Feeling Stupid, Trying to put in Outlet

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  #1  
Old 11-16-05, 08:51 AM
andru1313
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Feeling Stupid, Trying to put in Outlet

Ok some background. I had my heater blower rebuilt, after the HVAC guy left my garage outlet stopped working as well as the 2 bathroom outlets. In one of my bathrooms I have the reset switch on the outlet, hit it and it worked. I am handy but have not done much electrical work at all...

So I went out and bought some new outlets with the breaker built in. I took the old outlet out. It has 5 wires, 2 white, 2 black and the ground. I put the wires in the right holes I thought. White into white and black into black and ground.

When I powered it up nothing. Outlet was still dead and yes I hit the reset button. I tried another outlet that I bought, same result. Any suggestions?

It is driving me nuts, am I missing something? I have current going thru the wires becuase I almost blew my head off...

PLEASE HELP....
 
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  #2  
Old 11-16-05, 09:01 AM
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You should not be working with the power turned on. This is a good way to kill yourself. Turn off the circuit breaker or remove the fuse before proceeding.

Why are you replacing the receptacle? It does not sound like there was anything wrong with it.

These receptacle do not have a breaker built in. They are GFCI receptacles. They have a sensor designed to trip when a ground fault, or current imbalance exists. They save lives and are required for bathrooms, garages, outdoors, kitchens, etc.

Two of the wires (white and black from the same cable) have power. They need to be connected to the line side of the GFCI. The black is hot, the white is neutral. The other two wires get connected to the load side of the receptacle. The receptacle wont work until you get it right.
 
  #3  
Old 11-16-05, 09:10 AM
andru1313
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Well here is the odd thing. I did shut off the circut breake, and there was still power running thru those wires. The old receptical wasn't working. I would plug in something and nothign woudl happen. no power. So that is why I replaced it.

I went to lowes and bought the GFCI receptacles. I placed the white on the white side and the black on the black side. It looked like this. both white wires were on the left side and the black wires were on teh right side. This outlet also had a light on it if it was wired wrong. Nothing happened. Still no power.
 
  #4  
Old 11-16-05, 09:18 AM
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Current, power, voltage. These terms are not interchangeable. We really don't know what you are talking about unless you provide details of how exactly you measured or detected one of these things.

If you shut off the breaker and still got shocked, then either you didn't shut off the right breaker, or you didn't shut off enough breakers.
 
  #5  
Old 11-16-05, 09:22 AM
andru1313
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I think that could be it. I may have not shut off enough breakers. But that being said..... Why would the GFCI receptacle not work? I have the wires in what I think are the correct places, but when I plug something in I get nothing. There is no power? The light doesn't turn on when I hit the switch?

What other information do I need to provide? Again I am not well versed in the electrical terminology. Please advise.
 
  #6  
Old 11-16-05, 09:41 AM
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Potential causes of a brand new GFCI not working:
  • Line/load reverse.
  • A ground fault.
  • Open circuit on the neutral wire, due to nail penetration, failed backstab connection, poorly applied wire nut.
  • No voltage, due to breaker being off, tripped GFCI upstream, or open circuit on the hot wire.
A simple $2 neon circuit tester can help narrow down these possibilities.
 
  #7  
Old 11-16-05, 09:46 AM
andru1313
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Ok I will go and purchase one today. Thanks
 
  #8  
Old 11-16-05, 11:20 AM
andru1313
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Some on just loaned me a Snap around meter by AW sperry. Do I just open the clasp and close it on one of the black wires? Or just stick the leads into the outlet? I have no clue what to set this thing to. I am going to assume I set the dial to 600V
 

Last edited by andru1313; 11-16-05 at 11:31 AM.
  #9  
Old 11-16-05, 11:30 AM
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Not to sound rude here, but I'd really suggest that before you do anything else you buy a basic wiring book and read it cover to cover. Electricity is dangerous, and ignorance will kill you.
 
  #10  
Old 11-16-05, 11:33 AM
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In your first post you said that you reset the GFCI in the bathroom and it worked. That leads me to think that there was no reason to replace it.

Terms right and left mean nothing when discussing a receptacle. Since receptacles can be installed either end up, and since you can look at the face or the back of the receptacle, what you call the right side may be what someone else calls is the left side.

I suspect you are not wiring the new GFCI properly. Did you pay attention to the line and load marking on the GFCI? Do you know which wires are the line and which are the load wires?
 
