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merchant 09-04-2011 06:46 PM

how to fix a short in the electrical system
 
One of my breaker, GFCI, and 4 outlets in the garage and yard is not working. When i press the reset button in the GFCI, it sparks, I replaced the GFCI but same thing happens again.

I need a step by step procedure to identify the fault.

Please correct me if I am wrong. From the breaker/fuse box, the power goes to the line terminal of GFCI and from the load terminal goes to all the outlets.
If i disconnect the wire from the load terminals of the GFCI, the power to all the other outlets should be disabled. If i use a tester to test the black and white wire of the line terminal of the GFCI, it should light up.

I am hoping folks in the forum can help me fix my issue

Sunny B. 09-04-2011 06:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by merchant
One of my breaker, GFCI, and 4 outlets in the garage and yard is not working. When i press the reset button in the GFCI, it sparks, I replaced the GFCI but same thing happens again.

I need a step by step procedure to identify the fault.

Please correct me if I am wrong. From the breaker/fuse box, the power goes to the line terminal of GFCI and from the load terminal goes to all the outlets.
If i disconnect the wire from the load terminals of the GFCI, the power to all the other outlets should be disabled. If i use a tester to test the black and white wire of the line terminal of the GFCI, it should light up.

I am hoping folks in the forum can help me fix my issue

What happens when you disconnect the load side? Dose the Gfci work

Missouri Bound 09-04-2011 07:31 PM

You havea good start. Disconnecting the wires on the load side and the gfci should work. Then put the wires on and go to the next receptacle in line and disconnect it. Keep doing this until you find the problem. It's most likely a bad receptacle or some connection which failed and allowed a hot to ground situation.

Code05 09-04-2011 08:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Missouri Bound (Post 721196)
You havea good start. Disconnecting the wires on the load side and the gfci should work. Then put the wires on and go to the next receptacle in line and disconnect it. Keep doing this until you find the problem. It's most likely a bad receptacle or some connection which failed and allowed a hot to ground situation.

A meter would be better for finding the fault.

A GFCI will cease to function after a series of faults. If the OP is already seeing sparks, your method can be hazardous.

Code05 09-04-2011 08:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sunny B. (Post 721184)
What happens when you disconnect the load side? Dose the Gfci work

Maybe. What if the GFCI is the fault/short?

Missouri Bound 09-04-2011 08:30 PM

The only way to find the problem is by physical inspection. A meter of course can help determine what the problem is. Does the breaker trip as well...One of my breaker, GFCI, and 4 outlets in the garage and yard is not working.

frenchelectrican 09-04-2011 09:20 PM

Sound like you have a short in the GFCI protected side the safest way to determed which one is bad is use the ohmmeter and with a short it will swing toward to zero or digtial verison very low numbers.

Before you do this test make sure you have everything unplugged and if you have any hardwired items you may want to isolated { disconnected } as well but I will use the proven methold is go half way of that circuit and ring both pairs to see which half is bad to speed up the troubleshooting so you will know which side.

And with yard receptale find that cable or conductors and isolated that as well so you can able rule it out.

Have done any digging or any type of something sharp poke in the ground and few case I know with yard post receptale box some case you will see filled with water or other gunk that can cause a short as well.

Hope you will find it.

Merci,
Marc

merchant 09-04-2011 09:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Missouri Bound (Post 721228)
The only way to find the problem is by physical inspection. A meter of course can help determine what the problem is. Does the breaker trip as well...One of my breaker, GFCI, and 4 outlets in the garage and yard is not working.

When i press the reset the breaker does not trip. But when a electrician came to do my fans, he said he will take a quick look and made a direct connection to the black from line to load and the breaker tripped. He said there might be a short and he does not have the time to check it

Missouri Bound 09-04-2011 09:53 PM

Yep..you have a short in the line. Turn off the breaker and remove the wires from the load side of the gfci. If you can get an ohmmeter, connect it to the hot and neutral wires you just removed and unplug all of the devices in any of the affected outlets. If you have a short the meter should indicate near zero ohms. Starting at the far end of the circuit, remove the wires and check the ohmmeter. When it displays infinity, you have located the area which is shorting. It's a process, but if you do it correctly you will isolate the problem. You will also need to check the resistance on the hot and ground wire as well.

merchant 09-04-2011 10:07 PM

More details......

I switched off the breaker and disconnected all the black and white wires connected to the GFI. Switched on the breaker and tested the black and white wires that were connected to line and there was no power. When I tested the black and white wire that were previously connected to load there was power.

Does that mean that the wires have been switched. If I am not wrong the black wire with power should be connected to line?

Thanks for all your responses.

Missouri Bound 09-04-2011 10:25 PM

Yes. With that in mind, maybe you need to start over with the wiring from beginning to end, starting at the first receptacle.....on to the very end.

merchant 09-04-2011 10:31 PM

More details......

I switched the wires. Now the black, white wire with power goes to the LINE. The LOAD wires are disconnected. Switched on the breaker. There was an amber light. When I use a tester and insert a black and red leads of the tester, it does not light up. But when i touch the screws that connect the black and white wire it lights up. I pressed the reset button and the amber light went away. And the tester lights up when inserting into the sockets of the GFCI. So I guess nothing is wrong with the GFCI.

As next step, I am going to disconnect all the wires from all the outlets, except for one and connect the LOAD wires to the GFCI and see what happens. I will update as I find more

Thanks for all the help


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