Switching GFCI devices



I have one of those damn things in my house. I've been wanting to replace it, but I need to research what all else needs to be done in order to bring it up to code. I know I have to install a second ground rod, not sure where my water pipe is grounded, when I did a friend's house I had to add a new ground clamp within a certain distance of the water supply entrance. Need to map out all the circuits and install GFCI's and AFCIs where required too.
I suspect there's a lot of old ratty hardware like this left in service because it's not legal to upgrade just that part.
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James What did you mean when you wrote "it's not legal to upgrade just that part." -- Tom Horne
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Tom Horne wrote:

Just the service panel. When I replaced his, I had to install new ground rods, and run a new ground from the panel to the water supply pipe, it was not sufficient to remove the old panel and install the new one, connected to the existing grounding infrastructure.
That said, I was upgrading the entire service entrance from 100A feeding a 1950s vintage fuse panel to a modern 200A breaker panel which required as well a new meter base and mast. In my own case I have a much newer late 70s breaker panel fed by a 200A underground service so the existing meter base ought to be adequate.
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Thank you for the clarification.
I had an inspector; in a town that I won't name; try to tell me I had to upgrade the entire wiring plant in a relatives home in the process of doing a heavy up. The home had been wired with the original Non Metallic cable that most of us call rag wire. There were no Equipment Grounding Conductors in any of it. The inspector was not being arrogant or nasty about it but he seemed to think that was within his authority. It being a small town he was the only electrical inspector. I made an appointment to sit down with the towns solicitor. I laid out the problem I had with the limits on the inspectors authority and he agreed to look into it. A month later an informal opinion from the state's office of industrial safety made it clear that the inspector was out of his depth on what he could and could not order corrected. The Town's solicitor raised a stink with the board until they authorized the funds to send all of the town's inspectors to certification training. The electrical inspector actually went out of his way to thank me. He had been asking for certification training for five years he told me. That guy new his electricity inside out and backwards but the town expected him to know how to be an inspector without any formal training. In the intervening twenty plus years every circuit except the first floor lighting has been rewired with modern cable. What made it possible for my sisters family to do that was that they could do it gradually. I've met a lot of really good electricians who are working as inspectors. Problem with some of them is that as inspectors they were really good electricians if you know what I mean.
I strongly believe that every state should have a mandatory certification process for any publicly employed inspector. They also need progressive appeals process so that inspector mistakes have a remedy that is not the courts. In one county I've dealt with you have to crimp sleeve the Equipment Grounding Conductors (EGCs) because their chief electrical inspector believes he can apply the requirement for non reversible splices and taps in Grounding Electrode Conductors to EGCs. Everyone just does it because it is not worth fighting but it really is a total waste of time and material. Many of the crimp sleeves are being applied with the wrong tool and make a lot poorer connection then a well applied Green wire nut would. Cest le vie. -- Tom Horne
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Wow, what a mess.
The fuse panel I replaced was also a mess. I found a 30A fuse screwed into a circuit wired with #14. The fuse was so hot I couldn't hold my finger on it, and the insulation was starting to sag on the wire near the fuse block. The circuit ran the entire basement and had an extra refrigerator on it. It was a big job to replace everything and I think I ended up adding seven additional branch circuits to the house but it's a much nicer and safer setup than before. I left the old un-grounded "rag wire" as you call them circuits in place, it was not remotely practical to completely replace them, however I unloaded them to the extent I could by adding additional circuits to new receptacles in places that needed them.
My own panel is not nearly so bad, it's just old, physically small, has that stupid split main setup, and it's full. My garage has only one receptacle in it and really needs more, and I'd like a 240V circuit out there too so replacing the panel seems the logical place to start. I don't know where my water main is currently grounded, that could potentially be the biggest nightmare since it does not come in near the panel.
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Very good. I usually divide a room in two 10 A (230 V) lightning circuits, plus at least one 16 A receptacle, and a couple 10 A receptacles (remember, it's EU so all 230 V). Here, the breaker panel comes void, and you install as many breakers as you like, I usually install the pilux dion, a greek brand of panels, steel painted white. It goes without saying, that the 16 A receptacle is pigtailed, and I *try* to pigtail as much as possible. In new residences all conduits pass through the floor, in "duroflex" medium endurance conduits (www.kouvidis.gr again), and then a layer of concrete is poured on the floor, also all hot and cold water pipes and water central heating, too. You should see one house here, where gypsies live, you wouldn't believe, most of them. When my friend renovated, we teared most of the walls down, and seizing the chance I changed all conduits, and installed as many circuits as possible, 14 IIRC plus one for the stove and one for the electric hot water heater (that's a small house,only 30 m^2, 3 rooms and a bathroom, 35 A service, at 230 V).
--
Tzortzakakis Dimitrios
major in electrical engineering
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Switches need only be adequate for the load that they control. It is very common in US practice to use ten ampere switches on fifteen ampere circuits and there is nothing wrong with that as long as the load to be controlled does not exceed the rating of the switch. Switches controlling receptacle outlets should never be less than the rating of the circuit because the cord and plug connected load could well be the entire ampacity of the circuit. -- Tom Horne
404.14 Rating and Use of Snap Switches. Snap switches shall be used within their ratings and as indicated in 404.14(A) through (D).
(A) Alternating Current General-Use Snap Switch. A form of general-use snap switch suitable only for use on ac circuits for controlling the following: (1)    Resistive and inductive loads, including electric-discharge lamps, not exceeding the ampere rating of the switch at the voltage involved (2)    Tungsten-filament lamp loads not exceeding the ampere rating of the switch at 120 volts (3)    Motor loads not exceeding 80 percent of the ampere rating of the switch at its rated voltage (B) Alternating-Current or Direct-Current General-Use Snap Switch. A form of general-use snap switch suitable for use on either ac or dc circuits for controlling the following: (1)    Resistive loads not exceeding the ampere rating of the switch at the voltage applied. (2)    Inductive loads not exceeding 50 percent of the ampere rating of the switch at the applied voltage. Switches rated in horsepower are suitable for controlling motor loads within their rating at the voltage applied. (3)    Tungsten-filament lamp loads not exceeding the ampere rating of the switch at the applied voltage if T-rated.
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1) I picket it up at a BIG BOX hardware store (Lowe's)
2) Brand name seems to be "Cooper Wiring Devices." VGFS15V-M-L
3) Made in China (Red China, I suppose)
4) The device itself isn't marked with a model number, etc. (I guess it's marketed thru several different companies.)

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The electronics within the GFI are not designed to be continuously attacked by the resulting electrical spikes each time the switch is turned on and off.
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Where exactly, did you read that?
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When I wired my bath 25 years ago I put the outlet and lights (which had outlets on them) on a switch. The circuit is Switch -> GFCI -> Lights. This was done so the outlets on the lights would be GFCI protected. It has worked well for 25 years with no false trips.

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Rich. wrote:

You are close but what I'm thinking may be the reason could have to do with the way a GFCI works. If you short the neutral and ground on a GFCI outlet, the GFCI will trip. If power were to accidentally energize the neutral on the circuit that the GFCI outlet is on and the power to the electronic control is off, the outlet would not trip. A GFCI will trip under all fault conditions, not just power to ground. You should try to trip one by shorting the neutral to ground and you'll see what I mean.
TDD
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On Sat, 29 Aug 2009 17:07:50 -0500, The Daring Dufas

Can't happen. That is what breakers are for.

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Metspitzer wrote:

I've seen stranger things happen. Things like nails and screws through wires causing extremely weird short circuits. Remember, a breaker is for protecting the wiring, not people.
TDD

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