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Old 08-01-2006, 06:30 AM   #24 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Originally Posted by JERP
I've never seen GFCI that stays off when power goes out. You can't run power tools off of GFCI because the outlet can't compensate for large motors. Plug your refrigerator into an GFCI outlet and see what happens when the compressor turns on. THe GFCI will trip almost every time. For this reason, there is a specific exemption for GFCI on large appliances, like refrigerators, dishwashers, and garbage disposals. Many power outages are accompanied by a surge or brownout, which is why surge protectors often trip on power outage. Artemis' point about failing in the off position makes sense, but I haven't seen that behavior in practice. I've never had to reset the GFCI in my kitchen after a power failure.
You can't run large motors off a GFCI-protected circuit, but small ones like electric circular saws and drills are another matter. They usually don't cause enough of an induction surge to trip the GFCI. Extension cords and plugs used on construction sites are required by OSHA to use GFCI, and those units do indeed trip when a power failure occurs and stay off (unlike the GFCI wall outlets and breaker circuits normally seen in homes). But that's an easy problem to avoid: just have an electrician wire GFCI to the circuit in your breaker box that handles the aquarium, or swap out the regular wall outlet for a GFCI wall outlet, or use a GFCI plug-in unit that is not OSHA compliant (like the one Premium Aquatics sells), and you'll be fine.
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