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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Default GFI outlet problem

    I understand what it means when a tester shows "hot/neu reverse" in general: that the hot and neutral wires are attcached to the wrong screws.

    I have a GFI outlet in a bathroom that, when in normal operation, the tester shows as CORRECT. However, when I trip the GFI, either with the test button on the outlet or the black button on my tester, instead of turning the power off (like other GFIs in my house), it shows "hot/neu reverse" on the tester.

    I replaced the GFI with a new one and it still shows this problem.

    What can I do myself to triage this situation, before resorting to hiring an electrician?

    Thanks,
    Sam

  2. #2
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    Jan 2008
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    Lakeland ,MN
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    Default Re: GFI outlet problem

    Honestly I have never seen that condition on a GFI tester. I would check to see if you have the wires on the back of the outlet are wired correctly.Remove the outlet with the power off. Clear all the wires. be careful and turn the power back on. If there is two sets of wires(2 black 2 white) you need to see what black wire is hot. There is a line side of the outlet and a load side. The black wire (or hot wire) should be on the brass screw and on the side of the outlet labled line and the white wire (neutral wire) that is paired with that black should be on the silver screw. If there are another set of wires that should be on the other two screws black to brass and white to silver screw. The word line should be marked on the back of the outlet. I assume that is your problem you have. let us know
    Harry

  3. #3
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    Default Re: GFI outlet problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens53 View Post
    Honestly I have never seen that condition on a GFI tester. I would check to see if you have the wires on the back of the outlet are wired correctly.Remove the outlet with the power off. Clear all the wires. be careful and turn the power back on. If there is two sets of wires(2 black 2 white) you need to see what black wire is hot. There is a line side of the outlet and a load side. The black wire (or hot wire) should be on the brass screw and on the side of the outlet labled line and the white wire (neutral wire) that is paired with that black should be on the silver screw. If there are another set of wires that should be on the other two screws black to brass and white to silver screw. The word line should be marked on the back of the outlet. I assume that is your problem you have. let us know
    I assumed that if the hot and neutral were reversed, the tester would show that condition during "normal" operation - it does not. The tester only shows it when the GFI is tripped.

    There's only one set of wires going to this outlet. 1 black, 1 white and 1 ground. The black is connected to the HOT terminal, and the white to the neutral terminal. I see what you're saying about making sure that the black wire is indeed hot - I'll check this.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: GFI outlet problem

    Quote Originally Posted by SamWatson View Post
    I assumed that if the hot and neutral were reversed, the tester would show that condition during "normal" operation - it does not. The tester only shows it when the GFI is tripped.

    There's only one set of wires going to this outlet. 1 black, 1 white and 1 ground. The black is connected to the HOT terminal, and the white to the neutral terminal. I see what you're saying about making sure that the black wire is indeed hot - I'll check this.
    if it is only one set of wires make sure you have them both on the line side of the outlet it is embossed in the plastic.
    Harry

  5. #5
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    Default Re: GFI outlet problem

    Boy that is very unusual .... it sounds like this is not a dedicated circuit especially if there is indeed voltage present after tripping ... perhaps being double feed somewhere?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: GFI outlet problem

    Quote Originally Posted by canuk View Post
    Boy that is very unusual .... it sounds like this is not a dedicated circuit especially if there is indeed voltage present after tripping ... perhaps being double feed somewhere?
    I have seen that on testers before but not a GFI. It took me a while to find out it was a bad outlet. The neutral side was bad.

    That is the reason now that I have thought about it I feel he has one wire on the line side and one on the load.
    Harry

  7. #7
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    Default Re: GFI outlet problem

    one wire on the line side and one on the load.
    This wouldn't energize the GFCI sense circuit and allow it to work.... but you never know.... stranger things have happened.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: GFI outlet problem

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by canuk
    The OP stated there is ground wiring in place ...... besides the GFCI wouldn't trip with the tester if no ground wired .... also the tester would indicate a fault ( missing ground).

    Sam mentioned white, black and supposed ground wires present in his second post, and was quite precise as to the white and black being connected to his replacement GFCI receptacle, but made no mention of having connected equipment grounding conductor to a green or bare lead on the GFCI receptacle, or a green screw. Actually he doesn't mention its connection to anything at all, or being capped off, which I find potentially interesting (pun intended). He also doesn't mention having confirmed that it was in fact voltage free and a true equipment grounding only conductor for the circuit and not boot strapped, or carrying stray current.

    As to a GFCI receptacle requiring an equipment ground in order to trip by a detected fault, by intentionally pressing the test button, or that a simple plug in tester would fail to trip in test mode where no equipment ground was connected, I have not found any of those things to be the case, quite the opposite in fact. GFCI receptacles do not require an equipment grounding conductor to operate safely when wired correctly.

    As to a particular plug in tester displaying a series of lights indicating a NO equipment ground as an override to a reversed wiring error, I couldn't speak to every one on the market, but I have not found that to be the case with any of the ones I have purchased or used. Actually the symptoms (power to the face when tripped and indication of wiring error when test trip button depressed) are exactly those of a reversed wiring error, when tripped in this case (non-self-testing non-lockout older gfci) load side may open, but the face is still energized, since it was the neutral or grounded conductor not the hot or ungrounded conductor which is opened. Most if not all gfci receptacles here are designed to open only the hot, unlike a gfci cordset which opens both the hot and the grounded conductor (neutral
    ).

    How does the external plug in type tester trip the GFCI circuit that exists internal to the receptacle without a ground present ?
    Last edited by canuk; 05-08-2008 at 06:45 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Quitman , Ms
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    16

    Default Re: GFI outlet problem

    Testing GFCIs on nongrounding circuits. Testers should not be used to test GFCIs installed as replacements for two-wire receptacles on nongrounding circuits. By design, GFCI testers will not test a GFCI protecting a 2-wire circuit and can expose the user to a potential shock.

    The test button integral to the GFCI applies the test current between hot and neutral. This is not the case with GFCI testers; the test current in these devices is applied between hot and the equipment ground. Therefore, if there is no equipment ground, no test current will flow. If there are any exposed metal parts connected to the receptacle grounding contact (such as a metal face plate or a weatherproof cover), they will be energized by the test device. Since some of the test devices apply up to a 30mA test current; using such a tester on a 2-wire circuit while touching a metal cover plate could result in an uncomfortable shock.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: GFI outlet problem

    This is not the case with GFCI testers; the test current in these devices is applied between hot and the equipment ground. Therefore, if there is no equipment ground, no test current will flow.
    yep .... I would have to agree

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