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Old 06-11-2010, 08:05 AM   #1
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GFCI issues..


Hello everyone, This is my problem, I have to pass a housing inspection.....all the GFCI's in the bathroom and kitchen test correctly and reset using the 3 prong outlet tester w/ the black button on it but the GFCI's in the garage don't.....when the tester is plugged in it gives a correct reading but when I push the black button on the tester the reset button on the outlet doesn't pop out like the ones in the house did, and also when that button is pushed after the initial correct reading the orange and red lights come on meaning that the hot and neutral wires are interchanged, we took it off and checked the wiring and rewired it just to see what it would read but that was wrong....they're 3 of them in the garage and they all give the same reading.....thinking maybe the GFCI's were the problem ( highly unlikely) we switched one from the garage with one from the kitchen and when switched the one from the garage worked in the kitchen and the one from the kitchen did the same thing....sorry about the short story..help please.....any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks

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Old 06-11-2010, 06:05 PM   #2
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GFCI issues..


What happens when you push the TEST button on the GFCI? If it trips, your OK and done.

Were there ground wires attached to your receptacles/device box when you took them apart?

Your GFCI tester needs a ground to work, but the GFCI does not need a ground to operate properly. It is possible your garage receptacles are not grounded.

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Old 06-11-2010, 10:06 PM   #3
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GFCI issues..


When I press the reset button on the GFCI it resets but when I have the 3 prong tester in after it gives the correct reading I press the button and it gives the hot/neutral interchanged reading. How can it go from a correct reading to an incorrect reading ?

The ground wires were attached to the receptacles when I took them apart, all of them were grounded. It appears that everything is properly wired so why won't the garage GFCI's function/read like the one's in the house ? This is truly baffling me.

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Old 06-11-2010, 10:13 PM   #4
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GFCI issues..


Any household lamp run from the short slot to the ground hole should trip any working GFCIs.
From more precision replace the lamp with a 16,000 ohm, 1 w resistor from Radio Shack or a similar place.

If necessary, each of the three wires in the suspect GFCIs can be checked using a known good ground and a DVM, extension cord, clip leads and a lamp.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 06-12-2010 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 06-11-2010, 10:39 PM   #5
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GFCI issues..


Something caught my eye in your initial post. You said you have three GFCI in the garage.
Quote:
they're 3 of them in the garage and they all give the same reading
Do you have three separate circuits in the garage or are these three GFCI all on the same circuit breaker?
It would be somewhat unusual to have three separate circuits in a garage unless it was wired as a shop or something special.
If there is only one circuit in the garage, how do you have these three GFCI's wired together?
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:53 PM   #6
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GFCI issues..


All three are on the same circuit, one on the north wall, south wall and overhead in the middle of garage and as soon as you come in the garage the switch box has two switches one for the outside garage light and the other controls the power for the GFCI's
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:02 AM   #7
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GFCI issues..


Quote:
Originally Posted by dsean View Post
All three are on the same circuit, one on the north wall, south wall and overhead in the middle of garage and as soon as you come in the garage the switch box has two switches one for the outside garage light and the other controls the power for the GFCI's
Each GFCI has a Line connection and a Load connection. Did you use the Load connection on any of the three outlets when you installed them?
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:46 PM   #8
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They were already installed, but when I unconnected and reconnected them I can't recall but when I go back over there I'll check. How should that go (load connections) ?
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:11 PM   #9
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Typically there is only one GFCI outlet on a circuit - the first in the series - and the rest of the down stream outlets that are connected to the load side of the first are just standard outlets. I was just thinking that maybe multiple GFIC outlets improperly connected to the load side of the first are causing the strange indications.
Here is something else I thought of. Are you sure you have the incoming 120V connected to the line and not to the load?

Last edited by a7ecorsair; 06-12-2010 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:27 PM   #10
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GFCI issues..


It sounds like you are missing a good ground connection on your garage circuit.

Without the ground connection, those plug-in testers won't trip a GFCI, and will show phantom indications as you have discovered.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:03 AM   #11
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GFCI issues..


See the back view of the GFCI in this Illustration

If the 'Load' terminals are not wired then you have the simplest GFCI Wiring.

The 'Grounding Terminal' wire may be there but it must be a 'Good' ground for the three terminal tester to work. If it is not a 'Good' ground the 'Test' button on the GFCI will still work.


The GFCI manufacturer has designed the GFCI Test circuit so that the GFCI device will still function in older home that do not have a separate Grounding wire. You do have a working grounding wire inside your house but the grounding wire connection to the garage may be kaput.

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