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Old 03-02-2010, 01:34 PM   #31
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This could be a problem with how the GFCI is wired. Please tell us all the connections in the GFCI receptacle box.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:04 PM   #32
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I tried a few things when I got home, with direct connection to light at bottom of stairs (no 3-way switch), I disconnected ground where grounds were shared with 2 other circuits in the same boxes. GFI still tripped.

I then began breaking down the connection from the 3-way switch box to light (wire A from switch to smoke detector box spliced to wire B to light). I disconnected at the smoke dectector and wired a different light fixture at end of wireA .....surprise, surprise, GFI tripped.

I then tried a continuity test on wire A from switch box to smokes box. My worst fears were realized. I had continuity between the ground and neutral wire! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!


I'm almost 100% sure that this is the reason for my GFCI outlet tripping. Now what? One wire is the culprit, where it is crossed I don't know. Can I assume a drywall screw or corner bead nail went somewhere it shouldn't and crossed the neutral and ground? When I ran the wire I thought I kept it away from any place that may have a screw near by.

Since a drywall screw will be near the surface, can I replace the GFI outlet with a standard outlet being extra careful and check for AC current near a "hot" screw? I imagine I'll have to rip out the entire wire so this is probably a waste of time. Can a wire that's crossed with a screw be patched and not have to be completely removed?

Last edited by 8roty; 03-02-2010 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:07 PM   #33
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Could cable clamp holding wire in box. Could be staple holding cable pounded too tight. Could be drywall screw.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:15 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8roty View Post
I tried a few things when I got home, with direct connection to light at bottom of stairs (no 3-way switch), I disconnected ground where grounds were shared with 2 other circuits in the same boxes. GFI still tripped.

I then began breaking down the connection from the 3-way switch box to light (wire A from switch to smoke detector box spliced to wire B to light). I disconnected at the smoke dectector and wired a different light fixture at end of wireA .....surprise, surprise, GFI tripped.

I then tried a continuity test on wire A from switch box to smokes box. My worst fears were realized. I had continuity between the ground and neutral wire! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!


I'm almost 100% sure that this is the reason for my GFCI outlet tripping. Now what? One wire is the culprit, where it is crossed I don't know. Can I assume a drywall screw or corner bead nail went somewhere it shouldn't and crossed the neutral and ground? When I ran the wire I thought I kept it away from any place that may have a screw near by.

Since a drywall screw will be near the surface, can I replace the GFI outlet with a standard outlet being extra careful and check for AC current near a "hot" screw? I imagine I'll have to rip out the entire wire so this is probably a waste of time. Can a wire that's crossed with a screw be patched and not have to be completely removed?
I admit I haven't read the entire post...but one thing caught my eye. Continuity between neutral and ground should not be a surpise. They are connected at the main panel, correct?
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:50 PM   #35
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Sounds like your neutral wire is not going through your GFI. If it is not then the GFI thinks it is going to ground.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:51 PM   #36
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The wire I tested is an isolated wire. But yes naturally they all connect back at the neutral/ground bar in the panel. As I understand it, a ground-fault is an unintended continuity or touching of either the black wire or the white wire to the ground wire.

OK, i'm playing devil's advocate here.....
Can i get away with not connecting the grounds at either end of the 4 ft length of wire A? I'll still have ground connections at the switch box and at the smokes box wire B to light.

Last edited by 8roty; 03-02-2010 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:04 PM   #37
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your GFI will trip if the current leaving is not identical to what is returning through the neutral. So if any current goes to ground it will trip.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:29 PM   #38
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In my previous post "Can i get away with not connecting the grounds at either end of the 4 ft length of wire A?"

Well I tried it.......let there be light! The GFI outlet did not trip. Do I have bigger problems if I possibly crossed the neutral and ground with a plastic wire clip or drywall screw? Or can I leave it? - i.e. is it OK to have an ungrounded wire section hidden behind a ceiling/wall.

As i mentioned, the switch is grounded from the incoming wire and grounds from other circuit. Wire B to light is grounded with grounds from smokes circuit. The alternative is ripping out the entire wire.......unless someone knows it's OK to patch where the cable is damaged? My instincts tell me patching is not acceptable and to replace it. But my patience is getting the best of me here.
Thoughts?
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:57 PM   #39
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There is obviously some damage to the cable somewhere. Until you find it you don't know how much. There could be more damage than just a neutral ground short. If it's a nail or screw the black could be damaged to the point of creating a hot spot.
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