View Full Version : electricians!!! need immediate info on halides all of a sudden are tripping breaker!

04/12/2006, 11:41 PM
i have a 3x250w giesemann 230 eco that has worked flawlessly up til a week when it comes on...it trips my 20a breaker without tripping the gfci.

the light is just over a year old and has never given my problems.

my breaker has never tripped up til now and only does so when the lights come on .

the equipment hooked up to the 20a do not come close to exceeding the load of the 20 amp breaker.

could the breaker itself be bad? or do you think there is a problem with the light?

i would like to try and solve this extremely distressing problem before my lights come on tomorrow as i have shut it down for the night already! whew!

any help is absolutely and whole heartedly appreciated!

Fast Fred
04/12/2006, 11:57 PM
Can you unplug the light from that circuit and try it in a different circuit? This will tell you if it's the breaker or the light. If the light is not easily moved, my suggestion is to run an extention cord (14 guage minimum, with 3 prongs) to another receptacle not on that breaker. TURN OFF the breaker you are going to try it on. plug it in, then go back and turn the breaker back on. If it trips, you have a short in the light fixture. If it trips, do not reset the breaker until after you unplug the light.

It is possible that the 1st breaker is worn out. I've seen this on rare occasions. More than likely, it's the light fixture itself.

Let us know either way, and tell us what happened. If you need further assistance in troubleshooting, just ask.

04/13/2006, 12:16 AM
thanks for the quick reply fred!

i notice that when the lights are preparing to fire up...i hear a high pitch whine which is weird. i thought it was just the electronic ballast warming itself up to fire the bulb. only one of the three ballast does this.

what is your thought on this?

Fast Fred
04/13/2006, 12:21 AM
If after troubleshooting the problem as I suggested, if you determine that the problem is in the fixture, and not the breaker, I would look at that whining ballast first as the cause of the short.

I'm not familiar with that perticular fixture. I am assuming it's a fixture that is all inclusive internally....the bulbs and ballasts are in the same housing that sits above the tank? You say that all 3 ballasts are electronic?

If you determine that the problem is in the fixture, let me know and I'll help you find the problem.

04/13/2006, 12:31 AM
thanks fred...

i'll do that first thing in the morning...

dont wanna freak out the corals with it suddenly becoming day again after 'night' seemed to have set in! :)

Fast Fred
04/13/2006, 12:38 AM
Anytime, Ben!

Long story short...If you determine that the fixture is the cause of the problem, and the breaker trips off right away, start by disconnecting the suspect ballast, cap or tape the wires you disconnected. And repeat the troubleshooting process by turning off the breaker, pluging in the ballast, then turn the breaker back on. When disconnecting the ballast you only need to disconnect the black that comes from the power source and goes to the ballast. Be sure the fixture is unplugged before messing with any wiring. Only plug it back in with the breaker OFF, until you find the problem.

BTW, the whole time you are working on the fixture, look for anything that doesn't look right...soot, evidence of sparking, funny smell, obvious defects, etc.