GFCI outlet hookup problem

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  #1  
Old 03-21-05, 03:11 PM
jered
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GFCI outlet hookup problem

I have successfully hooked up GFI plugs in three houses that I have owned,
but until now I have never run across a situation where the outlet box
contained three cables. I have only completed straight-forward outlet wiring
Load-Line-Ground hookups. The GFCI outlet I bought (common one gotten at
Home Depot or Lowes) for my bathroom says that it cannot be used for more
than two cables, but it has multiple rear and also side wire hookups.

Here's my situation:

House built 1991
When I trip the breaker it shuts off 4 plugs (one outside, 2 others in
bathrooms, one in basement) and 3 lights (one outside, two others in
bathrooms)

Currently only one outlet out of four has a GFCI outlet installed.

Three cables run into the Outlet Box, with three wires each (black, white, and
ground), and are currently hooked up to duplex outlet with rear and side wire
hookups

Current hookup (looking at plug face) is listed below:

Wire #1:
Black - Rear hookup - Bottom Left
White - Rear hookup - Bottom Right
Ground - Ground hookup

Wire #2:
Black - Rear hookup - Top Left
White - Rear hookup - Top Right
Ground - to Ground Screw

Wire #3:
Black - Side Screw hookup - Top Left
White - Side Screw hookup - Bottom Right
Ground - to Ground Screw

Question: Can I use the GFCI to hookup these wires, and if so, how should I
proceed? Could this third cable be from the bathroom light switch and
therefore not require GFI. I would appreciate any help, and let me know if
more information is needed. Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 03-21-05, 05:16 PM
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The GFCI outlet I bought (common one gotten at Home Depot or Lowes) for my bathroom says that it cannot be used for more than two cables
Are you sure that's what it says? I've seen instructions that tell you to have an electrician install it if you have more than two cables, but I've never see instructions that say you can't install it at all. The manufacturer just didn't want to bother with the more complicated instructions for three cables.

What exactly are you trying to accomplish? That one GFCI you have already provides ground-fault protection for all those receptacles. Adding more GFCI receptacles won't help.
 
  #3  
Old 03-21-05, 06:39 PM
jered
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Are you sure that's what it says? I've seen instructions that tell you to have an electrician install it if you have more than two cables,

To be specific it says do not install the GFCI receptacle and contact a qualified electrician if the electrical box contains:
(a) more than 4 wires (not including the ground)
(b) cables with more than two wires (not including the ground


What exactly are you trying to accomplish? That one GFCI you have already provides ground-fault protection for all those receptacles. Adding more GFCI receptacles won't help

Learn something new everyday, so if a single GFCI is on the circuit then you do not need a GFCI at the source to get ground fault protection, regardless of the location of the GFCI? So I can install a regular non-GFCI outlet in my bathroom and it will have ground-fault protection?

Thanks again,
 

Last edited by John Nelson; 03-21-05 at 06:43 PM. Reason: color change for font
  #4  
Old 03-21-05, 06:45 PM
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Location: United States
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of the location of the GFCI?
No, it's not regardless of the location of the GFCI. But you said your house was built in 1991, so the bathroom receptacles are certainly already protected (unless you messed it up). If you have any doubts about the protection, press the "test" button on the GFCI. Any receptacle that goes dead when you do this is already protected.
 
  #5  
Old 03-21-05, 06:57 PM
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Location: USA
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Standard plugs connected to the Load side of the GFI, will also be protected by the one GFI.
 
  #6  
Old 03-22-05, 07:12 AM
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Location: Central New York State
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jered,

I believe, similar to John, that the manufacturer is trying to avoid detailed instructions and addressing issues that many people won't encounter.

The current GFCIs I have seen have pressure plates to hold the wires in place. They allow two wires per connection. I think that the manufacturer does not want to address the need for pigtails.

When you have cables that have other wires, you run into problems with switched and unswitched power, multi wire circuits and other issues. These complicate the picture. It would be very difficult for the manufacturer to address all these concerns and to provide instructions for a novice DIYer to follow.
 
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