GFI will not stay reset

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Old 04-25-16, 09:29 PM
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GFI will not stay reset

OK, Few months back garage doors openers quit working. We by pure luck found that they are wired to an outside wall GFI. I reset the button and it was all good.
Today, openers dead again. Nothing was added, no new appliances.
RESET button acts strange. It may stay in for a few seconds. Or, it may pop out immediately.
When pressed and held in, lights on openers may come up - turn off, come up - turn off. I disconnected every opener and whatever else we could find in the garage - RESET won't stay in. It doe snot appear anything else is on that circuit.
Holes for plug prongs had bunch of some white webbing stuff inside, likely spider web. GFI is about 11 yo.
For what I can tell, it acts strange, as it does not rip right away, or doe strip erratically.
Yes, I read GFIs are rare to go bad.
But, I had everything unplugged and it still won't stay reset - sometimes after few seconds hesitance, sometime right away. Sometimes RESET button will "slowly" pop out.
Thoughts?
I'll replace it tomorrow for the heck of it, but....
 
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Old 04-25-16, 09:33 PM
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Your garage doors are on a outside GFI receptacle ?
A wet/damp outside receptacle can cause a GFI to trip.
 
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Old 04-25-16, 11:04 PM
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I went there one more time and it popped right in and stayed for about five minutes. Tripped again then stayed in again.
Do I simply replace it?
And yes they are. Only doors for some reason. Lights work fine so do switches.
 
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Old 04-25-16, 11:39 PM
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Only doors for some reason. Lights work fine so do switches.
Normally lights are not on a GFCI. Replacing is a good troubleshooting tactic in this case. Tell us more about how the power gets from outside to inside. Are these receptacles mounted to the garage wall with the cabel going through the back of the box into the garage?
 
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Old 04-26-16, 07:14 AM
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GFI is on outside wall wires go into the wall. I don't believe there is short somewhere. I played with it again and trip is not instant, varies by time.
It's 2 white buttons one. Is the lower one supposed to pop out as it does on blue and red button GFI? Does not on this one but does reset the upper RESET button.
 
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Old 04-26-16, 07:59 AM
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Bad GFCI device or condensation somewhere in a circuit box are very likely candidates. Swap the GFCI for a potential $12 fix. Rodent damage to wiring is also a possibility in a garage.
 
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Old 04-26-16, 12:11 PM
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OK, here's what it do:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nz9...ature=youtu.be

You have to be a bit patient, it decided to stay on for some time. Piece of zip tie in my hand was used yesterday to sort of clean web out of it. Also, what it did, every time stuck it into the lower receptacle prong hole, it will trip GFI. What made me think it's GFI internal issue.
I'll stop by HD grab one on my way to satellite office. Thought I'll post this here, better see once than hear 10.
Oh, and only opener light comes up when it's reset. So nothing else running or such.
 
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Old 04-26-16, 09:33 PM
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Fixed it. Replaced it.
Was not without adventure as one I bought had connections opposite to the old one. Line and load. I figured to switch wires and it all started working fine.
 
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Old 04-27-16, 12:23 AM
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as one I bought had connections opposite to the old one. Line and load
I noticed this recently and was wondering why the manufacturer would switch the position of the terminals after many years? Doesn't make sense...
 
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Old 04-27-16, 09:54 AM
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Gave me some pulpitation. I matched prongs direction, ground down, and them matched wires, plugged everything back in, turn power on - dead outlet. I actually started cleaning old one to reuse, but then noticed that yellow warning sticker leftover on the original GFI is actually on the opposite end. THEN i read all the great writings on the back of GFI and found that they flipped sides.
Why? To confuse people. Sell more items. Confusing people is standard policy out there. Confused customer is a good customer.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 10:30 AM
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GFI short resolution

I had it posted here some time back, can't find the post but anyway.
I have 3 garage door openers wired onto a GFI protected circuit. That GFI happens to be an outside wall outlet.
Initially, it was tripping once in a while. Will reset and was good for some time.
Eventually, I replaced that GFI with a new one - it worked for 3 weeks and then tripped again.
Before, I could reset it and it would stay reset for a minute to several seconds, then trip. Now I can't even reset it, so there is permanent short somewhere.
1. I had ALL openers unplugged. Same result.
2. Openers work just fine via extension cords off inside garage duplex on the wall. Have them working like this for a week now.
3. Control panel has NO breakers for garage openers. Strange it is but it is what it is.
4. It appears that ceiling mounted duplexes for openers are THE ONLY outlets on that circuit. Everything else in garages works fine - lights, wall outlets, everything. all outside light fixtures also work fine.
5. I guess I had step one in troubleshooting done - disconnect everything.
6. Now I start looking at "service call" fees and such.

