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#211327 - 10/05/13 05:25 PM GFI testers
togol Offline
Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 426
Loc: NW In. USA
What exactly is the purpose of these things ?

I ran into this particular problem on a house remodel about a year ago, when 2 inspectors I had to deal with insisted the recep wasn't functioning correctly because their tester wouldn't trip it.

I told them both that GFI testers, including my fancy adjustable Hubbell will not not work on ungrounded GFIs, I also tried telling them that the only way to properly test a GFI is with the test button on the device since most homeowners probably don't have a tester, but they both told me to fix it by adding a ground or , as one guy said, "just put a 2 wire outlet there"

So I wonder why we need these things since the tester needs a ground to trip the GFI, while accompanying install paperwork only calls for attaching a ground if one is available
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#211328 - 10/05/13 06:38 PM Re: GFI testers [Re: togol]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9012
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
It simply sounds like an inspector without a clue. I would talk to the CBO (respectfully) and confirm the fact that the AHJ is not amending 406.3(D) and work out from there.
Hopefully there will be a quiet "inspector tune up" and things will be better for everyone.
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#211338 - 10/06/13 10:47 AM Re: GFI testers [Re: gfretwell]
togol Offline
Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 426
Loc: NW In. USA
No plans to clear the problem up through complaints, The E.I. is an old friend and working buddy and I have no desire to rock the boat in his pond. He cleared the permit and won't be back

The other guy ( the one with the 2 wire idea) is a Housing Authority inspector working off a checklist….. no thinking involved
The house is a rental that ended up with a Sec. 8 tenant, which is why he showed up.

The GFI is in the kitchen next to the sink of course, so I changed it to a 2w, which can't be tested, then I re-installed the GFI after he left. He'll be back next Feb. for his annual inspection, he'll fail the GFI and I'll play his game again.

why the testers are even used since they need a ground to function
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#211339 - 10/06/13 11:00 AM Re: GFI testers [Re: togol]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9012
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
You are not "rocking the boat" when you resolve problems like this you are plugging a hole in the boat.
If he really wants to go back to the 1975 code, you can grab a cold water pipe for your ground. Let him make a choice.
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#211342 - 10/06/13 05:24 PM Re: GFI testers [Re: togol]
MarkC10 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/22/13
Posts: 43
Loc: CA, Inland Empire
a good way I found to test the GFI without a ground is use an induction tester like the ol' wiggy .. hot to hot then the negative lead to any nearby grounded reference like the sink faucet, it always tripped the GFI ..

neat story, I was under a house once and came up against a box that had the same color for their two wire circuit . before slithering out from under the house to get a cord I thought, hmm .. I'm laying on Ground .. so I grabbed my large screw driver jammed it into the dirt, got my tester used the screw driver as my negative reference and was able to correctly determine the correct hot wire.. that was cool. ..")


Edited by MarkC10 (10/06/13 05:25 PM)
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#211393 - 10/09/13 12:26 AM Re: GFI testers [Re: MarkC10]
NORCAL Offline
Member

Registered: 09/25/02
Posts: 805
Originally Posted By: MarkC10
a good way I found to test the GFI without a ground is use an induction tester like the ol' wiggy .. hot to hot then the negative lead to any nearby grounded reference like the sink faucet, it always tripped the GFI ..

neat story, I was under a house once and came up against a box that had the same color for their two wire circuit . before slithering out from under the house to get a cord I thought, hmm .. I'm laying on Ground .. so I grabbed my large screw driver jammed it into the dirt, got my tester used the screw driver as my negative reference and was able to correctly determine the correct hot wire.. that was cool. ..")


Not going to work when the plumbing is non-metallic or the flex connectors supplying the faucet & drain fittings are non-metallic

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#211402 - 10/09/13 06:59 PM Re: GFI testers [Re: togol]
JoeTestingEngr Offline
Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 786
Loc: Chicago, Il.
By testing a GFI, do you mean proving that it will trip, OR proving that it will trip at a current that won't be lethal to you??? We did this thread a few years ago. I need a Wiggy volunteer since I can't find a good spec. sheet for one. Test an outlet with your Wiggy in series with a Fluke on AC mA, and let me know how much current you're drawing. If its substantially greater than the value at which your GFCI should trip, (I'll bet it is.), then you're not performing a useful test. I tested an outlet at work once. 120V/10mA=12kohms. Ckt would dissipate 1.2W. I think I used a 12K, 2W resistor in series with a 50K pot, set to max., in series with my Fluke on AC mA. Going Hot to Ground, I decreased resistance slowly until the outlet tripped. I seem to recall that it was at about 7mA, a little more than I expected, but still safe. I was wondering what the spread would have been on several devices of the same part number.
Joe

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#211416 - 10/10/13 06:08 PM Re: GFI testers [Re: JoeTestingEngr]
togol Offline
Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 426
Loc: NW In. USA
I was trying to prove that the GFI was working as designed and all I wanted was for those 2 different inspectors to understand that their method of testing an ungrounded GFI ...during their respective finals... with a pocket tester was not the way to determine if the unit was functioning properly !

using wiggys, Flukes, and the kitchen sink for tests, while fun to do, are not things I want to do during final inspection(s)

As far as determining trip currents, Hubbells GFT2G adjustable tester ( which is the one I have used for decades ) incrementally increases the leakage up to 7ma, but it also requires a ground to work and would have failed to trip that particular GFI as well
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#211417 - 10/10/13 07:33 PM Re: GFI testers [Re: togol]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9012
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
You simply push the test button and insure the down stream receptacles are deenergized.
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#211418 - 10/10/13 08:09 PM Re: GFI testers [Re: gfretwell]
sparkyinak Offline
Member

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1286
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: gfretwell
You simply push the test button and insure the down stream receptacles are deenergized.


Ditto. That's the UL standard
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