Open hot reading but outlet works fine?

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  #1  
Old 10-24-05, 09:52 AM
handytom
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Question Open hot reading but outlet works fine?

New house, finishing up some of the details not completed by the electrician. Simple 2 wire Romex left sticking out of the house by electrician for outside outlet I asked for. I installed new weather proof box and non-GFCI outlet. Outlet works fine but when checked with good GFCI testor shows open hot? Shows 120v with digital meter. Can pull 15 amps no problem. I have a guess, but would be interested to see responses please. Hint- could something that starts with a C be causing this anomaly?Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 10-24-05, 09:57 AM
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If the outlet works fine, but the outlet tester says "open hot" (i.e., no lights on), then your tester has been dropped one too many times.
 
  #3  
Old 10-24-05, 10:08 AM
handytom
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Thanks for response John

Nope the GFIC testor is working fine. I checked it with other outlets before and after many times to R/O intermittent? I'm going to try it again right now
because as you indicate this would be most logical explanation. Thanks
 
  #4  
Old 10-24-05, 10:39 AM
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I have no idea where you are going with the "start with a C" comment. However, I will point out that the receptacle does need either to be a GFCI receptacle or it needs GFCI protection somehow (breaker, upstream receptacle).
 
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Old 10-24-05, 11:30 AM
handytom
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The C is for coil

Thanks for response. My guess is that there is a doorbell transformer involved and that is affecting the circuit tester. Could that be? Could it be wired incorrectly? I am aware that these outdoor outlets should be GFCI protected and will get to that right away. It's just that I need to get a box cover that fits the GFCI. Thanks again. Please respond again. On subject of GFCI, I just had garage built and wired by electrician. There is a fridge in there and because of GFCI's frequently tripping on these appliances the NEC allows for this outlet to be unprotected if it's dedicated just to the fridge and behind it.
The only time that someone almost got electrocuted was my daughter when she was young and went into the garage with wet bare feet to get a soda from the fridge. The devices do offer safety but have their limitations, I think.
 
  #6  
Old 10-24-05, 11:43 AM
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I don't think a doorbell transformer would have any effect on your tester.

Techincally, you need a simplex receptacle for a refrigerator in the garage to avoid a GFCI, but many inspectors would allow a duplex receptacle that was behind the refrigerator and not accessible without moving it.

Your outdoor cover also needs to be an in-use cover.
 
  #7  
Old 10-24-05, 01:06 PM
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Handytom says:
Nope the GFIC testor is working fine.
How do you know the tester is working fine? Just because it tests some receptacles as Ok, doesn't mean the tester is working.

Use an analog voltmeter or buy an inexpensive neon tester. You should read:
Neutral to Ground = O V
Neutral to Hot = 120 V
Ground to Hot = 120 V

If you get these readings, and the tester still shows "open hot", then your tester is faulty, or the tester is not making contact with the receptacle contacts.
 
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Old 10-24-05, 03:17 PM
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There is some information in this thread that seems impossible. Just to humor me, conduct this simple test.

Go to the receptacle in question. Take an ordinary table lamp with you. Plug it in and make sure it is turned on. Verify that the bulb burns brightly. Now unplug the lamp, and plug your tester into exactly the same place the lamp was plugged into (the same half of the same receptacle). Do not push the button on the tester! Are all of the lights on the tester off?

Then take your tester directly to another room and plug it into a different receptacle. Is at least one of the lights on the tester now on?

And what does the "C" stand for?
 
  #9  
Old 10-24-05, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by handytom
but would be interested to see responses please. Hint- could something that starts with a C be causing this anomaly?

"Hint"
Must be a Quiz.
 
