12:50PM | 05/30/01
Member Since: 05/29/01
1 lifetime posts
First thing, I have a brick house (built in '65) with NO outdoor outlets, so of course the wife up and buys an outdoor fountain. The only power I had even remotely accessable, was the carport light which is on a 3-way circuit. I accessed the junction box for the carport light (a story in and of itself) and found a white, black, and bare lead. To this I ran both my GFCI for the fountain (usinf UF cable buried 18") and another run to make the carport light switchable outside. My thinking was that the indoor switches would control the circuit (and thus the fountain) and the light could be controlled outside or in.
Well the light works fine, but my circuit tester says my GFCIs have an open ground. By my thinking, I should have two potential grounds since this is a 3-way circuit. What I'm wondering though is do I actually have a problem with my nuetral since I'm trying to get power from a 3-way circuit. Also, can I fix my problem by just eliminating one of the swithces on my 3-way circuit?
I'm not pluggin the anything into a circuit that's not properly grounded, especially something that combine water AND electricity.
I appreciate any help, and do have most basic test equipment (circuit tester, voltmeter, etc.)


09:52AM | 05/31/01
Member Since: 03/13/00
1675 lifetime posts
Sounds a bit confusing, but I believe I would connect your meter to the new outlet to first check VOLTAGE from hot to neutral in ALL POSSIBLE combinations of circuit switch positions. Then check for VOLTAGE from neutral to ground with all combinations of switch positions. Then, if no voltages seen from neutral to ground, check for CONTINUITY from neutral to ground with all possible combinations of switch positions. If you get the expected values in all of these tests and if the GFI doesn't "interrupt" the circuit when in use (runing the fountain), you should be OK.

Just had another thought.. Some circuit testers might give "open ground" readings on GFI outlets because of the difference between them and "regular" outlets. Just for fun, try replacing temporarily with a "regular" outlet and see if it reads "open ground" with that tester.

[This message has been edited by rpxlpx (edited May 31, 2001).]

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