Stumped on home repair of GFCI circuit all dead after light repair

I'm stumped. I need your help. And, worse yet, I don't have much to tell you. And, it's hard to explain. But I'll try as I'm not sure what to do next.
- I have a dead circuit in my house (6 outlets in toto) - The dead circuit "seems" to have gone dead after I put a bathroom switches in but I don't remember exactly when it went dead - The bathroom timed-light switch works perfectly fine though, so I don't see how they could be the source of the problem - All the house circut breakers have been set and reset scores of times - The circuit that is dead contains GCFI boxes and regular outlets - Specifically, the dead circuit contains 6 outlets, all dead a) bathroom 1 GCFI outlet (dead) b) bathroom 2 GCFI outlet (dead) c) bedroom 1 GCFI outlet (dead) d) bedroom 1 regular outlet (dead) e) outside two weatherproofed outlets (dead)
When I put a circuit tester into each of the dead outlets, nothing lights up. Other outlets in the same bedroom work just fine. All but two of the dead outlets are along the same wall while the other two are nearby. No other outlets or switches in the house seem to have a problem.
What more information can I provide so you can help me debug why I have these dead circuits? I'm sorry this is so frustrating but I don't know what to do for the next step. I'd take pictures but I don't know what to take a picture of for you.
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buffalo ny: one gfi is bad or tripping that feeds the next outlet; a regular outlet has a broken wire in the stab connector, the house switches and outlets must be numbered on each cover plate to match the numbers stamped into the metal cover plate at the main panel to save your sanity now and for the future, and you need to use a 110v old radio that goes on when plugged in so you can reduce running around with no helper. see similar at: http://groups.google.com/group/alt.home.repair/browse_thread/thread/a543c03cb0b4a2b7/c8ca9232909adb14?hl=en&lnk=gst&q=buffalobill+gfi#c8ca9232909adb14
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House wiring is Looped For example a light switch might have three wires Active wire + Wire to the light + Active loop wire to the next light. If that loop wire is dis - connected then any room lights downstream of that connection go dead. Power points are also looped and the same thing occurs if the Active loop wire is disconnected then any power points downstream on that loop go dead.

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Looped circuits can be very confusing and can consist of switch loops, ceiling rose loops, neutral loops and ring mains ( loops that start from one circuit breaker go round the loop and return to the same circuit breaker ) Spurs also come off loops and contain only one active and neutral but they also depend upon a loop wire on a power point up stream of the spur. You have disconnected an Active or Neutral loop wire to the dead circuits.

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Most likely you miswired something in the bathroom switches. The fact that they work means little to any wiring downstream of them. See if the dead outlets work when the bathroom switches are "on"
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On Mon, 19 May 2008 07:03:35 -0400, RBM wrote:

Hi RBM, That was a great suggestion that I hadn't thought of.
However, when I turned on all the lights, the outlets still were dead.
I like the other idea of labeling all the circuits to see if there is a bad breaker - I'll try that next.
Also, I bought a set of new GCFIs to see if a bad one caused the problem.
Will report back. Please keep debugging ideas. I'd post pictures, but I don't know of what to post.
D
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I would start by opening up the switches and determine what the function is of each wire. There is probably a white and a black wire that feed the next GFI on the circuit.
It is unusual to have so many GFI receptacles on the same circuit from the original builder. In many cases one GFI would protect all of the receptacles down stream. I have had a few customers think that they need to change every outlet in a bathroom to a GFI and they wind up creating GFI hell. They put three or four GFI's in series. When a ground fault occurs in one of the downstream GFI's, one of the GFI's before it sometimes trips. In that case the homeowner needs to go push the reset button on each GFI.
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On 5/19/2008 4:44 AM John Grabowski spake thus:

In that case (multiple GFCIs in a room), wouldn't it make much more sense *not* to wire them in series, and just have each outlet protect itself? What's the point of wiring multiple GFCIs in series?
That way, you'd know exactly which one tripped, and it wouldn't affect any of its neighbors.
--
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Cost. A GFCI can cost more than 10x what a "plain" outlet costs.
But, yeah, in a pain to find what's tripping the GFCI sometimes or even find the blasted thing when one trips. I had an outside socket go dead and I had to find the wire and trace it to the laundry room to find where the electrician had hooked it up.
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The ones that I have seen this way were all done by the homeowners themselves. Need I say more?

