One of two GFCI on brand new circuit trips

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  #1  
Old 12-09-15, 08:40 PM
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One of two GFCI on brand new circuit trips

I recently installed a brand new circuit (first time I've done this). I put in a 20 amp circuit breaker, used 12 gauge wire and ran this to 4 separate 20 amp GFCI outlets outside. I split the circuit in half with 2 outlets on each branch. One branch of the circuit is controlled by a timer (2 outlets) and works just fine. The other branch contains two GFCI outlets that are always on (not controlled by timer). I am having problems with only one of the GFCI in this circuit.
The two 20 amp GFCIs on this circuit are wired in parallel. I essentially created a "Y" bringing the power into a junction box and then splitting off to the two outlets (one in front of the house and one in back). Each GFCI then is wired only with power going to the "line" terminals. The GFCI in the front works just fine. The GFCI in the back trips each time plug my tester into it. I have taken all of the following steps and the thing will still never stay on.
1) Bought a new 20 amp GFCI
2) Rechecked EVERY connection
3) Used a multimeter. Touching black to white = 121V, Touching black to ground = 121 V. I'm not great with continuity testing but I set it to 20K and got a reading of about 700
4) Tried tripping the front GFCI and seeing if the back GFCI would then work. No go.
5) Went into my crawl space and visually traced the wire to see if I had accidentally placed a staple into it somewhere or it was broken.

I'm at the end of my rope. There must be something wrong with only that one arm of the circuit. I'm not sure if the run of wire is too long and therefore the GFCI is sensing a small difference. Or perhaps there is a break in the wire I did not see. I bought about 200 feet of the wire and once I finished running it all there as some leftover that had been damaged (during shipping or stocking I imagine). The only other thing I can think to do is to go back under my house and run new wire.
Any other ideas or suggestions?
 
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  #2  
Old 12-09-15, 08:52 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

The GFCI in the back trips each time plug my tester into it.
How about if you plug something else in.... droplight, christmas lights, etc. ?

Nothing in the wiring before the GFI can affect the GFI to cause it to trip.
 
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Old 12-10-15, 04:07 AM
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Having the GFCI's daisy chained can cause nuisance trips unless you wired them from the LINE screws on each. Removing the last GFCI and replacing the wires on the previous GFCI leading to the last one to the LINE screws will give that receptacle protection. A regular receptacle can be used in that location. For the amount of money you spent on GFCI receptacles, and the problems they can create on their own, as well as their longevity in an outdoor situation, you could have bought a GFCI breaker and protected the entire run and used weather resistant receptacles with bubble covers.
 
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Old 12-10-15, 11:36 AM
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Larry... he is feeding each GFI receptacle separately.... not one feeding another.
 

Last edited by PJmax; 12-10-15 at 05:46 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-10-15, 02:30 PM
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Did you test to see there's no continuity between hot and ground?
 
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Old 12-10-15, 04:15 PM
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Bought a new 20 amp GFCI
This isn't your problem, just a FYI. You didn't need to use 20 amp GFCI devices unless you plan on plugging in a heavy duty device that has a 20 amp plug such as maybe a large air compressor or table saw, but most of those just have a 15 amp plugs anyway.
 
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Old 12-10-15, 04:25 PM
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Pete, I understood he "Y"ed out of a junction box and is controlling two receptacles on each leg of the Y with GFCI receptacles. If that is the case he can be experiencing nuisance trips, since they share a single circuit. I still think a GFCI breaker would be the best bet.
 
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Old 12-10-15, 06:37 PM
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Everyone...thanks for the help. I feel a little ridiculous now because the simple solution worked. I plugged in a hammer drill and ran it...never tripped. I can't believe it. I guess I should have tried plugging something useful into the outlet instead of only using the tester.
Out of curiosity...anyone know why the tester would kick only that one outlet but not the others (all the same brand)? More curiosity now that my outlet works (and my sanity is restored).

And thanks to everyone for the suggestions of the GFCI breaker...live and learn. I'll do it that way next time. I also realized that I did not need to put the 20 amp GFCI in each spot and could have gone with the 15 AMP variety. I ran 12 gauge with the 20 amp breaker in case one day I wanted to swap one of them out to something that drew 20 amps, but forgot all that when I went to the store and just stuck with my 20 amp convention. Again...live and learn.
 
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