Detecting first recepticle on a circuit

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wrote:

That's when they're ALL first receptacles. Seems to be a common situation here.
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Mark Lloyd
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: Is there a simple way to figure out which is the first recepticle on a : circuit? I have an older house - the two upstairs rooms are on the same : circuit and are not grouned. Id like to add a GFCI plug on the first : recepticle on that circuit, so every recepticle downstream is : protected. : : The brute force method would be to guess which recepticle is the first, : remove the outgoing wires, and test every other outlet for power - : rinse (hook back up the wires), repeat, until ive found the recepticle : that has power and all the others that dont. :) However this will take : awhile - most arent easily accessible - behind furnitire, beds etc. : : I have at my disposal the standard home repair tools - volt meter, etc. : : Thanks! : That's probably the onlyh accurate, positive way to do it though. Usually it'll be the box that is the least wire distance from the breaker box, so some logic might help as opposed to a WAG at where to start. If you can see much of the wiring leaving the breaker box, that might give a hint, too; depends.
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I'm pretty unsophisticated- barely use meters- here's what I'd do. First, just try to trace the likely wire route by seeing where circuit exits panel, get up in attic and see if I can see where run drops down etc. Taking guess from this which is first receptacle in circuit- after turning off power- and testing to make sure it's off!- pull out this recep and disconnect black wires, then reconnect this recep, but not run which continues to rest of circuit- cap loose wire. Turn power back on and test to see if this recep is live, but rest of circuit dead. Of course if it is dead you probably reconnected run to rest of circuit and capped line from panel. This could be laborious if your guesses are wrong/ if it is difficult to trace wire route. Usually it is not that hard, but that does depend on how your house is wired/ whether attic has decking etc. It is easier if you begin by testing to see exactly which receps are on that circuit- turn it off and test them all to see which live/dead.
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And write down your test results, to avoid forgetting and redundant retesting. You could also mention what to do if you see only one pair of wires to the receptacle, maybe even short wires going to a soldered junction.
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Mark Lloyd
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GFCI breaker to fir my panel up here in canada is $115 bucks. The recepticle is 15 bucks.
Gonna go that route :)
Thanks for responses all.
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canadian_woodworker -

Nehmo - The problem with GFCIs is that they're prone to naissance trips. Usually it's inconvenient to walk all the way to the circuit breaker panel to investigate the condition of the GFCI. A better location is right at the receptacle. And to aid the troubleshooting, a GFCI equipped with an indicator light is helpful http://snipurl.com/mhtb .
The best arrangement is to have a GFCI at every receptacle in the protected area. In that way, when a GFCI trips, the power interruption is limited to one duplex receptacle.
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Sorry, I mean *nuisance*-trips.
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Sorry, I mean *nuisance*-trips.
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I think that most people would find that GFCI's don't false trip very often. If at all. I've never had one of mine trip when it wasn't clear it _probably_ had a good reason. False trips are suggestive of electrical boxes getting damp, bad extension cords, or oddities in old wiring (intermittent neutral-ground shorts) etc.
By putting in more GFCIs, you're increasing your probabilities of GFCI failure _and_ false tripping.
I'll bet that if you did a good sized survey, you'll find _more_ trouble (including out-and-out GFCI failure) if you put an GFCI in every receptacle box than you would with a judiciously placed single GFCI outlet (or breaker).
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Chris Lewis -

Nehmo - GFCI nuisance trips are common. This article, Think Like a GFCI http://www.ecmweb.com/mag/electric_think_gfci/ discusses some causes: harmless leaks, capacitive leaks, cumulative (the fed outlets added together), and fluorescent fixtures may generate switching transients. Even legitimate tripping is a pain to correct when the reset button is in the panel box in the basement.
Chris Lewis -

Nehmo - No. Cumulative leaks on downstream outlets would be eliminated because there would be no downstream outlets. And as I said before, any tripping incident is localized, allowing for easy troubleshooting, which is even more easy if the GFCI receptacles have indicator lights.
I repeat: the ideal arrangement is a GFCI at every receptacle that needs protection.
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There are many ways that nuisance trips can occur, but they are by no means _commonly_ occuring.

The article deosn't say anything about how common these actually occur, and you're misinterpreting how "harmless" some of these things are.
There's no such thing as a harmless leak. Even a neutral-ground intermittent is potentially a serious problem if it causes the grounding circuit to corrode. It's not supposed to carry current _unless_ there's a fault. Continuous current, especially in the presence of moisture, can easily cause grounding connections to eventually fail. So that tiny little leak can cause a full grounding failure later on that kills you.
The GFCI is trying to tell you something.
If you follow the guidelines of where to use GFCIs, nuisance trips are virtually non-existant. I've never seen one. And I've installed quite a few.
Cumulative leaks is not likely to be an issue. Leakage in properly installed and dry systems is _extremely_ low. Vastly lower than the milliamps needed to trigger a GFCI. Not enough, even when multiplied by 10 or 15 to be an issue. And if it was, you still have issues with ground circuit corrosion.
The other point I was trying to make is that by multiplying the GFCIs by a factor of 10, you're multiplying the possibility of GFCI burnout (by line-side spikes etc) by a factor of 10. Which in the long run outweighs the issue of nuisance trips.
From a reliability standpoint, it's better to have fewer than more of these things.
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On 12 Feb 2006 10:18:19 -0800, canadian snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I suppose you have fewer than 7 2/3 receptacles :-)
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