GFI question

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My pool has a Ground Fault Interuptor that has two plugs but also covers the pump, light and automatic cover motors. It isn't currently working. When I push the reset in, there is no click and nothing happens (even with everything turned off for the winter, the incidcator lights on the auto cover should show). Before when I have had problems with the circuit, it would at least catch and you would hear a click before it kicked off again. This time, push in the reset and it just comes right back out again, no click or any kind of reaction. Does this sound like it is most likely the GFI itself?
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On 3/16/2015 9:36 AM, Kurt Ullman wrote:

My Mom's house had a GFCI trip, last week. What worked for me was to unplug every thing, and then the reset worked. I plugged one in, and stayed on. Plugged other wire in, and tripped. So, that helped me to troubleshoot.
I'd suggest to remove all the loads, and see if the GFCI resets. Add loads one at a time, as I did.
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only load from the cover is the indicator lights unless actually moving it on or off. I did disconnect the cover motor because that had been causing a problem a couple of years ago, but corrected after they changed out a bad motor. The fact that it isn't catching (which is did for a couple of seconds even with the bad motor) is the reason I think it is the GFI itself.
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In wrote:

Of course, I assume that you checked the circuit breaker for that circuit to make sure that it has not tripped and/or gone bad and needs to be reset or replaced.
I couldn't tell for sure if you mean that the indicator light on the GFI is or is not present and lit -- is it?
If it were me, I would want to first confirm that power is getting to the GFI. If it is, then my guess would be that the GFI is bad and needs to be replaced.
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wrote:

The breaker isn't tripped. Should I check the leads with a volt meter or something else or just assume for now that electricity is getting through.
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In

I am not sure, but I think that no GFI indicator light being on means either there is no power to the GFI, or possibly that the GFI itself is bad. Duh, that probably doesn't help much because that is mostly likely what you are trying to figure out -- i.e. is there no power or is the GFI defective.

I guess that depends on what you have available. If you have any kind of tester, you could use that. Or, if you can fashion any lamp or light with a cord in a way to allow you to use the cord itself to touch the incoming line wires to see if the light comes on, that would work. I sometimes use one of those light bulb sockets that have just two wires coming out of the bottom (I forget what they are called) and use that as a tester. I usually use those light bulb sockets with two wires (whatever they are called) to wire temporary lights when I am doing electrical work on a property. Or, you could take off the GFI completely and use the two line supply wires to carefully touch the two prongs of a lamp plug and see if the lamp lights. Or, if you have another regular receptacle around (not GFI), you could try putting that in temporarily to replace the GFI and see if things plugged into that work etc. Or, just buy another GFI, replace the existing one, and see if that solves the problem.
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All the other choices you list here are fine except this one. Too much chance he'll never put the GFI back in, and also more work than using a meter. Anyone who can afford a pool can afford 22 dollars for a digital voltmeter (also VOM, mulitmeter, DVM, called various things) , (at Radio Shack, Home Depot, or Pep Boys) or ~4 dollars at Harbor Freight. Also a meter with 4 or 5" stiff probes is better for touching things than curly-Q wires are.
Although better yet is to buy, at Radio Shack for $5 a bag of wires with alligator clips on each end, and you can put one on the black lead of the meter and the other end of it on a neutral or ground location, so you only have to pay attention to the red probe and the hand that is holding it, so you don't zap yourself. Many electricians have a rule to keep one hand in their pocket**** when dealing with live wires.
****Apprently they all share one pocket.

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On 3/16/2015 11:16 AM, micky wrote:

Radio shack? You didn't hear? They went out of business around here.
OP can find some value and use in a non contact voltage detector.
Sounds like OP is beyond his skill level.
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On Mon, 16 Mar 2015 11:49:25 -0400, Stormin Mormon

Yes, I know they''ve been sold and many stores will close, but not all and only one has around here. There are still 5 stores within 10 miles, one only 2 miles away.
Of course anything they sell is available at many places online, but I figured he wanted to go swimming today.
But to buy online you may have to know what they are called. Jumper wires?
I changed to jumper leads and got this http://www.radioshack.com/search?q=jumper+leads Just what I had in mind. The fourth has micro-alligator clips, but any of the first 3 are fine. More expensive than last time I looked, maybe 5 years ago. Now, $7.50, 9, and 9.50.
Plus Radio Shack has the best webpage I've come across (Microcenter's might be just as good.) It is easy to find out what stores have an online item, and it will tell you how many are in stock at the moment. Well, it doesnt' do that anymore, at least for these items. I wonder what's responsible for that step back in service, but it doesn't matter in this case because almost no one needs more one bag at first.
Of the 5 stores within 10 miles, the one about 2 miles from me has all 3 kinds, and 4 of the 5 have the cheapest of the three in stock. A different 4 out of 5 have the middle priced one, and 4 out of 5 have the most expensive one.
The "kinds" are the same except for the length of the wire. 14, 24, or 30" The shortest is normally fine And possibly the number of wires in a bag. For some reason, it doesn't say. Last bag I bought had 2 wires in each of 5 colors with matching alligator clips. But he only needs one wire at the moment. These things have hundreds of uses. Once my car stopped, while running. I walked to my destination, got a ride home, and came back on my bicycle the next day. With a wiring diagram, a meter, and an insulation piercing probe, I found a broken wire to the coil in the engine compartment. I had made a heavier jumper than this, though these probably would have worked fine, at least for a few days, and I ended up using the jumper for the next 3 years until I scrapped the car. (I took off the jumper wire and still have it.)

