GFCI Wiring Problem

bshanleyApril 17, 2012

I'm trying to replace a standard outlet in my lavatory with a GFCI. I've done this before with no problems. This time the GFCI won't test or reset, but there is still power to the outlets downstream. The orange GFCI light comes on, and the reset button sounds like a doorbell if you push it in and hold it. White wires to silver terminals, black to brass. I was pretty sure I had the line and load done correctly, but just to be sure, I reversed them. That time, no light, no noise, but no test or reset, either. Still power downstream. The box is a metal and grounded. There was no additional grounding wire on the receptacle I removed, and I did not add one to the GFCI. The old receptacle showed "grounded" with my tester. Am I doing something wrong, or could it be a defective GFCI? Thanks!

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By chance is there another GFCI on the same circuit? Maybe in the garage. A recent problem had the garage door opener on a GFCI which was downstream from other receptacles.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 2:06PM
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Sounds like the supply is wired to the wrong terminal.

New GFCIs will not reset if the power is applied to the LOAD terminals instead of the LINE terminals.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 2:26PM
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Hi Brickeye: That was my first thought, too, but I tried it both ways. Neither worked the way it should.

Hi Texasredhead: nope, not another GFCI downstream.

All help is appreciated!!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 8:53PM
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It is possible that the GFCI is faulty. Since you are convinced that it is properly installed, trying a different one is the next logical step.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:57AM
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You sould also have a ground to neutral fault on the load side.

What is hooked up?

Try just connecting the line terminals to the feed and see if the unit will reset, and then trip when the test button is pushed.

If that works correctly, hook up the load side.

There are a small fraction of any manufactured device that are defective out of the box.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 9:55AM
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Brickeye solves another problem! I disconnected the load wires and the GFCI reset and tested. But it turns out there was just a little more to it. The other outlets that I thought were downstream stayed on no matter what. So if they were actually upstream, what the heck was downstream? There had to be something, since there were load wires going out of the box. There was one phantom outlet, clear on the other side of a different room that is on a different circuit. It was part of a defunct antenna rotor system and hadn't been used in 25 years. For some strange reason that one outlet was wired back to the bathroom. And therein lay the ground fault. Thank you Brickeye, Gardenweb, and everyone else!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 2:42PM
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Glad you got it figured out.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 3:46PM
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