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Old 11-22-2012, 08:03 AM   #1
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


This one is over my head. GFI trips off immediately without anything plugged into the circuit that I can find. I replaced the outlet with two new ones, same thing. It appears the circuit starts with a standard outlet for the refrigerator. I installed a GFI outlet with the next one, the problem child, disconnected and it holds. When I connect the problematic outlet it trips. That outlet feeds three more outlets running into the living room.

One thing that seems weird to me is that first one has all neutrals tied together, sharing with the other GFI circuit in the kitchen. Is that Kosher?

This has all worked for 10+ years and I'm sure the resident didn't fiddle with the circuits. It has been raining a lot but I see no evidence of leaks anywhere.

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Old 11-22-2012, 08:19 AM   #2
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


Generally GFI's don't mix well with other GFI outlets. They also don't like shared neutrals which it sounds like you may have. The fridge on the circuit may also be causing your issue as motors sometimes will trip a GFI.

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Old 11-22-2012, 08:35 AM   #3
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


What you have to do is remove the first receptale from the feed and reset the gfci.
If it holds, then add the next receptacle and so on until you can isolate the bad section.
Look for an outside receptacle that may be full of water also.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:38 AM   #4
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


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Originally Posted by daveb1 View Post
Generally GFI's don't mix well with other GFI outlets.
This should not be an issue. A GFI CAN be on the load side of another GFI with no ill effects


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They also don't like shared neutrals which it sounds like you may have.
If it is just using the LINE terminals a GFI does NOT care what is feeding it.


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The fridge on the circuit may also be causing your issue as motors sometimes will trip a GFI.
The one he is installing on after the fridge.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:39 AM   #5
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


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This one is over my head. GFI trips off immediately without anything plugged into the circuit that I can find. I replaced the outlet with two new ones, same thing. It appears the circuit starts with a standard outlet for the refrigerator. I installed a GFI outlet with the next one, the problem child, disconnected and it holds. When I connect the problematic outlet it trips. That outlet feeds three more outlets running into the living room.
You are either connecting the feed to the LOAD terminals, or you are using the LINE and LOAD terminals and something downstream is causing the trip.
These are the only two possibilities.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:50 AM   #6
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


Hi, thanks all. I unplugged the frig (and everything else) with the same results. The other GFI is on a seperate circuit except that the neutrals are shared. I did put the load on the load side and even switched load and line at one point. Everything was fine (as far as I know) until yesterday morning when the GFI was found to be tripped. The circuit is 12 guage and everything looks right except for the shared neutral situation. Could be problem be on the other circuit? But it's odd since that GFI isn't tripping.

If it does go to an outside receptacle first, and there is one, I didn't think of that. That would make sense due to the extreme rain lately. It didn't seem reasonable that a kitchen circuit would be fed that way but I don't think the high bid got the construction jobs either.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:55 AM   #7
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


The neutrals can not be shared.
You must find a way to separate them.
Once that is done, then you can trace the problem.
If the fridge receptacle is before the gfci, it will have no effect on the gfci.
Depending on when your house was built, that was common.
My house is built that way, one circuit from the kitchen feeds the outside receptacles.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:08 AM   #8
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


It should NOT matter what is before it, or if there is a shared neutral, as long as you are using the LINE terminals ONLY.
If you are using the load terminals, WHY are you doing so? Did you try it with just the LINE terminals?
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:28 AM   #9
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


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It should NOT matter what is before it, or if there is a shared neutral, as long as you are using the LINE terminals ONLY.
If you are using the load terminals, WHY are you doing so? Did you try it with just the LINE terminals?
I only switched the line/load momentarily to see if there was any difference. There wasn't. Yes, it trips with just the line load. I did install a GFI at the frig (just for a test) so if it's fed by the outside outlet it seems it would have tripped. But obviously worth looking into.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:38 AM   #10
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


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I only switched the line/load momentarily to see if there was any difference. There wasn't. Yes, it trips with just the line load. I did install a GFI at the frig (just for a test) so if it's fed by the outside outlet it seems it would have tripped. But obviously worth looking into.


I have an outside one that randomely trips due to moisture.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:38 PM   #11
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


It sounds as you have a insulation issue where moisture is interfering causing a default to the line side where the circuits feeds from the panel. If any moisture becomes present, it can very well that. 2nd: best advice i can offer, turn off that one breaker, take outside receptacle out and check for any sign of presence from moisture build up. The wire will present a sign of corrosion to the copper part inserted in the receptacle. I have seen that factor to. 4th: see if there any jboxes previously installed, attic or crawl space of house, depending on how the lines are run.. that's another fact i ran into in correcting the problem to fixing it. The most common thing you don't think to consider, sometimes come out to be the problem resolving the problem.

That's why it is called a practice, even as a licensed electrician; for possibilities is the key factor. Its a learning trade!
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:18 PM   #12
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


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I only switched the line/load momentarily to see if there was any difference. There wasn't. Yes, it trips with just the line load. I did install a GFI at the frig (just for a test) so if it's fed by the outside outlet it seems it would have tripped. But obviously worth looking into.

Check the other receptale and any other items on THAT circuit to make sure you don't have netural touching the ground conductor that useally will trip the GFCI as soon you heat it up ( engerized it up ) and look for bootleg ground which that is the other issue it can cause the trouble.

If you have MWBC ( Multi wire Branch Circuit ) let us know there is other methold to use on the GFCI's

I know someone mention outdoor receptale therefore check that one to make sure it is dry and clean and check the cover gasket if shot or cracked that is good time to replace it. ( this useally pretty common cuprit )

Merci,
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:31 PM   #13
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


FrenchElectrician: good perception. That is another solution to check. If neutral is touching ground incidently..that could also be amother factor which would also pick up arching.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:25 PM   #14
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


It could be a bad GFCI, can you swap it with another one that is known to be working properly?
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:26 AM   #15
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GFIC duplex tripping without anything plugged in


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It could be a bad GFCI, can you swap it with another one that is known to be working properly?
I'm sure they work. I replaced it with a new one, the new one with another new one and moved it upstream where it worked.

I've got some good leads, probably won't tear into it today since it's a half day for me and installs to do first. But I will at least pull the outside cover and see what's up.

I kinda miss the old ship board days in the Coast Guard where we could track down grounds with the main switch board and isolating the panels.

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