[solved] GFCI outlet doesn't work after I press Reset&Test; turn on&off circuit breaker; unscrew

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by bigrobot, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. bigrobot

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 19, 2017
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    In a room, I have a GFCI AC outlet. It was working just fine. I was curious to learn how much space there was in the cavity that the outlet is in. So I shut off the power to the room by switching it off at the circuit breaker. I then unscrewed the outlet and pulled it out.

    I also pressed the Test and Reset buttons on the outlet (while power was both off and on, if I remember correctly).

    After turning the room's power on by flicking on the circuit breaker, I noticed that the LED light on the AC outlet is on. But whatever I plug into the AC outlet doesn't work, in either of the two outlets. The devices work, as I've tried them in the outlets of other rooms.

    How can I figure out what the problem is? How can I fix this?

    Photo album of the outlet: http://imgur.com/a/UBrlo


    Thu Aug 10 11:35:35 PDT 2017 update. An electrician apprentice working at Home Depot confirmed that my gfci outlet is dead.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  2. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Try pressing the Test button again. The Reset button should pop up.
    Make sure you press the Reset button all the way in until you hear it click. The Reset button should now be lower than before.
     
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  3. bigrobot

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 19, 2017
    40
    4
    Thanks, Mr.Chips.
    Currently away from the site. Will try this when I get to the site.

    the lit-up LED light means that I didn't break the outlet, right?
    there's no way I could have destroyed the outlet by just pressing the test and reset buttons in the "wrong" order, right?
     
  4. KeepItSimpleStupid

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 4, 2014
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    there are multiple ways that the GFCI outlets work. Some have one LED. Other's have two. They don't need a ground to work.

    They can be wired so they protect outlets down stream or just the devices plugged into this one.

    If the wiring is reversed, they won't work either. They will detect shared neutrals.

    You actually could have disturbed the wiring in the box itself.

    Whatever device you used to test, I'd use another GFCI outlet or use a two wire device like a lamp (assuming USA here).

    Here's http://www.cooperindustries.com/con...s/documents/instruction_sheets/EIS-0018-E.pdf an instruction manual for a GFCI
     
  5. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Typically the LED light being on means that the GFCI device has been tripped (or you pressed the test button)..
    Simply pressing the reset button should "reset" everything and you will be good to go again..
     
  6. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
    19,512
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    Not that's it's likely here, but I actually had a faulty GFCI that was dead, and had me scratching my head for awhile.
    Finally I replaced it with a new one which worked.
     
  7. bigrobot

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 19, 2017
    40
    4
    Yes, unlikely here, as it just stopped working after my fiddling with it.
     
  8. bigrobot

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 19, 2017
    40
    4
    Oh, I thought the LED light being on means that the GFCI device works, that power is available for any plugged device.
     
  9. bigrobot

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 19, 2017
    40
    4
  10. Reloadron

    Distinguished Member

    Jan 15, 2015
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    It would not be the first time I saw a GFCI fail after Test and Reset were pressed. On a standard US 120 Volt GFCI pressing the Test button uses a 15 K resistor to bypass the Neutral line so it causes an imbalance in the Line and Neutral current of about 8 mA. The trip mechanical mechanism trips but sometimes despite pressing the Reset it remains tripped. The units I have seen with LEDs can vary as to exactly what the LED means on what units. Anyway if the Line and Neutral going in have power as measured across the Line side terminals but there is no power available at the outlet side after pressing Reset you can pretty much assume the unit is dead.

    Ron
     
  11. bigrobot

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 19, 2017
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    4
    Assuming it's dead, must the entire GFCI thing be replaced?

    Or can I simply replace a component of the device? If so, which part(s)?
     
  12. KeepItSimpleStupid

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 4, 2014
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    Almost. One also has to assume that the wiring wasn't disturbed. Powering from the wrong end and reversing neutral and hot can make a good GFCI not work.

    Lights can mean anything. I think I have one where green means working and another where red means tripped.
     
  13. Reloadron

    Distinguished Member

    Jan 15, 2015
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    Yeah, I am assuming it was working just fine and then it didn't work. Meaning it worked as wired.

    A friend of mine had one once kick my butt for awhile. It was in a downstairs bathroom with the load side feeding 1/2 of the garage. It was originally wired backwards as to line and load. While I have no clue if it ever functioned as a GFCI correctly what happened was the bathroom outlet had power but downstream to the garage had none. No breakers were tripped but only half the stuff in the garage worked. I crawled through ceiling spaces chasing that wiring down but I finally figured it out. I replaced it with a standard outlet and installed a new 20 Amp GFCI breaker in the panel and also replaced the remaining half of the garage with a new GFCI breaker and labeled things accordingly. That problem kicked my butt as I had to figure where half a garage was powered from.

    Again, I have seen those things fail following routine press to test.

    Ron
     
  14. DickCappels

    Moderator

    Aug 21, 2008
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    It could be that handing the breaker caused a not-very-good connection to come loose. Are the wires that are plugged into it all firmly in place?
     
  15. Tonyr1084

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2015
    2,181
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    I've had a number of faulty GFCI's over the years. My jetted tub was GFCI protected. As recommended, every so often I test the outlet with the test button. A brand new GFCI, once tripped, would not reset. Eventually I replaced it and that solved the problem. However, the adjacent GFCI (other leg of the circuit) that ran the tub heater worked for a while, but it too failed one time during testing. And I don't use the tub very often.

    Being suspicious of a faulty ground I added additional grounds to the circuit, grounding to the cold water inlet and the power mast (where the electricity comes in - which is grounded to the transformer on the pole and grounded via 3 more ground connections within 50 yards) and still had no change. Just last year I installed a water feature in the yard with a GFCI protecting the pond. That worked for the summer but failed with the arrival of colder weather.

    I've had a number of GFCI failures that were rectified by replacing the bad outlets. I heard someone once say "there was a number of faulty GFCI's that made it into the market during a certain period of time." I've been put off on spending all that money on faulty outlets. But safety is worth the cost no matter what the cost. OR you just do without (the water feature or whatever you're protecting). In the case of GFCI's near water - I would take on the cost versus the cost of a funeral and the loss of a loved one (or me).
     
  16. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    So.. have you pressed the reset button yet?
    If you do and it still doesn't work then simply replace the GFCI outlet with a new one..
     
  17. bigrobot

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 19, 2017
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    Yes, I did. I pressed the Reset button until I heard a click. I plugged in an appliance that works in a different outlet. But on this GFCI outlet, it doesn't work.
     
  18. bigrobot

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 19, 2017
    40
    4
    Does the entire GFCI outlet need to be replaced?

    Can't we replace, like, a fuse or something, and keep using the rest of the GFCI outlet?
     
  19. Tonyr1084

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2015
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    No, there's nothing inside the GFCI that is user serviceable. In other words, no fuses. It's a breaker type device and when it detects a ground fault it trips the breaker. If the electronics inside fail (or the mechanical breaker part) there's nothing to be done except replace it.

    Y'know, I've never opened one of those things. I have a few to mess with, so maybe I'll do just that. Just for curiosity sake.
     
  20. Reloadron

    Distinguished Member

    Jan 15, 2015
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    No, when they fail you replace the whole assembly. Make sure the Line and Neutral feeding the outlet are working correctly. Meaning if this outlet is on a fuse or breaker make sure that power is being supplied to the GFCI before replacing the GFCI. Anyway, when they failk they fail and you replace the unit with a known good new unit. Here in the US the common flavors are either 15 Amp or 20 Amp service. What you have should be labeled and I suggest replace with the same rating.

    Ron
     
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