GFCI receptacle tester

stevenje

Senior Member
Location
Yachats Oregon
I ran into situation that I have not seen before. The gfci receptacle tester would not trip any of the Eaton 1-pole (bolt on) breakers in the 120/208 volt panel.
1) This a new commercial project.
2) When you push the test button on the breaker, it trips the breaker.
3) The plug-in receptacle tester is an Ideal #61-501 and works on gfci receptacles that were tested just before and after this situation.
3) The plug-in receptacle tester indicates that the receptacle is wired correctly.
4) When you push the gfci test button on the plug-in receptacle tester, is does not trip the gfci breaker, but indicates "Hot and Neutral Reversed"when the test button is held down.
5) I do not know what the ms timing rating of the plug-in tester or the breakers in question are. They may not be compatible.
6) I tested several of the gfci breakers in the panel with the same results.
Any help on this sure would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

augie47

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee
Assuming its not a bad tester......
Could be wrong, but my memory tells me that configuration occurs when you have a receptacle with no equipment ground but you say the tester shows all is well. Since it occurs on more than one GFCI, I would check my equipment ground path in my panel (such things like my main bond jumper).
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
4) When you push the gfci test button on the plug-in receptacle tester, is does not trip the gfci breaker, but indicates "Hot and Neutral Reversed"when the test button is held down.

Sounds to me like you don't have good EGC. Enough of one that it lights up tester with proper polarity, but not good enough to carry even the small load needed to trip a GFCI.

Maybe try a test load of at least 25 watts from ungrounded conductor to EGC and see if it will even work. Watch voltage as you turn said load on.

If it were not for this detail, my other suggestion was going to be to ensure you have GFCI breakers and not GFPE breakers which would need 30 or more mA of fault current before they will trip
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Plug-in testers are not acceptable as a method for checking GFCI devices.

Only the built-in test button is.
That is the listed test method, they should still trip when fault current exceeds the trip threshold point regardless of why that current is flowing.

His observations are telling me first thing to look at is integrity of the EGC.

Load imposed by his tester is apparently changing voltage potential on each conductor enough to give wrong polarity indication, that potential should not change that easily with no more load than he is placing in the circuit if the conductors involved are all in good working condition.

Might be simple as missing main bonding jumper.
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
That is the listed test method, they should still trip when fault current exceeds the trip threshold point regardless of why that current is flowing.

His observations are telling me first thing to look at is integrity of the EGC.

Load imposed by his tester is apparently changing voltage potential on each conductor enough to give wrong polarity indication, that potential should not change that easily with no more load than he is placing in the circuit if the conductors involved are all in good working condition.

Might be simple as missing main bonding jumper.
One could simply apply a load (ie, 60w lamp) between the hot and ground.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
I routinely use my solenoid tester to test GFCIs. One prong in the hot slot and the other on any grounded surface within reach.

I concur that it sounds like the main bonding jumper is missing. Is there any voltage between neutral and ground?
 

stevenje

Senior Member
Location
Yachats Oregon
The problem was a missing system bonding jumper is a transformer. The transformer was energized before an inspection was call for. Red faced Journeyman. :oops: Thanks for all the input.
 
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