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Old 03-15-2010, 09:05 PM   #1
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trouble with my gfci outlet


ok so i started by cutting down an extension cord and wiring it to a light that didnt have a cord just the exposed wires in the back. the light worked at first but when i screwed the extension cord wires to the wires in the back of the light i striped the wires too low and the positive and nuetral wires were exposed at the bottom of the electrical screw caps. since the wires were exposed, when i moved the light around a little bit the positive and nuetral wires came into contact. this happened in the bathroom on the gfci outlet. right when that happened the gfci outlet and two others that were wired to it stopped working, and the gfci was unresettable. i bought a new gfci outlet and replaced the old one with the new one. the new one that i put in didnt work and neither did the other two outlets that are wired to it. the circuit breaker wasnt tripped and there is a little light on the new gfci that i put in and it is on even though the plugs dont work. wut did i do and wut do i do?



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Old 03-15-2010, 09:24 PM   #2
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trouble with my gfci outlet


First things first...why did you cut an extension cord and attempt to hardwire a light to the exposed wiring? This is wrong for many reasons.

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Old 03-15-2010, 09:37 PM   #3
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trouble with my gfci outlet


haha i needed the light and figured it would work, the switch was already wired and there was just pos. and neutral hangin out. i wrapped the wires in electrical tape after it shorted the outlet and the light still works. should i not use this light?
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:40 AM   #4
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trouble with my gfci outlet


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Originally Posted by derek10790 View Post
haha i needed the light and figured it would work, the switch was already wired and there was just pos. and neutral hangin out. i wrapped the wires in electrical tape after it shorted the outlet and the light still works. should i not use this light?
No, you shouldn't. Go and buy yourself a proper work light. They aren't expensive, and much safer than what you have attempted to do.
Most of the work lights also have a 3-wire receptacle in them, so you can plug in your drill, etc.

As for why your GFCI receptacles don't work, you probably wired the new one wrong. You need to make sure that the power source is wired to the LINE terminals, and any downstream receptacles you want to be protected are wired to the LOAD terminals. If you mis-wired, the green light may be on, but you will not be able to reset the GFCI. That's a safety feature built into them.

Also, you said the breaker didn't trip. Are you sure? Most breakers will not actually trip to the OFF position. They may show a red marker when tripped, or not show anything at all. You need to test the breakers by moving to OFF position, then back ON.

Oh, and one more word of advice. Before you attempt to do anything, cut power at the breaker, and test to make sure you got the correct circuit. A simple voltage indicator is very cheap; it's just a neon lamp that lights in the presence of 115 or 220V. It can save your life!

FW
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Old 03-16-2010, 01:13 PM   #5
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trouble with my gfci outlet


im positive i installed the new one correctly because i took the old one out and the wires are really thick so they just stayed in the position they were in and i installed the new one right away and the breaker was reset when i turned it off to work on the outlet. you dont think it could have caused a problem somwhere else on the line of wiring? and what would i do if i dont have the correct voltage?
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:19 PM   #6
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trouble with my gfci outlet


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im positive i installed the new one correctly because i took the old one out and the wires are really thick so they just stayed in the position they were in and i installed the new one right away and the breaker was reset when i turned it off to work on the outlet. you dont think it could have caused a problem somwhere else on the line of wiring? and what would i do if i dont have the correct voltage?
OK. The green light should be an indicator that the receptacle is wired correctly, and that it has power. I checked one that I have, and it says the green light will not be lit if wired incorrectly.

What are you using as a load to find whether you have power or not?
Try another load.
By any chance; does the green LED on the GFCI go out when you plug in and turn on the load?
If that happens, then you have a bad connection, and the green light is lit because you have "phantom" voltage.

Are there other lights / receptacles on the same branch? If so, do they work?

FW
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Old 03-16-2010, 05:59 PM   #7
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the light is red and its the trip indicator light i found out and its on when the reset button is popped out and i tried disconnecting the load wires from the outlet but it still had the light on and the button wont stay in
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Old 03-16-2010, 06:04 PM   #8
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trouble with my gfci outlet


Please make sure you have the hot and the neutral on the correct terminals.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:54 AM   #9
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Please make sure you have the hot and the neutral on the correct terminals.
Yes. I think the red light and not being able to reset the GFCI is an indication that it has been mis-wired.
You cannot assume that the black wire is hot, and the white is neutral. It is possible that someone mis-wired in an upstream device or j-box. You can test this with an ohmmeter or continuity tester WITH THE BREAKER OFF.
Unplug / turn off all loads on the branch.

Check continuity or resistance between the white and the ground wire of the feed cable. These two should be a very low resistance or indicate continuity. Check black to ground. You should not get continuity and have a higher resistance.
What resistance you get from black to ground will depend on whether other loads are connected and turned on.

Note that the GFCI will not work correctly, and may give the indication you describe if there is a connection between neutral and ground upstream. The only place neutral and ground should be connected is at the SE.

BTW: You referred to wires as neutral and positive. There is no positive (or negative) in AC wiring. The wires are identified as hot (the live side of the line), neutral (the low side of the line), and ground (same potential as neutral if everything is wired properly). Note that you should never have a connection between ground (the bare copper or green conductor) and neutral except in the SE panel.


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