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Old 08-05-2018, 01:09 PM   #1
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a buddy asked me to look at a GFCI that wouldn't work. When I got there he had it pulled out the wall in the bathroom I saw it had a line and a load and was tripped. It wouldn't reset. I looked in the other bathroom which was the load side and there was nothing plugged in. I told him he probably needed a new GFCI. Well he bought one it didn't work I had to come back and then I pulled out the GFCI and realized the load wire was pigtailed in the back of the box and there was a fault on that load which had a camper plugged into it. So we unplugged it and it reset. I know if I would've done a little more investigating the first time then I would've found it but I was trying to keep it simple and fast and ended up becoming a parts changer. So how long do you guys put into troubleshooting before you make a call?
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Old 08-05-2018, 01:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Dizzykidd View Post
a buddy asked me to look at a GFCI that wouldn't work. When I got there he had it pulled out the wall in the bathroom I saw it had a line and a load and was tripped. It wouldn't reset. I looked in the other bathroom which was the load side and there was nothing plugged in. I told him he probably needed a new GFCI. Well he bought one it didn't work I had to come back and then I pulled out the GFCI and realized the load wire was pigtailed in the back of the box and there was a fault on that load which had a camper plugged into it. So we unplugged it and it reset. I know if I would've done a little more investigating the first time then I would've found it but I was trying to keep it simple and fast and ended up becoming a parts changer. So how long do you guys put into troubleshooting before you make a call?
I take as long as needed..
But if it's when I'm at a friends house for a visit, I'll only take a few minutes and a quick look.. Unless she's a hottie....



And FWI, when ever someone asked what I do for a living, I tell them I'm an undertaker. I never get asked to just take a quick peek at thing.
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Old 08-05-2018, 02:43 PM   #3
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A GFCI is pretty cheap and easy to change, I wouldn't sweat it at all, we've all been there and done that ourselves. That was a cheap lesson you learned so feel thankful. Trust me you will remember this for a long time so what you do with the info is up to you, go be the best repairman you can be now.
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Old 08-05-2018, 02:55 PM   #4
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Im industrial so there is no time limit.

There's also no get out of jail card or anyone further up the line to push the job off to.
Last thing im going to do is to start guessing as its going to get expensive and i hate to look stupid by suggesting we need to replace a part then having to admit that wasn't the problem.

In your case it would have been simple to drop the load side and seen if the gfci worked, At that point you can tell them you will fix it later.
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Old 08-05-2018, 03:05 PM   #5
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As long as it takes.

Sorry you were embarrassed at your buddy's house. Some lessons just have to be learned that way to stick.

Best of luck on the next one.
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Old 08-05-2018, 04:02 PM   #6
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I consider myself an excellent troubleshooter which comes from my varied background in which I did mostly old work and almost no new construction. Doing old work forces you to become a very good electrical detective aka troubleshooter. You learn how things are done during different time periods and how particular wiring methods were installed (for instance - K&T frequently used shared neutrals among multiple circuits. Cut one of those neutrals and you have big problems on your hands.)

Anyway, point being - being a good troubleshooter only comes with hands on experience under guidance of experienced electricians. Knowing your theory also goes a long way too.
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Old 08-05-2018, 04:07 PM   #7
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As long as it takes to make a decision that doesn't come back to haunt me.

What kind of box was it that you didn't see the load side was pigtailed?
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Old 08-05-2018, 04:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wirenuting View Post
I take as long as needed..
But if it's when I'm at a friends house for a visit, I'll only take a few minutes and a quick look.. Unless she's a hottie....



And FWI, when ever someone asked what I do for a living, I tell them I'm an undertaker. I never get asked to just take a quick peek at thing.
Depending on the setting I either answered a 'boobologist' or a gynecologist.

Oddly enough I gave plenty of free exams.....
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Old 08-05-2018, 04:27 PM   #9
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Depending on the setting I either answered a 'boobologist' or a gynecologist.

Oddly enough I gave plenty of free exams.....
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Old 08-05-2018, 04:32 PM   #10
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Oh yeah I forgot for you I should have said "to females" just to remove any improper thoughts you may have had going on.
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Old 08-05-2018, 04:41 PM   #11
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As long as it takes to make a decision that doesn't come back to haunt me.

What kind of box was it that you didn't see the load side was pigtailed?
It was a normal blue device box. When I got there the way he had it pulled out I could see all 4 wires attached to the GFCI so honestly I didnt even try to look in the box.
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Old 08-05-2018, 04:59 PM   #12
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Old 08-05-2018, 05:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Dizzykidd View Post
It was a normal blue device box. When I got there the way he had it pulled out I could see all 4 wires attached to the GFCI so honestly I didnt even try to look in the box.
I learned a long time ago to look into the box for a short caused by improper stripping.
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Old 08-05-2018, 05:29 PM   #14
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Well @gpop 's suggestion to test with the load wires off is obviously the way to go here. Easy for me to say now of course.

The thing to keep in mind, to keep egg off your face - before you give up, think of the possible causes and do what you can with the available time and tools and resources. Try to at least narrow it down.

Learning lots of ways to test various problems is very valuable, if you know enough tricks you can troubleshoot a lot with minimal equipment. Of course better still always keep the tools with you Many times it's good to test two ways, prove it two ways before you draw a conclusion.
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:06 PM   #15
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Default Cheap learning lesson

Wait till you work on drives, wrong decision can cost thousands and more thousands of lost time. Ask me how I know.
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:17 PM   #16
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Its hard to feel satisfied until you see the "why". Unless you can find a definitive answer as to why it failed, I'm with the other guys in this post. As long as it takes
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:19 PM   #17
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It was a normal blue device box.
Well, there's your trouble.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:44 PM   #18
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Problems always arise in troubleshooting when we don't follow a set of standards.

In good businesses they use checklist, so they can follow a specific procedure. This ensures they don't miss anything.

As a business owner or technician, you ought to develop a checklist or system you follow for any and all troubleshooting, as it is usually the simple thing you forget, that comes back to haunt you.

Step 1: Ask questions

Step 2: Ignore the fact that they said they tested anything

Step 3: Test everything starting from the beginning

Step 4: Etc....

I hate when I forget Step 2....
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:21 PM   #19
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I remember thinking when I first turned out, "man, some of these service calls take forever!" "I must be doing something wrong?"


So I'd call the boss, he'd tell me he'd be tracking it down the same as I was, I just needed to stick with it and see the problem out to the end. After more time, I'd eventually get there.


Long story short, I finally realized some problems just take longer than you'd think. With experience, you get faster, and learn where to check first.


I do know, that after doing a little of this and a little of that for 14 years now, the ones I really banged my head against the wall trying to figure out, stay in your memory. You don't forget.


What's that saying about hearing hoofbeats in the distance? Think horses, not zebras. That means it's likely the most obvious problem, not the most obscure issue you can think of.


Also, listen to what customers say, but verify. Never take ANYTHING anyone tells you as the gospel without verifying yourself. I should repeat that again to illustrate my point. If you like snipe hunts, listen to customers without verifying, and chase ghosts based on assumptions. Been there, done that.



Won't(or will try not to) make that mistake again. This turned into a novel, so I'm done.
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Old 08-08-2018, 06:10 AM   #20
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Wait till you work on drives, wrong decision can cost thousands and more thousands of lost time. Ask me how I know.
How do you know?
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