No power downstream of GFI


Old 08-20-13, 11:05 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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No power downstream of GFI

The bathroom outlets at my in-law's stopped working the other day. I found the one and only GFI outlet in the house and reset it. This did not fix the issue. I ended up replacing the GFI outlet because it was still supplying power when I hit the test button. The new GFI outlet works as advertised (so i know power is getting from the breaker to the GFI outlet) and has been tested with a GFI outlet tester. However nothing plugged into the bathroom outlets will work. When I plug the tester into the bathroom outlets, the lights indicate everything is wired correctly and I can trip the GFI from the bathroom outlets with the tester. I assume (please correct me if I'm wrong) that since the tester lights come on when I plug it into the bathroom outlets that there is power to those outlets. Also, when i trip the GFI from the bathroom using the tester, the lights on the tester go out..But when I plug anything else into the outlets, nothing is getting power. I double checked that I have the line/load wired correctly. The only thing I haven't tried is replacing the outlets in the bathroom. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 08-21-13, 03:11 AM
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Welcome to the forums! So you are getting two orange lights on your tester when you plug it in? My first thought is to pull the receptacle next in line and check how the wires are connected to the back of it. If the installer utilized the stab backs, remove them and install the wires to the screw heads for a more solid fit. You can pull and twist the wires from the stab backs pretty easy. Just goes to show how sloppy that connection is. IF your receptacle accepts 12 gauge wire on the stab back, it is an old receptacle, and may need replacing anyway, as newer ones only accept 14, which is too small for the 20 amp circuit required for the bathroom.
Do you have the same cable attached to the corresponding holes on the GFCI? Sometimes it is easy to reverse neutrals, which can cause problems. Make sure your LINE is attached to the LINE holes and secured properly, and the LOAD is likewise from the same cable going downstream.
Old 08-21-13, 11:00 AM
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Thanks for the help. I replaced the next outlet in the circuit and the rest of the outlets came to life. All of the neutral wires had burn marks where they'd entered the outlets so I ended up replacing all of the outlets just to be safe.
Old 08-21-13, 11:07 AM
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You did put the wires on the screws not in the back stabs didn't you?
Old 08-21-13, 03:50 PM
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You had an open neutral in spite of what your tester was telling you, and you corrected that.

A GFCI tester works by shorting hot to ground. The neutral is not part of the test, unfortunately.
Old 08-21-13, 04:13 PM
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Yes, all of the original outlets were backstabs, but when I replaced them, I wrapped the wire around the screws.

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