Circuit going from “open neutral” to “correct” after hitting gfci tester button

Bedroom outlet - Here is what it looks like when I first plug my tester into many outlets:

And here if what it looks like after I hit the gfci button, initially just out of curiosity:

What’s going on?

Contact Sperry directly and let us know what they claimed the issue (and fix) is!

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Great idea and I will.

No idea though what could be happening? Obviously pushing the button doesn’t connect a disconnected neutral. Do you think there’s a possibility that the neutrals are just fine in the house and pushing the button fixes something inside the circuit tester to enable it to read properly?

You assume it fixes anything. This is why you need to contact Sperry. Just think if this is a widespread issue, and some have no clue that they may be placing their clients at risk!! Hell, even if not widespread… YOU are placing your clients at risk for continuing to use the tester and hoping a person without a clue of the workings of the tester tells you something that you choose to believe.

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The 3 bulb tester is eluding to: 1: miswired circuit. 2: Faulty tester.
I threw away three bulb testers over 5 years ago.

Why does my electrical outlet testing light is dim?
The most likely is an open, or high resistance , Ground and there is other equipment connected to the same breaker that is supplying a sneak path good enough for partial illumination of that tester lamp.

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That’s why you need at least two testers, and/or a circuit analyzer, when you run into this issue. Then you can compare the results.


The phone number listed for sperry doesn’t lead to a live person. Im going to write to them and try to find out.

It sounds like it must be the tester.

This is for a builder’s warranty inspection. Could loose wiring possibly cause that sort of interaction with the tester, or would that not make any sense?

what do you use instead?

Follow link to Inspector Outlet.extech

The most likely is an open, or high resistance , Ground and there is other equipment connected to the same breaker that is supplying a sneak path good enough for partial illumination of that tester lamp.

i cant hang that on my retractable belt clip as easily though :tired_face:

I use 2 pouches on a belt and carry a large tool carry bag plus my Fluke Ti300+ thermal camera box throughout the property. I am 66 years young. Look at the equipment I carry to every inspection. Look at my feet, my belt and behind me. ><$17,000.00 in equipment.
Yes you can sure beats, no I can’t.

All you need is a solenoid tester and a basic understanding of the how and why of outlet wiring

A circuit analyzer is overkill and will raise more questions than it will answer. Won’t make a good impression when you can’t answer a client’s questions about it.


yea, I just started to remember that part of the coursework after posting, help me remember - rabbit ears in hot and neutral making a 120 volt connection confirms neutral connection, one in hot and one in ground with a connection confirms ground, one in neutral and one in ground with no connection, after confirming neutral connection, confirms proper polarity. right?

but I can’t test for GFCI protection with that - how would you confirm that?

Push the test button on the outlet. Only approved method from the manufacturer.

oh right. similar to with a 3-prong - test them all for power, push buttons, then test again for tripping?

It is not a GFCI receptacle.
How you gain incite is by learning, Robert. CT-70 EXTECH AC CIRCUIT LOAD TESTER is not over kill. You gain better referrals and inspection fees with professional equipment.

Not true if you just use the basic functions as a three light tester (open ground, reverse polarity, false ground, etc). A circuit analyzer, like Sure Test, is a lot more reliable than a $10 3-light tester. I use both. I’ve seen the results.


Use a Wiggy®️. They are reliable and dependable. There are very few things that a home inspector needs to test that can’t be tested with a Wiggy®️. I have several. The newest is more than 35 years old. The oldest is 45 years old. I bought them new. They have never let me down.


I’ve seen what you described with a lot of young electricians. They go buy all the goofy stuff with all the bells and whistles then end up with wrong information anyway. A journeyman electrician typically lacks a sufficient understanding of electricity to understand how to use and interpret all the high input impedance gadgets. If an electrician wants to have a better understanding of electricity, he has to go to at least a community college and get an associate degree. Electrical apprenticeships are not much above high-school level with electrical theory.