strange gfci problem...

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  #1  
Old 03-09-07, 06:12 PM
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strange gfci problem...

so the other night out in the garage i was running an air compressor that unbeknown to me had a short. as it the compressor was running it started to smell then bam the gfci tripped.

the gfci wouldnt reset so i replaced it, i replaced the wall outlet that the air compressor was connected to as well. i checked the circuit breaker and there was nothing wrong. what am i missing?
 
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  #2  
Old 03-09-07, 06:26 PM
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What is your problem now? Still no power at the receptacle? If you wired your new GFCI incorrectly, it will not reset. Also look for other GFCI's in your home that might share the same circuit; i.e. bathrooms, outsite recpetacles, etc.
 
  #3  
Old 03-09-07, 06:36 PM
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sorry i was really vague in the post...i'm just really flustered right now...

the gfci wont reset, no clicking, no status light, nada.. ive tried to locate all of the gfci's i can and they are all operating just fine. i've been hunting around for more but still no luck...

whats the chance that wiring somewhere in the gfci circuit toasted and is now contacting where it shouldnt? ive checked in the outlets for such a fault but am yet to find any...

i did try disconnecting the first outlet after the gfci thinking that it would allow it to reset but im not even sure that would work...(im a great electrician haha)
 
  #4  
Old 03-09-07, 06:39 PM
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If you reversed LINE and LOAD, the GFCI will not reset. Are you sure you got LINE and LOAD correct? Did you follow all those tiny print instructions that came with the GFCI?
 
  #5  
Old 03-09-07, 06:50 PM
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yup wired it the right way...just checked! is there anything down at the breaker that could be toasted other than the individual breakers? ive already tried replacing those to no avail.

if i disconnected the first gfci protected outlet downstream from the gfci, wouldnt that let the gfci reset?
 
  #6  
Old 03-09-07, 07:01 PM
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Do the LINE wires have voltage?
 
  #7  
Old 03-09-07, 07:21 PM
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okay heres a picture of my meter...how do i use it? where to put the black/red wires etc and voltage setting and how to test the LINE

thanks in advance!! sorry about having to copy and paste the link!

http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h90/agentsmith988/IMG_0379.jpg
 
  #8  
Old 03-09-07, 07:41 PM
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You previous asserted that you had wired your GFCI the right way, and that you had checked. How exactly did you "check"?????
 
  #9  
Old 03-09-07, 07:45 PM
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compared to how the previous gfci was wired, looked at the diagrams on the back, and looked at the little manual with little words

but id really like to see if the hot line is actually hot...pleeease walk me through using that meter, i would reeally appreciate it
 
  #10  
Old 03-09-07, 08:06 PM
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Shut off the breaker.

Set your meter on 150 AC V.
Put your two probes in the bottom two holes.
Put one probe on LINE HOT and one probe on LINE WHITE.
If there is no reading, put one probe on LINE HOT and one probe on a bare grounding wire.

If there is still no reading, disconnect the LINE HOT and LINE WHITE wires from the GFCI. Separate them so that they are not touching each other or anything else.

Turn the breaker back on and very carefully repeat the above two tests. Be careful not to touch any wires with any part of your body.

Then shut the breaker back off again.
 
  #11  
Old 03-09-07, 08:18 PM
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is there any way to test it with it still connected to the gfci? im not sure which breaker turns off the garage outlets because it isnt labled and i cant shut the whole breaker off until tomorrow

update--i just touched the probes to the wires still connected to the gfci with the breaker on and still didnt get any readings...is this normal?

btw thanks a TON for the walkthrough
 
  #12  
Old 03-09-07, 09:32 PM
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Shame on you for not knowing what breaker controls the garage. This is something you should know. YOU should have figured this out shortly after moving in. The information could save your life some day.

I suspect that short in the motor caused a weak connection somewhere else on the circuit to open. It is usually a high current draw that causes this. You have confirmed no power using your meter.

You now need to find the open circuit. it could be at a working location on the circuit, or a non-working location. Now is when you need to know EVERYTHING on this circuit. Start with what makes most sense to be on the circuit, and then check everywhere else in the house.

Move any back stabbed connections on receptacles or switches to the screw terminals. Remake any wire nutted connections with new wire nuts. Verify power to the circuit when you have the box open.
 
