GFCI 3 sets of wires

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by GuitarPlaya4JC, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. Jan 28, 2012 #1

    GuitarPlaya4JC

    GuitarPlaya4JC

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    Hi all,

    I've been playing with installing a GFCI outlet in my kitchen. I popped off the old outlet and threw the hot wires into the line holes. That works and the outlet receives power as expected. The problem I'm having, is that there are 2 remaining sets of wires and I can't get them in the right combination to get power to the next outlet. I tried putting a black wire from each into the 2 load holes on the gold screw side and the white/yellow wires into the 2 load holes on the silver screw side, but the other outlet still doesn't work. Am I missing something? Thanks for any advice!
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  2. Jan 28, 2012 #2

    JoeD

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    Sounds like you are doing it correct. How were they connected previously?
     
  3. Jan 28, 2012 #3

    GuitarPlaya4JC

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    It was just on a normal outlet before, not a GFCI. I just had a thought..the ground wires are all connected to the screw within the housing. Is there something that prevents the load from working if it doesn't have a ground wire on the green screw? Sounds unlikely, but that's all I can figure at this point..?
     
  4. Jan 28, 2012 #4

    GuitarPlaya4JC

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    Here's what I've got. The hot wires in the line and the others out right now. Note the ground wires in the housing.

    IMG_1306.jpg
     
  5. Jan 28, 2012 #5

    GuitarPlaya4JC

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    Any ideas!?
     
  6. Jan 29, 2012 #6

    Blue Jay

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    My first impression with the yellow tape is that it is NOT neutral (have you checked it with a meter to make sure it is neutral), but then with the black tape gobbed onto two of the blacks mabey PO did not know how to strip jacket off romex. You could use an extinsion cord from the next outlet and using a meter to make sure of the wires to it.
     
  7. Jan 29, 2012 #7

    kok328

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    Get yourself a tester and determine which set of 3 is the hot wires(note, there may be more than 1 set of hots in this box, test all 3 wires for hot before you do anything). The hot will hook up to the terminals labeled LINE. Do not use the stab in holes, use the terminal screws on the side. The 2 other sets will be attached to LOAD. Again, do not use the stab in holes, use the terminal screws on the side. It will be very tempting to attach one set to the LOAD holes and the other set to the LOAD screws but, you really don't want to do that. You will want to attach a pigtail, combining 3 wires under 1 wire nut and attache the pigtail to the LOAD screws.
    If by chance the old outlet had the bridge tab removed then you might of had an outlet where one portion was constant power and the other switched power. If this is the case, you'll need to attach your wires completely differently.
     
  8. Jan 29, 2012 #8

    GuitarPlaya4JC

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    Thanks for your advice guys. I know I can run out and grab a meter, but since it's late I'd have to wait til tomorrow...Is there any trick I can find the hot wires here without a meter? Maybe some old fashioned way?
     
  9. Jan 29, 2012 #9

    kok328

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    If you have a light bulb socket with leads on them, you can turn off the power, screw in a light bulb and then wire nut the leads to the wires and then turn the power on. Repeat this procedure for each set of wires. Optionaly, you can just purchase a non-contact voltage sensor/indicator for a lot less than a meter.
     
  10. Jan 29, 2012 #10

    JoeD

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    If it works with one set of wires connected to the line then the receptacle could be defective.
    When you connect the LOAD wires does the GFCI itself still work?
     
  11. Jan 29, 2012 #11

    GuitarPlaya4JC

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    Yea, and I figured out that the second set of wires actually powers the dishwasher. I tried plugging just those in so we could run it and that worked...so now it seems that the only thing not working is the outlet on the other side of the wall that the remaining white/yellowish and black wire are connected to. Do I need to splice them with the dishwasher wires then hook them up?
     
  12. Jan 29, 2012 #12

    kok328

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    Yes.
    Optionally, you could hook the dishwasher to the LINE side and the only the outlet to the LOAD side.
     
  13. Jan 29, 2012 #13

    GuitarPlaya4JC

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    I got the same results with the above suggestion...still no power in the outlet. Dishwasher and GFCI work fine, but the other outlet has nothing. What am I doing wrong?
     
  14. Jan 30, 2012 #14

    GuitarPlaya4JC

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    Do I need to splice something?
     
  15. Jan 30, 2012 #15

    kok328

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    I'd pull that outlet and see if there is something wrong with it. See if your connections at the outlet are burned up or maybe someone used the stab in holes and the wires came loose. Check the actual wires coming into the outlet for power.
    If the dishwasher is hooked to the LOAD side, same as the outlet, then you should have power to both.
     
  16. Jan 30, 2012 #16

    GuitarPlaya4JC

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    Yea, the weird thing is that if I throw the old (non-GFCI) outlet back in the kitchen then everything works fine, but for some reason no matter how I wire this GFCI, it works and the dishwasher works but the other outlet just won't work anymore...I'm so lost.
     
  17. Jan 31, 2012 #17

    kok328

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    Did you use a combination of lug screws AND stab in holes for the LOAD wiring?
    Could be a bad GFCI right out of the box. If you utilize the pigtail method I described earlier and attach the pigtails to whatever LOAD connection you have used for the dishwasher, your problem should be solved.
     
  18. Jan 31, 2012 #18

    GuitarPlaya4JC

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    I haven't tried it on the screws yet. The GFCI unit I have has 4 holes on the line side and 4 holes on the load side. I've tried a bunch of different combinations of them with the wires. The holes used to make the dishwasher work don't work when the other outlet is plug in to those holes...doesn't make any sense. I'm starting to think that the other outlet is fried or something. I don't know what to do. I'm not sure what pigtails are exactly so I don't know how to go about that approach either.
     
  19. Jan 31, 2012 #19

    kok328

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    You mention that if you reinstall the old outlet the both the dishwasher and other outlet work fine including the outlet that you are replacing with a GFCI.
    If you've hooked up the dishwasher and GFCI and it works fine AND removed the dishwasher and hooked up the outlet and GFCI and the outlet works but, the GFCI works then it must be the oulet.
    However, why would this oulet work with the old non-GFCI and not work with the new GFCI?
    I say hook your dishwasher and outlet to the LOAD side of the GFCI and the check for power to the oulet that is not working.
    Pull that oultet out of the box and put a meter on the wires going into the outlet. It might be that you have power to the outlet but, not coming out of the outlet in which case you have a bad outlet. Why this oulet will work with the non-GFCI outlet is beyond me but, at this point you have yet to pull the outlet in question.
    Electricity is highly predictable so I'd say you have something weird going on here that we are unable to determine without being there.
     
  20. Feb 9, 2012 #20

    GuitarPlaya4JC

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    Wow, turned out it was just one of the wires...What a waste of time!! Grrr well thank you for all your help...One of the wires was nearly busted, barely holding together so the connection wasn't being made. Anyway, all is well now..
     

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