Latest Discussions : Electrical & Lighting


10:13AM | 01/13/04
Member Since: 02/13/03
4 lifetime posts

My 45 year old anch house has most ungrounded outlets with the exception of the kitchen and 1 bath that were remodeled.

I have three questions:
1) I'd like to map the circuits in the house so I can install one or more GFCI outlets on the ungrounded circuits. I have mapped out what outlets/swtiches are on each circuit and now I need to figure out the ordering. I was planning to go with my best guess (based on physical location) at what is the fist outlet in the circuit, install the GFCI there and test it to see if it shuts off everthing downstream. If I'm incorrect I'll move to the next most likely, and so on. Does this sound like a reasonable approach?

2) To determing what are the line & load wires in an outlet the Black & Decker guide to home wiring suggests to turn off the power to the circuit, removing an outlet and separate all the wires, turn on the circuit and then touch you probe to the grounding wire then the hot wire to determine which is line or load. Since I do not have a groundind wire in my outlets what should I touch the probe to before I touch the hot wires? I have metal outlet boxes in some, but not all outlets.

3)Can I install multiple GFCI outlets in the same circuit. For instance all the 9 outlets in my living and dining room are on the same circuit. Could I do something like install a GFCI in position 1 in the circuit in the living room and then another one in position 5 in the dining room? The B&D guide mentioned that the more outlets downstream from the GFCI the more prone it would be to false resets.

Thanks in advance.


05:31AM | 01/14/04
Member Since: 09/16/02
250 lifetime posts
I can't help with line and load, but as far as tracking your wires, they sell an electronic device similar to a stud finder which locates wires inside walls. This might help to figure out where the wires go after they leave the outlet.

Hope that idea helps.

Good luck,


07:30PM | 01/26/04
Member Since: 01/25/04
9 lifetime posts
First is that to trace your circuit you can shut of the power and with an multi-meter set on Ohms. Check to see which is line and which is load by doing the following:
1. SHUT off Power at the breaker and VERY CAREFULLY remove the black wire from the breaker And the White from the Ground Bar.
2. Disconnect the wires from all the outlets that lost power when you shut off the breaker.
3. Then take the Black and White from the same wire and tie them together.
4. Then check for continutity or Ohms at what you believe is the next outlet. Put one lead on the black and one on the white (Make sure you are checking the same pair). If it shows zero or a little over zero then you have found the other end of the wire you tied together. Right down which two outlets it goes to.
5. Continue doing this until you come to an outlet with only on pair of wires. That is the end of your circuit.
6. Then go back to the outlet you started with and check to see if it goes to panel or another outlet.
7. To do this Tie the pair that you have not located together (only after making sure the black is removed from the Breaker and white is removed from the ground bar).
8. Now check for continuity by putting one lead on the Black Wire and one on the white if you read Zero there you go. You found your Line.
9. Then on your notes you can write down which is line and load for all of them. Line will be from panel to first outlet. Load is from the outlet. When it hits the next outlet it will be considered Load again.

It might be easier if you just put in a GFCI Breaker in place of the regular Breaker.

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