  #11  
Old 11-16-05, 11:43 AM
andru1313
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Let me clear this up, I have 2 bathrooms one with the GFCI and one with out. I reset the one with the GFCI and everything was fine. I went into my other bathroom with the GFCI and it didn't work.

So I purchased an GFCI receptical. I put the white wires into the holes that say white and the black wires into the holes that were marked with the HOT. The receptical has an indicator if wired wrong it will light up. This doesn't happen. When I try and plug something in I get nothing.
 
  #12  
Old 11-16-05, 11:50 AM
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You do not need a second GFCI, but you can certainly install it if you want.

Check if you have power getting into the box in the second bathroom. If not then heck for a wiring problem at the first GFCI. If you do have power getting to the second bathroom, then you either have a bad GFCI (doubtful, but possible) or you wired it wrong (more likely).

You still haven't said anything about paying attention to the line and load terminals on the new GFCI.

By the way, if you install the GFCI in the second bathroom then that receptacle and the ones in the garage will have duplicate GFCI protection, which will confuse you or someone else in the future. I would buy either buy GFCIs for the garage and wire everything to the LINE side of the GFCIs or go back to using a non-GFCI for the second bathroom.
 
  #13  
Old 11-16-05, 12:04 PM
andru1313
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Ok I am not sure I understand when you say line and load balancing.

As far as the hall bathroom it originally had a GFCI. When this whole mess happened I hit the reset button and it came back on..

My Master bath is the one with the issue as well as the garage. My master bath does not have a GFCI so I bought one and replaced it. On the back of the GFCI there are 8 holes. There are 2 holes for each screw. There are 4 screws and one at the bottom for the ground. So I have wired the GFCI by pushing the exposed wire into the hole and then tighting the screw.
 
  #14  
Old 11-16-05, 12:14 PM
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I am not talking about balancing anything. I am talking about correctly wiring a GFCI receptacle.

Yes, there are four places on a GFCI receptacle to connect wires (plus the ground). Two of those locations are for the LINE wires. They are marked LINE on the back (or side) of the GFCI. The two wires that have power MUST be connected to those locations. The other two locations are marked LOAD. They are only needed if you want to provide downstream protection to other receptacles, which you need to do in your case.

You must wire the GFCI properly or it will not work. I think you have wired it incorrectly. If you didnít pay attention to which terminals are the LINE and which are the LOAD and if you donít know which wires are your LINE wires and which are your LOAD wires then you stand a very good chance of having made a mistake. There are directions that came with the GFCI receptacle. Read them.

As for the working bathroom. There is a possibility that the problem is there and that you wasted money on a new GFCI. You need to check that GFCI receptacle and make sure that all the wires are still properly attached.
 
  #15  
Old 11-16-05, 12:21 PM
andru1313
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Well I put the white wires in the holes that say white and the black wires in the holes tha tsay HOT(or something like that) sorry I am at work so I don't have it in front of me. I did read the instructions and wired according to what they said. Still nothing. Also if it was wired incorrectly that light would light up on teh front of the GFCI.
 
  #16  
Old 11-16-05, 12:27 PM
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If you didn't pay attention to LINE and LOAD marking on the GFCI then you most likely made a mistake. They are there, you just failed to notice them.

However, I still think you have no power going to the receptacle. With no power going to the receptacle the light will never come on.

I think your problem is in the other bathroom, where you simply reset the GFCI. You need to check the wiring there. I think that a wire has come loose.
 
  #17  
Old 11-16-05, 12:30 PM
andru1313
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Ok I will check, also would the Garage receptical be an issue? Should I check the wiring or change that one as well? I really appreciate your time and your patience. I can wire a house for Cat 5 just haven't had to many exp with electrical.
 
  #18  
Old 11-16-05, 12:37 PM
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did you look to see if you had a GFCI tripped in the garage, basement or outside?? It sounds like you tripped another GFCI outlet and that the garage receptacles and your master bath are both fed from this outlet. This could be a very common arrangement, depending on the age of your house.
 
  #19  
Old 11-16-05, 12:42 PM
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The bathroom that has the original GFCI is first in the chain. The next bathroom that had no GFCI is most assuredly second. The garage is last.

Whatever the HVAC guy did tripped the GFCI which cut off power to itself, to the second bathroom and to the garage. You reset the GFCI by pressing the button. Since that didn't restore power to the bathroom or to the garage, a wiring problem has occurred.

The most likely wiring problem is a failed connection. It's also possible a wire had a nail put through it. Connections fail because of vibration or use.

The failed connection can be at the working receptacle) the original GFCI that you reset) or at the first non-working receptacle (the other bathroom).

