switch that the same GFCI breaker was feeding power to, from that same neutral bus bar in the panel. How would you do it differently?

        I would sincerely like to find a solution for this issue.

        Brett

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        • #5
          As an electrician myself I’m not sure what you are referring to regarding insteon not being compatible with GFCI devices.

          if wire correctly they should be compatible on the secondary side of the circuit.

          what you can’t do is connect the insteon device on the load side of the GFCI’s hot connection but put the neutral connection to the line side of the GFCI

          the insteon Connection needs to be made to the line side hot and neutral of a GFCI or the load side Hot and neutral.

          Any variation of this will trip the GFCI because it doesn’t see the same current on both hot and neutral

          this is not a limitation of insteon but the GFCI doing what it’s supposed to do if a load (insteon device in this case) is wired wrong

          you also can use a different hot (circuit) and the neutral from the GFCI. This will trip. A house with Arch Fault breakers is even harder to keep the right hot with the right neutral. And swapping of them will likely trip two ArcFaults.

          i will add you can get some slight signal attenuation through the GFCI but a properly setup insteon infrastructure will not have a issue communicating with it.
          Last edited by SteveL; 06-20-2019, 07:28 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by SteveL View Post
            As an electrician myself I’m not sure what you are referring to regarding insteon not being compatible with GFCI devices.
            I have had zero success in using Insteon to control a GFCI outlet.
            I have had zero success in using Insteon components on a GFCI breaker protected circuit.

            GFCI before, or after, the Insteon component, will trip.

            I have tried old and brand new GFCI outlets and GFCI breakers. No change.

            To me, that makes them incompatible, but I am very interested in any suggestions you may have for a workaround.

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            • #7
              Other then a relay On / Off you should not put an insteon switch on the line side of any outlet. Just a point of clarity not an accusation.

              when it comes to installing insteon on any circuits we don’t want to look for work around but rather wire them in the matter in which they were intended.

              i have put many insteon outlets on the secondary side of a GFCI without issue. The same applies to switches. What isn’t part of the equation when using a standard switch is the neutral wire. Standard switches are just a hot and switch leg.

              example: “I know insteon is causing the tripping because it doesn’t trip when I put a standard switch in its place”. The standard switch has no neutral.

              the neutral is likely the issue. Has it come in contact to the ground wire somewhere after the panel or is there a swapped neutral somewhere that would only be a problem if installing a device on the secondary side of a GFCI with a neutral that is different then the neutral that is leaving the breaker or GFCI outlet.

              To test I would go straight to the breaker and connect a short piece of romex to it and then connect it to the insteon switch.

              see if it trips. It shouldn’t. If it doesn’t then there is something crossed down line. For a more accurate test connect a load to the switch.

              if the hot and neutral leaving the (GFCI)breaker or outlet ever get swapped down line with another neutral the breaker will trip. The current needs to match on both the hot and neutral

              once they get out of sync the breaker trips. This can happen if a GFCI and non GFCI circuit are in the same box and the neutrals get crossed. Electrical it will work but the GFCI picks up on it and trips.

              i believe this is happening to you. I do not believe insteon is causing it. I can only qualify that by the many years I have spent installing these products and doing electrical work.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SteveL View Post
                Other then a relay On / Off you should not put an insteon switch on the line side of any outlet. Just a point of clarity not an accusation.

                .
                Thanks for the tips. I will find some time to play, but I am not convinced.

                Situation 1: I have 3 exterior outlets that are powering heat tapes on my roof. I have had to remove the GFCIs from all positions in order to get Insteon control.
                In one, it's not a big deal, as it is in the eaves of the 2 story house. I have installed an Insteon relay to control a standard outlet because it is virtually impossible for someone to access, so does not need to be GFCI protected.
                However, the other two are at ground level. Originally, they were both GFCI, as required by code They are on the same, dedicated, circuit. In order to use Insteon, I purchased and installed a GFCI breaker and replaced the outlets with Insteon outlets. No joy. Breaker trips as soon as you set it. I will run a trace to make sure, but I'm pretty certain this is a dedicated circuit, so no possibility of a neutral mix-up.

                Situation 2: My pool pump. My pool has a dedicated Nema3R panel on the deck. It is fed by a 50A circuit from one of the main panels in the house. This remote panel has GFCI breakers installed. In this case, the pump switch is 6 inches from the panel. There is absolutely no question that the pool pump is on a dedicated circuit, direct wired from that panel. I replaced the standard switch with an Insteon toggle and it blows the GFCI when you turn it on. It functions perfectly fine with a standard switch.

                Based on your comments, I can only assume my house is haunted.




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