Here's my question. Stupid it may sound but - it is not a good idea to install a regular duplex instead of GFI?

As much as this project is going to cost me through electrician, I am more inclined to run flexible conduits on wall and ceiling off a now working inside the garage duplex to openers. It's garage, for Pete's sake, conduit won't ruin the appearance and entire expense will be not that much. I already have ton of heavy gauge wire and some length of conduit. Then simply forget that unfortunate circuit as our need to use is like none.

Thoughts?
 
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Old 05-26-16, 12:31 PM
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I don't quite follow your question in the preceding post but will comment all receptacles in a garage must be GFCI protected. Lights are not required to be GFCI protected. If you have any 120 volt receptacles in your garage that are not protected they are not code compliant.

One method of GFCI protection is to use a GFCI receptacle for the first receptacle and use non GFCI receptacles fed from the load side. If other GFCI receptacles are used then they should be fed from the line side to prevent interference.

Old code permitted garage door opener receptacles to be non GFCI protected but that is no longer allowed. However any GFCI must be easily accessible so it can be reset therefore the receptacle for a GDO should be a non GFCI receptacle fed from a GFCI protected source such as another GFCI receptacle that is accessible or an accessible dead face GFCI or a GFCI breaker.

GFCIs do go bad and if one begins to frequently trip a new GFCI should be tried. Outside GFCI receptacles are pron to tripping from moisture. I would feed the GDO (non GFCI) receptacles from an inside GFCI device.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 01:35 PM
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House is from 2004. Old or not not sure.
As I said, EVERYTHING else besides garage door openers works fine and openers appear to be the ONLY devices set on that outside wall GFI.
My question is - is it safe to replace GFI with a non GFO duplex?
As the original GFI was replaced with new one - tree weeks of work - and now replaced with a second new one - I don't think it's bad GFis. Also, the original GFI was tripping ever so often. The first replacement worked solid for 3 weeks and then the 2nd replacement will not reset. What tells me, there is permanent short somewhere, right?
I simply really don't want to be milked by electricians pasturing on my lack of electrical skill.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 02:54 PM
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the 2nd replacement will not reset. What tells me, there is permanent short somewhere, right?
A short does not trip a GFCI receptacle. A GFCI trips because of a current leak to ground. It tells you there is a fault somewhere. Does it trip with the GDOs unplugged?
 
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Old 05-26-16, 03:27 PM
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As I mentioned, I had everything possible I could find unplugged. GFI will NOT reset and that's a 2nd new GFI in 3 weeks. Well, 4 by now.
There is a normal duplex inside the garage, back to back to that dead GFI, that works just fine. That's what I'm running my openers off right now. 2 extension cords.
I don't know what ground leak means.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 03:41 PM
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A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) or Residual Current Device (RCD) is a device that shuts off an electric power circuit when it detects that current is flowing along an unintended path, such as through water or a person.
Continued at: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/GFCI

Are you sure you connected power in to the line terminals? (You can't determine that with a non contact tester. You need a multimeter or neon test light.) Are you sure both neutral and hot of power in are on the line terminals.
There is a normal duplex inside the garage, back to back to that dead GFI, that works just fine.
Pull it out of the box and leave it just hanging, wires connected. Make sure the wires are separated. Turn the breaker back on. Does the new GFCI now reset?

If you are not switching brands when you get a replacement you should. It could be a bad lot of GFCI receptacles.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 03:58 PM
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Yep, had it pulled out and it still won't reset.
I don't know how to tell the line and hot difference. I have green ground, then 2 black and 2 white wires. I copied connection exactly same way it was before and it was not working at all, as in - little light on GFI won't come up.
I then swapped wires "top to bottom" so to speak, and light came up, but no reset. As in - light that is up is "tripped" light. Goes away when I press and hold reset button but trips as soon as I release it.
My understanding is GFI has two "in" wires supplying power to it and two LINE wires to the openers. How to tell which one is one I don't know. Do I take voltmeter to them? Line ones should have no 127 on them, right?
Oh, and yes, it'd now different brand, from Lowe's 2 white buttons. before it was red and black from Home D.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 05:28 PM
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Using a multimeter* check which cable show ~120v measuring black to white. Those two wires must go to line.
I copied connection exactly same way it was before
Connections can vary from device to device depending on the manufacturer. Always go by the markings on terminals of the device you are installing not their location. Recently some GFCI receptacles have been seen that have line and load reverse of what use to be standard.

