I recently purchased a box of three Leviton GFCI receptacles with the
SmartLock feature. When I wired one of them into a two-wire circuit ( no
ground) there was no power from the GFCI. I checked it with both a lamp and
a voltmeter. It would trip when pressing the Test button (the Reset button
would pop out) and then would reset when pressing the Reset button (button
stays in). But still no power from the GFCI plugs. I thought maybe the
neutral and hot wires were somehow switched, so I checked the black wire
with a voltmeter using a neutral from another circuit. It read 120.1 volts.
I then checked for voltage on the neutral and got 0. Reading volts across
the white and black connected to the GFCI shows 120.1 volts. I thought that
maybe the GFCI was faulty so I pulled another from the box and got the same
thing. The third one did the same also. I then put the original receptacle
back in and it works fine as well as all of the downstream receptacles.
I put one of the GFCI's in a separate circuit as a test. The result was the
same as above. I then tried wiring in the downstream receptacles to the
Load side of the GFCI and none of them had power either. I'm trying not the
think that an entire box of 3 GFCI's are faulty but I'm a little baffled by
what I'm seeing or what kind of circuit problem would cause this.
Does anyone have an idea as to what might cause this kind of thing?
No, in fact NEC code recommends installing GFCI in as an upgrade in old two
slot (no ground outlets). You should pigtail them in the old receptical on
the line (not load) terminals. Usually the load terminals are taped off on
new GFCI plugs.
My house is old enough that there is no ground to any receptacles
except the one in the laundry room. I have connected GFCIs to several
of them and have had no problem unless the GFCI itself was defective.
Yes, I'm connecting to the line terminals. When I tried one on a different
circuit and it wouldn't work there either, I tried hooking the downstream
receptacles on that circuit to the load terminals on the GFCI and then they
had no power either.
You did push the button to reset it, right?
I have gotten faulty new gfis, but not 3 of them.
The ones you have may REQUIRE a ground wire. Try hooking one directly
to a breaker in your panel where you can get a ground. See if it
works there. (or run a long piece of wire from a known ground to your
If that dont fix it, your guess is as good as mine.
What is the SmartLock feature? I have not herd that one yet?
Those "smart locks" are very difficult to set. You can push in to were
they appear to be reset without having actually pushed them in far
enough to reset them. Push in quite firmly until you hear a distinct
First, I believe you need to determine if your GFCI is working or not.
To do this check for continuity between the line and load terminals. If
there is no continuity, try resetting the GFCI. If you have continuity,
try tripping the GFCI to ensure it will trip. You may have to apply
power to do this. Once the GFCI is tripped, you should not have
continuity between the line and load terminals. Check the line and load
brass screws as well as the silver screws. You should only have
continuity between the same colored screws. You should NOT have
continuity between any of the brass screws to any of the silver screws.
If all of the above checks out. I believe you are wiring the GFCI
incorrect. When you wire the GFCI, ensure the black line wire is on
terminated under the brass line screw. You also need to ensure your
white line wire is terminated under the silver line screw. The line is
your power in, the load is your power out.
We provide electrical consulting services to help with these type of
problems. You may visit our web site for the details.
I hope this helps. Good Luck and be safe. Never work with live
electricity. Always ensure your power is off before working on any
For a little more on this post. I pulled one of these GFCI's out of the box
and decided to try again. First, I put a couple of short pieces of
insulated #12 on the two line terminals and just "plugged" it into an
existing receptacle. The Test button worked and the Reset seemed to work
and when I checked the GFCI with a voltmeter, power was feeding through.
So, I went back to the original location and tried the same thing and it
worked there too. I pulled the receptacle and installed the GFCI (just like
I had before) and it worked, feeding power through the GFCI receptacle
itself and also powering the downstream receptacles. I plugged a lamp into
the GFCI, hit the Test button, and the light went out. I hit the Reset
button and the light relit. I tried this several more times and sometimes
the Reset would click but the power didn't feed through to the GFCI
receptacle or the downstream receptacles and, of course, my lamp didn't
relight. If I kept performing a Test and Reset, eventually the Reset would
take and everything would power up. I did notice one other thing about the
Reset button - a 'very' slight touch of the button would make the power
shut down. When you removed the slight touch, the power came back on. The
Reset button on these GFCI's is very, very sensitive and apparently acts as
a switch with only slight pressure. Judging by how light a touch of the
Reset button will kill the power, I'm wondering if there are times when the
Reset button just doesn't pop all of the way out? If this is the case, it
seems like a design flaw.
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