Hot/Grd Reverse...Installing GFIC

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  #1  
Old 10-08-07, 04:02 PM
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Hot/Grd Reverse...Installing GFIC

I had a GFIC in my bath room that suddenly decided to not supply electricity to itself or plugs downstream of that circuit.

I bought a new GFIC and installed it (I'm certain all the wires went to the right place (I did a continuity test from the new GFIO to downstream plugs to confirm which wires were the LOAD circuit and all wire connections were tight.

When I turned on the CB I did not get power in the GFIC or the downstream plugs, and my 3-plug tester showed HOT/GRD REVERSE. I read forms that agreed it was a broken neutral somewhere between the CB and my GFIC. All my other circuits in the house test as correct.

TWO OTHER ODDITIES:
1. When I took the new GFIC out of the swith box to confirm mywiring, my multimeter read 120V between GROUND and HOT but nothing between HOT and NEUTRAL ?!?

2. I replaced the GFIC with a regular duplex plug and everything work correctly along that circuit. Would a broken neutral be affecting the regular duplex plugs?

3. The old GFIC worked perfectly for years. But I may not have tested it with the 3-plug tester (only got that recently....OK, slap me for being and idiot !!).

Anyone with the answer out there ?!?

Thanks a lot!
 
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  #2  
Old 10-08-07, 04:08 PM
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You have an open neutral. You still have not corrected it. Nothing is odd about what you have posted. There is probably othing wrong with the old GFCI receptacle.

Of course you read 120 volts between the hot and ground. The ground and the neutral connect to the same place (usually at the main panel).


Before you cause a real problem, go and find the open neutral. Check everything on the circuit before the bathroom.

By the way, I am not sure that your test for continuity means anything. Unless you know what you are doing, testing for continuity on a circuit in a residence can destroy your meter or lead to inaccurate.misleading results. Stick to using a two wire tester and testing for power. it's safer, easier and more reliable.
 
  #3  
Old 10-08-07, 04:13 PM
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One more possibility occurred to me. You may have gotten the wires confused. Make sure that the neutral and hot wire you connect to the LINE terminals of the GFCI are the proper ones. They should come from the same cable or conduit.
 
  #4  
Old 10-09-07, 02:50 PM
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Thanks for the info.....BUT NEW DATA AVAILABLE!

Thanks a lot for taking the time to respond, I had check some of the uncertainties you mentioned.

There are two cables coming into the first box (Line and Load). I had labeled the wires when I remove them from the old GFIC. I shut off the CB before I measured continuity to confirm the LOAD circuit. The multimeter confirmed the LOAD circuit (0 ohms). I know how to do this. I'm confident that I correctly identified the LINE and LOAD cables coming into the box.

BUT MAYBE I IDENTIFIED THE DISCONTINUITY IN THE NEUTRAL that's a big MAYBE!, I checked every plug and fixture in the house...and discovered another plug on that circuit...this could be my problem, but I need you to judge!

This may try your patience, but I think I need to describe the wiring of the problematic circuit.... I'll proceed downline along the circuit...
I may be using the wrong terms, but I am using the term "RECEPTACLE" to refer to the thing with the female plugs with the wires attach to it.

RECEPTACLEC 1 (first in line, with the problematic GFCI)

RECEPTACLE 2 (second in line; all wires connected to their counterparts in RECEPTACLE 1).

RECEPTACLE 3 (third in line; all wires connected to their counterparts in RECEPTACLE 2).


RECEPTACLE 4 (Ahh, now the plot thickens...
There are THREE CABLES in this box;
One cable comes from RECEPTACLE 3
The wires from all 3 cables coming into receptacle 4 have the all 3 HOT and NEUTRAL wires stuffed together in the appropriate fittings on the plug.
All the grounds are wrapped together (with a ground wire attached to receptacle 4).

HERE'S WHERE THE PLOT THICKENS.....THERE ARE TWO MORE DOWNSTREAM RECEPTACLES (boxes with a single cable in it).

