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Old 06-26-2007, 10:54 PM   #1
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GFI Outlet stopped resetting.


Hey all.. about a month ago I put in a couple of GFIs in the backyard for a friend running LV Lighting. Ran wire in conduit buried from panel, new breaker just for these 2 receptacles. Waterproof boxes, got everything buttoned up and it works fine. He calls me today and says that now the outlets don't work all of the sudden. He pushed in test, reset pops out. Reset won't go in. They worked fine for a few weeks and now no juice. The outlets are wired correctly in series.. why would they just quit working?

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Old 06-26-2007, 11:05 PM   #2
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GFI Outlet stopped resetting.


Two things come to mind. First, do you really mean series or do you mean parallel? If they are truly in series, when the first device trips, it will cut the power to all of the downstream units also. The other possibility is that the device itself is bad, try replacing it.

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Old 06-26-2007, 11:24 PM   #3
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GFI Outlet stopped resetting.


I mean the wire comes into the first box from the panel, wires through the first GFI, into a second run of conduit that wires to the second GFI. I understand that in that configuration, a problem with the first GFI would screw the second. Is it common for them to fail after only a month for no particular reason?
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Old 06-27-2007, 12:02 AM   #4
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GFI Outlet stopped resetting.


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I understand that in that configuration, a problem with the first GFI would screw the second.
Depends on how you wired them... is the 2nd gfci wired from the load terminals of the first?

Or is it wired from the line terminals of the 1st?

I assume since both gfci's are losing power that you wired the second from the load terminals of the 1st. If your wanting only the gfci to protect itself and not effect the other gfci then wire to the line of the first gfci then from its line to the line terminals of the second. Or if you want to save the cost of a gfci then the second receptacle only needs to be a normal receptacle. Wire it from the load terminals of the first gfci. In this way the gfci protects itself and the downstream regular receptacle.

Now if a gfci will not reset with nothing plugged in and of course the branch circuit breaker hasnt tripped. Then suspect a moisture problem at the gfci. Open them up and take a look. I would change the wiring if you wired from the load terminals of the 1st gfci. Change the wires to the 2nd gfci to the line terminals of the first. In this way each gfci will only trip independant of the other.

BTW there is no such thing as series wiring in residential ac more properly they are parallel wired or "daisy chained" together to use a slang term. I knew what you meant but just an FYI.

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Last edited by Stubbie; 06-27-2007 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:54 AM   #5
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GFI Outlet stopped resetting.


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Originally Posted by kaox View Post
...the wire comes into the first box from the panel, wires through the first GFI, into a second run of conduit that wires to the second GFI. ...
Outta curiosity, why did you use a second GFCI rather than use the down stream protection of the first?
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Old 06-27-2007, 05:15 PM   #6
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GFI Outlet stopped resetting.


My buddy went and bought the boxes, receptacles, all the stuff we needed. I just put it in for him. That's the way he wanted it.
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Old 06-30-2007, 04:14 PM   #7
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GFI Outlet stopped resetting.


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Originally Posted by kaox View Post
I mean the wire comes into the first box from the panel, wires through the first GFI, into a second run of conduit that wires to the second GFI. I understand that in that configuration, a problem with the first GFI would screw the second. Is it common for them to fail after only a month for no particular reason?
Have gotten brand new ones out of the box that were defective, so yes they can fail any time without any obvious reason. Don't know how common it is, but the problem exists.
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Old 06-30-2007, 04:27 PM   #8
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GFI Outlet stopped resetting.


Okay this morning I checked it out, all wiring is okay, no moisture. I replaced the first GFI with a spare and wired to a standard receptacle downstream from the load end. Nothing. Could the new breaker be defective? With the power on the voltmeter is measuring nothing in the wiring from the box to the first receptacle (on the wires themselves, not the receptacle) and the GFI still won't reset.
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Old 06-30-2007, 07:08 PM   #9
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GFI Outlet stopped resetting.


The gfci will not reset without power present. Your problem exits upstream towards the breaker panel. Reset the circuit breaker by going to the off position fully then to on sorta like a cocking motion. You may have breakers that don't function this way but I'm going with the odds. You should carefully check the voltage at the breaker lug . If the breaker has voltage at its lug then somewhere between it and the gfci receptacle the hot wire is open. Also make darn sure your voltmeter is working properly by testing a known working circuit.

Probably should add that if the breaker tripped something caused that to happen and that problem still exists so it may not reset, but you will figure that out if no voltage is present at the lug.

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Last edited by Stubbie; 06-30-2007 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 06-30-2007, 07:30 PM   #10
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GFI Outlet stopped resetting.


Hehe my daddy taught me to always check the voltmeter on a working circuit first. Did that. So I can use the meter to check from the breaker lug to the neutral bar to make sure the breaker is supplying juice. I did reset the breaker, and it is the type you described (fairly new construction). He's gonna pick up a breaker later and I'll try that. I suppose if that doesn't fix it there must be an open hot somewhere in the circuit.. but it's been buried in conduit and I don't know how any damage could have spontaneously occurred in the last couple weeks. No burrs or sharp edges and the wire was pulled in short lengths so there was no awful stretching or hard pulling going on. Thanks Stubbie.
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Old 06-30-2007, 07:47 PM   #11
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GFI Outlet stopped resetting.


Yes, with the breaker on, put one probe on the breaker lug and one on the neutral bar. I would agree with nothing could be wrong with the wire in the conduit however that all depends.......

If that breaker resets and you have power on the lug but no power at the gfci then I think you can see where I'm going....

This was all working once so gotta start figuring out what went wrong.

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Old 06-30-2007, 08:39 PM   #12
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GFI Outlet stopped resetting.


I went back over your posts looking for something not obvious. I didn't see anything that jumped out. One thing I would suggest is always assemble your entire run of conduit then pull the wires thru with a fish tape or pull string. This is especially important if the conduit is pvc. The glue used is highly corrosive to the insulation on the wires if they come in contact with glue that has not dried. So at the minimum give the glue time to dry and don't over due how much glue you apply so it doesnt puddle in the conduit if you assemble it a section at a time as you pull the wires.

What type of conduit did you use just out of curiousity?

Stubbie

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Last edited by Stubbie; 06-30-2007 at 08:41 PM.
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