Dead circuit that's well... not dead

ceastonoohJuly 17, 2014

Last winter the wall outlets in my garage went dead. Since I do little in the garage in winter, I waited. Now it's irritating me. I replaced the GFCI. LED glows but no power. Hot to ground is 120. Hot to neutral, no go. Replaced the GFCI again in case I got a bad one.
About 10 years ago I stole some juice off the same box where the GFCI is for my bocce court lights. All is fine with the lights but nothing at the garage outlets.
No continuity is showing up anywhere that it should not. With the circuit breaker off, I have tested neutral to hot, neutral to ground, hot to neutral, hot to ground. Nothing untoward shows up.
I'm lost. Any ideas?
BTW, before anyone dives down the rabbit hole, my work on this circuit happened years before this problem. Years of service, then one day - nothing. Everything I can unplug has been unplugged. I pull power to light my workbench off this circuit and I'm not getting any work done!
Could certainly use some ideas on where to look next.

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joefixit2

You got an open neutral plain and simple. Start checking upstream for a bad connection point.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 9:50PM
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ceastonooh

Thanks for the reply, but there is no upstream. Just the panel. No connection problems there.
How would a diagnosis of an upstream neutral wire being open apply when I have power past the GFCI?
Obviously I'm missing something here but I don't see how that can be it.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:46AM
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greg_2010

What are the wires in the box and how are they connected?
How are you doing your tests?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:54AM
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ceastonooh

Solved it. Apparently the GFCI that I installed years ago went bad. I replaced it with the new GFCI, which, as it is now apparent, was defective. I did not know this but guessed that buying another one was cheaper than an electrician or another 2 hours of my time. So another GFCI is purchased and today I find it too is defective.
Ain't world trade just grand? Not sure if American made would be better but that's my guess.
Thanks guys for your help.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 12:12PM
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greg_2010

Wait ... you've had 3 "defective" GFCIs and it still isn't working? How is that solved?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 1:12PM
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ceastonooh

Greg, I said I solved it. You would take that to mean it IS working.
No I'm not happy about the quality of the defective GFCI's but the fact that I now have one that works means end of thread.
Thanks again for your concern and suggestions.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 2:55PM
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bus_driver

The GFCI receptacles of more recent manufacture must have power to them and then the reset button must be pushed for them to have power to the receptacle.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 7:19PM
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joefixit2

hmmm.. very strange. In many years as an electrician I have rarely seen a defective GFCI, and never a defective new one. Keep us posted, this may not be the end of the story.
That being said,
There is a certain brand of GFCIs with a red and a black button sold at a certain store with orange on the front of the building that tend not to be so easy to reset when they get old, sometimes they will reset on the hot side but not the neutral. A good firm push on the test button and another on the reset button using a pencil eraser does the trick.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 1:00AM
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WilliamFitzgerald

First check the circuit finely, try to change the hot to ground and neutral, the circuit has two GFCI outlets on it, both are not having any power, the test buttons are also not effected after tying it lots of time. Use a circuit tracker to find the exact problem in the circuit or you can call to an electrician of your local area he will repair it correctly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Electrical

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 7:21AM
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