GFCI Wiring Problem?

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  #1  
Old 08-18-06, 05:17 PM
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GFCI Wiring Problem?

Alright, I was the one who asked earlier about running a new receptacle in the bathroom.

I ran a new receptacle. I placed in conduit and wired the GFCI receptacle to another GFCI receptacle. After I wired and checked the two receptacles, I excitedly patched the wall. Then of course the problem happened and hence the reason I am writing:

The light switch in the same box as the original GFCI, trips the GFCI when I switch it on? It is on a completely different circuit, but the light will flicker on then turn off and trip the GFCI receptacle. When I check the receptacle it states that the ground and hot wire are reversed?

Which is not true since the conduit provides the ground and the receptacle is fine before I switch the light? I checked the wires to see if there was any damage, but do not see any? Any suggestions?

Part of me thinks the hot wire on the light switch must be cut somewhere? But I would have ot guess it would be in the conduit? Would this normally blow the circuit (since that is not occurring?)
 
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  #2  
Old 08-18-06, 05:26 PM
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Are you certain that you read the instructions carefully. Usually it would say that the hot and neutral wires were reversed ( black wire and white wire). Not trying to "dog" you, it just sounds strange to me.
 
  #3  
Old 08-18-06, 05:32 PM
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The hot and neutral wires are not reversed?

The light works when the receptacle breaker is off. The receptacles work when the light switch is in the off position. Anymore suggestions?
 
  #4  
Old 08-18-06, 06:01 PM
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Okay I tried unwiring everything, then rewiring everything. The GFCI receptacles work fine, The light switch doesn't work at all. In the up position no lights go on, but it also does not trip the GFCI outlet. Is there a chance I blew the switch? Maybe I just have to place in a new switch? It was moved around and jarred a lot today? I am just hoping this is the problem and a quick fix?
 
  #5  
Old 08-18-06, 06:40 PM
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Ok lets back up a bit so I can get a clearer picture of what you have. Are you saying that before you had the addition of the new gfci you had a gfci and switch in a 2 gang box.

The original gfci was on its own circuit and the light was on a different circuit?

Then you added a gfci to the original gfci...correct?

Or was the original gfci and the light on the same circuit?
 

Last edited by Roger; 08-18-06 at 07:02 PM.
  #6  
Old 08-18-06, 07:02 PM
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The original GFCI and the light were on two different circuits. The new GFCI and the old GFCI are now on the same circuit.

The light switch and the orignal GFCIs are in the original 2 gang box. The new GFCI is in a new single box connected with conduit (Chicago).

Right now, the GFCI receptacles work fine, but the light switch popped and is now dead.

The wires connected to the switch are red and yellow. The wires connected to the GFCI are white and black. I have dobule checked that the wires are not making contact in the box, so I am not sure how I have shorted the switch? Could I somehow have given the gang box a charge instead of staying neutral?
 
  #7  
Old 08-18-06, 07:23 PM
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Ok ...conduit is a little different duck than romex cable. Do you have a voltage tester? I'm not talking about the receptacle tester it wont work for what you need.
 
  #8  
Old 08-18-06, 07:26 PM
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No but I can get one tomorrow. If you provide me the steps, I will try tomorrow and post afterwards.

Thanks.
 
  #9  
Old 08-18-06, 07:53 PM
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I've edited this post so please read entirely before continuing.

Ok you need to get the tester and then turn off the breakers that deenergize all the wires/circuits in this box. Take out the gfci and the switch. Seperate the wires and do not let the bare ends touch each other or the metal box.... BE CAREFUL... Turn on the breaker that controlled the gfci circuit. Take your tester (the little neon light type will work) dont get a digital. Test each wire to the metal of the box since this is your ground ...BE CAREFUL... Mark the one that is hot and record the color and identify as hot to gfci. Turn that breaker off and turn on the other one. Find the hot wire and mark and record its color the same way as hot to light. The others are neutrals. You now have to determine which neutral goes to the light and which hot is the switched hot for the light. You might be able to take the light fixture down (mark the wires as to hot or neutral) and expose the wires in the ceiling box. Test the wires for voltage before touching. With the wires denergized at the switch/gfci, Take a little tug on each wire at the light fixture end see if any move in the switch box. If so mark it as hot (connected to brass screw or black wire of fixture) or neutral ( connected to silver screw or a white wire of the fixture).

One concerning thing is you said that the switch "popped" when you turned it on. If this was an arcing "pop" then you probably connected the switch to a neutral and passed short circuit current thru it. This may have ruined the switch. I would buy a new one.

Do you have a conduit/conduits that only have two wires in it?.

Dont mess with the wires going to the added gfci just get them out of the picture for the time being.

EDIT: I read your other thread ...sorry I couldnt really follow it. It is normal to jump to other switches in the manner you described.
I am also giving you the credit that you know how to deenergize all the wires in this box we are working in.... I would hope so since you havent been shocked yet. With conduit it is hard to say how many circuits may be sharing the pipe.

Since you have disconnected the wires and didnt mark them as to where they went originally we have to assume IMO they arent back where they belong and pretty much start form scratch.

As a last note and I dont mean this to be taken as a lack of confidence but this may be more than you want to tackle and an electrician may be your best option at this point.
 

Last edited by Roger; 08-18-06 at 09:50 PM.
  #10  
Old 08-19-06, 11:50 AM
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Rogers Thanks for all your help. Let me summarize where I am now and see if anybody has any more advice.

Right now I unwired the new GFCI and rewired the system how I found it. Everything works.

But utilizing Rogers advice I might have found my problem/odd wiring?

