Author Topic: amps and ground fault question  (Read 372 times)

BuckRimfire

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amps and ground fault question
« on: November 01, 2020, 01:50:18 PM »
I received my Model 2 a few days ago and tried to season it this morning.  The outlet on the outside of my garage is a GFCI type.  It tripped twice, the first time after getting hot enough to produce quite a bit of smoke (ran for 10 or 15 minutes, I think) and the second time after a minute or two.  Is this normal?

I'm not sure how many amps the GFCI outlet is rated for.  I assumed 15 A, but I can't find that written on the parts of it that are visible without pulling it out of the junction box.  How many amps should the Model 2 heater pull?

I could install a non-GFCI 15 amp outlet and box on the side of the garage since it is completely sheltered from the weather there.  Should I do that, or is tripping the GFCI (slowly) an indication that something about the smoker needs to be fixed?
« Last Edit: November 01, 2020, 01:54:58 PM by BuckRimfire »

OldeSmoker

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Re: amps and ground fault question
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2020, 04:15:57 PM »
It is certainly possible that the GFCI is weak and is tripping without there being an actual fault. Iíve had that happen before. Per the SI website the model 2 draws 8 amps so that would not be the issue. There is a couple of simple things you could try. First I would plug the smoker into an outlet on another circuit. If there is no problem then that would eliminate the smoker as the issue. Also, you could plug another appliance, tool or even a blow dryer that draws at least 8 amps or more into the GFCI. If it still trips then the GFCI is the culprit. Good luck and welcome to the Smokin-It family.

Paul from Southwest Missouri
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old sarge

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Re: amps and ground fault question
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2020, 04:17:24 PM »
Welcome from SE Arizona.  See if anything at this link helps.
https://www.smokinitforums.com/index.php?topic=8274.msg71891#new
David from Arizona
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BuckRimfire

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Re: amps and ground fault question
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2020, 07:38:53 PM »
It is certainly possible that the GFCI is weak and is tripping without there being an actual fault. Iíve had that happen before. Per the SI website the model 2 draws 8 amps so that would not be the issue. There is a couple of simple things you could try. First I would plug the smoker into an outlet on another circuit. If there is no problem then that would eliminate the smoker as the issue. Also, you could plug another appliance, tool or even a blow dryer that draws at least 8 amps or more into the GFCI. If it still trips then the GFCI is the culprit. Good luck and welcome to the Smokin-It family.

Good ideas.  I was going to run a heavy extension cord out from inside the garage where there's a 20 Amp outlet with no GFCI to try the smoker on that.

I have a heat gun or electric heater that will draw 1000 watts, so trying those on the GFCI would be a good test of it.

PulledPorkSandwich

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Re: amps and ground fault question
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2020, 11:28:39 AM »
Is it possible to trace the GFCI outlet you're trying to use back to the breaker panel to check the amperage of the breaker?  Is the GFCI outlet tripping when you plug the #2 in or is the breaker tripping?

You should be able to plug the #2 into any outlet on a 15 amp circuit without tripping a breaker.  So, to perform the tests OldeSmoker advises, first figure out the amperage of the GFCI outlet and plug something else that draws less than that amperage into that circuit to see if it trips.  If it does, then you have a bad GFCI or circuit breaker.  If it does not, there is a problem with the #2.

Another test, as OldeSmoker advises, is to try the same test using a different, known, 15 amp outlet.   Plug the #2, then something else, into that outlet.  If the #2 trips the breaker and the other item doesn't, then you have a problem with the #2.

GFCI outlets wear out.  When they do, they'll trip when they shouldn't.  You may have to replace the outlet.

I run my #2 on a 15 amp circuit with a GFCI outlet.  I've never had a problem.
Ed in North Texas

BuckRimfire

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Re: amps and ground fault question
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2020, 12:29:52 PM »
After further tests, I don't think my GFCI outlet can be blamed.  I plugged a 1000 W electric heater into it and let it run for 10 minutes without any problem.  A 1500 W heat gun also ran OK for a couple of minutes.  When I turned on both, it tripped the main breaker in the garage panel, not the GFCI.

I am currently seasoning the smoker on a 12 gauge extension cord run out from the 20 W circuit in the garage.  It's running apparently normally after the first 20 minutes.  Once that's finished and it cools down, maybe I'll try opening up the back and fiddling with the wiring.

BuckRimfire

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Re: amps and ground fault question
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2020, 12:31:30 PM »
Is it possible to trace the GFCI outlet you're trying to use back to the breaker panel to check the amperage of the breaker?  Is the GFCI outlet tripping when you plug the #2 in or is the breaker tripping?
The smoker tripped the GFCI circuit in the outlet.  The breaker in the panel only tripped when I overloaded it with a heater plus the heat gun.

PulledPorkSandwich

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Re: amps and ground fault question
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2020, 10:23:03 AM »
I'm not an electrician, so I'll make one more comment and stand aside for the experts.

A 1000 watt heater will draw 8.3 amps at 120 volts.  A 1500 watt heat gun will draw 12.5 amps.  As OldeSmoker notes, the #2 draws 8 amps.  None of these, individually, should trip a 15 amp breaker (unless you have other things operating off that circuit).  Plugging both the heater and the heat gun into the circuit should trip a 20 amp breaker.

It would be helpful to note the capacity (in amps) of the circuit with the GFCI outlet.  If that breaker trips when you plug the heater and the heat gun into it, then when you reset it, you'll see the amperage rating on the breaker.

I would want to plug the #2 into a different circuit that has the same capacity as the one with the GFCI outlet.  I suspect it would be OK to do that inside your house or garage for a short time as long as you don't have any wood loaded into it.  If you can do that, then you should be able to diagnose where the problem is.

My understanding is that a GFCI outlet is intended to "trip" when it detects dampness.  Based on what you've said, I'm guessing your outlet needs replacement or perhaps the plug on the #2 was damp when you plugged it into the GFCI outlet.

I'll step aside now and learn from something from someone who knows more than I do.   :)

Ed in North Texas

old sarge

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Re: amps and ground fault question
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2020, 06:02:09 PM »
All of us do-it-yourselfers have our own way of tinkering with juice. As for me, I know Providence has stepped in and saved me from earning the nickname sparky on more than one occasion.  GFCIs are designed to trip when there is a ground fault. out common on appliance is when there is a loose wire grounding on the appliance as opposed to the manufacturers ground point. 

GFCIs can and do go bad over time.  Not sure why but they do.  My smoker is not plugged into a GFCI; old house and no problems.  BUT I am never barefoot when using. If you have an electrician friend, or a friend of a friend, have him/her check it out and check out the smoker wiring. Most times, but not always, the smoker has a loose connection as a result of manufacturing/shipping.  Good luck.
 


David from Arizona
US Army 70 - 95
SI 3D & Big Red Controller
CS 066 (retired to my son's home)
Lodge Sportsman Grill
Weber Kettle
Ducane Meridian 42 inch Grill
LEM MaxVac 1088A
LEM Big Bite #8 Grinder
Chef's Choice 665 and Rival Slicers
Old Hickory Knives
InstantPot Duo80 Plus