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GFCI Troubleshooting Success


Scott in MN
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Another reason to wish I could have wired my own house.  After I installed my garage door and extended the circuit for some garage attic lights my GFCI in the garage started tripping occasionally.  This a month after we moved in.  Last weekend the GFCI would not reset.  Naturally I suspected the garage door opener or my wiring, but after disconnecting all that it still wouldn't reset.  I then started to unhook each outlet in turn downstream of the GFCI.  Finally found the problem in an outlet box where the wires were not pushed to the back far enough and I suspect the ground was contacting one of the outlet terminals.  Never had this problem at my old house that I wired myself before they changed the code.  Grrrr.

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Just run lots of extension cords to where you need power 

​I had to do this for my garage door opener. The original motor was plugged into one of those 3-prong adapters where the ground wire goes to the cover plate screw on the receptacle. It worked for decades. When the motor finally burnt out, I had to upgrade to all the fancy safety devices. The sensors that keep the door from closing when someone breaks the beam kept burning out. While troubleshooting I put one of those receptacle circuit testers into the outlet and it failed. That's when I found out that there is no ground wire to the box! As I'd have to tear up a few feet of the garage ceiling and walls to rewire it, I just ran a good extension cord to the garage door motor.

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​I had to do this for my garage door opener. The original motor was plugged into one of those 3-prong adapters where the ground wire goes to the cover plate screw on the receptacle. It worked for decades. When the motor finally burnt out, I had to upgrade to all the fancy safety devices. The sensors that keep the door from closing when someone breaks the beam kept burning out. While troubleshooting I put one of those receptacle circuit testers into the outlet and it failed. That's when I found out that there is no ground wire to the box! As I'd have to tear up a few feet of the garage ceiling and walls to rewire it, I just ran a good extension cord to the garage door motor.

​I took off the porcelain screw in fixture for my garage light and installed an outlet there and then ran cords to three flourescent shop lights to that so I have switched lights in the garage.  My opener, like yours, is powered by an extension cord that runs up the wall and across the ceiling,  It was that way when my parents bought the house in 1976 and when I bought the same house from them in 1999.

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I had a similar issue in a previous house that was caused but humidity and moisture.  About 2 or 3 times a year the GFI would pop and not reset until things dried out.  It was one of the receps. in the garage.  The electrician had wired the outlet for the garage door down stream from the GFI so the opener wouldn't work until I could reset the GFI.  According to code, all the recepts in the garage that were on the circuit were high enough that a GFI was not technically required.  That puppy was replaced with a $.99 duplex.

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When it comes to electricity, I've seen the Mother of Necessity lure otherwise good men into creating bastards...  ;)

​True dat.

EDIT - and my change was per code with a UL approved duplex receptacle.  I can't necessarly say the same thing about the current change in my now current garage but black to black, white to white, ground and no breakers overloaded or popping.

Edited by Kzoo
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