Problem with kitchen outlets

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  #1  
Old 10-26-11, 05:37 PM
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Problem with kitchen outlets

I have a problem with my kitchen outlets that I cant figure out.

There is GFI as the first outlet in the series. The next two are both wired in series from the GFI (but parallel to each other).

Ill call the GFI #1 and the other two #2 and #3.

I noticed that when I plug my juicer in to #2, the motor runs for about two seconds and then it konks out. When I test the line after that it was only getting about 45 volts.

I assumed the GFI was the problem (I have no I idea why I thought this). So, I changed the GFI and the same issue happened (surprise).

Then, when I made all of the connections, the GFI had power coming to it (I tested by putting my tester on the screws for the LINE) and it had power coming out (I tested on the screws for LOAD). Strangely, when I put the tester into the new GFI (where the plugs go), I got no reading at all.

But #2 had power and when I plugged the juicer in, the new GFI sparked and appears to be bad now.

Any help would appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-26-11, 10:09 PM
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Hum, did you make sure you wired the new GFCI the same as the old one? You should have the supply lines (always hot) black and white connected to the line side screws. The black to the brass screw and the white to the silver screw. If you want the receptacles downstream of the GFCI to also be be protected then the wires leading to them should be connected to the load side. Again, black to brass and white to silver.

If the GFCI is working correctly and wired properly, when it trips you should not have any voltage on either the plugs of the GFCI or on the load side screws.

What type of volt meter did you use the check the voltage? Was it analog or digital? A digital meter and give false (ghost) readings.
 
  #3  
Old 10-27-11, 04:59 AM
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I should have added more info. I am correctly using the LOAD and LINE holes and the GFI was definitely set up properly. I originally wired this about six years ago when I re-did my kitchen and it has been fine for all the time. It was only about two weeks ago that the problem started.

I used a digital meter but it had always been accurate (past ten years) and, in fact, I just put a new battery in.
 

Last edited by rmathome; 10-27-11 at 05:00 AM. Reason: changed text
  #4  
Old 10-27-11, 06:02 AM
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If #2 had power but the GFI did not it is upstream of the GFI.

Did you check the connections at #2 and 3?
 
  #5  
Old 10-27-11, 07:04 AM
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This run only has three receptacles: It comes from the breaker into the GFI LINE, and then out the LOAD to a box where it is spliced. The splices go to #2 and #3.

Based on this, when you say "upstream" do you mean on the breaker side of the GFI or the #2/#3 side of the GFI?

It seems strange to me that I could test the screws on the side of the GFI and the LOAD and LINE had power, but testing thr prongs showed no power.
 
  #6  
Old 10-27-11, 08:06 AM
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Upstream would mean closer to the panel.

Were the probes making good contact in the slots? Was the GFI tripped?
 
  #7  
Old 10-27-11, 10:18 AM
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I double checked all of the contacts and they were good. I dont think the GFI was tripped - thats the part where I started getting a bit unsure/confused. It was a new GFI and I did test it and then I also saw the spark. Then I wasnt able to get any power to it. Even when I reset it or turned the breaker off/on. Maybe it was damaged at this point?

I am going to do a more methodical troubleshooting tonight.

But what would cause the juicer to have power just for a few seconds (when plugged in to #2) and then die out (and then I get the reading of 45 volts on the line)?
 
  #8  
Old 10-27-11, 11:04 AM
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The 45v is phantom voltage you are seeing because the digital meter doesn't cancel it out.
 
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Old 10-27-11, 11:18 AM
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so, you are saying that the outlet at that point is fully out of power?

Why, then,do I get a 0 reading other times?
 
  #10  
Old 10-27-11, 11:44 AM
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Yes it is fully dead. Phantom voltage is caused when very sensitive digital meters pick up voltage induced by magnetic fields from other nearby wiring in the walls. You will get more accurate results if you plug in a simple incandescent table lamp to the receptacle you are testing and switch it on. The load of the lamp will "drain out" phantom voltage (for lack of a better description).
 
  #11  
Old 10-27-11, 12:27 PM
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Thank you - that is one mystery solved.

So, I guess my questin, then, should be:

What would cause the juicer to have power just for a few seconds (when plugged in to #2) and then have the line (GFI / #2 / #3) get no power?

The breaker at the box does not get tripped when this happens. That is why I assumed my problem was a bad GFI.

It just didnt make sense when I put the new GFI in, and the problem didnt go away.
 
  #12  
Old 10-27-11, 12:34 PM
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I suspect a bad connection or the GFI is wired with the line and load reversed.
 
  #13  
Old 10-27-11, 12:48 PM
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Or either just the hot or the neutral on the wrong side, not both wires of the cable.
 
  #14  
Old 10-27-11, 12:53 PM
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Did the GFCI trip when you lost power to the juicer?

You could try plugging in another appliance or light into the outlet and see if it losses power after a few seconds. If not, then the GFCI is wired correctly and you may have a problem with the juicer?

Is there another GFCI you can try plugging the juicer into and see if it trips that GFCI also?
 
  #15  
Old 10-27-11, 01:14 PM
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Im am pretty sure the GFI tripped when I plugged the juicer in and that is why the whole line lost power. I say that because at no time did the circuit breaker trip. So, I am assuming that the GFI works as a breaker for the outlets that come after it.

There is another outlet in the kitchen that is also the last one on its line - and the first one is a GFI in the basement.

The juicer is fine on that outlet.

What is strange is that this has worked fine for about 9 years, so I know the wiring was fine. And I put the new GFI in the same way.
 

Last edited by rmathome; 10-27-11 at 01:17 PM. Reason: added more info
  #16  
Old 11-07-11, 06:49 AM
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Ok, it turns out the problem was at the box in the basement. The breaker and bus bar connection must have been arcing for a while - the breaker connections were worn away and the bus bar for that slot is corroded looking. I got a new breaker and put it in a different unused slot and it is fine now.

Thanks, all, for the help.
 
  #17  
Old 11-07-11, 08:43 AM
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Good detective work! Thanks for letting us know you fixed it.
 
  #18  
Old 11-07-11, 09:51 AM
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Kitchen outlety problem

You may consider putting each GFCI on a seperate circuit with nothing else on that particular circuit.
 
  #19  
Old 11-07-11, 06:21 PM
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The breaker and bus bar connection must have been arcing for a while - the breaker connections were worn away and the bus bar for that slot is corroded looking.
Sounds indicative of an aluminum bus panel. This is a good time to start saving for replacement.
 
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