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Old 03-06-2011, 08:42 PM   #1
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GFCI will not re-set


I am trying to replace a bathroom receptacle with a GFCI receptacle. The existing receptacle is at the end of the circuit and has one hot wire and 2 white wires attached. The hot and one white are attached to the line lead and the one white is attached to the load. I am a little better than a novice, do almost all work myself except when things get too complicated (or drywall, I hate drywall). I have never seen this one before. So the problem is if I hook up the GFCI the same way, it instantly trips when I try to re-set it. Any ideas are appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 03-06-2011, 08:52 PM   #2
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GFCI will not re-set


make sure black and white on line side are hot and neutral line.is there a ground in the box?if not some one may have run a white wire as ground.remove white from load side tape or wire nut for saftey.then try to re-set.if it re-sets,use a voltmeter and check the removed white for voltage.go to first box before this one and see if you see a extra white.

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Old 03-06-2011, 08:54 PM   #3
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GFCI will not re-set


If you have two whites, why don't you have two blacks? How many cables, a cable usually has one black, one white, and a bare ground, are in the box. If the outlet is at the end of the run there shouldn't be other wires in the box.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:31 PM   #4
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There is no ground in the box. I need to go back and take a look, I am thinking the outlet may be switched. It is run off another box with a triple gang switch. Unfortunately its a rental unit and I will have to take a ride over there. Would this configuration make more sense if the outlet were switched?

Also there is no cable, this is wire running through conduit. I do not know why there is are two whites and one black, thats why I am asking~
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:05 PM   #5
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GFCI will not re-set


EXACTLY how was the wiring conected to the old recep?
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:17 PM   #6
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brric that is exactly how it was wired... I put the old recept back on and everything works fine. If I put the GFCI with the exact same connections, the GFCI will not set. Baffling, to me at least.
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:40 PM   #7
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GFCI will not re-set


Can you be very specific about exactly where the white wires (2) and the black wire were connected. A normal outlet does not have line and load only silver screws for the neutral wires and brass screws for the hot wires (and green for ground of course). Can you confirm exactly how many cables enter the box and make sure there are no other wires tucked in the back of the box? Is the tab on the hot side of the receptacle broken or is it still intact? Is the wiring armored cable and the box metal?
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:08 AM   #8
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GFCI will not re-set


Quote:
Originally Posted by rburke View Post
I am trying to replace a bathroom receptacle with a GFCI receptacle. The existing receptacle is at the end of the circuit and has one hot wire and 2 white wires attached. The hot and one white are attached to the line lead and the one white is attached to the load. I am a little better than a novice, do almost all work myself except when things get too complicated (or drywall, I hate drywall). I have never seen this one before. So the problem is if I hook up the GFCI the same way, it instantly trips when I try to re-set it. Any ideas are appreciated. Thanks!
There is no way this is a properly wired gfci. If this is a 'smart' style gfci your using it is going to trip or not re-set as soon as you try to do so. The single white wire to the load terminal is causing the trip if you have a modern gfci with smart technology. There should be two wires connected to the load side terminals ... one hot wire (usually black) and one grounded wire (usually white)... aka neutral. Hot to brass colored screw and white to silver colored screw. Same at the line terminals.
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:17 AM   #9
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Perhaps BOTH white wires should be connected to the LINE side of the GFCI.
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:59 PM   #10
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GFCI will not re-set


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Originally Posted by brric View Post
Perhaps BOTH white wires should be connected to the LINE side of the GFCI.
It's super strange to have a different number of neutrals than hots in this situation. Doesn't make sense at all. There may be other problems witht he way this circuit is wired. However, I think this is likely the case - that second neutral probably started out on the line side.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:41 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the help! It is definitely a strange wiring situation. I am going to head back over there and take some pictures and make sure I am seeing things correctly. Please check back later tonight.
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:34 AM   #12
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GFCI will not re-set


The original outlet could not be wires exactly like the GFCI outlet because regular outlets do not have lne an load terminals. When you wire up the old outlet, where does the extra white wire go?? You should have the black (hot) connected to the brass terminal ant the white (neutral) to the silver terminal. If there is a ground wire it connects to the ground terminal.

Are you replacing an old 2 prong outlet? If you are, then you may not have a ground! I thought gfci outlets need a ground to work right!

When you sort it out, please let us know what you found.

Good kuck
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:45 AM   #13
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Are you replacing an old 2 prong outlet? If you are, then you may not have a ground! I thought gfci outlets need a ground to work right!
They sense the current and ensure the it is flowing from the hot to neutral. They don't "need" to be bonded to function. This is why a person can take an entire two-wire system and install dead front GFCI's in utility boxes and junction them, then every circuit is GFCI protected, it's not "grounded" but you have a sensing ability to protect you from more than 3-7mA of leakage. AFCI's also have a ground fault sensing ability, but the mA rating is higher. A GFCI breaker and an AFCI breaker do not have a location for a "ground" either in the panel.

If it was a two prong, it may still test as having a ground even if it wasn't connected to the terminal with a wire to the box screw, the screw on the plug will conduct if it's a metal box, not "correct" but it will still test out with a plug in tester. If the box is "grounded", I would add a bare copper ground - I commonly do this on renos where we re&re plugs.
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:48 AM   #14
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GFCI will not re-set


This is a case for some pictures and careful, detailed information about where the splices are going. Just hooking up neutrals together, then tailing to the line on the GFCI is a possible solution, but could end badly. :D

I sincerely suggest you document the splices, wire types, counts and take pictures so we can look at it (both the three gang and the GFCI box). Otherwise you could get some bad advice and share a neutral between two circuits when you have separate feeds for lighting or if they used the box to junction a feed to somewhere else. I also get nervous because I don't see a lot of single conductors running between residential boxes outside of conduit, but again, I'm guessing without a picture.

Given that it is a rental property, anything goes (nothing against you, just experience tells me anything can happen when it involves tenants).
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:07 PM   #15
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GFCI will not re-set


Ok guys we are all good. Turns out the 2 whites should have both gone to the line, the tab on the old receptacle was intact. I hooked up the GFCI with both those whites on the line and it worked like a charm and tested out fine. Thanks for all the advice - I am sure I will be back!

p.s. I tried to add a picture, but its too big.


Last edited by rburke; 03-10-2011 at 09:15 PM. Reason: want to add a picture
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