  #13  
Old 03-10-07, 01:39 AM
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hey before you go pointing any fingers get the whole story!

this isnt my house! its my aunt and uncles that ive been living for the past couple of weeks. guess i should have mentioned that to clear myself from being a complete dimwit! however, my uncle still doesnt know which breaker controls the garage...and he's lived here how many years? haha

so tomorrow i suppose i will be reconnecting everything in the circuit...could there be a fault at the breaker box? (im guessing this isnt the case and that its some melted wire(s) or destroyed recepticle(s)...) and forgive me for my lack of knowledge...i was just a dumb 18yr old working on my car using a crapped out air compressor

i dont think my aunt and uncle are too happy they let me move in now....
 
  #14  
Old 03-10-07, 05:22 AM
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Well, at least now we have the whole story. Then shame on your aunt and uncle for not knowing what is on each circuit. Nd how many years have they had to figure that out?

Now for the second lecture. Be very careful working on property you do not own. I realize that it is your Aunt and Uncle, and that they are not likely to to make trouble for you, but working on someone else's property is illegal in some places and very risky everywhere. If you do something wrong or make a mistake, you could be held responsible for the consequences.

Regarding the problem, the issue still remains. This sounds very much like a wire has become disconnected somewhere. It is unlikely that it is the wall. More than likely it is failed connection at an existing junction box. Because of the lack of knowledge of the circuit you will have to hunt for it, or more accurately, you will have to help your aunt and uncle hunt for it.

Good luck.
 
  #15  
Old 03-10-07, 09:09 AM
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Do the same test that I described for the LINE wires on the LOAD wires.
 
  #16  
Old 03-14-07, 04:55 PM
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HERE'S AN UPDATE:

I went out and bought a Greenlee non-contact voltage detector and I've come to the conclusion that the gfci isn't getting any power at all. I haven't found any of the circuit breakers to be damaged either. I'm guessing there is line damage somewhere between the circuit breaker and the gfci box : ( Am I right in this conclusion?
 
  #17  
Old 03-14-07, 06:51 PM
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Damage is probably not the right term, as to me it implies something that is permanent.

I still suspect a failed connection at another junction box.
 
  #18  
Old 03-14-07, 07:25 PM
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but doesn't there need to be some kind of hot wire coming to the gfci for it to work at all?
 
  #19  
Old 03-14-07, 07:31 PM
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Of course the GFCI needs a hot wire. And it needs a return (neutral). Until you test, you don't know which of these is missing. It could be either one.
 
  #20  
Old 03-14-07, 07:40 PM
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But the failure to get any signal on any wire in the box from your non-contact tester, it suggests that the problem is indeed with the hot wire.
 
  #21  
Old 03-14-07, 07:47 PM
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so any advice on what to do?
 
  #22  
Old 03-14-07, 07:53 PM
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Check every connection in every box on the circuit, whether that box is working or not. It is a time-consuming project, but not difficult.
 
  #23  
Old 03-15-07, 09:21 AM
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with the gfci not getting any power...wont the rest in the circuit be dead as well? so i'll just have to check for scarring or anything out of whack?
 
  #24  
Old 03-15-07, 09:44 AM
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Look on the circuit BEFORE the GFCI.
 
  #25  
Old 03-15-07, 06:51 PM
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i checked the circuit breaker and there was nothing wrong.

Alot of talk about the GFCI REC.

How did you check the breaker?

I Suggest, you shut off each breaker, one at a time. ALL the way off then back on. Mark the area served while your at it, this will help in the future.

After that.. You may have to work from the nonworking rec. back to the panel. My best advice for this..... Free up a Saturday, that way if you need Sunday.. You have it.

Remember: "No good deed goes unpunished"

Good luck, keep us posted.
 
  #26  
Old 03-16-07, 08:29 AM
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Do you have an attached garage? If you do is there access above it via an attic? If so I would get up there and see if you can see the wire entering the garage. If you can then you can follow the wire through the attic to see where it is fed from. Maybe there will be a junction box that you can open and see if you have power there. If not follow those wires and so on. Good luck.
 
  #27  
Old 03-22-07, 12:29 PM
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Thanks for all your help guys!!! I finally got some time to start pulling boxes on the gfci circuit and sure enough I pulled off one of the sockets down the line and low and behold some wires had gone kapput! Got it all sorted out and now everything is in working order!!

Onto the NEXT project! : )
 
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Old 03-22-07, 04:57 PM
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okay heres a picture of my meter...how do i use it? where to put the black/red wires etc and voltage setting and how to test the LINE#



Reminds me of my first motorcycle. No clue how to ride it.

Now I'm glad I didn't die when I did it wrong.

So learn how to use what ever you buy, Before you use it. Thats why they have all that paper stuff in there.
 
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