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Old 02-15-2009, 10:11 AM   #1
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GFI Problems


I have a few GFI's, that when you hit the test button, trip and then can be reset. However, when using a plug in tester, i get a different result. When I plug the tester into the outlet, it says everyhing is correct.
When I hit the button to do a test trip of the outlet, the outlet does not trip and tells me that the Hot/Neutral is reversed.

Is this problem fixed by wiring the outlet backwards? I have the wires on the correct sides from what I can tell. Most outlets in the home are not grounded. One of the locations has a separate ground wire that runs to the water supply pipes in the home.

any help would be appreciated.
thanks a lot
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:17 AM   #2
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GFI Problems


The GFCI doesn't trip with your tester because the outlet isn't grounded. The tester works by creating a high resistance short between hot and ground. Without a ground, nothing happens. The only valid test of the GFCI is the test button built into it. As long as that works, you are good to go.
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:23 AM   #3
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I like to use a wiggy to test GFCI's, just put the red lead in the small slot and the black on the large slot and the GFCI shoud trip.You can go from hot to ground also.
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:25 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ctsmiths View Post
I like to use a wiggy to test GFCI's, just put the red lead in the small slot and the black on the large slot and the GFCI shoud trip.
Don't you have to touch hot to ground to cause a fault? Why would it trip from hot to neutral?

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Old 02-15-2009, 10:30 AM   #5
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GFI Problems


So, let me make sure I'm getting this correctly.
The GFI is set up without a ground and functions when hitting the test button. Since it is not grounded, which is ok from a code standpoint, when I try and trip it with a tester, it gives me an error message. With that being said, all if fine and well with the outlets?
I have a know it all 23 year old inspector that thinks he's a badass trying to crack my nuts on this, so, I want to be sure.

thanks
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:41 AM   #6
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GFI Problems


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Originally Posted by brokenhammer View Post
I have a few GFI's, that when you hit the test button, trip and then can be reset. However, when using a plug in tester, i get a different result. When I plug the tester into the outlet, it says everyhing is correct.
When I hit the button to do a test trip of the outlet, the outlet does not trip and tells me that the Hot/Neutral is reversed.

Is this problem fixed by wiring the outlet backwards? I have the wires on the correct sides from what I can tell. Most outlets in the home are not grounded. One of the locations has a separate ground wire that runs to the water supply pipes in the home.

any help would be appreciated.
thanks a lot
Are the boxes plastic or metal for the GFCI's
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:47 AM   #7
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GFI Problems


This power point about gfcis might be helpful ts.nist.gov/Standards/Global/upload/gannon.ppt
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:51 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
Don't you have to touch hot to ground to cause a fault? Why would it trip from hot to neutral?

Jamie
GFCI testing

If the electrical tester has a GFCI test function, you can use it just like a regular mini-GFCI tester. After installing a GFI protected circuit, such as a kitchen outlet branch circuit, apply power to the circuit by closing the breaker at the power panel. Go to one of the kitchen outlets and place the tester's black lead into the ground (not neutral) socket and the red lead into the hot (small slot) socket. If the branch circuit is wired properly, the tester will immediately illuminate the LEDs to indicate normal voltage.
Next, press the tester's GFCI button and leave tester connected for seven seconds. While testing, the DC (+) and DC (-) LEDs will blink to indicate the GFCI test is active. If the GFI circuit is operating normally, the GFCI should trip and remove power from the circuit. With no power, the tester's LEDs should extinguish. Reset the GFCI circuit and repeat the test from the next outlet.
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:52 AM   #9
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Havent had my coffee yet
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:56 AM   #10
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GFI Problems



No, you don't need a ground for the GFI to work.
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:59 AM   #11
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The diagrams on page 6 and 7 might explain how this is happening
http://www.national.com/ds/LM/LM1851.pdf
I know the the test button puts an internal 16k resistor between two points to simulate a ground fault. 120v/16k = ~8 mA.
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Old 02-15-2009, 11:01 AM   #12
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GFI Problems


Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenhammer View Post
So, let me make sure I'm getting this correctly.
The GFI is set up without a ground and functions when hitting the test button. Since it is not grounded, which is ok from a code standpoint, when I try and trip it with a tester, it gives me an error message. With that being said, all if fine and well with the outlets?
I have a know it all 23 year old inspector that thinks he's a badass trying to crack my nuts on this, so, I want to be sure.

thanks
Youll need to label the outlets without ground as not having equiptment grounding conductor.
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Old 02-15-2009, 11:06 AM   #13
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GFI Problems


Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenhammer View Post
I have a few GFI's, that when you hit the test button, trip and then can be reset. However, when using a plug in tester, i get a different result. When I plug the tester into the outlet, it says everyhing is correct.
When I hit the button to do a test trip of the outlet, the outlet does not trip and tells me that the Hot/Neutral is reversed.

Is this problem fixed by wiring the outlet backwards? I have the wires on the correct sides from what I can tell. Most outlets in the home are not grounded. One of the locations has a separate ground wire that runs to the water supply pipes in the home.

any help would be appreciated.
thanks a lot
If you want to use any reliable test other than the built in test button, you can read from the GFI hot to a ground [run an extension cord, or test to the faucet if you have metal water lines] using a solenoid type electrical tester. This current through the tester will trip the GFI.
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Old 02-15-2009, 11:19 AM   #14
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GFI Problems


Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenhammer View Post
I have a few GFI's, that when you hit the test button, trip and then can be reset. However, when using a plug in tester, i get a different result. When I plug the tester into the outlet, it says everyhing is correct.
When I hit the button to do a test trip of the outlet, the outlet does not trip and tells me that the Hot/Neutral is reversed.

Is this problem fixed by wiring the outlet backwards? I have the wires on the correct sides from what I can tell. Most outlets in the home are not grounded. One of the locations has a separate ground wire that runs to the water supply pipes in the home.

any help would be appreciated.
thanks a lot
The test button integral to the GFCI applies the test current between hot and neutral. This is not the case with GFCI testers; the test current in these devices is applied between hot and the equipment ground. Therefore, if there is no equipment ground, no test current will flow. If there are any exposed metal parts connected to the receptacle grounding contact (such as a metal face plate or a weatherproof cover), they will be energized by the test device. Since some of the test devices apply up to a 30mA test current; using such a tester on a 2-wire circuit while touching a metal cover plate could result in an uncomfortable shock. Be careful, but you might want to let the inspector do this and have him touch the metal cover Just Kidding.
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