GFCI Wierdness

Talked with my mother last night, and when I show up for Sunday dinner I need to make some repairs around the house (normal). But one is confusing. Apparently, the GFCI outlets in the master bath won't run a nightlight, but they do run an electric toothbrush and hair dryer. The nightlight, a simple 7W bulb, works fine in non-GFCI outlets in the bath as well as GFCI outlets in the other bath and kitchen. The toothbrush and hair dryer apparently work fine in all the outlets.
Any ideas?
Thanks,
Jeff
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Be more specific, please: does the nightlight trip the GFCI, or does it simply fail to work when plugged into the GFCI?
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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On Wed, 02 Mar 2005 12:34:02 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Light fails, nothing trips.
Jeff
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Sounds like a poor socket.
Try plugging something else into the same outlet, and turn it on.
Does the nitelike work now?
If not, the plug's defective.
If so, you have a real wierd GFCI.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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What do you mean by "won't run the nighlight"? Does it trip the GFCI, or just refuse to light up? Does it screw in, or just plug in? Does it work if you turn it upside down? Does it work in the kitchen GFCI outlets? (assuming there are any).
The two most likely problems are that (A) there's something wrong with the nightlight, and the outlet is correctly detecting that, or (B) it's twisting funny in the outlet, and not contacting right, or is tripping the GFCI that way. If (A) then you (they) should just replace the light. If (b) then I'd be tempted to replace both the light AND the outlet, but changing the way the light hangs, and/or bending the tines would probably also work.
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Nothing trips, light doesn't light. Not even upside down, it's a plug in.

She tested two nightlights, in both GFCI outlets in the master bath they don't light. In both GFCI's in the kitchen, they light fine. In the other bath GFCI they light fine. Nobe of the GFCI's trip.
I'll be taking a meter over to check as well as a simple light bulb circuit tester.
Thanks,
Jeff
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There is no reason that the nightlight should not work. It soulds likly that the GFCI receptacles in the bathroom are wired wrong. Check for reversal of the hot and neutral that the line and load sides of the plug were not swapped.
The hair drier probably had a GFCI device of its own and the toothbrush has a sophisticated power supply as the front end while the nightlight is a simple resistive load. Did the hairdrier and toothbrush have grounding prongs on the cords and the nightlight not. That would indicate the neutral wire is open to the receptacle.

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On Thu, 03 Mar 2005 00:14:47 GMT, "AutoTracer"

A light shouldn't care in a GFCI if swapped though, correct?

Unfortunately neither.
Jeff

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AutoTracer wrote:

If anything works in that outlet, the nitelite should also work. Failure of the light to work does not indicate any of the above scenarios.

No it would not. Unless the hairdryer and toothbrush have been modified form their original UL approved configuration, they could not possibly send current down the protective ground wire instead of the neutral wire.
The most likely culprit is that the prongs of the nitelite just don't mate well with the contacts in the receptacle. Either get a new receptacle, a new nitelite, or put one of those "3-to-2 prong" thingies between the lite and receptacle to change the way the contacts mate.
%mod%
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snipped-for-privacy@worldnet.att.net The most likely culprit is that the prongs of the nitelite just don't mate well with the contacts in the receptacle. Either get a new receptacle, a new nitelite, or put one of those "3-to-2 prong" thingies between the lite and receptacle to change the way the contacts mate.
===================== I agree. I was getting ready to suggest using a good extention cord for testing. Plug a nightlight into the extension cord and plug the cord into a known good outlet to be certain that the nightlight blades are making good contact with the extension cord. Then move the setup over to the questionable GFCI. The nightlight will probably work fine now, confirming the suspicion that the problem is caused by poor blade-to- recepticle contact.
Nightlights are cheap and somewhat poorly made devices. I've had some luck by bending the blades slightly so that they are farther apart. This increases the pressure between the outer surfaces of the blades and the mating surfaces of the outlet contacts.
Gideon
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