Coming into the 2 gang box is five wires. Two white nuetrals, one black hot, one yellow hot and one red hot. The yellow and red are attached ot the switch. However, I have found one of hte whites is the neutral for the light fixture? Not sure why this is? In the original wiring the electrician looped the neutral wire (without cutting it around the nuetral GFI receptacle and then to the neutral from the light.

Once a reset thislayout and rehooked the new GFCI Receptacle, it has an open neutral and hence will not work. Though the light switch and original GFCI works? Any suggestions? I am not sure if I am explaining this well, so I will attempt to again if asked.

Thanks.
 
  #11  
Old 08-19-06, 12:07 PM
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The yellow and red are not both hot. One of them is hot, the other is SWITCHED hot.

Describe to us IN EXTREME DETAIL the wiring at the light and the original in this box.. We need to know exactly how all the wires are connected.

If you have two separate circuits, then you may not combine them or cross them in any way. They must remain completely isolated.

From your post we cannot tell which neutral wire is looped around the GFCI.

To wire your new receptacle, all you need to do is to connect it to the LINE terminals of the original GFCI, along with the other wires that are connected to the GFCI line terminals of that GFCI. You did not in any way shape or form need to mess with the light wires.
 
  #12  
Old 08-19-06, 01:04 PM
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' The yellow and red are not both hot. One of them is hot, the other is SWITCHED hot.

Describe to us IN EXTREME DETAIL the wiring at the light and the original in this box.. We need to know exactly how all the wires are connected.'

From your post we cannot tell which neutral wire is looped around the GFCI.

To wire your new receptacle, all you need to do is to connect it to the LINE terminals of the original GFCI, along with the other wires that are connected to the GFCI line terminals of that GFCI. You did not in any way shape or form need to mess with the light wires.

Alright I will try and explain again? Two nuetrals come into the box. I am assuming which your last comment makse me believe I am wrong, that one of them is coming from the light switch?

One of hte nuetrals is looped around the GFCI switch and runs to the other nuetral that is coming in the box. When I hook up the second GFCI (by running the hot up and nuetral up to the new GFCI from the second screws on the roriginal receptacle), the receptacle does not work and it informs me that the neutral is open. I am trying to figure out why it is open?
 
  #13  
Old 08-19-06, 01:55 PM
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Hello

Glad Bob showed up to provide his input. He is correct it's now time to find the neutral to the light. The thing that concerns me is what Bob mentioned...why any wires at all were changed or disconnected on the light switch.

From your discription my gues is you have a multiwire circuit in that box. This is a circuit that is sharing one neutral between two hot wires. Its the only thing that makes sense with five wires.
Unfortunately it doesnt appear that the electrician used a double pole breaker but instead used a pair of single pole breakers. Thats why you have to turn off 2 breakers to kill both hot wires.
Theres two ways to determine this. Thing is you will need a voltage tester that measures voltage. If you can get one, they arent real expensive. A multimeter will work or any tester that will indicate how much voltage is in a wire.
If this is a properly wired multiwire circuit the two hots will be on opposite legs at the panel and when you test the two wires to each other (one probe on one wire and the other touching the other hot wire) you will get 220 or more volts possibly up 240 volts.
If you can determine this I can tell you how to wire this circuit correctly. If you get zero volts between the wires then we will have to pursue some ohter options.

Post back with what you want to do.

I believe all you have done is connected the neutral from the light to the load silver screw of the gfci instead of the line silver screw of the gfci. but I would like to make sure first.

Roger
 

Last edited by Roger; 08-19-06 at 02:08 PM.
  #14  
Old 08-19-06, 02:55 PM
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Thanks to both roger and bob. But I think I am going to take their original advice. I have put a wirenut on the lines to the new GFCI and removed the new GFCI. I put wirenuts on that end as well. For now I am going to buy a cover and cover the new box. I figure I should have an electrician figure out how to wire this box. Not the extra expense I wanted to incur, but The conduit is there and the wiring is there, so I am assuming it should only cost and hour or two for an electrician?

Any suggestions in the Chicago area?

Again thanks to both of you for helping so much! But once it goes past a single cicuit I feel I am out of my league.
 
  #15  
Old 08-19-06, 03:09 PM
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yep... smart move. I am almost certain you have a multiwire. It has some inherent dangers if done incorrectly so I think you should get some experieced help. I could tell you how I think this is wired but I dont want to burn your house down...its very difficult to know what you have going on there.

sorry we couldnt get things back right. I commend you though for having the whether to not let a 15 dollar addition to your circuit cause you to do something foolish.


Good luck
 
  #16  
Old 08-19-06, 04:09 PM
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Thanks Roger. Is it inappropriate to ask for a Chicago Electirican reference on this board? Reading through these posts, I realize there are a lot of people who are not the 'best' electricians. I would like a decent reference?
 
  #17  
Old 08-19-06, 04:48 PM
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No I wouldnt say it is inappropriate. I just dont know how to go about it in Chicago.
Generally you will have to pick a service that is local to your neighborhood maybe a company you see in your area often. I would find a local shop and ask them for an estimate to come out and correct the wiring. If that is too high try another shop. Include an explanation of your problem and see what they say. Be sure they can be prompt in getting over and do the repair. Get a couple comparisons. Deal with a shop not a individuals ad in the paper unless you can get a reference of good about the person. Just make sure they are a business that is local (not clear on the other side of town) and been there for sometime. If an individual you will want proof of licensing and he should be bonded in his trade.

good Luck
 
  #18  
Old 08-20-06, 02:00 PM
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Cool gfci

are u still that problen with your outlet
 
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