2

The outlet in one of my bathrooms has a GFCI, it tripped and would not come back on so I replaced it. This outlet runs to two bathrooms, two bedrooms and a couple of outlets in my living room, so they are all currently not working along with the lights. I installed it correctly and it is allocating orange lights, but I cannot reset. When I turn on the light switch in the bathroom, it flickers the outlet light.

All outlets were GFCI tested, and are saying hot and neutral are reversed but when reserved, the tester reads correct on some outlets and reversed on some some. Voltage test has been done on all outlets and they have power running to them and the 2 breakers for them are brand new. I have looked all over the house and there is no other GFCI. Can anyone help?

wiring new GFCI load wires original 1 original 2  have power going through it

4
  • You mention before the edit there are two breakers. Is this a MWBC, two circuits sharing one neutral?
    – crip659
    May 19, 2023 at 22:06
  • Do you have any "before" photos? May 19, 2023 at 22:56
  • Just added 2 photo of it May 20, 2023 at 1:10
  • To answer:crip659-both Romax is go to the neutral busbar in both hearts go into 1 breaker. The GFCI box acts as a junction to split into two of our bedrooms. May 20, 2023 at 1:11

2 Answers 2

3

Don't forget to fix the actual, underlying problem

It's more obvious with smoke detectors. If I had a box in my kitchen that madly screamed for no reason, I'd consider it defective and replace it! But of course, I don't blame the smoke detector because I can see and smell the smoke, and I know I just burned some toast. Imagine if I didn't!

That's how "ground faults" are. If you're not actively being shocked to death by it, there's no way to sense that there's a problem. This mystery box on your wall goes TRIP! for no reason. It's quite likely that there is a reason, and you just can't see it because humans don't have senses for that.

So, you have to consider the possibility that the previous GFCI was doing its job correctly, and the replacement GFCI is also doing its job correctly and will instantly trip.

As a test, temporarily disconnect wires on the "LOAD" terminals - use wire nuts to cap those wires off. I see voltmeter and alligator clip extensions so I gather you're familiar enough with electricity to do this safely. Turn the breaker back on after this rearrangement and test whether the GFCI now comes up and holds.

If it does, then you have an appliance or wiring problem on whatever is attached to "LOAD". Unplug everything that unplugs, reconnect the wires to "LOAD" and test again. If it holds, that's a lucky break - it's not the in-wall wiring, it's a plug-in load. Then plug in one device at a time until you find the one that makes it go SNAP.

If it's in-wall wiring that is making it trip, then you have an uphill battle, but the keystone concept is "divide and conquer" - disconnect sections of the circuit until tripping stops. Now here's an eye-opener for old-heads and those with a little experience: With GFCIs, neutral matters. You're used to disconnecting hot and ignoring neutral, with GFCIs you must disconnect hot and neutral both to get a valid test. And incorrect neutral wiring will trip the GFCI.

Those "magic 8-ball testers" mislead

The "hot/neutral reverse" is a FAKE indication from those simple 3-light testers. I'm a huge fan of the testers because they are 3 simple neon-light testers in one operation, which beats spending 5 minutes sticking probes in slots. But I am not a fan of the label they stick on them to tell you what's wrong, because it's written for wiring mistakes in new open-wall construction, not wiring failures in old work. It is so laughably wrong for those that I call them "Magic 8-ball testers".

Therefore, do not let that tester confuse you from what's true: the bare or green wire is ALWAYS ground. The black or colored wire is ALWAYS hot. And the white wire is USUALLY neutral, with a few exceptions relating to switches. So if the tester is telling you to miswire it in a way you think/know is wrong, the tester is wrong as usual.

Button or lights. Not at once!

You're calling it a "GFCI tester" but that's a confusion. It's a basic 3-light tester with an extra function for testing GFCI. These are TWO functions. First, you do not push the button and just plug it in. Those lights will indicate without pushing the button! I should also mention don't push the button :) If you do not get correct lights, STOP and fix that problem.

Only when the lights indicate "correct" (2 yellow no red) you can proceed to the second step and do a GFCI test. To do that, you push the button and disregard the lights. The lights will give a meaningless, garbage indication while the button is held down.

If I were king, all those would be built with a slider for the button, and the slider would cover up the lights :)

6
  • I put a brand new Romax cable from the breaker box to the outlet, and still nothing produced, except for the orange light. I feel like it has to be something to do with the load side. May 20, 2023 at 1:28
  • Disconnected the load wires and kept them off. Still nothing. May 20, 2023 at 1:39
  • I added a picture registering that I have power going through it. It’s just not distributing. May 20, 2023 at 1:45
  • When I did manage to get the lights on in the bathroom, when going to one of the bedrooms on the load side, I turn on one of the lamps and in doing so cause the bathroom to dim. May 20, 2023 at 1:48
  • @Paige I wonder if you have a broken neutral wire somewhere. That is very odd. You're turning off the breaker as you do work, is it a double breaker? Are there red wires in the boxes? May 20, 2023 at 5:50
2

Step 1: Line

Figure out which pair of wires is incoming power. If you are not 100% certain, separate all the pairs of wires and then turn on the breaker. Use a non-contact voltage tester (NCVT) to see which wire has power. That pair is incoming hot. Turn off the breaker. Connect that pair of wires to the line side of the GFCI. See if the GFCI works: light(s) normal, provides power to plugged in devices, plug-in tester shows correct lights, TEST/RESET work correctly. If that is all good, go to step 2. If that is not good, provide details of what does/doesn't work.

Step 2: Load

Turn off the breaker. Connect one pair of wires to the load side of the GFCI. Turn on the breaker. See if the GFCI trips immediately (problem with something connected to the load wires, or with the load wires themselves). If it does not trip immediately, try turning on any switches connected to those wires and/or plug in things to receptacles connected to those wires. If something trips the GFCI, that something is the problem (switch, light fixture, receptacle, device, etc.).

Repeat for each pair of wires separately. Once you have everything working, use a pigtail to connect the multiple sets of wires (all blacks together to "load - hot" and all whites together to "load - neutral".

1
  • Step 1 - GFCI has orange light and doesn’t work. May 20, 2023 at 19:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.