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If the downstream outlets were wired through the box it's in, and you didn't get the downstream segment hot or neutral reconected correctly, it could be.

Go to each of the GFCIs and press the "reset" button. If one clicks, you are closer to the problem. If it pops back out when you turn on the newly-installed switch, the switch wiring isn't right.

Are you using one of the two-probe testers with a single light, or one of the three-pin three-light type that looks like a three-pin plug? The three pin type will tell you if you have an open neutral, assuming your wiring is grounded.

Re-examine the bathroom switch wiring, if resetting the GFCIs does not clear up the problem.
Gary
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RED Or GFCI suffer from a problem called crossed Neutrals For example a GFCI has a Active and Neutral and this Neutral is looped to a light fed by a second Active. The Active from the GFCI is carrying no current while the neutral is carrying the current from the light and this imbalance will trip the GFCI OR RCD. The same would apply to a crossed Active which is supplying power to a circuit with a different Neutral.

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Whats wrong with my spelling, well not much until Vista turned RCD Residual current device into RED And GFCI into gift. Remember to turn off spell check or at least pay attention to IT. HOW I MISS Win XP and the $300 bucks i paid for Vista. Ever since i got Vista i have not ben a very happy camper.

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Having just wrote all that it's just turned BEEN into Ben

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Telstra wrote:

Amusing. Did you purposely write that passage?
Or is English not your first language?
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Question: Why all those separate GFCI outlets? Perhaps can see 'one' to protect all devices on that circuit in say the bathroom.
Although have been reading on this group that under some electrical codes bathrooms 'now' should be on a separate circuit and have for bathroom safety one GFCI protecting everything on that circuit.
The outside outlets are not mentioned as GFCI? Why not? Perhaps at least the first one on that run (which might be inside the house?) or the first one outside on that run should be GFCI!
Is the wiring a non standard mess? Maybe home wired (or extra outlets added) by someone who didn't understand? Possibly with neutrals, or something shared between circuits?
Also the OP should appreciate that the GFCIs operate to protect human life when there is a 'difference' of current flow between the live wire (usually black!) and the neutral (usually white). One assumption for the use of GFCIs is that such a difference could be due to a faulty appliance or device leaking to ground through a human body! A person standing on wet/damp grass operating a faulty (electrically leaking) metal handled electric lawnmower for example.
GFCIs, despite their name, are supposed to work even if there is 'no ground' connected or the ground is broken at the outlet! A broken off ground pin on the plug of an appliance for example. In some countries the devices are referred to as RCDs, not Ground Fault Devices!
However one mis-wire could result in a major unbalance so that the GFCI/GFCIs will never reset for normal operation.
Could be something significant there; especially if circuits have been extended or tacked on later to original wiring!!!!! Be careful.
Sounds like a mis-wiring problem at or after the bathroom timer/light switch????? Does that timer have a leakage to ground or is it the type that sits there with a little bit of current going through to the light bulb so that the timer will work? Even though light/fan is off?
Also what kind of bulb (regular bulb/s or CFL? And also what else does the timer operate, the bathroom fan also? May prove once again that some of these newer (electronic) devices are not always compatible with each other. So you cannot always just join up new ones to an existing circuit?
Older bathroom timers, for example, were 'sort of mechanical'; you cranked them over and they ticked away, clockwork-like, for 20 30 minutes until the bathroom exhaust fan had done its job getting rid of humidity and odours?
Suggest someone with electrical knowledge provide assistance.
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