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Author Topic: Bathroom power out after QRO  (Read 614 times)
NO9E
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Posts: 380




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« on: December 06, 2007, 08:18:48 AM »

When I operate on 80m QRO, the bathroom fuse in the fusebox trips. Any ideas how to prevent it? I was thinking about decoupling capacitors but also I am afraid of a possible fire if the cap burns.
Ignacy, NO9E
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KI4WAF
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Posts: 68




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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2007, 08:24:06 AM »

Is it blowing the breaker or simply tripping the ground fault interrupter?  Or do you really have fuses?
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KT8K
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2007, 08:37:13 AM »

Unless your amplifier is powered by the same circuit that goes to the bathroom (which would not be good in any case) you must be getting RF into the wiring, instead of out to the antenna and into the air where you want it.  That could be tripping your breaker, especially if it is a GFI type (required by US electrical code anywhere AC wiring comes near water, I believe).  Unless your antenna is within a few yards of the house (in which case I would NOT be running high power anyway due to the risk of RFI and/or excessive RF exposure) you need to look at your antenna system as a whole.

Is your SWR high?  Is there a bad connection somewhere in your feedlines?  Do you use baluns on your coax-fed antennas?  What's your grounding setup like?  Would you mind describing your antennas and equipment in more detail?

I have my closest ground rod right outside the shack, and the lightning arrestor box bonded to it on the outside of the shack wall, with a coaxial coil-choke in each feedline between the lightning arrestor box and the entry to the shack.  Something like that would keep any RF on a feedline shield from coming in, and might prevent the kind of problem you're having.

Please give us some more details on your antenna system and other equipment (unless you really ARE powering your amplifier off the bathroom circuit ... which is probably not a good idea).  I'm interested in seeing what the real experts say.
Good luck & 73 de kt8k - Tim
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20536




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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2007, 09:24:28 AM »

Fusebox?

Fuses are not influenced by RF, at all.

Can't be that.

Do you mean a GFI?  Those can be very RF-sensitive and normally do protect circuits for bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and anyplace having running water, plus all "outdoor" outlets.

I have a solution I've been using for many years re GFI circuits.

WB2WIK/6
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K8AG
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Posts: 345




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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2007, 09:47:28 AM »

If it is actually blowing a breaker and not just tripping a GFI, you might have a bad ground in the neutral lead in your breaker box.  Do some of the lights in your house get brighter when you key up?  Seems that houses built in the 50s and 60s had aluminum bus bars for center neutrals.  My buddy's lights would get bright every time the refrigerator would kick on.

If you can't check it yourself get an electrician to check it out.  Might save you equipment problems in the future.

73, JP, K8AG
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WA3SKN
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2007, 10:02:44 AM »

Give us a better description and we can help you more, but this does need to be investigated.
A couple of capacitors are NOT the answer!
Describe the station,power, and grounding setup for us.

-Mike.
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2007, 10:11:20 AM »

Replace the GIF breaker!
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KE4MOB
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2007, 12:58:37 PM »

"I have a solution I've been using for many years re GFI circuits."

Yeah, me too!!!  REMOVE and REPLACE with conventional wall outlet.
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NO9E
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Posts: 380




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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2007, 01:30:22 PM »

Sorry for being inaccurate. It is tripping GFI, not the circuit breaker.

The antenna is a doublet for 80m fed by a ladder line, which is attached to a balanced output. The antenna is 20m up or 10m over the house. It is an excellent performer on 80m-20m. However, GFI trips only on 80m. I suspected a balun so I tried different ones or a toroid transformer, and there is no difference; the radio is not RF hot at all.  

The house has 2 electrical panels, a main one and another one for the basement; the last one is also used for radios. GFI that trips is in the main panel, and GFI in the basement does not trip. It seems that GFI is sensitive to RF.

Ignacy
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2007, 01:50:14 PM »

Try a new a different brand of GFI.

You're right, they are RF sensitive.  This has driven me nuts for many years.

There could be a hundred reasons why that one trips, including that your electrical wiring to it may be resonant somewhere near 80m and is active like a more effective antenna to conduct more energy to the breaker on 80m than it does on other bands.

"10m" separation on 80m isn't much at all.  40m separation (130 feet or so) starts to look like "separation" on such a long wavelength.

Probably absolutely nothing wrong with your system, other than that GFI.

WB2WIK/6
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9879




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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2007, 02:06:52 PM »

I also had a similar problem and it turned out thar one of the main power leads into the house ( I think it was the common) was loose and stuff was back feeding down a different circuit's hot lead to complete the circuit.  the screw for the lead in to the house was out about 3 turns, and showed signs of arcing. tightening it up solved the problems  ( thanks  for the troubleshooting Jerry )
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K7STO
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2007, 04:59:08 PM »

The older GFCI circuit breakers and receptacles are both sensitive to RFI. If these devices are closing in on twenty years of service they should be replaced whether affected by RFI or not, as they may not function properly. The circuity inside the units does degrade and the new ones are a completely different type of construction/design. Replace the GFCI receptacle with a new one and your problem will be solved.

Mike
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K6AER
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Posts: 3468




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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2007, 05:10:20 PM »

The problem is simple RFI overload to the GFI sense circuit. Move the 80 meter beam up to the 200 foot level on the tower.
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WA3SKN
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Posts: 5419




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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2007, 05:19:47 AM »

OK, most early GFIs were RF sensitive.  Most of the newer units are both cheaper and better filtered.  The quick answer is replacement.
GFIs were designed to trip when 50 microamps difference was detected between hot and neutral, it did not take much induced voltage to exceed this.  The newer ones know the difference between 60 hertz and 3.5 Mhz, the older ones do not.
At the price of GFIs today, it is cheaper to replace than to try and filter the old units!

-Mike.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2007, 07:58:09 AM »

>RE: Bathroom power out after QRO  Reply  
by K6AER on December 6, 2007  Mail this to a friend!  
The problem is simple RFI overload to the GFI sense circuit. Move the 80 meter beam up to the 200 foot level on the tower.<

::Mike, I tried that but it took longer than I thought.  FIRST, I had to install the 200 foot tower.  Boy, my wife was excited to see the 300 foot construction crane pull up.  Then, the darn crane sank into the street so we had to call the City and have the street reinforced to support the crane.  Nagging problems all the way along.  
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