Circular Saw tripping GFCI outlets

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by AlGreen, Jun 1, 2017.

  1. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2016
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I have a relatively new Skil saw (approximately a year old) that had been working fine when I plugged it into the outlet in my garage. Then I changed out this outlet to a GFCI (per code) and now the saw trips the outlet every time I turn it on. I tried it on a different outside GFCI outlet on a separate circuit and same thing. If I plug the saw into a non-GFCI outlet it works. I plan to bring the saw to a service center tomorrow. Any theories?
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Three-wire plug? If so, see what the resistance is between the ground pin and the other two.
     
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  4. kreemoweet

    kreemoweet In the Trades

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle. WA
    This GFCI tripping by portable electrical tools is a pretty common thing. It's likely the saw's fault if it trips multiple
    GFCI's. Whenever I set up temporary power for a remodeling/construction site, with required GFCI protection, there were invariably some dudes with funky, beat-up tools that would always be tripping the devices. If it were my saw, I'd be asking for a warranty replacement.
     
  5. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2016
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I went to the service center this a.m. They tested the saw and said it's leaking current, causing GFCI outlets to trip. It's being fixed under warranty.
     
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    The moral to this story is that if a GFCI's test function works, and the thing trips when you run something, that device is very likely defective. I think that on brush-type motors, as they wear, the carbon dust, if it's not well designed, can create a fault path. IF a wire got pinched during assembly or the cord damaged, that could cause problems too. Some people hate the things, but while it takes a certain set of circumstances to hurt you when using an electrical device, if there's no current, there's no problem! GFCI's work.
     
  7. aaroninnh

    aaroninnh Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2014
    Location:
    NH
    I know it wasn't the case this time, but often GFCI nuisance trips are caused by the bare ground wire touching the silver neutral screw somewhere in the circuit. It will work all day long until you add GFCI. As soon as you do it will trip when you put a load on.
     
  8. kreemoweet

    kreemoweet In the Trades

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle. WA
    This is very true, but I don't think "nuisance trip" would apply there, as it is a legitimate function of the GFCI. Nuisance trips are those that occur for no discernable reason, and when there is in fact no "legitimate" reason for the trip. Which happens all too frequently, in my experience, such as a trip occurring because an incandescent light bulb on a different circuit burned out.
     
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