Outside GFI goes dead - not tripping


  #1  
Old 08-22-08, 06:58 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 40
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Outside GFI goes dead - not tripping

I have had a GFI across from my driveway for 4 years. It's in conduit and rises off the froung 12 inches in a box. The box has no cover but it is covered.

Yesterday I noticed it was not working. I put a meter on and it had power so I replaced the GFI. Before tightening the GFI I had my wife throw the indoor switch and the GFI lit up.

Next I screwed the recepticle down tight and later that night it was dead again. It can not be reset, it's just dead as before.

Any ideas? I am stumped. Later I will unscrew it and see what's up, but now I am wondering if I am destroying these or what.

Thanks
 
  #2  
Old 08-22-08, 07:50 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: orange county
Posts: 286
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Smile

First, are the "LOAD" terminals being utilized? Is there, or is there not a ground wire in the outlet box being utilized ? I'm sure you have the "power wires" (120v) terminating at the "LINE" terminals, correct? If there is a bare ground wire attached to the ground terminal of your GFI, is it perhaps making intermittent contact with one of your screws? (can happen when you "shove" everything back in).
 
  #3  
Old 08-22-08, 07:54 AM
W
Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Kingston, PA
Posts: 137
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Sounds like the GFI is doing it's job. Supposing it is, can you see any reason why you would have a ground fault occurring? Does the circuit continue out of the GFI on the LOAD terminals to anything else?
 
  #4  
Old 08-22-08, 08:20 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 40
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by williswires View Post
Sounds like the GFI is doing it's job. Supposing it is, can you see any reason why you would have a ground fault occurring? Does the circuit continue out of the GFI on the LOAD terminals to anything else?
I guess it's doing it's job. Won;t reset so it means there is a perminant problem Nothing is plugged in.
 
  #5  
Old 08-22-08, 08:23 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 40
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by sidecutter View Post
First, are the "LOAD" terminals being utilized? Is there, or is there not a ground wire in the outlet box being utilized ? I'm sure you have the "power wires" (120v) terminating at the "LINE" terminals, correct? If there is a bare ground wire attached to the ground terminal of your GFI, is it perhaps making intermittent contact with one of your screws? (can happen when you "shove" everything back in).
There is a ground wire and I connected it to the green screw. I do not know what you mean by the LINE terminals correct. I used the holes in the rear of the recepticle (as opossed to using the screws) just as the previous GFI was connected by an electrician 4 years ago. I did have the yellow light lit till I pushed the recepticle into place. I am going to unshove shortly and see what happens. Thanks guys
 
  #6  
Old 08-22-08, 08:43 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 40
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Resolved!

Thanks guys - I unshoved the box and noticed the yellow light was flickering on the GFI - turns out my WHITE wire was loose in the connector hole. Seems these GFI's need a half turn of the screw on the side to secure the connection?? I thought that the side screws were terminals. On my recep they also seemed to have tightened the leads. It's working again - have no idea why the old GFI failed but I took it out of the trash can to test later - much thanks
 
  #7  
Old 08-22-08, 12:58 PM
W
Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Kingston, PA
Posts: 137
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The terminals are marked as LINE and LOAD to make sure you hook up your wires correctly.

The incoming power always ties to the LINE terminals (means that this is the input side of the device). Most new GFCIs have a sticker covering the LOAD terminals so that you know to hook up incoming power to the correct ones should there only be one set.

If your receptacle is an "end-of-run" one, there will only be one set of wires/cable in your box attached to the recep. Onto the LINE side as usual...

If yours is a "middle-of-the-run" recep (meaning the power continues past this device to power other receptacles on the same circuit), there will be two sets of wires/cables attached to your old recep.

In all cases, the incoming power wires must be attached to the LINE terminals to operate this GFCI as designed.

However, you now have a choice for all of the other devices that are also using the power downstream of (or after) this receptacle:

IF you want all of those other devices to be protected by this GFCI, then you connect your wire leaving that box to the LOAD terminals and they will be protected by this GFCI device.

IF you DON'T want all of those other devices to be protected by this GFCI, such as for a light or something else that is not required to be GFCI protected and you don't want it to trip out when this GFCI trips, then you connect your wires leaving that box to the LINE terminals as well (or to the pigtail that supplies the LINE power. That way, the other devices are NOT protected or otherwise dependent on your GFCI device.

So in the end, you ALWAYS have the incoming power connected to the LINE terminals. That's why there is a sticker over the LOAD side so DIYers don't hook up to those instead.

You MAY have wires hooked up to the LOAD terminals, depending on whether your circuit is being extended beyond this device or not.

willis
 
  #8  
Old 08-22-08, 01:14 PM
W
Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Kingston, PA
Posts: 137
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by JackVa1 View Post
Thanks guys - I unshoved the box and noticed the yellow light was flickering on the GFI - turns out my WHITE wire was loose in the connector hole. Seems these GFI's need a half turn of the screw on the side to secure the connection?? I thought that the side screws were terminals. On my recep they also seemed to have tightened the leads. It's working again - have no idea why the old GFI failed but I took it out of the trash can to test later - much thanks

There are generally three kinds of terminals. Your device might have one or more on it:
1) Traditional "side-wired" connections. You wrap your wire around the screw and tighten the screw.
2) "Back-stab" connections, in which there is a little hole on the back of the device for you to stick in your solid conductor and the clamp mechanism secures the wire (in theory - these are known to fail or provide poor connections). To get your wire out, you stick a pin into the little slit to release the clamp.
3) My new favorite, the "back wiring clamp" connection where you stick your wire into the side clamp from the back, and you tighten the side screw to tighten the clamp that holds the wire.

I think you might have the 3rd kind.

willis
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: