Hot Ground Reverse GFCI

Reply

  #1  
Old 08-05-02, 03:15 PM
M
moefine
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Hot Ground Reverse GFCI

I read a few other posts about hot ground reverse, and yes, I too have one of those sperry plug checkers. It's a previously-working GFCI in my kitchen, that tests as hot/grd reverse. I first replaced the GFCI with one that has an indicator light. The indicator light then lit up about half power, no juice to anything plugged in, and it couldn't be tripped.

I removed all of the downstream outlets by disconnecting the load wires. Restored power and same result.

With a cheap voltage tester, H - N lights up about halfway, H - G lights up all the way, confirming what the plug checker already revealed. A continuity tester revealed nothing (i.e. never lit with any combination, but it may not be useful for this).

Any help would be appreciated as I'm trying to save the $$ for an electrician for a new child on the way. Thanks.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 08-05-02, 03:54 PM
C
Canoe875
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
i would try checking and making sure you have a neutral. Sometimes those plug checkers will read hot/ground reversed because current flows through the hot to the ground instead of through the nuetral, making it say that the ground is hot. But if your down stream receptacles work properly this is not the case
 
  #3  
Old 08-05-02, 04:39 PM
M
moefine
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
When I took the outlet out, there were definitely separate black (hot), white (neutral), and bare (ground) wires, if that's what you mean. I'm rather new to all this, so maybe I'm using the wrong terminology (no pun intended). The downstream outlets do not work either. All of the testing I did with the voltage meter was done on the bare wires to make sure I was connecting to them correctly, and it wasn't just a faulty installation. Thanks for your response.
 
  #4  
Old 08-05-02, 04:52 PM
C
Canoe875
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
im sorry i wasn't more clear, make sure that you have 110 volts between the hot and nuetral, you might have to go get a better tester, a wiggy at home depot for $16. So you might want to check your onnections befor that box and see if the nuetral has fallen out of the wirenut or even back at the panel.
 
  #5  
Old 08-06-02, 08:31 AM
S
Sparksone42
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Are you sure that you have correctly wired that GFI receptacle? What you are describing sounds as if you have placed the feed wires on the load side of the GFI and the load wires to the line side. In this case, the unit will not work correctly and the downstream receptacles would receive no power.

This is the only thing that I can think of since you say that the circuit had a preciously working GFI. I am curious however, if the previous GFI worked then why did you replace it?
 
  #6  
Old 08-06-02, 12:35 PM
M
moefine
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
OK, I'll try to answer the questions in order.

Just bought a DMM. Took out the outlet, turned on the juice, and here are the results as measured directly from the feed wires:

H - N = mid 30s (variable)
N - G = 1 or 2 (neglible, I guess)
H - G = 120

So it looks like the plug checker was correct, and your question was on the money, Canoe875. I am pretty sure there is nothing but wire between this outlet and the box.

The GFI did work previously, but after checking the reset and the circuit breaker with no joy, I replaced it.

I have done no electrical work on the house and, to my knowledge, everything else, including my other GFI's, work correctly. I should have mentioned that we had two appliances die suspiciously on this circuit, but it did work after that before dying, so there could have been some sort of short or surge, but nothing is burnt, and nothing else was effected (to my knowledge).

So is the next step to examine the circuit breaker itself to ensure that something hasn't slipped off, a dead bug crossing wires, etc.? If so, under what conditions would it be safe to take the cover off and do so? There is a main switch at the box above the breakers, but no other obvious switches inside or outside the house. How would you know if a breaker was fried?

Thanks again, so much.
 
  #7  
Old 08-06-02, 01:23 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Your testing has confirmed the earlier suspicions by canoe of an open neutral. The reading of 30 volts is merely phantom voltage, and you should treat it as if it had said zero. Your 120 hot to ground reading confirms that the breaker is just fine, so leave it alone!