You need to figure out where the problem is.

I would first check the original GFCI.

Then I would look at the bathroom you are attempting to put a GFCI into.

In either case, I would go back to a regular receptacle i the hall bathroom OR I would change the wiring so that I had GFCI receptacles at every location.
 
  #20  
Old 11-16-05, 12:43 PM
andru1313
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Garage outlet is standard not GFCI. So I was going to replace it with a GFCI outlet. I live in a condo it is about 20 years old so not sure if that plays into effect.
 
  #21  
Old 11-16-05, 12:46 PM
andru1313
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Originally Posted by racraft
The bathroom that has the original GFCI is first in the chain. The next bathroom that had no GFCI is most assuredly second. The garage is last.

Whatever the HVAC guy did tripped the GFCI which cut off power to itself, to the second bathroom and to the garage. You reset the GFCI by pressing the button. Since that didn't restore power to the bathroom or to the garage, a wiring problem has occurred.

The most likely wiring problem is a failed connection. It's also possible a wire had a nail put through it. Connections fail because of vibration or use.

The failed connection can be at the working receptacle) the original GFCI that you reset) or at the first non-working receptacle (the other bathroom).

You need to figure out where the problem is.

I would first check the original GFCI.

Then I would look at the bathroom you are attempting to put a GFCI into.

In either case, I would go back to a regular receptacle i the hall bathroom OR I would change the wiring so that I had GFCI receptacles at every location.

I will give it a try tonight and see if it works. I will check the receptical in the hall bath the GFCI one. Then from there check the master bath then the garage. I am going to pu in GFCI in all the locations. Thanks again for the help i really apreaciate it. Suggestions are welcome.
 
  #22  
Old 11-16-05, 02:39 PM
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If you are going to put GFCI receptacles in ALL locations then make ALL connections to the LINE side of the GFCIs. Do not connect anything to the LOAD side.
 
  #23  
Old 11-16-05, 03:05 PM
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Line vs Load

Just to clarify how GFCI outlets work:

The wires that come from the panel consist of a hot, neutral & ground. The black, "hot" wire is connected to the "line" terminal of the GFCI outlet which can either be wired to protect just itself or additional outlets downstream which is referred to as "load". If it's just to protect itself, then additional black wires in the box which go to other outlets, lights, etc. should also be connected to a "line terminal which just allows the current bypass the GFCI. OTOH, if it is to protect downstream outlets then the other black wires should be connected to the "load" terminal.

The ground wires should all be pigtailed together and connected to the green "ground" terminal of the GFCI and the white "common" wires should be connected to the common terminals.

IOW, "line" means "hot supply" and "load" means "additional downstream protected loads".

BTW, if the first GFCI is a series of outlets is wired with the hot wire to the "load" terminal and the other wires connected to the "line" terminal then it's unlikely that the other outlets will get any power at all.

-Joe
 
  #24  
Old 11-20-05, 07:43 AM
andru1313
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OK I pulled the GFCI out of the hall bathroom. I tightend all the wires, put it back into the wall and reset it then it started to work again. woohooo!!!. So I went into my master bath and then I pulled the outlet out of the wall and tested the "hot" wire. no power. didn't register on the voltage meter. So I ran down to the garage and pulled the outlet as well and tested the "hot" wire and no power.

So now I am really stumped. It seems that there is no power at all going through those wires. So, there must be a short somewhere or a wire that is bad.

So any suggestions?
 
  #25  
Old 11-20-05, 09:16 AM
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Did you connect the wires properly to the bathroom GFCI?
 
  #26  
Old 11-20-05, 09:19 AM
andru1313
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Yes.. But before I even hooked up the Outlet i tested the acutal wires. I got no reading on the voltage meter. in either location.
 
  #27  
Old 11-20-05, 09:21 AM
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I suspect that you did not connect the wires to the GFCI receptacle properly. You still have not stated that you have done so, or even told me how you connected the wire to the GFCI.
 
  #28  
Old 11-20-05, 09:50 AM
andru1313
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Originally Posted by racraft
I suspect that you did not connect the wires to the GFCI receptacle properly. You still have not stated that you have done so, or even told me how you connected the wire to the GFCI.

YOU ROCK You hit the nail on the head. I went into the hall bath and swapped the wired. and Bang when I hit the breaker..... The Trip indicator light on the CFCI went on. First time for that. Then when I went into the master bath same light was on. then went into the garage and BANG light was on. Wow. Thank you so much Racraft. Send me a bill!!!!! Thanks again for you patience and knowledge. Cheers!!!
 
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