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Old 07-18-2009, 04:13 PM   #1
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CGFI keeps grounding out. Please help!


Here's the problem:

I just moved into my house, I am doing some basic reno and redecorating. I am currently working on the living room.

The house is a little older and as such none of the electrical outlets have ground wires leading to them. I'm not much of an electrician but the idea of having no ground wires alarms me so I bought CGFI outlets for the whole house. I've already installed them in the bedroom that I renovated with no problems at all but now that I am into the living I am having a serious problem.

In the living room there are a total of 5 outlets and 3 switches on the same circuit, all of which I replaced today. One of the switches controls one of the outlets, the other two switches each control there own light (one light is interior the other is exterior).

Now for the problem; 3 outlets work without a problem at all times. 1 outlet does not work at all (I'm not sure if it worked before I installed the CGFI outlet) and the outlet that is controled by the switch works as long as neither of the lights are turned on.

As soon as I turn the lights on, the CGFI trips the internal breaker. Then I lose power to both lights and the outlet controled by the switch but all the other outlets continue to work.

The same is true with the lights. If the switch controling the power outlet is off then both the interior light and exterior light function fine but as soon as I turn the outlet switch on, it grounds out and I lose power to the one outlet and both lights.

I did not have this problem before I switched to CGFI outlets and I switched the wires over one at a time from the old outlets to the new ones so it would be identical. The only thing I changed in the wiring for the two light switches, I reversed the two black wires because initially the lights wouldn't work at all.

Pictures:
Here is a picture of the three switches:

On the far left is the switch controling the outlet

This is inside the switch box


And here is the outlet the keeps grounding:


Thanks for the help

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Old 07-18-2009, 09:30 PM   #2
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CGFI keeps grounding out. Please help!


Since you say you changed out the wires one at a time the only mistake I see is at the gfci outlet (receptacle). The white wire with the red paint on it is connected to a load side terminal...move it down with the other white wire on the line terminal. You may have to use a wirenut and a short pigtail to do this and connect the pigtail to the line (silver) terminal.
Gfci's have line and load terminals unlike a normal receptacle. You cannot use both silver screws on the gfci only the line silver screw. In your case all the wires should be on line terminals/screws. Look on the back of the gfci and you will see the words line and load for each set of brass and silver screws.

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Old 07-18-2009, 09:37 PM   #3
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CGFI keeps grounding out. Please help!


The problem is simple my friend You need to use a typical outlet and take the tab off in between the two copper screws where the hots go. That makes it so one half of the plug is hot all the time and the other side is switched by the switch.
But if you want to make it so you can use the GFCI than cap off the wire that has the red mark on it and you will be all set it just wont be controlled by the switch. Or you can cap off the other wire and have it being totally controlled by the switch.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:14 AM   #4
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CGFI keeps grounding out. Please help!


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Originally Posted by dSilanskas View Post
The problem is simple my friend You need to use a typical outlet and take the tab off in between the two copper screws where the hots go. That makes it so one half of the plug is hot all the time and the other side is switched by the switch.
But if you want to make it so you can use the GFCI than cap off the wire that has the red mark on it and you will be all set it just wont be controlled by the switch. Or you can cap off the other wire and have it being totally controlled by the switch.
I'm sorry but I just am not following you considering what I see with the wiring as it exists. I think you need to ask yourself why does the gfci trip when a light is turned on. Obviously the gfci is seeing something with the current it doesn't like when those lights are turned on. Also notice he has a load plugged into the gfci. One load (either one) everything is fine... two loads no work. The gfci is seeing too much neutral current when both loads are on when compared to the switched hot. Imo the white wire with the red mark is the neutral return from the lights.

If you were correct the white with the red mark would be a constant hot wire and if connected where it is (neutral terminal on the load side of the gfci) the gfci would stay tripped out.

IMO he simply needs to move the neutral return from the lights to the line terminal so the gfci cannot 'see' that current and he is good to go.
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Old 07-19-2009, 03:08 AM   #5
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CGFI keeps grounding out. Please help!


Here's your problem right here


This looks like it was a 1/2 switched recep. You cant 1/2 switch a gfci.


EDIT:

I can't see in the box and I can't really tell if that's a white or red wire on the top left.

All I know for sure is that it aint right

Last edited by 220/221; 07-19-2009 at 03:12 AM.
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Old 07-19-2009, 03:30 AM   #6
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CGFI keeps grounding out. Please help!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
I'm sorry but I just am not following you considering what I see with the wiring as it exists. I think you need to ask yourself why does the gfci trip when a light is turned on. Obviously the gfci is seeing something with the current it doesn't like when those lights are turned on. Also notice he has a load plugged into the gfci. One load (either one) everything is fine... two loads no work. The gfci is seeing too much neutral current when both loads are on when compared to the switched hot. Imo the white wire with the red mark is the neutral return from the lights.

If you were correct the white with the red mark would be a constant hot wire and if connected where it is (neutral terminal on the load side of the gfci) the gfci would stay tripped out.

IMO he simply needs to move the neutral return from the lights to the line terminal so the gfci cannot 'see' that current and he is good to go.
Let me put in my Two Cents. I think Stubbie is right. The HOT terminal (for the lights) should be on the LINE side of the GFCI. The reason for the GFCI tripping ONLY when the lights are turned on, is, that the lights use a different NEUTRAL than the RECEPT. Obviously. Then, the feed (for the lights) should be on the LINE side. Speaking of experience!Don't Drink and Drive!!!
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Old 07-19-2009, 03:54 AM   #7
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CGFI keeps grounding out. Please help!


Ok guys think of it this way if that was a 1/2 switched receptacle. How would the gfci even work with a constant hot connected to the neutral side of the gfci??? It is obvious to me that the red is the switched hot.
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:55 AM   #8
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CGFI keeps grounding out. Please help!


This is why I usually do not post when I see that Stubbie has already addressed the OP. In most every case, if Stubbie has posted a response, we can call it a day on that particular thread.

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