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Thread: Ioslation Transformer for Problematic Net Lights

  1. #1
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    Default Ioslation Transformer for Problematic Net Lights

    Hello, this might be a bit of a dumb question, but I've been having issues with net lights tripping our GFCI and taking out other lights in the process, no matter the brand, age, or technology. We've tried other methods to stop trips, but nothing has worked. So I was thinking to myself as to other ways to stop it from happening, and had the idea to put them in an isolated transformer. I'm not sure if this is something anyone here has done before. From my understanding, a ground fault occurs because neutral is referenced to ground, but with an isolation transformer, neither line is referenced to ground, so a ground fault should not be able to happen. At least that's my rough understanding. Because the lights are all LED (as of this year in fact), I should not need a big transformer to do the job.

    Any thoughts about this? Has anyone else done something like this? Or is there a hidden risk I have not thought about that would make something like this unsafe.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ioslation Transformer for Problematic Net Lights

    I would try to find the problem and only as a last resort after verifying that string of lights is no threat would I put it on a non gfci circuit. When I first started following the forums in the 2010 time period there was a lot of gfci swearing.

    I haven't had problems but I remember that support structures were one cause. How are the net lights being used?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ioslation Transformer for Problematic Net Lights

    I have a similar issue with some led wireframes. Whenever there was some moisture my gfci would trip. Someone recommended I get an Isolation transformer as well. I had never heard of this solution before. I ended up ordering the Jameco Valuepro ITR300 Power Transformer from amazon about 2 weeks ago. I installed it and had no issues. Of course there was no moisture for the 1st week, but then we had a huge rain this past weekend and my gcfi did not trip. I can not speak on if there is any risk with this setup, but I can confirm that I have an isolation transformer hooked up in my garage before a renard ss box that controls about 2000 leds, and my gcfi has not tripped yet since I have added it. Another thing with this renard incans are off and leds remain dimly lit, but With the Isolation transformer in place the leds now appear to be all the way off as well when the channel is off.

    Thanks,
    Shawn
    Last edited by sctwohig; 12-15-2020 at 10:22 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ioslation Transformer for Problematic Net Lights

    you could purchase a portable GFIC device and just put the net lights on it. That way if they trip it does not take out the other lights.

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Tower-Ma...B&gclsrc=aw.ds
    Kevin

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ioslation Transformer for Problematic Net Lights

    The net lights are used on bushes, there are roughly 17 sets (10x 90 light multi 4x4 and 7 150 light white 4x6, both types are rarely on at the same time), the multi strings seem to be the most problematic of the two types. We also do not have any non GFCI circuits for our display.

    The portable GFCI sounds interesting, but I wonder if it will be able to trip before the main GFCI trips.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ioslation Transformer for Problematic Net Lights

    I had the same idea awhile ago to use an isolation transformer but decided to just get rid of the gfci, thats what most of us do. Just dont touch anything in we weather unless everything is unplugged.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ioslation Transformer for Problematic Net Lights

    I took a different approach.......I was getting nuisance GF tripping on my LED circuits. Two runs and both tripped in the rain. One much more than the other. I tried bagging the plugs, staking off the ground and even greasing, but only slightly reduced the tripping. Stepping back I realized it is not just the plugs getting wet and tracking to ground, but every socket and lamp can do the same.....and no, I'm not going to grease every socket. So if I cannot reduce the GF below the 5 ma tripping point, I'll divide the circuits amount multiple GFI Receptacles. Reducing the GF any receptacle will see, I built a WP Box with 5 GFI Receptacles. Pulled the single GFI and connected those wires to my box. Now I can have 5 ma per receptacle, or up to 25 ma of GF without tripping. Well, it worked. In the last 2 years (and last year was a very wet one) I've have had ONE GF trip, and that was this year.....and I'm not sure that was an actual GF that tripped it. Not a cheap solution but great results....I don't need to dance in the rain to reset GF receptacles.
    Last edited by mrGrumpy; 01-11-2021 at 08:20 PM.
    In Lights Therapy

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    Default Re: Ioslation Transformer for Problematic Net Lights

    I ended up getting an isolation transformer awhile ago, hooked the net lights up to it, and despite 3 or 4 decent rainstorms coming through between then and now, the net lights have not tripped the GFCI, so I think I'd call that a success.

    I had thought about splitting one GFCI into multiple, but the only thing that was consistently tripping the GFCI was the net lights, and now that's solved. The only other thing that tripped any GFCIs this year was a cutout on the roof that's going to be rewired to LED next year.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ioslation Transformer for Problematic Net Lights

    Not sure your net lights will ever trip on ground fault....I think your isolation transformer removed that load from GFI protection, and makes it a safety issue.
    In Lights Therapy

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Ioslation Transformer for Problematic Net Lights

    Quote Originally Posted by mrGrumpy View Post
    Not sure your net lights will ever trip on ground fault....I think your isolation transformer removed that load from GFI protection, and makes it a safety issue.
    AFAIK the only way someone can get hurt off an isolation transformer is if they manage to touch both line outputs at the same time. I don't see how that's less safe than mains, where if you touch live and neutral, you get shocked. And if you touch live and ground, you get shocked (unless there's a GFCI).

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