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Worrisome and mysterious amber light on outside wall receptacle

Worrisome and mysterious amber light on outside wall receptacle

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  #1  
Old 12-14-10, 03:34 PM
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Worrisome and mysterious amber light on outside wall receptacle

I have an outside dual wall receptacle which I use to plug in small drills, saws, etc. During the Christmas season I use it to plug in outside Christmas lights -- not many. Just a spotlight and a string of lights on the shrubbery. It's always worked just fine. Tonight when I plugged the lights in, they didn't come on except for a tiny glow in the spotlight. But most puzzling of all is that a small, square amber light about half of an inch in size, located in the center of the receptacle is on.

What on earth does that indicate? It must be trying to tell me something that I should know, such as alerting me to some hazard.

Everything looks just fine in the circuit box -- no tripped switches or anything.

Would appreciate any responses, comments and suggestions.

Thanks in advance ...

notsohandy

I took another look at the receptacle. I think it's a GFI outlet. It has two buttons. One says reset and the other says test. The amber light is about 1/8 of an inch in size.
 

Last edited by notsohandy; 12-14-10 at 04:20 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-14-10, 03:40 PM
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Just reset that outlet with the yellow light.

YouTube - 809 GFI Reset

If it does not reset you have another issue.

What is a GFI below.

YouTube - What is a GFCI Outlet?


Mike NJ
 
  #3  
Old 12-14-10, 04:25 PM
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Thank you, lawrosa.

.................................
 
  #4  
Old 12-14-10, 05:38 PM
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It is a trip indicator light and i find it very useful. when my outlet cover is glowing red and my +2,000 chrismas lights are off, i instantly know it tripped.
 
  #5  
Old 12-15-10, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
It is a trip indicator light and i find it very useful. when my outlet cover is glowing red and my +2,000 chrismas lights are off, i instantly know it tripped.
Thanks for response.

My receptacle isn't overloaded. So I don't know what is causing it to trip unless moisture collects on the plug-in prongs during rainy days.
 
  #6  
Old 12-15-10, 09:10 AM
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Ground fault receptacles do not trip on overloads, only when there is an imbalance of current flow between the "hot" and neutral conductors.

Yes, moisture is a common reason for ground fault receptacles to trip.
 
  #7  
Old 12-15-10, 09:15 AM
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I don't know what is causing it to trip unless moisture collects on the plug-in prongs during rainy days
Are you using an in-use cover?

 
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Old 12-15-10, 01:23 PM
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i left out that it trips every time it rains. my receptacle and my field-assembled extension cords have in-use covers.
 
  #9  
Old 12-15-10, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Are you using an in-use cover?
It is covered. Moisture is probably not getting into the receptacle.

During the day, when the Christmas lights are not plugged in, I leave the cord to them lying on the brick front porch near the receptacle. Maybe the male plug gets moist and when I plug it into the receptale, it trips. Is that likely?

I'm old-school and I don't like all these new-fangled GFI receptacles and stuff. Just gimme a plain old fashioned, dangerous "just-plug-it-in-and-it-works" receptacle. (pardon the short rant.)
 
  #10  
Old 12-15-10, 04:25 PM
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is it covered when it is being used? are you using cords and lights approved for outdoor use? they could be the problem.
 
  #11  
Old 12-15-10, 05:11 PM
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Notsohandy.,

I can understand you don't really like the GFCI but I am sorry we will not advise you anything which it will break the NEC code requirment and the GFCI do protect you and prevent any serious electrical shock.

I rather live with few tripped GFCI instead the serious isuse.

The code is allready written couple code cycle back and you have to use the inuse cover to prevent any moisture get into the receptale and with some of older receptale the cover gasket can go bad and get alot of moisture in there to trip the GFCI.

Merci.
Marc
 
  #12  
Old 12-15-10, 05:30 PM
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I would suspect the spotlight - unless the gasket is perfect, if its pointing up, water will get in there.
 
  #13  
Old 12-16-10, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by notsohandy View Post
During the day, when the Christmas lights are not plugged in, I leave the cord to them lying on the brick front porch near the receptacle. Maybe the male plug gets moist and when I plug it into the receptale, it trips. Is that likely?
Absolutely. It only takes a split second to trip the GFCI. It could even be the way you're plugging it in. If you angle the plug so the two blades make contact before the ground the GFCI will trip. It may be one of life's little annoyances to have to reset that GFCI every time you plug in the lights, but it is keeping you safe.
 
  #14  
Old 12-16-10, 06:28 AM
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Cheapo spotlight is likely culprit

Thanks to all for the helpful responses.

As tribe_fan said, it's probably the gasket in the spotlight. It's old and tilted upwards and exposed to drizzling rain. I need to upgrade to a more substantial, heavy-duty light.

Thanks again.

Ciao and may everyone have a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous 2011.

:
 
  #15  
Old 12-16-10, 01:08 PM
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Merry Christmas to you, too! Unplug the spotlight and then try plugging the stuff in. Also, if you are using an indoor 2-wire cord with the three outlets, that might be the problem.
 
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