GFI wiring

Reply

  #1  
Old 06-19-04, 02:24 PM
sandblaster
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
GFI wiring

I have installed GFI plugs into 2 plugs that run along my counter top next to my sink in the kitchen. They both work great and all was well until I turned on the fan and/or lite over the stovetop and both plugs tripped. They would not reset so I removed the white wire coming from the stovetop fan/lite and both plugs reset and worked great. I am getting power from this white wire coming from the fan/lite which I thought was neutral. Any ideas on how I should wire this so it will work?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 06-19-04, 02:30 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
The answer is to wire the GFCIs properly.

Start by telling us how you wired them and we can then tell you what you did wrong.
 
  #3  
Old 06-19-04, 02:51 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
sandblaster, I only have two simple questions (to start with):
  1. Do you live in Canada?
  2. Were there any red wires in the boxes where you installed the GFCI receptacles.
Also, please answer Bob's question.
 
  #4  
Old 06-19-04, 03:38 PM
sandblaster
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
GFI wiring

I am from California. According to the directions, I wired the brass (hot) red to the hot wire and the silver (Neutral) to the neutral wire on the side marked Line. The top set I wired the white wire that comes from the fan/lite over the stove to the silver(neutral) load. When the fan/lite is off, the outlets work great. when I turn either of them on the faults trip. If I turn off the power at the fuse panel to the outlets and hook up the white wire from the fan/lite to the load silver(neutral), the fan/lite works as it is on a different fuse.
 
  #5  
Old 06-19-04, 04:06 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
If there are both black and red hot wires in the box (you didn't mention any black wires, but are there any in the box?), then you have a multiwire circuit and you cannot protect any downstream loads. Put all wires on the line side and don't use the load side connections.

If you have any further questions, please specify exactly how many cables, and how many wires of each color, are in the box. Tell us about all wires in the box, whether or not they are connected to the GFCI.

Even if you don't have both black and red wires in the box, you probably have a multiwire circuit anyway. Multiwire circuits and GFCI do not coexist well.
 
  #6  
Old 06-20-04, 04:55 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,219
If I turn off the power at the fuse panel to the outlets and hook up the white wire from the fan/lite to the load silver(neutral), the fan/lite works as it is on a different fuse.
This is your problem right here. You have connected the white wire from the fan/light to the GFCI. But the _hot_ wire to the fan/light is from a different circuit. Current that flows from this other circuit, through the fan/light and then back to the GFCI is seen by the GFCI as an imbalance. This is exactly the sort of imbalance that GFCIs detect, and so the GFCI trips.

You need to make certain that the fan/light is supplied both hot and neutral from the load side of the GFCI, and not from any other circuits, and not from any other connections to the circuit. If electricity can bypass the GFCI in any way, then the GFCI will sense the imbalance and trip. Normally electricity bypasses the GFCI because of some insulation fault, but at installation time if you get your wiring wrong, electricity can bypass the GFCI as part of the normal operation of the wiring...causing the GFCI to trip in exactly the same way.

If you are absolutely certain that the fan is fed from the 'load' side of the GFCI only, then the other possibility is that there is a true ground fault in the fan circuit. This requires repairing the wiring to the fan/light, or replacing the fan/light unit. Some of these faults can be relatively minor, meaning that they don't cause the circuit breaker to trip, but the more sensitive GFCI can catch them before they become a major fault.

-Jon
 
  #7  
Old 06-20-04, 05:32 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
If Jon is correct that you ran the hot and neutral wires separately, then this installation is more screwed up than I thought. I'd leave that white wire where it is so that the GFCI continues to trip instantly. If you actually fix this so that the GFCI doesn't trip any longer, then it'll be a race to see whether your house will burns down first or you electrocute somebody first.

There are so many things wrong with this installation, and so many hazards, that it's hard to count. No offense intended, but for the safety of your family, you might want to consider professional help.

If Jon is not correct, then never mind.
 
  #8  
Old 06-22-04, 04:54 PM
sandblaster
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Red face GFCI wiring

I havent run any new wires I just installed a GFCI to an existing plug. The plug has 3 wires in it, one hot (purple) and two white (neutral) One coming from the fan/lite. I plan to take off the GFCI and replace it with a regular plug. I understand putting the one set of wires for a Common feed and leaving the fins in tact. What I am not sure of is placing that other white wire for the fan/lite to the other silver screw. Any idea ?and does this makes since to anyone.
 
  #9  
Old 06-22-04, 05:18 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,219
Your situation makes perfect sense.

The original receptacle was part of an incorrect and unsafe install. It is quite likely that the fan/light was not installed by a competent electrician, and was installed incorrectly. When you replaced the receptacle with a GFCI, it tripped as an indication of the problem. If you install a receptacle in exactly the same fashion as the original receptacle, it will function but remain unsafe.

If you want to fix the basic problem, we can help you. If you don't want to take the time to understand fix the basic problem, then pay an electrician to do it.

The problem in a nutshell is that the fan/light is getting its hot from one location, but then getting its neutral from the junction box with the receptacle. The hot and neutral to a load should follow the same general path, eg be in the same cable or conduit, and ultimately come from the same circuit panel and supply.

You need to investigate at the fan/light and the junction boxes leading to it. You need to figure out where the fan/light is getting its hot from, and do one of two things: replace the hot connection with one from the receptacle, so that _both_ the hot and neutral come from the receptacle, _or_ replace the neutral connection with one that follows the hot. Turn off the circuit to the fan, open the junction box, and report back what you find.

Since you say that the hot conductor is _purple_, than I am guessing that your wires are in conduit, since purple is entirely acceptable as a hot conductor, but is not found in cables that would be in a home. This should make it relatively easy to pull the new hot or neutral to the correct location.

-Jon
 
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
Display Modes
'