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Old 12-27-2010, 08:53 PM   #1
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Outlets in garage/outside garage aren't working


I have 5 outlets in the garage, 3 of which were being used. The GFCI outlet, and another next to it were not being used. One is only used for the garage door, another is a single outlet with just the freezer, and the last has a portable heater and nothing else plugged into it. The outside outlet has our Christmas lights and an extension cord which is used to plug my truck in. Yesterday when I got home from work, I plugged my truck in and the garage door outlet stopped working, along with all the others except the one with the freezer in it (go figure) haha. This has never happened before, and everything that's plugged in has been for at least a couple months, except the Christmas lights, which have only been plugged in the last 2 weeks. I found the GFCI outlet, and it had been tripped, I tried to reset it, but it wouldn't stay pushed in. I unplugged everything, except the freezer, which wasn't affected, then the reset button worked. But now I can't plug my truck in. Any ideas?

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Old 12-27-2010, 09:05 PM   #2
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Outlets in garage/outside garage aren't working


Can't plug the truck in because ?

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Old 12-27-2010, 09:08 PM   #3
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Outlets in garage/outside garage aren't working


Plug the ext cord in by itself and see if the GFCI holds. If not it's a faulty cord. If it does hold, plug the truck in and see if the GFCI still holds. If not the equipment on the truck is probably faulty.
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:40 PM   #4
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Outlets in garage/outside garage aren't working


Scuba Dave- I can't plug the truck in because when I do it trips the GFCI outlet.

BRRIC- I'll try that. Thanks.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:24 PM   #5
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Outlets in garage/outside garage aren't working


Sounds like it was doing its job, and now might be worn out. It happens, especially to older-tech GFCI, not just because they're aged.

The best, cheapest, guess would be what you got it plugged into. It could be any of the cords causing ground faults if it's a true problem, but plugging one-by-one is probably the only way to narrow it down. Does it stay on for the other stuff with the truck unplugged? I'd guess Christmas lights, that's the only thing that's changed recently? However, just adding load might be enough to trip it. Then again- are they blinking, dimmer, or some sort of funky lights? Those always cause more problems for GFCI, again especially the older tech ones.

Is the freezer on the same circuit? It doesn't necessarily need to be GFCI protected, depending on how it's set up, you're allowed to do something like that if it's considered stationary equipment.
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:15 AM   #6
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Outlets in garage/outside garage aren't working


IF the extendsion cord is good before you plug to the truck block heater then you have issue with the cord or the connection at the block heater which I have see it from time to time.

Get the Ohmmeter and read the truck block heater cord from netural to ground { wide blade to round pin } it should not read anything but if that the case then you will have to look more closer to the cord or blockheater itself to see if any damage there.

If that the case then replace the block heater or cord itself { I know cord will get damaged more than blockheater itself }

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Old 01-06-2011, 01:39 PM   #7
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Outlets in garage/outside garage aren't working


The extension cord works fine, so it could very well be the block heater cord. I'm more concerned with the outlets. They aren't that old. The house was built in 2006, and 3 out of the 5 I had an electrician put in last summer. The only two that were in the garage when we bought the house were the one the freezer is plugged into and the one on the ceiling that the garage door is plugged in to, both of which are working. The GFCI and the other two aren't even a year old. I bought a circuit tester and plugged it into the GFCI, and it read correct and it is working, however the other two new outlets that I believe are connected to the GFCI, didn't "light up" and still aren't working. According to the tester the hot contact not connected. How can that be after several months of working? This is frustrating. Any other ideas?
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Old 01-06-2011, 02:53 PM   #8
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Outlets in garage/outside garage aren't working


Definitely have an idea. If I'm right, you need to have the bonehead who wired it come back and wire it right. (That'll never happen, probably, I know.) You have one of the three-light sort of testers, the regular plug end kind of thing? Does that one come with a GFCI tester also, or no?

Reset the GFCI with the 'reset' button. If they all work, hit the 'test' button. If it goes back to only one outlet (the GFCI one) working, the GFCI is wired backwards.

