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Use of Smart-UPS and Back-UPS with GFI (GFCI) Receptacles or Breakers

Published date: 02 March 2020

Issue:
GFI (aka "GFCI") of AFCI Receptacle or circuit breaker trips after UPS or Surge Arrest is connected.

Product Line:
Smart-UPS, Back-UPS, and Surge; All Product Families

Environment:
UPS or Surge Protector plugged in to GFI/AFCI receptacle or a standard receptacle which is protected by a GFI/AFCI breaker.

Cause:
A ground fault interrupter (GFI) or Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI is a safety device required by the National Electrical Code in some applications.
It's purpose is to avert personal injury.

UPS systems and computer equipment exhibit leakage currents. These currents are a natural result of the common mode filters present in computers and UPS's.

The common mode filtering in Smart-UPS, Back-UPS, and Surge Arrest products may produce small amounts of excess current on their input as part of their normal operation.

This is referred to as "leakage current".

In addition, every piece of load connected creates a certain amount of leakage current which it also passes along through the UPS.

The leakage current of the UPS and all of the load attached is cumulative and may cause nuisance tripping of a GFCI/AFCI receptacle or Breaker.
This may occur whether the output of the UPS is switched "on" or "off"
This behavior may be experienced when using GFI/AFCI products manufactured by Schneider Electric or any other vendor. 

Resolution:
The most common culprit is the load attached to the UPS/Surge product. Try attaching different load and see if that improves performance. 
You can try to replace the GFCI/AFCI device and see if this solves the problem. Sometimes as GFI/AFCI devices age they will drift out of tolerance. You may also find that some GFI/AFCI devices are more sensitive than others. Breaker style GFI/AFCI protection is typically more tolerant than receptacle based.

If the circuit is not required to be GFI/AFCI by code, you may consider changing to a non-GFI/AFCI receptacle or breaker.
Typically GFIprotection is only required by code in wet/damp locations such as Kitchens, Baths, or exterior receptacles, but your local electrical code may vary. AFCI  are sometimes requires in additional locations for new construction.

APC products should only be used in compliance with all local and national electric codes. 
APC does not manufacture any UPS or Surge devices designed for use in wet/damp applications.     

There are thousands of successful installations of UPS and computer equipment with GFI/AFCI, however every application and load is different.
For best performance, use your UPS or Surge Protector with a standard non-GFI/AFCI power source.  

 

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