GFI mystery

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Old 11-19-17, 04:51 PM
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Cool GFI mystery

My house was hit by lightning a few weeks ago. Everything electronic I owned was fried, even those on surge protectors. (Well, no kidding...) I have checked the various outlets and luckily the breaker box shut everything off, except for one thing. The GFI for our big TV won't reset.

Nine years ago when we got our first wall-mounted flat-screen TV, we decided to run a wire up and install a receptacle behind the TV so the wires wouldn't be hanging down..

There was an unused outlet right there but it had a lot of other outlets coming through there so we decided to run a dedicated wire to just the TV. We can do this because there is a great deal of space under this house and that particular portion of wall is open (no drywall) on the back. However, the new receptacle we put in is about 18 ft off the ground, so hard to get up to. But I can see all the wires and where they go. Anyway, we ran the wire, put in a GFI and put it on its own breaker switch in the breaker panel.

Now that GFI tripped and will not reset. There is no "downstream" from this outlet. There is the little yellow test light so I see power is going to the GFI, but it won't reset. When I turn off the breaker for the TV everything else stays on and only the yellow test light goes off.

Okay, easy enough, I think. Just change out the GFI. But do I need a GFI here? It didn't protect my TV.

Now there's one more thing that I can't understand. About a year ago, I heard a strange electronic sort of buzzing, then a loud snap. I looked all over and found it was the TV (fried again) and the GFI had tripped. Later I found that rats had eaten through a wire to the GFI outside for the sprinkler timer and it tripped. I fixed that. The outside GFI reset as did the one at the TV. Sounds like they're connected, but they are not, at least as far as I see. What is an expert opinion on this?

I'm tired of buying new TVs.
 
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Old 11-19-17, 05:42 PM
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A GFI device can trip in the event of a lightning storm but it is not designed to protect from lightning. It's designed to sense leakage or short to ground. That's why GFI protection is mandatory in wet locations. It's not a device that will offer the TV any protection.

Lightning contains an unlimited amount of potential energy and is almost impossible to control or arrest. The effects can be reduced but usually not stopped.
 
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Old 11-19-17, 09:40 PM
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Yeah, I know what hit my house was the equivalent of the energy that started life on earth. You should see what it did to my cat.
Anyway, should I just change out the GFI or just put another regular outlet in there? Or still look for something else that might be wrong. My problem is that I don't have the expertise to know if something else could be wrong... Sorry, friends. I really appreciate your advice. Have for years.
 
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Old 11-19-17, 09:57 PM
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The cabling to your TV...... be it coax cable or an HDMI cable..... is usually grounded. There should not be a connection between the incoming power and those cables but if the GFI won't reset.... there may be a short in the TV.

Having a GFI receptacle or even an Arc Fault receptacle won't hurt anything. I'd recommend a regular receptacle up high and GFI deadfront down where it can be easily reset.

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Old 11-20-17, 05:41 AM
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Hi, if the receptacle is 18" off the ground, is it a crawl space? , as mentioned the GFCI won't to anything to protect against lightening a GFCI breaker could be installed in the service panel ,also check that the Cable Co. has properly grounded your coax cable at its entrance.
Geo
 
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Old 11-20-17, 10:45 AM
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GFCI devices will often fail from surges such as you had from the lightning. I'd disconnect the load wires from the GFCI device and try again to reset it. If it still won't reset, replace it.
 
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Old 11-20-17, 11:33 AM
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Geo....... that's 18 feet off the ground.
 
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Old 11-20-17, 04:40 PM
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Thanks for your input. The cable guy told me that the cables were burned black at both the pole and the spot where the cables come into the house. And I've got the new TV up but the GFI won't give it any power.

I will try just changing out the GFI and see if that works.
I'll let you know.
 
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Old 11-20-17, 04:41 PM
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Unplug the TV from the GFI first.
 
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Old 11-25-17, 04:05 PM
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BANZAI! It's fixed!

Hello, all!

Thank you for your patience and advice! I decided to try replacing the GFI but I live alone and could not lift the big flat screen TV off the wall. (I had the power source for the TV relocated to behind the TV so no wires hanging down.) With Thanksgiving and all, I had to wait until today to get the TV down. Meanwhile, I took a few days to map all my electrical lines to identify which breakers went to what. It had always been a shot in the dark, as it's an old house and some of the wires had been "repurposed" over the years, and the handwriting on the legend to the breaker box was completely erased. So, now I know exactly which breaker goes to what.

And today, I changed out the GFI and it works Yippee!~
Thanks to you all.

Mahalo!

Tina
 
 

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