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Old 02-09-2020, 12:41 AM   #1
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Question for the electricians out there.

I have a number of outlets on a gfci circuit. The outlet in the bathroom has the reset button. The other outlets on the circuit were working, but now are not. The bathroom outlet still works. I have a plug that supposedly tells you what may be wrong with an outlet. It has 3 lights on it. When plugged into the bathroom outlet, it shows no light, then 2 green lights which means it is functioning correctly. When plugged into the other outlets on the circuit, it also has no light, and 2 greens. However, the middle green light is dim. Those outlets do not work, when you plug something in. Tripping and hitting the reset doesn't make any difference.

Any idea what's going on? Could the gfci outlet be bad? Is there another fuse or breaker for this?
Any help is appreciated.
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:37 AM   #2
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I am NOT an electrician. However, I did rewire my entire house …


It is my understanding that a GFCI outlet is essentially like a switch - it's either off, or it's on - there is no "in between".


If the other outlets are on the DOWNSTREAM side of the GFCI and the one in the bathroom is off, then they are also going to be off (by "off", I mean no power - dead circuit/outlet). If those other outlets are "upstream" - if they get power before the bathroom does then they could still be on and the bathroom could be off if the GFCI is tripped.


If any recent electrical work was done prior to this problem and everything worked previously whoever did the electrical work did something wrong.


If everything was fine, no repairs have been made and this suddenly popped up I would think there's probably a circuit breaker involved.


Take your tester and put it in your pocket. Grab a small table lamp (that you know works for sure) and plug it in.


It's possible that the GFCI is wired improperly (it's important that the downstream wiring is wired to the downstream side of the GFCI) or it's possible that the wires were somehow reversed on the other outlets.


Sorry, just thinking with my fingers on the keyboard - as I said, I'm not an electrician.
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:48 AM   #3
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Get a volt meter and check for voltage. A volt meter is the best tool in finding out low or high voltage. Take out gfci and tie the blacks and then whites separately together. Then check other outlets. If they show proper voltage bad gfci. Not uncommon for them to go bad.
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:06 AM   #4
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Reading your description I'd say you have a loose connection at or after the GFCI receptacle. A voltmeter will tell you if you have low voltage, but I think you're actually going to have to pull some receptacles to find the problem.

Since you don't have power at any of the downstream receptacles, I'd pull the GFCI first and check the "load" wires on the back of it.

NOTE: Be sure the power is off.
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:19 AM   #5
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GFCI outlet

X2 on BamaRambler's reply
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:58 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone. Sounds like a plan.
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Old 02-09-2020, 01:59 PM   #7
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I had a similar experience, when I pulled the outlet the white common wire was barley touching the terminal, made a good connection and problem solved.
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Old 02-09-2020, 02:18 PM   #8
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Yes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bama Rambler View Post
Reading your description I'd say you have a loose connection at or after the GFCI receptacle. A voltmeter will tell you if you have low voltage, but I think you're actually going to have to pull some receptacles to find the problem.

Since you don't have power at any of the downstream receptacles, I'd pull the GFCI first and check the "load" wires on the back of it.

NOTE: Be sure the power is off.
Yes! Given that all the downstream outlets are insulation-displacement outlets (no terminal screws), the most likely source of the problem is the Load (downstream) connection at the GFCI outlet.

Next most likely is a failed GFCI outlet.
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Old 02-09-2020, 02:27 PM   #9
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If you recently used any high current devices ( heater, coffee maker) on that circuit, check the outlet you used first.
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Old 02-09-2020, 02:33 PM   #10
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Originally gfci was incorporated in breaker, then they started building them into an outlet, small place for the parts. They go bad frequently, now throw in China made. I never do anything electrical without a meter, but there are times where the meter shows voltage because and like another said it could be a bad connection so you may consider load testing also, like a hair drier or a corded tool. The meter load is very minimal.
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tandem54 View Post
I had a similar experience, when I pulled the outlet the white common wire was barley touching the terminal, made a good connection and problem solved.

I've seen this type of thing before. There's enough of a connection that you get a voltage reading but not enough to pass any appreciable amount of power (potential).

