GFCI, only built in tester trips

External GFCI, weather proof enclosure. Both my Sperry and back up cheapo Harbor freight dont trip it.

However, the built in tester *does *trip it.
So what do I say?

Check with manufacture and I think you will find

That is the way the manufacture says to test them .

I would say “did not trip using tester”. I come across GFCI outlets that don’t trip with the tester but do with the test button. I trust my tester more than the test button.

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Mar 22, 2012 - Uploaded by Leviton

At Leviton, we want to remind you of the importance of testingyour GFCI devices on a monthly basis to …

It’s probably not grounded. Your tester sends the test current to ground to simulate a ground fault if there is no EGC present it won’t work.

I don’t and neither does the manufacturer of the device.

The recognized testing method is the built in test button, not some $3 plug in.

As Robert said, if the receptacle is not grounded the plug in will not trip the device.

Thank you all, I was able to go back and check, outlet wasn’t grounded after all.

That makes sense because the integral test button does not rely on an equipment ground to work. One other caution when using a plug-in tester on a receptacle without an EGC when you press the test button on your tester it will energize the cover plate if it’s metallic creating a possible shock hazard if you’re.grounded.

How did you check the outlet wasn’t grounded, please?

Could you please explain why you think a GFCI receptacle tester will energize a metallic cover plate in an ungrounded receptacle? I’m interested in your logic process.

If the GFCI is ungrounded because there is no EGC, you press the button on your plugin tester and it sends the test current to the EGC of the receptacle. Now the metal parts of the receptacle are energized along with the metal cover. If you’re holding the cover while kneeling on damp dirt you will get shocked. If the GFCI receptacle actually works it should trip because your body is completing the circuit into the earth and the device will sense the current imbalance. If the device is both ungrounded and faulty you might end up dead.

OK, I follow you on the energizing of the metal parts, but what current flows, from the ungrounded lug to the ground lug, through a 3-light tester when the GFCI test button, on the tester, is pressed?

The tester shunts the current to ground.

I get that, but I’m trying, with a great deal of pain it seems, to get to the bottom of something without being nasty.

I’d like people to think.

What does that mean?

GFCI’s trip at 5ma (technically 4-6ma), it’s likely that the plug-in tester uses a current greater than that to test the receptacle. At 100ma a human can die, might not reach that threshold but who knows, all depends on how the tester is designed.

So, If you’ve ever pinned out a GFCI tester, you’ll know that the resistance across the hot and ground with the button pressed in is at least 18 K ohms.

If the circuit you are testing is 120v a/c how many amps are being passed across?

Clue: I = Vr / R (where r = rms)

I’m not disagreeing with you that the ground, and therefore the case will be energised. I’m just dubious that 6mA is going to pose much of a threat.

You might be right I have no idea what current flow level might be imposed by the tester. Just mentioning that there’s a potential shock hazard and that the testing should be done by pressing the test button on the receptacle.

That level of current must have been a concern during the design and testing of gfi’s .

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