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Old 10-25-05, 08:29 AM
handytom
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Still learning how to use features of forum. The C hint is for coil. I thought that perhaps a doorbell transformer was causing false readings? Anyways for grins I tested the rear of the house outlet (not the front that we have been discussing) and power is fine it runs an electic drill. But the tester shows open hot. The tester works on every other outlet t/o the house I test it on! I'm beginning to think that for some reason the blades on the testor are not making contact in these style outlets which are the same and no others I've been placing it in when it works are of this manufacturer. Simple test would be to pull the outlet receptable out of the circuit plug the GFCI tester into the outlet and check for continuity between the black and silver screws. I'll let you know how this turns out today. Thanks for all your input into this matter which has had me walking around talking to myself for the last several weeks and making noises like Curley Howard when ever I tested the outlet.
 
  #11  
Old 10-25-05, 12:21 PM
handytom
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Mystery solved!

The GFCI tester apparantly was not making contact with the blades of the receptacle. I installed a CFCI outlet today taking the regular one out. Powered the circuit up inserted the tester and got two lights... proper wiring!
Learned a few important lessons here. Don't rely on GFCI tester to determine if receptacle is hot! Neons are a pain too because your never sure you've actually made contact you have to poke around so much and it's so hard to see the neon light outside. Probably can only really trust sniffer if you rub on yourself first. Even then can't be absolutely sure. Thanks for all your helpful advice. An electrician told me once that if your worried about working on a 120 volt branch circuit (even if your sure you de-energized it), just wear rubber gloves. Like the kind that you use for washing dishes. Is this true? Thanks again!
 
  #12  
Old 10-25-05, 09:13 PM
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You should never rely on your Platex Living Gloves to provide electrical safety, because you might get a bigger jolt than from the Playtex Living Bra!

Seriously, these gloves are not designed, tested, or rated for electrical safety. A teensy puncture, which might still be waterproof, will Zap you.
I believe that using these would give you a dangerous false sense of security.
 
  #13  
Old 10-26-05, 09:03 AM
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As best I know, the conductors being tested are connected to the "load-end" of a GFI receptacle at the "feed" end of the cable-pair, and terminate on a "standard" G-T receptacle.

Would a Black/White "reverse" connection cause the testing device to indicate an "open hot"?
 
  #14  
Old 10-26-05, 04:23 PM
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Handytom asks,
An electrician told me once that if your worried about working on a 120 volt branch circuit (even if your sure you de-energized it), just wear rubber gloves. Like the kind that you use for washing dishes.
Better advice would be, if you're worried about working on a circuit, put down the tools and call a licenced electrician. Usually fear is a result of a desire to not kill yourself combined with a lack of knowledge of correct testing/install procedures. There are some really great books on DIY wiring, like the Black & Decker books, Basic Home Wiring and Advanced Home Wiring; the Home Depot, Wiring 1, 2, 3; and Wiring Simplified. Go to your HD or local bookstore and get one with good pictures. A good knowledge base will often remove the fear, if it doesn't call a pro -- and don't be ashamed -- not everyone has the skill and ability to do every DIY job.

PATTBAA asks,
Would a Black/White "reverse" connection cause the testing device to indicate an "open hot"?
No. Your tester has a reading for "hot/neutral reversed".
 
  #15  
Old 10-26-05, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Fixit eh
Handytom asks,
Better advice would be, if you're worried about working on a circuit, put down the tools and call a licenced electrician. Usually fear is a result of a desire to not kill yourself combined with a lack of knowledge of correct testing/install procedures. There are some really great books on DIY wiring, like the Black & Decker books, Basic Home Wiring and Advanced Home Wiring; the Home Depot, Wiring 1, 2, 3; and Wiring Simplified. Go to your HD or local bookstore and get one with good pictures. A good knowledge base will often remove the fear, if it doesn't call a pro -- and don't be ashamed -- not everyone has the skill and ability to do every DIY job.

PATTBAA asks,
No. Your tester has a reading for "hot/neutral reversed".
All these years I've spent a fortune on my linemans gloves when I could have used dish washer gloves!!!! Now I'm mad!!! Really though any electrician that would have said that needs his head closely looked at.
 
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