*If you need to buy a multimeter an $8-$15 analog is a good choice. Do not buy a digital multimeter. In some cases their readings can be misleading due to induced voltages.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 09:34 PM
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Interesting update. It didn't rain for few days. Out of curiosity I pressed the button - and that GFI reset just fine.
What does it tell us? Water leaking into the box somewhere?
 
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Old 05-26-16, 09:43 PM
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Water leaking into the box somewhere?
Yes and as I suggested earlier you need to move the GDO receptacles to a different circuit. One that doesn't have an outside receptacle on it.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 09:55 PM
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Rewiring receptacles to a different circuit is above my pay level. I'd rather run conduits on the wall inside. That I can do.
Hypothetically speaking - why can't I put a ton of silicone everywhere onto that GFI box? I actually did look for water inside and could not find any signs of it.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 10:51 PM
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Old 05-27-16, 07:26 AM
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the very original one likely was. It's leviton E42190, light grey both buttons grey. Looks like one you mentioned. But it's from around mid 2000 if it were never replaced.
replaced with this:
Leviton 20 Amp 125-Volt Duplex Self-Test GFCI Outlet, White-R12-GFNT2-0RW - The Home Depot

then replaced with one that looks like this:
Shop Cooper Wiring Devices 125-Volt 15-Amp White Decorator GFCI Electrical Outlet at Lowes.com

I didn't know they come in weather resistant flavor. Simply went with price. Should I return it and replace with one weather resistant?
Can I still seal the box after? Spray electrical sealant all over GFI?
 
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Old 05-27-16, 09:15 AM
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I also have a dumb question. What exactly "weather resistant" means? Looks identical to regular one to me. Does not appear to have any special provisions to prevent moisture collection inside. That it is stainless steel contacts, does not mean it won't collect moisture inside. Still requires a waterproof cover.
So what's the difference?
 
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Old 05-27-16, 10:57 AM
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Not sure of exactly how a weatherproof receptacle differs but since code requires it it would be best to use one.

If I understand the outside GFCI is powered by the inside box. Is the outside box surface mounted? If so I'd go around the box where it meets the wall with caulk and replace the cover plate gasket.
 
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Old 05-27-16, 11:06 AM
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Ok, so you presume and outside, over the siding leak. Yes, I saw that. Drops of water right above it.
Box is set flush with the siding. Cover it Installed per code. Actually, trying to think - is the box itself flush with siding or drywall?
I'll calk the hell out of it and spray all contacts inside with battery sealant. It's completely non conductive. I'll also look into other sealant options. Maybe there is something like a foam that you can squirt inside to seal it.
My understanding is that "weatherproof" simply means non corrosive contacts on GFI. Not actually sealed GFI. As we will never use that GFI anyway, I'll also seal plug holes, to prevent moisture from entering through there. It's PacNW, air is humid here.

Thank you Ray. You've been great sport.
 
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Old 05-29-16, 07:18 AM
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I totally siliconed any gap in the outlet and cover edges. Inserted them white plastic outlet plugs that prevent children from sticking their fingers inside and siliconed around them.
Been raining for two day, still stays reset.
 
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Old 05-29-16, 07:48 AM
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Sounds like you solved the problem but what kind of cover do you have on it that would allow the child caps to work?

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Old 05-29-16, 07:54 AM
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Standard white plastic spring loaded cover. I used child caps simply to plug the holes. So no moisture gets inside GFI through them.
As I mentioned, we have no intentions whatsoever to use that outside outlet so I sealed it shut.
Will let it stay like this for few more rains then will re-connect openers. Extension cords, though working, look goofy.
 
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Old 06-01-16, 10:04 AM
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What exactly "weather resistant" means?

A manufacturer's rep once told me the WR GFCI devices have sealed electronics and a chrome plated steel yoke. The WR devices are also tamper resistant. The child protective devices you plugged into the receptacle will not seal out moisture.
 
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Old 06-01-16, 11:51 AM
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Sealed electronics makes sense.
Well, i actually siliconed over those child caps. That GFI now is one piece of silicone ha ha.
Been staying reset ever since and it was quit rainy for few days.
I'll replace it with WR one eventually.
 
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