I realize the application I am about to describe is a BIT unusual, but it is about the only choice I have at the moment without costing me a LOT of money.
I am running three 50 ft outdoor string lights from the pitch of my attic across my back yard. I wanted to be able to automate turning these lights on and off.
Enter Aeon Smart Switch. I currently do not have an outlet close to the window on my attic. As a result, I am running a 100 ft extension chord across my attic to the window. The aeon smart switch is plugged into this extension chord. From there the switch plugs into a three plug water resistant plug with a GFCI. My switch is included in my hub and i can turn it off and on without problems and I can hear the internal relay switching on. When everything is plugged in it will turn the light on without a problem. However, when I turn the switch off through the app it trips the gfci. I can turn the light back on, but only after turning the switch off and resetting the gfci. It will again turn on, but ONLY trips when the switch is turned OFF.
Is there anything I can do to fix this problem or am I at risk to any electrical hazard?
If it’s tripping the GFCI, that’s not normal. It sounds like you may have the load too high. Or could be EMI from the radio in the smart switch when the powershifts. Or it could even be an actual short. There isn’t really any way to tell except to start removing things and testing.
If it was me, I would probably begin by unplugging everything from the switch and then seeing if just the switch itself going on and off trips the GFCI.
If it does, then either the switch is bad or that GFCI is just very sensitive and it may just not be a good match.
You are increasing the resistance of the “circuit” (extension cord to light cord and lights) by having such long runs and potentially large loads.
The Aeon Labs smart switch has a max power of 1875 Watts and 15 amps.
Start by removing one string of lights from the equation and see if it trips , if so then remove two strings and so forth.
Additionally, GFCI breakers are made to wear and fail after a certain amount of trips or actuations. Many people are unaware of this.
Also, about 50 percent of the time the GFCI breaker is actually wired incorrectly.
Watch this YouTube video where it describes GFCI wiring correctly and how to test.
Try out Bruce’s recommendations. Also not really sure I come across a z-wave switch before a GFCI in a circuit. Possible the Aeon is also the cause since it’s only trip when shutting off. Try reverse the order of the Aeon and GFCI plug.
This particular switch is a also plug-in energy meter. So I’m guessing at the point that it’s shut off, it’s sending an energy report, which is why I mentioned a possible RF issue.
It’s also possible that there’s a fluctuation right at that point of shut off that the GFCI is reading is a fault. Like happens with some refrigerator compressors when they reverse.
In either case, you would see additional activity that would be different from a regular Z wave plug-in pocket socket where the RF activity would come before the off instead of after.
But who knows?
If I am reading this correctly you don’t have a GFCI outlet, you are using one of those plug in GFCI triple taps after the Aeon switch. Those plug in GFCI plugs are not the most reliable. They are overly sensitive by design. Since the 100’ extension cord is before the switch and GFCI, while not ideal ,I don’t think they are causing the problem. I would suspect a small spike when you turn it off/on as causing the problem. I know some of my outdoor decorations and equipment with GFCI in the plug/cord are set to trip it every time they are plugged in, unplugged. I had to take the Peanut plug off of the little A/C unit in the bedroom for the same reason. I could turn it off without any problems but it would trip the GFCI in the A/C plug every time. I could turn Peanut off, but would have to reset the GFCI before I could turn it back on.
Is it possible for you to install an outlet at that end of the attic ,rather than using the extension cord ? Since you already have power up there, you could run new Romex from the existing outlet and put a new box with a “real GFCI” outlet where you need it. Then just use a normal triple tap in the Aeon switch to split it to your 3 strings of lights