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Earth leakage problem


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Do this when you know it’s going to go off.

Switch everything off at the db except for the lights you need - or use a torch.

Start switching the breakers back on one by one till you get to the one that trips the earth leakage.

Then you start looking for the culprit.


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Tried all the advice so far my problem is that my pool pump is on its own earth leakage this is the one that keep tripping....the real problem is that it also trips the EL in my flatlet and the El in my main house..I can reset the one in the main house when I  switch off or unplug my house alarm.... the one in my flatlet will reset when I switch the gate motor breaker off. The El for the pool pump will not reset till the morning when I then can turn on the house alarm as well as the breaker for the gatemotor

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Just a thought, do you have any outside lights that come on at about that time? I find the usual culprits seem to be outside lights, gate motors, pool pumps etc. where somehow water can get in somewhere and cause a trip. Since it only seems to happen at night though, I am guessing some light circuit could be the cause.

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21 minutes ago, Gerhard1@ said:

Jaco at 1815

A daylight switch maybe. That will explain why when its getting light again the problem stops. 

19 minutes ago, Stanley said:

outside lights

This is where I was going with my question. 

25 minutes ago, Gerhard1@ said:

pool pump is on its own earth leakage this is the one that keep tripping.

Maybe some light circuits feeding from the swimming pool DB. 

Did this system always work before or did you recently add anything to it?

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No new installation was done I removed all outside lights with sensors gate motor lights disconnected all day night switches but still no joy..only thing that is on a timer is pool pump which switches off at 1800 and back on at 0600...but I even removed the pool feed to the EL and still no joy till morning...so EL doesn't reset even if it has no load till the morning

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6 minutes ago, Gerhard1@ said:

I removed the load from the EL and still it doesn't want to reset till the morning...

Okay - then it means that some other circuit is using a neutral wire that's going thru this EL. But the phase wire for that load is going from elsewhere.


Light for the staircase, neutral taken from downstairs + phase from the upstairs.



Solar powerplant that is being fed with AC from a DB and returning the AC-out to that same DB. Once the inverter goes into bypass(evening) the grid relay in the inverter loops the neutral and therefore EL trips.

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1 hour ago, Dex_ said:

maybe a bad breaker in the street? what time are your street lights coming on?

In March this year when we had that constant blackouts, my house started to do the same thing. The earth on the plugs side will trip, and when you switch on, the main breaker in the road box will trip. I got the keys of the outside main box , we stay in a estate and i'm a trustee, so every time o go switch it on again because i cant find the problem inside my house after testing everything.  It kept doing this for 2 weeks, in the afternoon. One night the guy that stays two houses from me came to me and ask if our power is on after the power came on with a blackout. His is off, like everything, even the prepaid meter. Sam story, earth trips and when you switch it on, outside breaker and it's 83amp breaker. Next day i call the guys from the meters to come check because i was thinking the meter got hit with the blackout. 

Nope, his breaker was busy melting because the wire start going loos from the input side and arcing and this was leading that my side trip to.  The hall main box wires was loos because the estate is about 5 years old and never check because of heat and cold that helps expanding the wires. Down the road the same story happen in the estate. Got a sparkie in to come check all the boxes for me and tight all the wire in the connects and switches. Problem solved after that. 

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An Earth leakage trips if either the live conductor comes into contact with  Earth OR if the Neutral conductor comes into contact with earth

If the faulty timer somehow switches neutral to earth tripping all the circuit breakers in your DB will not resolve the issue. You will have to remove the neutral wires from the neutral bar one by one until you are able to reset the Earth Leakage device.


But trip all the feeding CB`s first, a floating neutral from a live circuit can shock you.



Edited by Jaws
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On 2019/11/06 at 6:34 AM, Gerhard1@ said:

I can reset the one in the main house when I  switch off or unplug my house alarm.... the one in my flatlet will reset when I switch the gate motor

Ugh... I think you have a compound problem of some sort. Those two appliances (gate motor, alarm) and in my case also the garage door opener, they had surge protection/EMI filters in them which upon recovery after a power failure would cause enough of a transient to trip the RCD. But in my case resetting the RCD immediately would succeed.

To me it sounds like there is more than one problem going on. You have a high standing loss (a standing loss is normal, most houses will have a bit of leakage and many appliances rely on it for surge protection and filtering), and then at a certain time of the day a particular appliance comes on and takes you over the edge. When attempting to find the problem it shows up all over precisely because it's not just one thing.

Starting with a divide-and-conquer strategy of turning off half the breakers sometimes works, but if you have a leakage between a neutral and earth(as @Jaws also mentioned), it won't help, since breakers don't disconnect the neutral. A proper divide and conquer strategy also disconnects the neutrals... and this sort of thing is best performed by a qualified electrician.

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On 2019/11/06 at 12:05 AM, Youda said:

Step one - remove the RCD.

Step two - wait till the evening and listen for a scream of someone being electrocuted.


Hmmm. Definitely a timer caused issue.

I discovered the fault.. Counsel is supplying me with 460v of power at night time so the problem is on their side had one of their "technicians" here and showed him the fault. So hopefully they can sort the problem


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