How do I actually "test" a GFCI

Several circuits in my main panel have GFCI breakers. I know I can test them internally by pushing the "test button.
How can I actually test the outlets in protected areas (without sticking a nail in an outlet and grabbing it while holding on to a faucet).
Can I use the little thingies that are plugged into an outlet and show if it is wired correctly?
--

Walter
The Happy Iconoclast www.rationality.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The little thingy you're referring to must have a GFCI tester on it, however you can take a pigtail socket with a bulb, stick one wire in the hot slot which is the smaller one, and touch the other wire to the ground screw. This should make the GFCI trip. It won't however give you any indication of how many milliamps it tripped at

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
RBM wrote:

The plug in polarity testers that have a GFCI test button on them use a resister that is selected to pass six milliamperes from the ungrounded current carrying conductor to the Equipment Grounding Conductor. They provide a perfectly adequate test if the circuit has an EGC run with the circuits conductors. A regular solenoid circuit tester of the so called wiggington type or Wiggy uses around eight volts to activate the solenoid at 120 volts. so applying it from output hot to ground or input neutral is also a perfectly adequate test. -- Tom H
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I tested mine with a brand new (though be it defective) coffee maker, got a bit of a jolt, just enough to know what happened, Saved my life.
Stone
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Well, I am trying to do this the easy way. Preferably without killing myself.
--

Walter
The Happy Iconoclast www.rationality.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
some of those things that you use to see if its wired correctly also have a little button on them just for this purpose. puts a resistor between hot and ground. same as the test switch on the breaker.
randy

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Walter R. wrote:

I don't know about circuit testers, but you can make a GFCI tester from a replacement power cord plug with screw terminals and a 15,000 ohm resistor. Wire the resistor between the hot terminal (goes to narrower prong) and ground terminal. You'll also need a meter or night light to indicate if the voltage has turned off as it should. This tester should trip the GFCI at 8mA, slightly higher than the 6mA threshhold but still a safe level.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
do_not_spam snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com wrote:

Or you could just buy one. Item # 398469 at Home Depot. Seven dollars and ninety-four cents.
-- 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?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Take a light bulb, and connect it between hot and ground. That should trip the GFCI. Connect up a light bulb socket with some zip cord, and strip the end, so you can stick it in a socket.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
GFCI testers are also available at Harbor Freight (online, mail order or retail store) for a few dollars. I'm pretty certain that MCM Electronics (online & mail order) sells one that allows you to select the degree of sensitivity (number of milliamps) for the test you perform.
I bought several of the inexpensive units from Harbor Freight and I always take one with me when I travel. It is extremely important to remember that some GFCI outlets can be wired incorrectly but the test button on the outlet can indicate that the unit is functioning correctly even though it is NOT providing GFCI protection. This has been a common problem for GFCI outlets installed by homeowners, but it can happen anywhere.
(Half of the outlets in our house which was "professionally" wired in the 1960's had reversed polarity.)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.