If all the outlets "downstream" of the GFCI are the same I'd check the first in the line, that is if you can figure out how it was wired. Shouldn't be too hard to check them all though, front cover pops off and screws are quarter turn with little flags that hold them in place. Actually pretty cheesy.
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:12 PM   #12
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It could be that reset in your Bathroom GFCI has not been reset properly or all the way. You can still have power at your Bathroom Receptacle, but all the other outlets downstream from it are relying on the GFCI to close the circuit internally within the GFCI providing there are no Ground Faults causing the electronics to not reset. I would shut the circuit breaker off for that circuit at your main panel, reset the GFCI by pressing the reset button using a firm push on the reset, then resetting the main circuit breaker and testing all the Receptacles for power. I have seen GFCI Receptacles that don't work once they have been triggered by a ground fault . In that case you may have to replace it with a new one.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:21 PM   #13
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Check the GFI connections. Could be a piggy back wire that is loose.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:54 PM   #14
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Junk receptacles

Be aware that when you pull the receptacles to check them that they're special "trailer receptacles" that absolutely suck. There is a special tool that is used to seat the wires. When I had to replace several wires, including the main 10/2 wire because I drilled into them installing my Solid Steps, I replaced all of the receptacles with regular residential receptacles in old work boxes.
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aircommuter View Post
Originally gfci was incorporated in breaker, then they started building them into an outlet, small place for the parts. They go bad frequently, now throw in China made. I never do anything electrical without a meter, but there are times where the meter shows voltage because and like another said it could be a bad connection so you may consider load testing also, like a hair drier or a corded tool. The meter load is very minimal.
X2

A voltmeter is not necessarily enough load to test a loose but still touching, connection.
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparkyone View Post
It could be that reset in your Bathroom GFCI has not been reset properly or all the way. You can still have power at your Bathroom Receptacle, but all the other outlets downstream from it are relying on the GFCI to close the circuit internally within the GFCI providing there are no Ground Faults causing the electronics to not reset. I would shut the circuit breaker off for that circuit at your main panel, reset the GFCI by pressing the reset button using a firm push on the reset, then resetting the main circuit breaker and testing all the Receptacles for power. I have seen GFCI Receptacles that don't work once they have been triggered by a ground fault . In that case you may have to replace it with a new one.
The Local outlets and load output feeding other outlets are both effect by the 1 GFCI circuit in the outlet.
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:42 PM   #17
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I finally got a chance to check out the wiring. Here's what I found. The gfci plug had a loose neutral going downstream. The downstream outlets still weren't getting full power, so I pulled the next outlet. These outlets are really weird. They have the wires between two contacts that are supposed to cut through the insulation to make contact. Again a neutral was loose, but the insulating was hardly cut on any of the wires, and the grounds still had the paper wrap around them. I have seen this kind of connections in auto wiring, but never with 110v outlets. I removed the outlet and wired hot wires together and neutrals together and the rest of the downstream outlets work. I am replacing it with a shallow outlet box and standard household outlet. However, my confidence in the rest of those rv outlets is very low. I will replace them as necessary.


I appreciate everyone's help.

Oh, also, there was a burn mark inside of the outlet where the loose neutral wire was.
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:58 PM   #18
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Lots of RVs have those kind. Bad idea, cheap and fast and dangerous. That is why I suggested lied testing. Best of success on changing them.
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Old 02-17-2020, 08:00 PM   #19
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My husband replaced all of ours. Those RV outlets suck big time. Warning the walls are too shallow for a standard box. My husband had to cut the back off the household electric box by about a 1/2 inch. He then cut away the back wall of the box part that he had cut off and glued it back on to the box. I suggest you drill a 1/2 inch hole into the top and bottom of the alter box for the wires to enter the box, so you may wire a house outlet. It took the better part of a day to replace all the outlets. That isn't counting the time to alter the electrical boxes for those shallow walls.
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Old 02-17-2020, 08:06 PM   #20
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Pocket tester will detect any voltage, a multi meter will be the best tool to tell you what voltage you are actually getting. As a couple people have mentioned I think you definitely have a loose wire. WITH THE POWER OFF to the unit, I would start at the GFI and check all electrical connections. It probably would not be a bad thing to go all the way back to the panel and check those connections as well, THIS TIME MAKE SURE YOUR UNIT IS UNPLUGGED FROM THE SHORE POWER.
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