Shut off the breaker and examine every receptacle and switch on this circuit, saving the panel for last. If any white wires are connected with push-in connectors, move them to the adjacent screws. Check all wire nuts for good tight connections (try to pull each wire out one at a time). Don't open the panel until you've checked all the other outlets. If you get that far, shut off the main breaker and carefully tighten all the screws on white wires -- don't come into contact with the main lugs or you won't be able to post back results.
 
  #8  
Old 08-06-02, 03:23 PM
M
moefine
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I'm fairly positive that there is nothing between the offending box/GFI and the panel. Is there any way besides tearing up my basement to make sure? I also disconnected the downstream/load wires from the GFI before the testing, so it wouldn't be after it.

It's a Square D panel with six screws that look to be holding it to the box it's in, and what look like two metal pegs that seem to hold it to the panel itself. These have springs of some sort that are between the face plate and the panel. The don't seem to want to do anything, push, pull, turn, etc., but seem key, nonetheless.

My assumption is that I turn off the main power switch, which is in the panel itself, unscrew the faceplate and do something with the two metal pegs. I hate to take up more of your time, but I think we're close. Once the faceplate is off, it should be easy to check the connections to the breaker, which should be fine otherwise.

I will do my best to keep away from the posts and you all are officially indemnified if I don't.
 
  #9  
Old 08-07-02, 04:36 PM
C
Canoe875
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Well how did things go? did you find a loose wire on the nuetral bar?
 
  #10  
Old 08-08-02, 07:57 AM
M
moefine
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I'll be going in tomorrow when my wife and I will be home at the same time, just in case I make a boo-boo. I will post as soon as I know! Thanks. If you all ever need any advice about the web or Internet, I'm your man! [email protected].
 
  #11  
Old 08-09-02, 05:10 PM
N
NickA
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I Had The Same Problem

It turned out to be a poor connection of 2 neutrals + a pigtail (wirenut) that led to the outlet. I wasted an hour trying to figure this out.
 
  #12  
Old 08-12-02, 09:05 AM
M
moefine
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Eureka!!!

Turns out it was a problem in the box itself. When I opened up the box (after turning off the main) I discovered that there was a neutral wire that was fried ugly. It looked like the wire was at least in contact with the one below it, so I gently separated them (with a plastic spatula!).

Turned on the juice, connected my DMM to the wires, and voila! Turned off power, reconnected the GFI, turned power back on and the plug checker showed the joy lights. Things have been running fine ever since.

My last question is, should I worry about replacing the neutral wire with the crispy covering? Could I cut, strip, and reconnect, or since they are not likely to come in contact again, just leave well enough alone (my favorite option)?

Thanks again for all of your help and follow up. This has saved me money, and made my wife happy. I only wish I could buy you all a beer.



 
  #13  
Old 08-14-02, 03:21 PM
N
NickA
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Smile

If u have enough wire left to cut/strip I would do so. I would also be curious as to why it is in that condition and do some poking around to find and eliminate the cause. Glad u resolved your problem.
 
  #14  
Old 08-15-02, 07:36 AM
M
moefine
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I do remember an electrical storm happening before the incident, but that could be a coincidence. I lost a coffee pot in the mess, and when I opened it up to see if I could fix it, the neutral was fried much like the one in my box was. I also lost a microwave, but didn't open it up.

The neutral in question is the top one on the side that is closest to where the feed enters the building. I don't know if that is of any import. The circuit breaker itself is more toward the bottom of that row.

Now that I think of it, both neutrals are partially exposed, since it was them touching that caused this mess. I will try to fix both. I'm also going to put a smoke alarm in that room, which doubles as my home office.

thanks again!!!!
 
  #15  
Old 08-16-02, 08:35 PM
B
bwetzel
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
You should be fine by just cutting the wire off and putting it back on. The burnning of the wire will happen if the connection was loose. It can happen fast if there is much load on this circuit. I would also check the wire size and make sure someone has not put a 20 amp breaker in where a 15 amp should be. Maybe replace the breaker anyways, because it did not do its job. It should of tripped if the insulation is burned off. Hope this helps
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: