Electrical GFCI Question

KDpoolguy

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2017
304
Palm Desert, CA
#21
Lack of a ground does not cause a breaker to trip. Sounds like you have a direct short. Happy hunting.
At the pool light’s junction box, I just Found the pool light’s white neutral wire had a broken insulation, so that may be the short. It could have shorted to the brass jbox?

So here’s where I’m at. Wires going to pool light are not connected to pool light. They have wire nuts on them, connected to nothing. GFI will not reset, breaker not tripping. Other items interconnected on this circuit are working fine.

If I connect to pool light then I want to see if it will reset now that I’ve repaired insulation. Gonna hold here until electrician reviews.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,377
Central California
#22
Good plan. For what it's worth: my light was wired to a switch near the patio door. That conduit ran back to the pad. Worked fine. I tried to swap the switch with a smart switch, and once I messed with it, even putting the original switch back, I couldn't get the GFCI to stay on. I finally abandoned the whole conduit, and all its wires, and put the smart switch at the pad. I never did figure it out. Moisture somewhere is all I came up with. Now the light is wired to automation, so it's fine. Gremlins!

The white neutral touching the j-box wouldn't likely cause a short, shouldn't, unless something else is mis-wired. No matter, your electrician will sort it out...
 

KDpoolguy

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2017
304
Palm Desert, CA
#23
Got my buddy to look, he’s a contractor and we share frustrations over pool. He bypassed the GFCI and got power to wires at pool light jbox. Breaker didn’t trip or anything. He wired up GFCI again, wrapped it in electrical tape and tucked it into box. Wired up pool light. Tried pushing in Reset button with light switch on and it wouldn’t hold, just kept popping out. Didn’t trip breaker though.

Said to check pool light for leak, check wires for insulation breaks and use multimeter to troubleshoot, and otherwise said newer GFIs are ultra sensitive now. I could try hooking in original GFI to see if I can backtrack, but gonna pay my electrician to evaluate and hopefully he can handle. My patience is waning,
 

KDpoolguy

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2017
304
Palm Desert, CA
#25
Okay. Had a bona fide pool electrician troubleshoot, and coming back Monday. Tested all the ground and then there was a short somewhere in/around GFI box. I guess old wire I was bending and jamming back into box was shorting onto metal jbox.
He had a GFI bypass checker thing and it tested fine but my new GFI blankface was bunk. Pulled switches and tested each. It’s still all in pieces. He put old GFI back on, tested fine, but also not working when installed. Ugh. Said water or condensation may be getting into switch box, or when I had conduit open, but wants to rewire areas and put in new breaker box and GFI/AFC breakers, so no more blank face GFI-though lights must be on an independent ‘pass-through’ GFCI
At least I realize it was outta my league.

Oh, mentioned Leviton stuff from HD, (though bought mine online from supply house and was ‘commercial’) is generally less-than-ideal. Said Hubbell or P&S is sold at electrical supply house.
 

jza1736

Silver Supporter
Apr 21, 2017
536
Greenlawn, NY
#27
Every electrician will have his preference of devices to use. Could be many reasons, ease of install, price to him, supply house always has it in Stock.

Leviton is a good company, i use plenty of their devices.

Hubble is good also, but i feel over priced.

Gl with the repair
 

KDpoolguy

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2017
304
Palm Desert, CA
#28
Back to doing this on my own. Electrician won’t call me back or show. I’m frustrated, but mystified as I agreed on T/M and he’s not getting paid. Really this is all boiling down to pool lights. This has been already incredibly time consuming. I’ve gone ahead and ordered a new deeper jbox and hubbell blankface GFCI. Still need to see where for sure issue is coming from. Bought new breakers (that are working fine now, but might as well for good measure) and new wiring to fix areas he pointed out to upgrade existing panel. My budget is $100 and that just isn’t gonna get me the automation system I’d want ;), let alone a new panel as recommended.

I’ve taken what you’ve said to heart and may include a Wifi Switch to be installed in breaker box, and bypass the ones potentially causing issues. Fingers crossed.
 

KDpoolguy

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2017
304
Palm Desert, CA
#29

4 hours later...it’s working! New Hubbell GFCI works flawlessly. I’m not knocking Leviton, but I had 2 GFCI s purchased from 2 different vendors and both were bunk.
Replaced all breakers, and replaced wire that I could without running long distances. New deep junction box fit the stiff wire much better.

I bought some stranded wire in case I needed to pull. I’ve read it doesn’t matter, but pulling wire in existing buried conduit I hear stranded wire is ideal?
 

KDpoolguy

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2017
304
Palm Desert, CA
#31
Very good!

1 With the light on, did you hit the test button on the gfi? To make sure it's wired correctly
Yes, GFI wouldn’t reset with light switch in ‘OFF’ position.
Once light switch was switched ‘ON’, tiny solid orange led light (noting [emoji1305] okay) on GFCI came on, and I pushed ‘ON/RESET’ and it held! Lights worked well.

2 yes pulling stranded wire is much easier than solid
Good to confirm, thanks.
 

jza1736

Silver Supporter
Apr 21, 2017
536
Greenlawn, NY
#32
Yes, GFI wouldn’t reset with light switch in ‘OFF’ position.
Once light switch was switched ‘ON’, tiny solid orange led light (noting [emoji1305] okay) on GFCI came on, and I pushed ‘ON/RESET’ and it held! Lights worked well.



Good to confirm, thanks.
If the light switch is off, the gfi light goes off?
That would mean the switch is wired b4 the gfi. Not a huge deal, but then your gfi can only be used when your pool light is on

The gfi should be wired from the wires from the panel on the line side. Load side of the gfi should go to the switch and then off to the light.

The MOST important thing to test is : turn your pool light on and press the trip button on the gfi. If that light goes off your good. If not, it is not safe!
 

KDpoolguy

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2017
304
Palm Desert, CA
#33
The MOST important thing to test is : turn your pool light on and press the trip button on the gfi. If that light goes off your good. If not, it is not safe!
With the pool lights ON, I press the test button on GFCI, and the lights turn OFF.

I was told it was wired ways which were standard for the time, with no ground to the GFCI, so if water got in the fixtures GFCI would cut power. I’ve run a ground wire to the new GFCI jbox now. Some of the self test features on new GFCIs don’t require ground wires (only need to monitor neutral) but apparently are ultra sensitive if the it doesn’t have an equipment ground, which it has now.

I was trying to say that the GFCI wouldn’t be able to reset if the light switch itself was in OFF position. Once I put light switch ON, I could go back to GFCI and the reset/ON button would be on and the lights would come on. After it resets the lights can be turned on and off using the switch.
 

jza1736

Silver Supporter
Apr 21, 2017
536
Greenlawn, NY
#34
"I was trying to say that the GFCI wouldn’t be able to reset if the light switch itself was in OFF position. Once I put light switch ON, I could go back to GFCI and the reset/ON button would be on and the lights would come on. After it resets the lights can be turned on and off using the switch."

That means the power goes to the light switch first. That's y the gfi won't reset. Not terrible because it is still protecting the pool light. Just means you can only use the gfi with the pool lights on.

The ground wire is not required for the gfi to work. A gfi works by measuring the current in and out. If it's not the same, because of, for example, a leak to ground, it trips. I've installed many without ground wires.