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
- 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute
conversation with the average voter.
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.
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
Re-examine the bathroom switch wiring, if resetting the GFCIs does not
clear up the problem.
Gary Heston firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.thebreastcancersite.com /
"a member or members of Osama bin Ladens\' Al Qaeda network, posing as
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.
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.
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
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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