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2 outlets on 3-way with GFCI probs
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2 outlets on 3-way with GFCI probs

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2 outlets on 3-way with GFCI probs
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Thread: 2 outlets on 3-way with GFCI probs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    2

    Default 2 outlets on 3-way with GFCI probs

    Hey there. I just added 2 outlets (to plug in portable lights) controlled by 3-way switches to an existing circuit that is GFCI protected. Upon completion and testing, the breaker tripped and so did the GFCI. I worked backwards removing one switch and outlet at a time and testing again and again until I removed everything that I added and even removed the rest of the original (and previously fully functioning) circuit. The breaker stopped tripping, but the GFCI did not. I took it down just to the GFCI, but it still tripped. I exchanged it for a brand new 20 amp gfci (was 15) and the same thing is happening. I looked in the main and jiggled the wires to the bars and to the breaker, yet everything seems solidly connected with no breakage in insulation. Pulled out the breaker and re-connected it. seems to be a solid connection. Any thoughts?
    just in case it helps, I used the wiring diagram here (6th image down the page):

    http://www.do-it-yourself-help.com/i...receptacle.gif


    but since I had two outlets instead of one, I ran two extra wires between the two outlets (one hot and one neutral). I'm at a loss at this point. Thanks for the forum!
    Steve

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Lala land, OH
    Posts
    235

    Default

    If this whole new circuit connects to the GFI itself, what terminals did you connect to? LINE or LOAD?

    If a GFI is hooked up wrong it will trip every time for safety. Some GFI's can be damaged if hooked up wrong and it may make it never reset. This shouldnt trip a breaker.

    Please post exactly how you have everything connected (not what the image you attached says).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr T View Post
    If this whole new circuit connects to the GFI itself, what terminals did you connect to? LINE or LOAD?

    If a GFI is hooked up wrong it will trip every time for safety. Some GFI's can be damaged if hooked up wrong and it may make it never reset. This shouldnt trip a breaker.

    Please post exactly how you have everything connected (not what the image you attached says).
    Thanks for the response. I didn't wire anything directly to the GFI. I connected to a standard receptacle that is in line after the GFI. I wired that receptacle over a month ago and it has been in use frequently and never caused anything to trip, so I thought it would be safe to pull off of it. Connected 12-2 wg to it and brought it to another standard receptacle (I did forget to connect the copper to the receptacle on this, but have corrected it now), then the 1st 3-way, the 2 outlets, and the last 3 way.

    I could see the 1st GFI being damaged by something I did with the circuit that I added (such as forgetting to connect the copper), but the second GFI had nothing coming off of it at all. I stripped the circuit all the way back until nothing but the original GFI was left connected to the 20 amp breaker and panel bars, and when it still kept tripping I assumed it may have been broken, so I took the hot, neutral and ground off of the GFI receptacle from exactly where they had been for 1-1/2 yrs (installed by an electrician and checked by me with a GFI tester) and replaced them in the same place on the new 20 amp GFI, but it also keeps tripping anyway.
    I'll have to go out when I get some daylight and check the main panel again and make sure something isn't amiss in there, cause that part doesn't make any sense to me.

    As far as the switched section of the circuit goes, I did connect everything the way the image showed, I even took off all of the face plates, pulled out the switches and receptacles and traced all the wires while referring to the diagram to double-check that I copied it correctly the first time. I'm sorry for not writing it all out, but I don't think I could even say it as clearly as the diagram shows it. The only thing I did different was to add a 2nd switched receptacle in series with the 1st, so I added another white wire to connect the vacant silver screws on both receptacles and added one black wire to connect the hot terminals on both receptacles. Aside from that it is exactly the same.
    After I check the main panel for problems in the daylight would it be worth it to temporarily remove the GFI entirely and replace it with a standard outlet just to see if the rest of the circuit works?
    Thanks for your time and your help and hopefully I painted a little bit clearer of a picture for you to work with,
    steve

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Welland, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    48

    Default

    I am going to suggest that you over tightened a clamp on a wire and the wire is shorting out either between the neutral and the bond or the neutral and the box. If the breaker tripped, then you also have an issue with the hot and the bond or the hot and the box.

    Loosen the clamps on the newly installed cables and inspect them for damage (crushing, burnt marks, etc). Let us know if you find anything.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers

    John
    John Kuehnl-Cadwell
    Master Electrician
    Datawise Solutions Inc
    www.datawisesolutions.ca

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