GFCI Tester Problem

I have a gfci outlet in my basement that I installed myself. Using a three prong outlet tester I confirmed that it was wired correctly (two yellow lights). The reset switch on the gfci outlet also worked correctly when tripped. Later I bought a three prong outlet tester with the button for testing the gfci outlet. When I push the button on this tester, the gfci does not trip but shows a red and yellow light (hot/neutral reversed). I switched the wiring and get the same when I push the test button. I changed the gfci outlet itself and get same thing. I know the tester works correctly cause I tried on another outlet I installed myself. Anyone have any idea what the problem is? THanks alot.
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radium wrote:

Sounds like maybe either you didn't have a ground wire to connect to that GFCI or you had one and did so, but it really isn't connected to ground at its other end.
Outlet testers with GFCI test function connect a high value resistor between the hot output slot on the receptical and the ground pin hole to simulate a leak to ground.
That's why I suspect there's something funny about the ground to that receptical.
HTH,
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
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Thank Jeff, I fixed the ground and all is ok now.
Jeff Wisnia wrote:

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On Sun, 27 Aug 2006 17:40:09 -0400, Jeff Wisnia

I've seen some receptacles that have to ground connection, but the neutral wire is attached to both neutral and ground screws. How would that GFCI tester work on those?
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Mark Lloyd wrote:
<snipped>

I take it you meant "no", not "to" there...
First, though I'm not a code mavin, I'd say that kind of connection won't be to code.
My opinion is that the tester wouldn't trip the GFCI when the "GFCI test" was applised because the test leakage test resistance would be connected between hot and ground, just like any other "normal" load.
But, as in many cases, "One test is worth a thousand expert opinions."
Jeff
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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

If we hook the ground wire and the neutral wire together on a GFCI outlet, or any outlet downstream from the GFCI, the GFCI will trip when we apply power to the circuit. You wouldn't be able to get a test from it, it just won't work.
Pj
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That's interesting. But it's not what they were asking. They were saying if there's no ground and someone wrapped the neutral around both neutral and ground connections on the outlet. Illegal though in one sense it's better than no ground at all, on the other hand if that neutral ever loses its connection while loads are connected the neutral will become hot as will all "grounded" metal connected into such a miswired outlet.
However, if it was a GCFI outlet which is comparing current going out the hot with current coming back on the neutral it seems like that ought to still work sensing a difference regardless. Does it need to have a legit ground to function? In the event of a fault it should still see more going out the hot prong than coming back in on the neutral prong and trip.
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Steve Kraus wrote:

Assume a GFCI receptacle with no circuit ground and GFCI line-neutral connected to GFCI ground terminal. A plug-in GFCI tester connects a resistor from hot to ground. The current would flow out the load-side hot, through the tester, to the GFCI ground and line-side neutral. The current does not flow through the GFCI load-side neutral so there will be a current imballance and the plug-in tester will work. A downstream hot-neutral connection would cause an immediate trip.
If the ground terminal was connected to the GFCI load-side neutral, the GFCI wouldn't detect any ground-fault returned through the GFCI outlet ground pin. A plug-in GFCI tester would not work. A downstream hot-neutral connection would not cause a trip.
With supplied-ground, neutral, GFCI-ground and line-neutral all connected together, it would work as in the first case above.
In all three cases a plug-in outlet tester with 3 LEDS would indicate good.
Same except load-neutral instead of line-neutral would cause an immediate trip.

I would say the potential hazard always outweighs possible advantage.

Yup. GFCIs don't use the ground terminal at all except to connect to the GFCI outlet. They work correctly without a ground and can be used on circuits without a ground (the NEC requires a label).
bud--
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Bud-- wrote: <snipped>

Ouch! Ya got me there Bud. But half a loaf is better than none.
I could try and slip out of getting the first case wrong by claiming that if someone was enough of an "ignoranus"* to have connected ground to neutral then there'd probably be a 50-50 chance he'd have connected it to the load side neutral. (But I won't.)<G>
<snipped>
Jeff
* That term means a stupid a-hole.
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On Mon, 28 Aug 2006 03:28:52 GMT, Steve Kraus

Although current-limited hot, since the connection would be through the appliance(s) plugged in there.

I would say that the GFCI tester would NOT work here, since that "ground" is actually on the load side of the GFCI.
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On Sun, 27 Aug 2006 22:41:27 -0400, Jeff Wisnia

Yes. That sort of thing is usually a typing (not spelling) mistake.

That was done by some electrician (I wouldn't know who. I wasn't living here then) about 25 years ago. Apparently, he wanted to save some money (maybe already had the groundless Romex?).

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No, you don't know that it works correctly. Only that when you tested it on a presumably good outlet it said it was good. The chart on the tester alone is about 5 or 7 lines long and indicates that an outlet can be bad in various ways, and you don't know that the tester works in all those situations.
This is not to say the tester is broken. I'm just commenting on your logic.
However if the tester says the hot and neutral are reversed, and then you correctly reversed them and it still says the same thing, I think we can say the tester doesn't work correctly all the time.

No idea, really. I only know how to criticise. :-\\

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