Not until he does all the tests we wanted him to do

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On 3/16/2015 9:39 AM, Kurt Ullman wrote:

1) Cycle the circuit breaker to make sure it hasn't tripped
2) unplug EVERYTHING from the GFCI (and make sure there isn't a feed through to other outlets on that circuit.) That's a common installation to afford protection to more than one outlet and COULD be your problem, i.e. the fault is connected to another outlet.
3) if you have a multimeter and are comfy checking for voltage at the outlet, do so. If you have voltage present but the GFCI still won't reset...
4) replace the GFCI
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On Mon, 16 Mar 2015 10:04:53 -0500, Unquestionably Confused

I didn't mean to minimize this possibility. My house was only 7 years old when my GFCI breaker failed. The new one has lasted 29 years so far. FWIW, no other breaker has failed at all.
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On 3/16/2015 10:19 AM, micky wrote:

I don't think you did (minimalize it). Unless you're made of money (I'm not but have plenty enough due to watching expenses<g>) it makes sense to approach these things logically rather than just going about replacing stuff until it works.
I think - and correct me if I'm off base, anyone - if you follow my 4 step, if you wind up doing the 4th step, your circuit will back working.
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On 3/16/2015 10:39 AM, Kurt Ullman wrote:

Some times when a breaker is tripped, it moves only part way. Please try turn it all the way off, and then all the way on.
Sounds like time to ask for help, find some one who has a bit more experience with power feeds, electric, and so on.
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SM wasn't quite clear enough. By remove, he means UNPLUG. "Off" is not the same as unplugged.***

Which implies you didn't disconnect anything else.

It woudl be fair to extrapolate from that if there were no other tests to run, but there are other tests to run.

That too.

***I don't know how in practice pools are wired, or who wired this one. But in theory and perhaps in fact, there may be receptacles downstream from this one which will also trip this one, for ground fault reasons. You also have to unplug anything in all of them. I presume anything on this circuit relates to the pool. Although one never knows what a previous homeowner or psychopathic electrician has done. Perhaps after the pool was wired, he wanted power for a gazebo or other light, or to power some outdoor burglar alarm sensor. If unplugging everything from this recept that you're looking at now doesn't allow you to reset it, at least check for other receptacles (or even things which are hard-wired) which are also dead and unplug everything from them.
(When power is restored, you might want to get one of those yellow things about the size of a large** walnut with 3 LEDs, that plugs into the recept and tells you if it is wired correctly. This is unrelated to whether it is GFCI. It doesn't sound relevant here, but you never know, and they're cheap. )
**I think walnuts come only in one size, but assume it's bigger than average.
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On 3/16/2015 11:03 AM, micky wrote:

SM replies: Have to disconnect every thing, before the test. At Mom's house, there were a socket after the GFCI. I removed both plugs, and the GFCI was able to stay on. Sounds like KU has hard wired circuits, and isn't really familiar with house wiring. Time to call for assistance.

SM replies: I concur, doctor. More tests.

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On Monday, March 16, 2015 at 8:36:05 AM UTC-5, Kurt Ullman wrote:

It won't reset without power to it...is there a green (or red) indicator LE D?
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wrote:

Should show what?
Anyhow, if you want to test the receptacle, remember that it is a GROUND fault recept, and what you did doesn't narrow the problem down. You need to unplug everything and then try to reset it.

Why do you suppose that is? You don't know? Neither do I.
Does it click after you've unplugged everything? Yes or no, now plug a lamp, a trouble light, or a radio into the recept and see if if works.

Who can tell? You need to do more testing.
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Op, the symptoms you desribed are likely caused by 1 of 3 problems.
We cannot tell from here, which one of the three is your case.
1) the power supply to the GFI is off
2) there is a ground fault in the load and the GFI trips as soon as power is applied
3) the GFI itself is defective
Mark
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On Monday, March 16, 2015 at 11:01:42 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Agree.

Can test at the GFI for power, using either VOM, simple neon test light, or even a lamp carefully jumpered to the wires. If there is power, then on to #2

Disconnect the downstream loads and try again. If it resets, then it's a fault downstream. If it still won't reset, then on to number 3, it's a bad GFI.

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wrote:

It sounds like this GFI is outdoors from what you posted. Meaning its in a so called "outdoor" or "weatherproof" box. I'll tell you right from the start that those boxes are NOT really weatherproof. Water gets in around the wire cable, or those foam gaskets which are usually pretty flimsy and dont seal real well.
I live on a farm, have livestock, and in winter, they need tank heaters, to keep the drinking water from freezing. Those heaters have a cord that goes right into water. After having an animal nearly electrocuted years ago, from a defective heater, I replaced all outdoor outlets with GFIs.
That protected the animals as well as myself (people) who have to fill and clean those watering stock tanks. I used all those so called "weatherproof" outdoor boxes, and yet I was finding myself replacing at least one GFI every year.
I have eliminated almost all GFI failures in recent years, by simply using a little silicone caulk around every opening in the box. Silicone around the cables where they enter the box, on those blank hole plugs (that fill unused holes), and after I put the cover over the GFI, I put the silicone around the cover and box, where that foam seal goes.
This makes a huge difference. However, water, snow, etc still can get into the actual prong holes in the outlet, when they are in use. I know they make costly plastic enclosures to cover the whole outlet. Those should work well on a home, but on a farm, I'm sure they would get broken. So, I just took an old junked tractor tire innertube, and cut squares out of it, and attach it to the wall or post above the outlet.. It hangs over the whole outlet and prevents water from entering.
I have learned that GFIs are not very tolerant to water. Even small amounts seem to harm them. (Unlike regular outlets which are rarely hurt by a little water).
You most likely need to replace the GFI. But before doing any real work, remove the cover plate, and check for voltage using a meter or just one of those simple neon testers you can buy for $2 almost anywhere. If you DONT have voltage, you have a problem elsewhere. If you do have voltage, replace the GFI. It's not all that difficult. Just do it safely, or get someone else to do it who knows how, if you are uncomfortable with it.
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