GFCI Help!

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  #1  
Old 05-19-07, 02:44 PM
tkb
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Question GFCI Help!

My husband and I were trying to replace an outdoor, ungrounded GFCI recepticle that our home inspector said was able to be mechanically tripped, but didn't trip with his tester. We turned off the power, replaced the unit and turned the power back on. The new GFCI we installed won't mechanically trip, but does have power. Thinking that the GFCI was broken, we installed another one. The new unit won't trip either and now other outlets on the same circuit aren't working, although the original GFCI outlet is. Anyone know what we did wrong? : )
 
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  #2  
Old 05-19-07, 03:39 PM
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On a GFI there are two places for connections. One is labeled 'load' and is usually taped off so you can't mistake it for the line side. And the line side, where the source connection is made. Gold screw gets the black wire, silver gets the white. If there is a downline load connection(other outlets), be careful not to reverse things.
 
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Old 05-19-07, 04:09 PM
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And don't forget to install the label that comes with the GFCI to show that it is an ungrounded receptacle. And all other ungrounded receptacles that are not GFCI are still two-holers, right, and not replaced with three-holers that would lead someone to believe they were grounded?
 
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Old 05-19-07, 06:46 PM
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Assuming that this is an old two wire setup (with no ground wire)...

You did not have to replace the GFCI. There was nothing wrong with it. An ungrounded GFCI won't trip with an external tester because there is no ground. However, if it trips with the internal test button, it still works.

Put the old one back, the inspector made you spend money needlessly. Worse, the new one won't trip with his tester either.
 
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Old 05-19-07, 11:43 PM
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Of course, that makes perfect sense, except now I'm wondering how the built-in test button works if it doesn't also need to be grounded...
 
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Old 05-20-07, 05:15 AM
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The built in test button does not use the ground. The built in test shunts the fault current directly to the neutral in front (avoiding) of the GFCI circuitry.
 
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Old 05-20-07, 08:59 AM
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Duh, I guess I could have thought more about that one. The actual receptacle has access to the conductors in front of the sensor, unlike the plug-in tester.
 
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Old 05-23-07, 09:12 AM
tkb
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Red face Fixed it!

Just in case anyone else has the same problem...
We ended up buying an outlet/gfci? tester and a power tester (yeah...it would have been helpful to have them in the beginning!) and tested all the wires and both gfci units. We installed the gfci's into an outlet that we knew worked and they were fine. We then tested the wires in the outlet with which we were having problems. We wanted to distinquish between the load and line wires, but couldn't find a single pair of wires that made the tester register power, even though we knew the power was indeed on. Anyway, we knew the gfci worked so we installed it and tried it again. This time, we reset it AFTER the power was on (!) and everything worked! Didn't know the power had to be ON for the unit to reset. Live and learn. Hope this helps someone else. Of course, I still don't know why none of the pairs of wires registered power, but oh well, it works!
 
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Old 05-23-07, 09:48 AM
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You said, "I still don't know why none of the pairs of wires registered power."

If the receptacle works (i.e., you plug something into it and it works), then there's only one possible reason--your testing procedure or testing equipment was flawed. If you want to pursue this, provide more information.
 
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Old 05-23-07, 10:10 AM
tkb
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Didn't realize anyone had responded

Sorry - I posted the previous reply before I realized anyone had responded! I tried to edit it, but my time had expired!
Anyway -

MAC702 - thanks for the advise. Out of curiousity, if I did switch line and load, would the outlet just not work, or would it be dangerous?

Racraft - I'm sure you're right. Oh well, it was probably time to replace the outlet anyway. I think I'll send my inspector a link to this forum site!

John - I'm sure the testing equipment is fine so it must have been our testing procedure!

Anyway, thanks all for your help and advise!
 
  #11  
Old 05-23-07, 01:47 PM
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If line and load are reversed, the downstream receptacles would still have GFCI protection, but the GFCI receptacle itself WOULD NOT.
 
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Old 05-24-07, 01:00 PM
tkb
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Smile Thanks all!

MAC -
We checked the GFCI with the outlet tester and it registered as working correctly and all outlets downstream are working, so hopefully we have the load and line correctly attached. Thanks for all your help! These forums are great!
 
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