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Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3729
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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In my basement. I have a motion detector switch that turns

Customer Question

In my basement. I have a motion detector switch that turns on the lights when someone walks in. This is connected to a GFI outlet. Yesterday, I was using a wetvac, on its last leg, that was plugged into the GFI outlet. It appears the wetvac popped something and it stopped working along with the lights. I checked the breaker and it was not tripped, same thing for the GFI reset. Now no power to the lights or GFI outlet, but I do hear a flick when I walk in as if the motion detector is trying to send power to the lights. I am stuck.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago. name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. My goal is to exceed your expectations on Just Answer!

1) Lighting is NOT required to be GFCI protected and is NOT recommended.

2) Do you have any other receptacles that are not working or is the GFCI the only dead receptacle?

3) Is the GFCI able to reset? Are there wires terminated to the LOAD side of the GFCI?

4) Do you have a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester or an AC voltmeter available to troubleshoot the problem?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

1. Agree lighting is not.

2. no, gfi only dead recp.

3. yes, not sure.

4. yes

Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Hello Mike,

Thank you for the replies.

1) Temporarily flip the branch circuit breaker to the OFF position to kill power. Then back out the GFCI receptacle from the box, but DO NOT disconnect any wires.

The GFCI will have wires terminated on the LINE side and possibly on the LOAD side. Turn the breaker back to the ON position and see if you can measure for 120 volts between the hot and neutral wire on the LINE side directly at the terminal screws. Also let me know if any connections reside on the LOAD side.

2) Is the Occupancy Sensor a single pole or a 3-way sensor? In other words, is there a 2nd wall switch that can also turn the lights OFF or do you only have the (1) one Occ Sensor that controls the lights?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

the wires are going in the line side, and the GFI does not reset. Single pole occupancy sensor. When measuring the 120, what number/values do I turn the volatage reader to?

Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Mike for the replies.

1) Set the meter to the 200 volt AC setting.

2) Can you measure 120 volts from Hot to Neutral and from Hot to Ground on the LINE side of the GFCI while the breaker is in the ON position?

H to N should = approximately 120 volts

H to G should also = approximately 120 volts

N to G should = 0 volts or very close to it.

3) If no voltage present on the LINE side of the GFCI, then you have an open conductor (hot and/or neutral) upstream of that GFCI receptacle and this will need to be further investigated and troubleshooted.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok, 0's all around as for as voltage readings. the wires are all dead. THe switch, which is only 3ft away is hot. what next?

Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for confirming Mike.

1) Not sure I'm following you? If the Occ Sensor is connected to the GFCI and the GFCI is dead, how can you have a hot (120 volts) at the sensor?

Or hot as in temperature?

2) How many wires spliced at the LINE side of the GFCI? Is there a pigtail splice or only 1 hot and 1 neutral at the LINE side and nothing on the LOAD side?

What is connected to the GFCI LOAD side?