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outdoor wiring, electical outlets tripping

2127 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Yoyizit
in the backyard there are three outlets. the first one has always worked. the other two did not (when we bought the house) we took off the face plates and found out that there were two sets of wires not connected. we assumed these went to the other two outlets so we connected them. This tripped the gfci switch. we reset the gfci and hooked up only the first non working outlet and it worked...didn't trip anything. however, when we hooked up the wires going to the next non-working outlet it tripped the switch again. Is it possible to have it overloaded in the series even if nothing is plugged in? or do you think the wiring going to the last box is damaged underground somewhere? there is cement over the wirng so it is hard to tell where they go. If the wiring is actually damaged, can it be replaced without ripping up the concrete? what would you do in this case? should we hire someone or is there something I can do myself?
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It's not an overload, it's a ground fault. The current is going to ground somewhere.

Could be anywhere. My guess is that it's direct buried cable and the homeowner/installer made a taped up splice somewhere and the moisture soaked thru and corrupted his crappy splice.

Good luck :thumbup:
Remove that last receptacle and see if the GFCI still trips. If so, the problem is in the wiring between the two receptacles. If this is direct bury under concrete and not wires in conduit, then you are pretty much SOL... unless you want to bust it up or pay to have a new line drilled underground.
I would find out exactly where all these wires originate and terminate. If you have a bad wire you may have some spares in there just for this purpose. Identify each wire individually, and make sure its good. All you need is 1 hot, 1 neutral and 1 ground. This 120 volt grounded circuit can be used to supply all the receptacles. You only need one GFCI on a circuit. They must all come from the same cable or conduit. Meaning if you have 3 good wires but they are not in the same cable or conduit you cannot use them.
Check your connections on each receptacle. GFCI's have line and load terminals. If it is not wired correctly they will trip.
Check all of your outdoor boxes for moisture as well.

I had a similar problem, and not only were parts of the receptacle and box corroded, all of the connections were moist right after a rainfall.
OP final post response

Thank you all for your replies. We are fairly sure the wires are in conduit under the cement. However. We have decided to call an electrical friend and see what he says. Hopefully his suggestions are in line with the replies here and he knows what he is doing. He works for a licensed company but is coming over as "side-work"/ basically a paid favor. We will see what he says and go from there. Thanks Again!
Disconnect the neutral wire from the load side of the GFCI and check for no continuity between it and the ground wire.
Reconnect the neutral.
Put a 7-1/2w incand. lamp in series with the ground wire that serves the cable downstream of your GFCI.
If the voltage across the bulb reads from 0.6 vac to up to 120vac you've found your leakage path to ground. A normal reading would be less than 15 mVac.
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