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Old 11-04-2011, 04:21 PM   #1
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


Was in the downstairs bathroom, and neither light was working...hmmm...looked like the GFCI reset button was out. I pushed it in and held it (waiting for the click). I saw a small spark and a LOUD pop....

What gives?

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Old 11-04-2011, 04:25 PM   #2
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


either failed GFI, likely shorted internally, or a loose connection in the GFI box shorted

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Old 11-04-2011, 04:43 PM   #3
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


GFCI's, in addition to things plugged into the outlet, have a load connection and other outlets or whatever can be connected to that.

So possible something plugged into that outlet is shorting. Or something else connected to the GFCI is shorting. Another outlet. Possibly an outside outlet (not allowed, but possible), light fixtures (should not be on GFCI, but possible), etc.

Also when this happened, it probably tripped the breaker and/or damaged the GFCI.

I would unplug everything from any outlets in the room. Check the light fixtures. Then check the breaker. Then try turning on the GFCI again.
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:18 PM   #4
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


There are two possiable explanations,
1-There is a fault somewhere !
2-Normal response,
some loads have a turn on surge,
depending on the nature of the load
this can be quite large ( although it is very breif ).
Turn everything off, then reset the gfci
this will fix the problem.
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Old 11-05-2011, 06:55 AM   #5
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


After a little investigating, here's where I am at:

Nothing else was or is plugged into the GFCI
Other outlets in the bathroom continue to work
Only the lights are out in the bathroom
No breakers tripped at the panel.
The GFCI reset button is still out, but I'm too big of a chicken to try resetting it again.

I will swap out the outlet today and see what that does.

Thanks!
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:12 AM   #6
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


While it’s possible for a GFCI receptacle to go bad, I would suspect whatever it’s protecting to be the culprit. If changing the receptacle doesn’t fix it, check the light fixture(s) and switch(es) for bad connections, nicks in the wires, etc.
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Old 11-05-2011, 06:49 PM   #7
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


What exactly is the gfci protecting ?
Is it lights only ?
Or is it power recepticules as well ?
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:09 PM   #8
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


Well I got lazy and tried resetting the GFCI. nothing else plugged into any outlets. Switches for lights set to Off.

OK, press that Reset and....

(weird kind of grinding noise, only way I can describe it)...POP..POP....POP...POP...POP....POP...POP.... grey smoke gently wafts out of the receptacle. All is quiet and I am cowering around the corner

Time for a pro, me thinks. Just so weird. Every other outlet in the downstairs is fine - of course, he could have wired upstairs stuff to it, who knows.

Like someone else said, I either have a short, or crazily - a bad light fixture off the outlet, or the GFCI itself is bad. I'll have to pull it out tomorrow.
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:23 PM   #9
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


Sounds like the gfci is protecting both lights and power circuits.
This is unusual in Australia, but in the USA it seems to be common.
Sounds like you might have a faulty recepticule.
If there is smoke of any kind coming from it !
Then its got serious problems.
Can you replace it ?
If you are not confident,
Let an electricain do it !
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:43 AM   #10
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


Quote:
Originally Posted by dougp23 View Post
...OK, press that Reset and....

(weird kind of grinding noise, only way I can describe it)...POP..POP....POP...POP...POP....POP...POP.... grey smoke gently wafts out of the receptacle. All is quiet and I am cowering around the corner ...
If the receptacle wasn't bad before, it sounds like it is now.
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:53 AM   #11
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


OK, so killed the main house power and pulled this bad boy out.

Sheesh! Heck of a lot of wire nuts in there, this thing is obviously feeding something else! How common is it for a GFCI to feed another GFCI? I have a GFCI on the other side of the wall with a freezer currently plugged into it. I wonder if that wasn't part of an excessive load.

In the second pic we can see on the back there are two points labeled "LOAD" where there is a white and in the other a black, and of course a point where there is a ground. Sort of near the middle top a black and a white go into the same hole, labeled LINE. I am thinking this is a GFCI that comes "pre-wired" with a black and white already connected internally....

Sorry for the blurry pics, with the main power out I held a flashlight on the mess and clicked some pictures!!!

Would appreciate any thoughts before I start removing the old outlet and try connecting a new one!
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:35 AM   #12
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


Thats an old gfci.
They do fail, and let the smoke out.

I would replace it with a new one and test again.
Do you know what breaker controls this one?
Turn it off, and find out wht else is on the circuit.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:00 AM   #13
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


Why do you have the lights on the GFIC? I hate it when outlets are shared with lights....nothing worse than at night an outlet tripping because the wife overloaded it with her hair dryer and the lights going out....I see it as a safety issue.

You can also clean that wiring up a little....

As you know, other circuits branch off that one....I use a pigtail....I take the incoming and outgoing and wirenut those together with a pigtail going to the local recpt. That way you can stuff all those wirenuts into the back of the box and don't have to worry about them each time you pull out the recpt.
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:15 PM   #14
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GFCI Reset, LOUD Pop


Thanks for all the input.

No, I don't know which breaker controls this GFCI. New house, so it's all new to me! Just figuring out stuff as I go.

It is my *guess* that the lights are wired into this GFCI. Only because the lights stopped working and I saw the reset button out of the GFCI. for now, I am stuck testing when the wife isn't home, since it means shutting off main power.

A future project will be labeling the breakers so I can figure out what is what...

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