GFCI Receptacle Help

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-04-13, 11:35 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
GFCI Receptacle Help

Hi All,

I just became the electrician of a theatre and was asked to fix something I'm unfamiliar with.

We have an old GFCI outlet in a grassy area off of a patio and this provides the only light to the area. It's not working, and I'm not sure how to approach fixing it. It comes off of a working circuit on the patio, where all of the lights are functioning. As far as I can tell, it just goes from the patio straight out to the GFCI and back.

I used a voltage tester to check that power is getting to the receptacle, and indeed it is. I inserted the end into the outlet and it told me that power was getting there as well. But when I put a test light in, I get nothing. Does this mean that the neutral is faulting somewhere after this GFCI and before getting back to the rest of the circuit?

Honestly, I don't know much about GFCIs either...

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

I
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-04-13, 11:49 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
I used a voltage tester to check that power is getting to the receptacle, and indeed it is.
Non contact testers are useless for any kind of real testing.

You need to first look for another GFCI feeding that one. Then test for voltage using your test light or better an analog multimeter between
  • Black (hot) to White on the line side.
  • Black to ground on the line side.
  • White to ground on the line side.

Honestly, I don't know much about GFCIs either...
Which especially since this is commercial is why you shouldn't work on it. Get an electrician. Even if it is legal for you to work on it in your area you shouldn't. The danger of liability and hurting someone makes this a job for the pros.
 
  #3  
Old 03-04-13, 12:40 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi Ray,

I don't see any other GFCis on the line.

Also, you specified an analog multimeter. Is there a reason a digital one won't work?

i hear what you are saying about getting a professional electrician in here, and I wish that was an option at this point. Part of the problem with working in theatre is that there is no money, so they hire someone like me who knows about theatre electricity in lighting, and hope that I can learn enough about the rest to help out when it's needed.

If I get desperate, I might be able to get the money for it from the company, but it's unlikely at this point. So anything I can do will be beneficial.

Thanks for your suggestions and help!
 
  #4  
Old 03-04-13, 12:53 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,353
Received 53 Votes on 50 Posts
A quality digital multimeter (like a Fluke) would be fine but the cheap ones should not be used, analog is better in that case.
 
  #5  
Old 03-04-13, 12:56 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
A cheap analog multimeter is less affected by induced, ghost, voltages then most cheap digitals.

I don't see any other GFCIs on the line
Often they are hidden behind boxes, furniture, or other things. They could be inside or outside or almost anywhere. If you just don't see one take the voltage reading I suggested and we will go from there.
 
  #6  
Old 03-05-13, 12:42 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I tested the voltage at the junction before the pipe goes into the ground and back up fifty feet away, and was getting between 115 and 125 volts.
I also checked where the pipe comes up and saw that where I had pushed dirt away had be replaced from below and that the pipe was slightly damaged. My guess at this point is that a gopher or another underground animal hit a weak part of the pipe and damaged it enough to affect the wiring? Is that feasible? I think I'm going to do some digging and take a look at that joint.
 
  #7  
Old 03-05-13, 02:05 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Yes time to start digging. To determine if it is damaged neutral measure between hot and ground. If you have 120 volts there but not hot to neutral then the neutral is bad.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


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