Wiring Problem

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by hndcrxguy, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. hndcrxguy

    hndcrxguy New Member

    Messages:
    2
    I just remodeled my bathroom. I am not an electrician by a long shot although I have done hundreds of receptacles and switches. When wiring gets complicated though it gives me a headache. Here is a drawing of the wiring in my bathroom. I added the light in the upper right hand corner. The rest of the wiring and fixtures already existed. Although the light in the upper left is really a fan but not that that matters. The only other thing I changed was the receptacle to a GFCI. My current problem is the light at the bottom. When I connect the red wire to the switch and turn on the switch it trips the GFCI. When I unhook the red wire then the light in the upper right works fine but that disables the light at the bottom. Everything but that one light works fine without the red wire connected. The GFCI works properly, the fan and the light in the upper right. Where the heck am I supposed to connect the red wire to so that it does not trip the GFCI and works properly?

    Thanks for help!


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  2. Livin4Real

    Livin4Real New Member

    Messages:
    192
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    Have you tried pig-tailing the load side neutral down to the bottom light to see what happens instead of using the line side neutral?
  3. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    The light on the bottom is where the problem needs addressing. Notice that the white (neutral) for this light is picked up from the line side of the GFCI but the hot is coming from the load side of the GFCI.

    Unless the lights are required to be protected by GFCI I would connect everything to the line side of the GFCI. This is the only way to have bottom light work with the neutral being tapped from the supply to the GFCI
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,888
    Location:
    New England
    GFCI compares the output on the load side with the return on the load side. If they aren't within very close (milliamps) of each other, it thinks some of the current is leaking (possibly through you!) and trips. As indicated, you need the lights to be wired to the same side of the gfci, either load or line depending on whether you need or want the lamps protected. Normally, the lights are separate from the gfci so if you trip it, you don't lose the lights at the same time, but this is up to you.
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The lower light, the one fed power on the red line, has power ( hot ) from the load side of the GFCI, but the neutral bypasses the GFCI, hence the GFCI thinks all the current through that light bulb is actuall going to ground.,
  6. snafflekid

    snafflekid Electrical Engineer

    Messages:
    45
    You need to pigtail a couple of jumpers off the hot and neutral entering the receptacle box and connect them directly to the GFCI. Don't route the lamps through the GFCI. I am pretty sure you are only supposed to protect other receptacles using the GFCI, not lamps.

    It looks like the reason you are tripping is because the neutral of the bottom lamp returns to the input side of the GFCI but the hot for the bottom lamp comes from the output of the GFCI.
  7. hndcrxguy

    hndcrxguy New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Guys...thanks for all your comments. Yes I was trying to have the lights protected by GFI because one of the lights is located on the ceiling about a foot away from the tub. I was told by an electrician that code in my area is any light within 6 feet of the tub should be protected.

    So is there no way to have the bottom light protected in my situation? If not then I guess I don't have any choice but to wire everything to the Line side like you all suggest.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,888
    Location:
    New England
    Sure there is, but you need another conductor to bring neutral from the load side of the gfci back to that light. ANother way would be to get rid of the gfci altogether and replace the circuit breaker with a gfci breaker.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,481
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    light

    Of course there is, just run a neutral from the load side of the GFCI to the light so both of the light's wires are on the same end of the GFCI.
  10. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    991
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    The only way to do this would be to run a new cable with BOTH neutral and hot. You cannot simply run a neutral by itself.

    My question is why do this at all? Do these lights really need GFI protection? I notice in the one post it says the lights "should" have GFI protection.
    Who's rules is this, and is it a real code requirement, or just someone's suggestions because they think it is a good idea?
  11. snafflekid

    snafflekid Electrical Engineer

    Messages:
    45
    Ahh, I believe it is within 8 ft of a tub (the actual tub), and only if the fixture says it needs GFCI. You may be better served by having a wet location lamp fixture if it can be subjected to water sprays. I don't see it hurting, however get other inputs, I'm not savvy on these things.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2007
  12. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    991
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Here is the NEC section on this. Unless there is a specific local amendment NO GFI protection is required provided the fixture is a "securely fastened luminaires installed in or on the ceiling or wall". If it is not this type of fixture it cannot be that close to the shower anyway.
    I have NEVER seen a fixture that required GFI protection in the instructions.



    410.4(D) Bathtub and Shower Areas
    No parts of cord-connected luminaires (fixtures), chain-, cable-, or cord-suspended-luminaires (fixtures), lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall be located within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. This zone is all encompassing and includes the zone directly over the tub or shower stall. Luminaires (lighting fixtures) located in this zone shall be listed for damp locations, or listed for wet locations where subject to shower spray.




    Handbook Commentary:

    A revision of 410.4(D) clarifies that securely fastened luminaires installed in or on the ceiling or wall are permitted to be located in the bathtub or shower area. Where they are subject to shower spray, the luminaires must be listed for a wet location. Luminaires installed in the tub or shower zone and not subject to shower spray are required to be listed for use in a damp location. GFCI protection is required only where specified in the installation instructions for the luminaire.
    The intent of 410.4(D) is to keep cord-connected, chain-hanging, or pendant luminaires and suspended fans out of the reach of an individual standing on a bathtub rim. The list of prohibited items recognizes that the same risk of electric shock is present for each one.
  13. snafflekid

    snafflekid Electrical Engineer

    Messages:
    45
    I think underwater pool lights require GFCI. I know, it is not applicable, but it is an example.
  14. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    991
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    OK, you got me. I take back what I said about never seeing a fixture that called for GFI protection.
    I agree, not applicable to this situation, but I did leave myself wide open. :p
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