GFCI outlet keeps tripping

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  #1  
Old 07-13-05, 11:06 AM
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Question GFCI outlet keeps tripping

Had a strange occurence happen today. In my basement I have a 20a circuit that on the first outlet is a GFCI outlet and then feeds all the downstream outlets.

Plugged into that first outlet is my DSL modem and router and all of a sudden I noticed my internet not working. Went into the basement and noticed that they didnt have power. I then noticed the GFCI was tripped. I reset it and a few seconds later tripped again. This outlet has never tripped before. I then unplugged everything on the circuit and reset it a third time and it still trips.

Donwstream from this outlet are about 7 more outlet and at one point on the circuit a line branches off and goes out my basement to a post light in the front yard.

I took apart the outlet just before the branch and pulled out the wiring going downstream from that outlet. Now when I turn the circuit back on and reset the GFCI it no longer trips. So the problems sounds to be either from the last 3 outlets on the circuit or from the line going to the post light.

Now I suppose this is the best time for me to finally put in a junction box in where the post light branches off. When I moved into the house last year the inspector mentioned that I should get a junction box put in as the wires are just twisted together and taped up. That job looks to be pretty straightforward but I'm worried the problem is something might have happened to the wiring going out to the post light and most of that wiring is underground. Could an animal possibly have chewed it exposing bare wire?

also, whats the best way to test that wiring to see if there is a problem with it?
 
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Old 07-13-05, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by seezar
Now I suppose this is the best time for me to finally put in a junction box in where the post light branches off. When I moved into the house last year the inspector mentioned that I should get a junction box put in as the wires are just twisted together and taped up. That job looks to be pretty straightforward but I'm worried the problem is something might have happened to the wiring going out to the post light and most of that wiring is underground. Could an animal possibly have chewed it exposing bare wire?
You absolutely need a j-box there. Absolutely. The connections must be made with wirenuts, not twist and tape. The j-box should be waterproof if it's outdoors.

Sounds like the wiring has been compromised outdoors. It could just be wet inside the lamp post; try to open that up and have a look. The underground cable could have been cut if you have been gardening, etc. Or the previous owner may have installed indoor-rated NM (romex) cable underground and it has finally rotted through and failed. Have a look at the cable that goes underground and see what is printed on it.

If every outlet up to the outdoor outlet works, and the outdoor outlet is dry, then you have to assume the cable has failed.
 
  #3  
Old 07-14-05, 06:39 PM
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Today I ended up putting in a junction box. What I did was used a 2 gang outlet box mounted on a floor joist in the basement ceiling. I installed a switch on the line going to the lamp post since it wasnt wired for a switch (I had just been using a one of those photo sensors so it turns on at dusk and off at dawn).

The switch is mounted on one side of the 2 gang box. Problem is I cannot find a 2 gang cover that has one side blank and one side for a switch. Do they make such a thing?
 
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Old 07-14-05, 06:47 PM
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Go to an electrical supply house and ask for a filler jewel or you could just add a switch that does nothing and label it.
 
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Old 07-14-05, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss
.... or you could just add a switch that does nothing and label it.
Now thats an easy way around it, sometimes the simplest solutions are overlooked. Thanks!
 
  #6  
Old 07-17-05, 03:26 PM
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I have another question now that I have the junction box installed.

Would it cause problems if I had a second GFCI outlet installed on this same circuit. What I'm thinking is to install an additional GFCI outlet just past the junction box I've installed on the branch towards the post light. I'm hoping that way, if something on the wiring to the post light causes a ground fault, that outlet will trip, leaving the rest of the outlets still on so I dont lose power to my internet equipment.

Should this scenario work as I've described?
 
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Old 07-17-05, 03:39 PM
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It should work as you described. As long as the GFI is wired correctly through the line/load terminals.
 
  #8  
Old 07-17-05, 06:53 PM
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It is generally not a good idea to put GFCIs in series. If a fault occurs, either or both may trip. The problem is that someone may not exspect there to be more than one GFCI and may have no clue to look for another.
 
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