I had this in my friend's house, all of his were wired backwards. This is bad, you don't get GFCI protection at the GFCI outlet at all, although the downstream outlets do have protection. It's possible water and normal stuff tripped the GFCI, and you don't know it because that outlet is hot. Which it definitely shouldn't be if the GFCI is tripped.

Let me guess- the whole install is less than a year old, so it never was used on christmas lights and/or the block heater. This is the first season those things were plugged in?

Anyhow, if I'm right, just pop a note here, and I can tell you how to fix it really easily. The hardest thing about it is turning off the circuit breaker.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:19 PM   #9
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Outlets in garage/outside garage aren't working


Yeah I'm sure I could get them to come back for a nice price. If its something I can do on my own that would be great. Yes the circuit tester I got is the regular plug in type that is made to test the GFCI outlets. When I plugged it into the GFCI outlet it lit up as correct, but when I plugged it into the other two outlets, no lights came on. Which according to the package means the hot contact is not connected. I will check them over and get back to you. Thanks. And yes they are new so this is the first time they've been used for heaters, or lights.
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:39 PM   #10
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Outlets in garage/outside garage aren't working


There's 2 kinds of that sort of tester. One does the stuff you mentioned, the other, which costs a lot more, also has a button on it for GFCI, and it tests whether the GFCI is actually working right. You don't need it really, but if you got it, use it, I always say.

The way you use it if you have it, you plug it in, push the button, and see if the GFCI pops. It does almost the same thing as the test button, but better, with amperage and timing standards used.

Note that sort of tester cannot test a circuit without a ground, and since it is legal in some instances to put a GFCI in without one, make sure you see the 'ground connected good' light when you plug it in. (It's not going to hurt anything, but the GFCI test part of it simply won't work.)

Last edited by JPraski; 01-06-2011 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:39 PM   #11
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Outlets in garage/outside garage aren't working


It is not unual for heating elements to have some leakage to ground,
In fact the electrical regulations allow for it,
But most GFCI s dont allow for it.
Test for leagage on the heating element,
If it meets regulations, no less than 100,000 ohms.
100,000 ohms is the stamdard in Australia,
you will have to check what the standards allow
in your state.
If all is within spec, then use an outlet not GFCI controlled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elway-07 View Post
I have 5 outlets in the garage, 3 of which were being used. The GFCI outlet, and another next to it were not being used. One is only used for the garage door, another is a single outlet with just the freezer, and the last has a portable heater and nothing else plugged into it. The outside outlet has our Christmas lights and an extension cord which is used to plug my truck in. Yesterday when I got home from work, I plugged my truck in and the garage door outlet stopped working, along with all the others except the one with the freezer in it (go figure) haha. This has never happened before, and everything that's plugged in has been for at least a couple months, except the Christmas lights, which have only been plugged in the last 2 weeks. I found the GFCI outlet, and it had been tripped, I tried to reset it, but it wouldn't stay pushed in. I unplugged everything, except the freezer, which wasn't affected, then the reset button worked. But now I can't plug my truck in. Any ideas?
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:14 PM   #12
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Outlets in garage/outside garage aren't working


It is a GFCI tester with the button. I used it, and it did trip the outlet.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:29 PM   #13
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Outlets in garage/outside garage aren't working


It tripped *all* of the outlets, as in the lights on the tester went out when it was plugged in to the GFCI outlet?

If that's true then my idea is not correct. It is likely wired properly, and the guy who did it isn't a bonehead (at least not for the reason I was thinking, anyhow).

If it stays lit, even though you heard the GFCI pop, then there's problems.

You say this is in a garage. Is it a detached garage? If so, does it have a subpanel the outlets are run from? If so, how many wires are ther running into the panel, and is there a ground rod? I would expect 2 hots, a neutral, and a ground for 4 wires, and the ground to be hooked up to both the ground rod and the subpanel (depending how they loop the ground back & forth it might look like 5 wires).


Last edited by JPraski; 01-07-2011 at 04:31 PM. Reason: Another Idea
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