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Old 07-24-2008, 07:04 PM   #1
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New Gfi Won't Stay On With Load


For a number of years, we have a problem with one of our GFI circuits. It was a pesky problem….but now it has become a show stopper.

The GFI is in an upper bathroom, and it “protects” outlets in another bathroom, outlets in the garage, and a basement light. Might be more….

The GFI would “trip” on occasion, and one problem was a garage refridgerator was on the line….and if the loss of electric was while we were away…. we could come home to a big mess. This weekend I took care of that problem…. I ran a 20 amp circuit from the electric panel into the garage….for the fridge and more.

NOW THE GFI in that upper bathroom tripped again ( I had hoped it was the refridgerator causing the problem…..but apparently not). We could not “Reset” the GFI….and I thought it must be broken. I bought A new one and installed it. I wired it right with the line going in, and the load coming out. IT WILL NOT STAY ON. As soon as I push in the Reset….it won’t stay in. WHEN I TAKE THE LOAD OFF (disconnect the wires coming out of it) I can Reset it, and the GFI works great…..for that one outlet.

WHERE I NEED HELP PLEASE:
I am now thinking one of the outlets or light fixtures after the GFI might be faulty, and it would be a good idea to replace every one with a quality new one. The idea that the problem could be the wires in the walls scares the crap out of me….. Could I be right? …or other ideas / recommendations?

THANK YOU

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Old 07-24-2008, 09:04 PM   #2
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New Gfi Won't Stay On With Load


Generally when I investigate GFCI nuisance tripping I find a wiring problem. A ground touching the neutral when the receptacle is pushed into the box is a favorite. Try to isolate the problem area.

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Old 07-25-2008, 10:16 AM   #3
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New Gfi Won't Stay On With Load


the GFI is midway in a run of circuits off one breaker in the panel. let's say there are 4 outlets or lights before the GFI, and 4 outlets after the GFI (the "protected" outlets).
I thought the pesky problem might be the fridge in the garage, so I eliminated that as an issue by running a separate line out there from the service panel, with it's own breaker. So, this isn't relevant any longer.
I DON't think any of the "protected" outlets after the GFI are in a damp area.
Looks like I have three things to check:
1. Wires in the outlet boxes or light fixture touching eachother or one of the outlet connection screws.
2. dampness
3. malfunctioning older appliance
Those are my options, yes?
Thanks so much from Milwaukee
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:52 AM   #4
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New Gfi Won't Stay On With Load


You can eliminate all the devices upstream of the GFCI. It works when you remove the load connection. Spend your time on the downstream (load side) of the GFCI. That 20 amp circuit you ran for the fridge should have only supplied the fridge.
Trial and error testing is in store. Start at the end of the downstream circuit or the middle or the beginning. You will find it.
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Old 07-25-2008, 12:21 PM   #5
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New Gfi Won't Stay On With Load


Before you do anything drastic, put down the tools and try the easy approach...

The receptacles that are "upstream" or electrically before the GFCI will have no effect one way or another as long as they are truly wired to the LINE side. Figure out what recepts are fed from the LOAD side of the GFCI, remove any and all cord/plug connected appliances/loads and see if it will reset. If so, start plugging in things until it trips. If not, kill the power and bust out the screw bar for some detective work.

As far as the wiring goes, look for any of the following:
1. Hot/black wires that have chafed insulation and may be comming into contact with any ground wiring or grounded surfaces.
2. Neutral/white wires that are somehow grounded.
3. Damaged cable (if NM) including outer jacket damage.
4. Strange little Yozian holes in insulation that are allowing electrons to drain out and into the ether.

Good luck,
Jimmy
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Last edited by BigJimmy; 07-25-2008 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:34 PM   #6
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New Gfi Won't Stay On With Load


I have found that a GFCI with various loads like this often protects an exterior receptacle. And I check these first, for water infiltration.

Check carefully, behind bushes and such - amazing how well these are hidden at times....
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Old 07-25-2008, 07:34 PM   #7
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you could take the load off the gfi, so that gfi is only protecting itself, and then install them where necessary downstream. Might make things less complicated
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Old 07-25-2008, 07:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jimmy21 View Post
you could take the load off the gfi, so that gfi is only protecting itself, and then install them where necessary downstream. Might make things less complicated
Good point, Jimmy.
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Old 07-25-2008, 08:15 PM   #9
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yah, I could install a GFI at each point downstream where one is needed.... and each would just be on it's own. But when I decide to unhook it from the load line of the original GFI location that is giving me problems.... I have no electricity at each box I decide to take of the current hook up. Running new electric to the locations in the house won't be a party either.
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Old 07-25-2008, 08:31 PM   #10
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ya, you would need to pigtail the line and load together. In laymens terms wire nut the line and load together along with a short tail to go the gfci
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Old 07-25-2008, 08:39 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by fauer View Post
yah, I could install a GFI at each point downstream where one is needed
But why? The one GFCI will take care of all of them (??)
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Old 07-25-2008, 09:06 PM   #12
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But why? The one GFCI will take care of all of them (??)
Sure it will, but its not always the best design.
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:27 AM   #13
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When I ran into this problem... I thought it was also possible that one of the OUTLETS was defective and there could be a ground fault issue within the OUTLET it self. My plan was to replace all the outlets downstream from the GFCI.
YOU GREAT GUYS HELPED ME LEARN ONE BIG POSSIBILITY IS GROUND TOUCHING NEUTRAL, but no one ever mentioned a possiblity that the outlet unit itself could have become defective.

Is that not likely at all? ... I should NOT replace my outlets if I find nothing else wrong?

Well.... it's Saturday and I'm going next door to the tenants side to get to work on this now. Will check back.

Thanks SO much for taking the time to help an ol' Nam Vet.
Frank
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Old 07-26-2008, 03:41 PM   #14
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New Gfi Won't Stay On With Load


** SUCCESS! FIXED! YIPPEE!! **

Big day today….going next door to the tenants to find my “ground fault”. I was loaded with all the good information I got here…three primary things to look for. After closely inspecting the GFCI outlet itself, and un-wiring the outside lights on the house, I still hadn’t come up with it what appeared to be the problem…. But suddenly the GFCI stayed on when I reset it. I re-wired the external lights, and the GFCI still stayed on. I suspected there was a problem with the lights…but I really didn’t see anything.

Then like I was told…. I started plugging things in one at a time. When I got to the garage, WHEN I PLUGGED IN THE GARAGE DOOR OPENER, IT TRIPPED THE GFCI. I pulled the plug, reset the GFCI and came back down and yes it was a live outlet. As SOON AS I PLUGGED IN THE CORD, IT TRIPPED THE GFCI AGAIN. Next I reset the GFCI, and plugged in a generic cord. It blew it! Turns out that ANYTHING plugged in to that outlet blew the GFCI. I replace the outlet….and now it stays on with garage door and other items plugged in to it. So, the problem was a BAD OUTLET.

Thanks so much for teaching me, and encouraging me.
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Old 07-26-2008, 06:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
Sure it will, but its not always the best design.
Good point. And I missed the "...where one is needed part."



And Fauer-

GREAT! Glad we could help.

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