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three light tester


jodil
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This may be a dumb question, but Id rather get the dumb ones out while Im still new, versus having a client correct me.

Why would a GFCI protected outlet trip when the test button is pushed on the actual outlet, but not trip when I push the test button on my tester? Just so you know the tester registered the outlet as being correctly wired.

Thanks for your response.

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May be a bad tester.

I know that if the outlet is not grounded, the 3 light tester will not work, but you said that the outlet was properly wired (according to the tester).

It may be a false ground. Unscrupulous sellers have been known to run a jumper from the neutral terminal to the ground terminal on the outlets. This makes the outlet appear to be grounded, according to a 3 light tester, when it really isn't. I am not sure about this, but If there is a false ground, the tester may not work, even though the test button on the GFCI caused it to trip.

I'm sure that others will respond and either confirm my suspicion or provide the correct answer. Either way, I'm anxious to find out for sure.

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Yesterday I found this in a crawlspace, a jury-rigged ground. Same situation as yours, tripped to itself but not to the tester. The tester showed that was grounded.

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Originally posted by jodil

This may be a dumb question, but Id rather get the dumb ones out while Im still new, versus having a client correct me.

Why would a GFCI protected outlet trip when the test button is pushed on the actual outlet, but not trip when I push the test button on my tester? Just so you know the tester registered the outlet as being correctly wired.

Thanks for your response.

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Originally posted by jodil

This may be a dumb question, but Id rather get the dumb ones out while Im still new, versus having a client correct me.

Why would a GFCI protected outlet trip when the test button is pushed on the actual outlet, but not trip when I push the test button on my tester? Just so you know the tester registered the outlet as being correctly wired.

Thanks for your response.

The test button on the GFCI device is pretty darned reliable. If the GFCI responds to the test button, the GFCI is probably working properly.

Your three-light tester button works by shunting a small amount of current to the grounding pin. If the receptacle is properly grounded, this will create an imbalance in the GFCI's sensing circuit and cause it to trip. If it doesn't trip, one of two things is happening. Either the hand-held tester is broken (happens all the time) or the GFCI receptacle is miswired with a bootleg ground.

The three-light tester that I've used for the last few years is starting to act funny. It will only trip GFCIs if I push the test button really hard.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I dont believe it to be my tester, as I tried it with two others I had in my tool box and they showed the same thing. And Im new so my testers are only a few months old. When I push the test button on the tester it does not trip the gfci, but the lights on the tester show reverse/neutral.... I guess I should have mentioned that in the original post...

So when the tester is just sitting in the outlet it shows it as being properly wired, when I hit the test button on the tester it does not trip the outlet and shows as being reversed...Why would that be?

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Originally posted by jon_ran

Don't know if this will help, but....

I have noticed that on ungrounded outlets (non GFCI protected), an outlet with proper polarity will show as reversed when the test button is pushed.

Here's my best guess as to how these three-light testers are wired. Can you see why your tester behaves the way it does?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Jodi,

Don't rely on your tester for testing GFCIs. It's sensitivity will likely be different than that of the GFCI device - which is not necessarily a bad thing. Plus, the manufacturer of the GFCI device will only recognized the test button on the device, not your tester.

And your question was a good one.

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