These cables are presumably the second and third cable in RECEPTACLE 4 (so RECEPTACLE 3 is the ultimate source of the electricity in RECEPTACLE 4 and the two single cable boxes.

The 3 wires of the single cable boxes are attached appropriately.

But the circuit dead ends in each of the 2 boxes.


COULD THIS BE A BROKEN NEUTRAL because there is no return path?? If so, how do I remedy it ?!?
http://forum.doityourself.com/images...s/confused.gif

Sorry to make this thread so long!

But THANKS in advance for any help you can give!

-- John
 
  #5  
Old 10-09-07, 03:03 PM
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When you say "first in line", "second in line", etc., how do you know what's first, second, etc. I suggest that perhaps you do not really know what is first electrically, and maybe you are just indicating position on the wall.

You may be overthinking this. An open neutral is usually just a simple bad connection. Usually, no deep analysis such as you are attempting is necessary. The bad connection is often a backstab, i.e., a wire poked into a hole in the back of a receptacle. Sometimes it's a poorly applied wire nut.

Look for simple mechanical things. Don't get too tied up in the layout. Assuming this previously worked once upon a time, we can assume the layout is correct.
 
  #6  
Old 10-09-07, 08:10 PM
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Checking for continuity on a circuit involves making certain that there are no loads installed. This means nothing plugged in, no lights bulbs installed, etc. It is much easier to check for power using a two wire tester or an analog meter.

The LINE wires should come from one cable. The LOAD wires should be in the other cable.

Connect the LINE cables to the GFCI (LINE terminals) without connecting the LOAD wires. Check for power at the GFCI. Also check for power at those two LINE wires. You should have power.

If you still have an open neutral, then the open neutral is BEFORE this receptacle. What is on the LOAD side is unimportant at this point. You need to check things BEFORE this receptacle on the circuit.
 
  #7  
Old 10-09-07, 08:44 PM
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GFCI outlets come shipped from the manufacturer in tripped position. "DID You Reset it before doing checks?? If your duplex receptacle works in that position, Check for the neutral at the DUPLEX (While its in the box and functioning).

I'm an auto mechanic, so I was always a fan of continuity checks....Until the house wiring was involved. You can easily get buried in false readings until your head spins. As the others have said, Stick to the 2 wire testers. They wil get you in alot less trouble.
 
  #8  
Old 10-14-07, 10:13 AM
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A MIRICLE OCCURRED THE gfic NOW WORKS GREAT

Hi guys!


I was trying the suggestion to wire just the line side and see if I had the same incorrect lights on the 3-plug tester. Actually I got no lights, the the multimeter confirmed 120v.

Since I had the whole thing out anyway, I connected the Load side too. When I turned the power back on, I first hit the reset button (this time I used a screwdriver to push the button in as far as it would go...this time I heard a definite click). Wow, suddenly the the 3-plug test gave me CORRECT" reading on that plug and the entire circuit!

3 possibilities:
1) hadn't connected the wires properly before.
2) Maybe my fat finger didn't push the RESET bottom in far enough, but the screwdriver did.
3) The gods of electricity took pity on you guys and fixed it so I would stop send long, stupid messages to you and wasting your time.

Of course we must reject the first option...LOLhttp://forum.doityourself.com/images/icons/icon7.gif
Smile.!!
The second is probably right, but personally, I prefer the third option!

IN ANY CASE, I CAN'T THANK ALL ENOUGH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PATIENTLY LEAD ME THROUGH THE OPTIONS. I LEARNED A LOT FROM YOU ON HOW TO DIAGNOSE AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM!

I PROMISE NOT TO TRY YOU PATIENCE AGAIN WITHOUT FIRST FIRST USING YOUR MODEL FOR THINKING LOGICALLY THROUGH THE CONNECTIONS AND TRYING TO ELIMINATE POSSIBLE PROBLEMS, ONE AFTER THE OTHER!

Thanks again for your patience and help!!
John
 
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