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VLlemons

11:06AM | 10/16/04
Member Since: 05/23/02
3 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
we have a strange situation that doesn't make sense.

Ran AWG 12 (about 80 feet) from the panel for the basement bathroom outlets. Wired the gfci on the first outlet. tested the circuit with a "stop shock" tester and got a flashing red light - hazardous ground. Rechecked the wiring - everything proper. Tried a normal receptacle - still flashing red. tried everything we could think of to determine if there was a problem with the wire. Finally, cut the wire back to before it entered the bathroom wall, hooked up the receptacle and got flashing green.

spliced a 21' piece of new cable onto the 'good' cable, hooked up a receptacle and got flashing red. Spliced a short piece (3') of what we knew was good wire to the good cable and got flashing green. Tried a 21' piece of this 'good' cable and got flashing red. any ideas about what may be happening?

tperez

05:32AM | 10/18/04
Member Since: 09/24/04
128 lifetime posts
What is your voltage to ground and voltage to neutral? Is the cable double lugged at the panel? Is the circuit on a GFCI breaker? Is this a dedicated circuit or are there other loads?

U.S.M.C. Semper Fi !!!

VLlemons

06:47PM | 10/19/04
Member Since: 05/23/02
3 lifetime posts
thank you for your reply. voltage reads 114 on multimeter. This is a circuit to the outlets in the basement bathroom. not on a GFCI breaker but originally we had a GFCI outlet as the first in the series, but as part of the checks, we changed it to a regular outlet. (We were told at one point that the GFCI outlets have an X capacitor that could throw off the readings.) We disconnected the follow-on outlets to try to isolate the problem. What is really crazy is that if we ran a separate wire from the ground on the outlet to the ground at a different circuit, the circuit tested out as okay. We did occasionally get the red and green lights flashing and it was suggested that perhaps we were just outside the window of impedance. But, I don't think that 80' of 12 gauge with a 20 amp breaker should be a problem.

Not sure what you mean when you ask if the cable was double lugged at the panel. Originally, the ground was connected to the ground bus with another ground, but we moved it so that it was by itself to see if that could be part of the problem.

Anonymous

11:32AM | 10/20/04
Your voltage seem fine and 80' is just fine also. By double lugged I mean two or more wires on one single pole breaker. Put your hot wire on it's own breaker if not already. Put the neutral on the neutral bus on it's own terminal and put the ground on it's own terminal seperate from the neutrals. You may have to isolate the ground to avoid any induction or lineal loads. The only other thing I can think of is a break in the ground which I don't think it is or somewhere the ground is tied to another circuit ground. It may be time to hire an electrician who can see the actual job. This circuit will need to be on a GFCI since it is going to be in the bathroom and will need a suitable ground.

One other thing. Tighten down all the hots ,neutrals, and grounds in the panel. Hot and cold variations in the panel can loosen terminal screws. Good Luck and be careful.


tperez

11:51AM | 10/20/04
Member Since: 09/24/04
128 lifetime posts
Voltage seems fine and 80' is just fine as well. By double lugged I mean, are there more than one wire on a single pole breaker. Put your hot wire on it's own breaker if it's not done already. Put your neutral on the neutral bus in it's own terminal. put the ground on the ground bar on it's own terminal. If your neutrals and grounds are on the same bus in the panel then you will probably need to isolate the ground to avoid induction or lineal loads. Tighten down all neutral,ground, and hot terminals in the panel. Hot and cold variations can loosen the terminal screws. The only other things I can think of is, the ground is tied in somewhere to another ground or there is a break in the line which I don't think it is. It may be time to hire an electrician who can see the job. You will need a good ground for the GFCI to work properly. Good luck and be safe.

U.S.M.C. Semper Fi !!!

rpxlpx

10:04AM | 10/21/04
Member Since: 03/13/00
1678 lifetime posts
What's the best way to isolate a ground when both busses are tied together in the box and the neutral and ground wires are indiscriminately attached - mixed up on both busses?

(The electrician insisted this was OK when my house was built in '86.)

VLlemons

06:36PM | 10/21/04
Member Since: 05/23/02
3 lifetime posts
Thanks for the information. The black hot is the only one on the single pole breaker, the grounds and neutrals are on the same bus, but the neutral and ground for this circuit are under separate lugs and are on their own terminals. We tightened the lug screws down. We ran a new cable and were still getting the red light (hazardous ground). Although we checked the tester on other lines and it gave us green on those, I went ahead and exchanged it for a new one. Guess what? Our trouble line is now giving us a green light!


tperez

05:41AM | 10/22/04
Member Since: 09/24/04
128 lifetime posts
That's awsome! I'm glad that you found the problem. This can happen sometimes.

U.S.M.C. Semper Fi !!!

tperez

05:52AM | 10/22/04
Member Since: 09/24/04
128 lifetime posts
If you don't own a circuit tracer, you can turn on the light or plug a lamp in and turn it on depending on the circuit you are looking for.

Turn off the breakers one at a time until the light goes off.

With that breaker still off, remove the dead front from the panel.

This is the point it gets hairy and scary. Be EXTREMELY careful in the panel.

Manually trace the wire from the breaker to the home cable that the hot wire belongs in.

Then go from the corresponding ground to the bus.

Your electrician could be correct. If this is a main panel then it is fine this way. If the panel is a sub-panel then the neutrals and grounds should be seperated.

U.S.M.C. Semper Fi !!!
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