Hair Dryer & Makeup Mirror Mystery

criticalmass048May 30, 2010

At my wife's makeup table, she has (among other things) a hair dryer and makeup mirror. The makeup mirror she just bought at a yard sale a few weeks ago.

Twice now, the built-in circuit breaker on the hair dryer plug has tripped. The kicker is, it was not being used at the time.

The first time it happened, I had to reset it, and told her the dryer must have overheated while using it. She told me that she wasn't even using it. The second time, she told me that when she turned her makeup mirror on, she actually heard a click come from under the table, and so she tested the hair dryer, and of course, it didn't work.

Is it possible for the makeup mirror to somehow send something down through the cord, and back up into the hair dryer cord causing the breaker to trip? And if so, this sounds quite dangerous. Should we get rid of this mirror?

Thanks for the input.

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Sounds like the hair dryer might have a built in GFCI. The spike from the mirror lights could be triggering it. Are the lights CFLs?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 7:34PM
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The lights on the makeup mirror are two long (about 8") florescent bulbs, but they're not CFLs. You think the starter might be triggering it?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 10:10PM
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Fluoresecent lamps/ballasts are probably tiggering it.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 8:25AM
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JoeD is absolutely correct.

The dryer plug has a GFI, NOT a "circuit breaker".

The mirror is somehow causing the trip.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 11:38AM
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By the way, my wife has since corrected me. Turning the mirror OFF is tripping the GFCI.

So is this dangerous, or just annoying? Is it possible the outlet is bad?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 11:53AM
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"Turning the mirror OFF is tripping the GFCI."

When the magnetic field in the ballast collapses it puts some voltage pulses out in places they are not normally present.

Both magnetic ballasts and the newer 'electronic' ballasts both use transformers to create the high voltage needed to strike the arc in a fluorescent tube.
The older magnetic ballast then uses a gaped core transformer to limit the current flow in the tube, whole the electronic ones directly regulate the current.

It is not a hazard so nothing is done to prevent it.

The same thing can happen with an induction motor when it is switched off.

The GFCI sees hot and neutral currents that no longer balance and operates as designed.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 9:04AM
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