Replacing Light Switch with GFCI

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  #1  
Old 12-15-15, 08:10 AM
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Replacing Light Switch with GFCI

Hello,

You guys were very helpful a couple months ago in identifying a power outage problem. This one is much more simple.

I'm replacing a light switch in a bathroom (1958 home) with a light switch, outlet combo GFCI.

When I open up the box, I have a basic light switch, two terminals, black on each. Behind are two white wires, combined and capped off.

That's it, and the only switch in the bathroom, no other outlets. My question is how to replace that with this GFC switch outlet combo.

I want the light switch to control the light and not turn off the outlet.

How do I best determine the line and the load to hook this thing up? I note, the silver two terminals on one side and brass on opposite (plus ground).

I should point out then when attempting to connect this with white to silver and black to gold, I had continuous power to both the outlet and the light switch. The switch did not turn off light when I flipped it.

Thanks ahead.

Eric
 
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Old 12-15-15, 08:43 AM
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You will need a (cheap) analog multimeter to do this easily. You didn't mention it but aren't there two wires coming off the switch?

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  #3  
Old 12-15-15, 09:13 AM
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Ray,

Thanks. I have a couple questions on the drawing, which is mostly clear. First, yes, there are the two additional wires on the GFCI - in all of the videos I found about the subject nobody event mentioned them or even showed them so that confused me too.

1. Does it matter which black is used since I can't really discern if one is load or line?
2. Same with whites, does it matter which?
3. The black line shown in top right that says "black switch lead" looks like it connects to the same terminal as the "line hot terminal (brass)" on lower right side. Is that correct and nothing connected to the right side, top terminal?

Otherwise, understand both whites to lower silver left terminal.

Then - those other two wires you mentioned. What to do with those babies?

Thanks,
Eric
 
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Old 12-15-15, 09:42 AM
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Load is not used to power the light. That way if the GFCI trips you still have lights. (Except in special cases the light if not required to be GFCI protected.)
Does it matter which black is used since I can't really discern if one is load or line?
Load terminals are not used.
  • The black of power in goes to the line brass terminal. (Use a multimeter to determine which black is hot.)
  • One of the two switch leads (it doesn't matter which) goes to the brass line terminal also. (It will usually be made for two wires.)
  • The other black switch lead goes to the black wire out to the light.
  • Both white wires go to the silver terminal on the line side of the GFCI. (It will usually be made for two wires.)
3. The black line shown in top right that says "black switch lead" looks like it connects to the same terminal as the "line hot terminal (brass)" on lower right side. Is that correct and nothing connected to the right side, top terminal?
Yes.
Then - those other two wires you mentioned. What to do with those babies?
Those are the switch leads. (They are interchangeable.)
 
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Old 12-15-15, 12:32 PM
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Ray,

Thanks! Now we're talking. This is very clear.

Eric
 
  #6  
Old 12-15-15, 03:46 PM
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Hello Ray,

Thanks for all the help. So, one small problem. I installed it as planned and everything worked fine. Line shut off without shutting off power to outlet. I used a multi-meter to check and then decided I'd do one more test and check the GFCI.

I pressed the test and power turned off at the outlet. Fine.

But then then I pressed reset with no luck and can no longer press test. The test put presses in slightly but does not click or anything and no power at the outlet anymore.

There weren't any sparks or anything, power was off when I installed after determining the hot black.

Any thoughts? I did spark it a bit last night but thought it survived since it initially worked tonight.

Eric
 
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Old 12-15-15, 03:53 PM
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It won't reset if it has no power. First turn the breaker all the way off then on. If still no joy turn it off again and check your connections. (You did put the wires under the pressure plate not around the screws didn't you?)
 
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Old 12-15-15, 05:00 PM
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Ray,

There's definitely power since light works and yep, I used the pressure plate. I will check connections. I tried to be careful when placing it back in the box but I suppose stuff happens.

Eric
 
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Old 12-15-15, 05:10 PM
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It could also be a bad combo GFCI.
 
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Old 12-15-15, 05:22 PM
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Well the connections are all good. The green light is on as well if that's any indication. A bit at a loss now unless it's simply bad as you mentioned too.
 
  #11  
Old 12-16-15, 11:44 PM
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The test button might be stuck in the pressed position.
 
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Old 12-17-15, 02:41 AM
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Is there a way to unstick the test button?
 
  #13  
Old 12-17-15, 05:49 AM
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If it it bad it should be replaced. GFCIs are not user repairable.

For the green light check the information that came with the GFCI. Color code varies with manufacturer.
 
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Old 12-17-15, 05:52 AM
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Ray,

I didn't think so. The comment was a bit open ended there.
 
  #15  
Old 12-18-15, 09:34 AM
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Ok Ray,

A bit stumped on this simple GFCI now. So, here's where I am. First, I doubt the last one was bad after all. I replaced it with a brand new one and had the same effect.

I install, turn on power, light works, GFCI will not reset. Now, as a reminder, the first one did work until I did the initial test and then it would not reset.

So, I'm attaching pictures now because I have it hooked precisely as you originally showed me after first ensuring which black wire was hot.

Anything jump out at you here? No sparks or other anomalies occurred.

Thanks again.
Eric


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  #16  
Old 12-18-15, 09:44 AM
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Try it pulled out and just hanging, wires not touching.
 
  #17  
Old 12-18-15, 09:59 AM
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Hi Ray,

No luck. I'm one of those that actually try it first out and then in.

Any idea what the obvious problem could be? I know you mentioned those black wires on top back do not matter which is which right?

Just trying to think of what could be wrong.

Eric
 
  #18  
Old 12-18-15, 11:03 AM
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Ray,

Does this help any? I hooked it up the way I did based on that cool diagram you originally sent that didn't use the top terminals.

Is this some more modern design or something?

I can interpret most of this based on what I've done so far, basically knowing the hot wire but those two on top are not explained.

Eric
 
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  #19  
Old 12-18-15, 11:05 AM
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There are a multitude of GFI receptacles on the market. You mentioned the one with the green light down in the corner. Sounds familiar from a job I just did. I used twenty of them. They were very hard to reset and some took multiple presses to latch correctly. It took playing with the reset button to get them to set.

(these were supplied by customer and were from the depot)
 
  #20  
Old 12-18-15, 11:08 AM
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Yeah, that's where I got these ones. Oddly, only a single one to choose from that had a switch and outlet.

I bought the very last one as well. Maybe Lowes is next choice.
 
  #21  
Old 12-18-15, 11:11 AM
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Well, maybe it's because the load is on bottom and line on top in this one?

I have a feeling that's the deal here.

Yep- As simple as that. The thing was reversed of what your first diagram was....

But I should have just used line versus load to begin with, except I was thinking to copy that exactly.

All good now though and thanks for the help.

Now, the thing turns red until reset and then green and of course works much easier.

Eric
 
  #22  
Old 12-18-15, 11:48 AM
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We never refer to top or bottom of receptacles because there is no top or bottom. In post #4 I wrote:
Load terminals are not used. The black of power in goes to the line brass terminal. (Use a multimeter to determine which black is hot.)
In a diagram "top" or "bottom" is an arbitrary choice without knowing the actual layout of the device being used.

Sorry I didn't catch your mistake but some things are so second nature to those who have done it many time it doesn't even occur to us someone would think differently. Glad you got it.
 
  #23  
Old 12-18-15, 12:25 PM
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Ray,

No problem - my fault. I was taking it literal and once I realized it, I smacked myself thinking exactly what you said. Use the one marked X, regardless of where X is (top or bottom).

Eric
 
  #24  
Old 12-18-15, 02:04 PM
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This is how we all learn.
 
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