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GFCI outlets with Equipment Ground support

5343 Views 30 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Ponderling
Years ago I installed a pair of 120v 20 amp single outlet circuits into my garage so I could run Christmas lights without blowing circuits all over the house. At the time GFCI wasn't a requirement for garages and I've never had a problem with moisture or had the breakers pop. I'd like to upgrade these circuits to current code and swap out the original outlets with GFCI outlets. The outlets are positioned in such a way that they don't qualify for the NEC exceptions to GFCI protected circuits. I'm now using one of these two circuits for my Volt's EVSE and have been unable to find a GFCI outlet that provides equipment ground, which the EVSE requires for operation.

Does anyone know who makes GFCI outlets that provide equipment grounding?
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I thought all of those GFCI receptacles provide a ground as standard - the wires going to them have to be live, neutral and ground. I can even see the green ground screw on this one:

Or am I missing something?
So did I. Turns out they don't. The ground isn't passed through to the equipment on many of them. GFCIs are predominately used where you don't have grounded equipment. I'm taking the two GFCIs I purchased last weekend back to Home Depot as "not suitable for purpose."
I also find it incredible that they wouldn't provide ground as standard. Maybe you had a different problem like defective outlets. I charge on a GFCI circuit, but at a standard outlet downstream from a GFCI outlet, so maybe that is different somehow. If you installed the GFCI at the circuit breaker, maybe that would solve your GFCI problem without creating a ground problem.
Once I opened the box there was a sticker clearly stating No Equipment Ground even though the GFCI has the standard ground prong for 120v plugs. I checked the outside of the box very closely at that point and nowhere on the outside does it say no equipment ground. When I started researching last night I discovered there's nothing in the GFCI design that precludes equipment grounding - in fact I found the opposite at NEC's web-site - a diagram explicitly showing equipment grounding through a GFCI outlet. So now I'm looking for a pair of GFCI outlets that provide equipment grounding.

The Volt's EVSE puts up a steady red light for "no ground continuity" when you plug into an outlet without equipment ground.
The OP here is doing something wrong, and is incorrect. All GFCI's pass the equipment ground through if the ground is wired correctly. This is easy to verify with a 3 prong outlet tester or a multimeter. There will be continuity between the ground screw and the ground prong, I guarantee it. Look at page 15 of the following document for a clear circuit diagram of a GFCI outlet:

Where it does get confusing is that it is legal per NEC code to install a GFCI on an ungrounded (2 wire) circuit. The outlet is required to be labeled "no equipment ground". When you open up a new GFCI package you will notice a few stickers, one of which will be that one.

I have charged my Volt plugged into a GFCI outlet and it worked fine. If it's not working for you, it is likely the outlet is wired incorrectly and the protection circuits in the charge cable are working as designed and protecting against an unsafe condition.
Turns out this is an invalid assumption. Inside the GFCI box was a label insert (not a sticker) that very clearly stated:


in multiple languages. This, on a GFCI rated for outdoor usage. This notice was nowhere on the outside of the box or I wouldn't have purchased it. Thus my question about finding a GFCI that does support equipment grounding. 120V house wiring is actually relatively easy and I have installed other 20 amp circuits in the house. At the time there was no requirement for GFCI for garage circuits.

On the flip side I verified that I used the wrap method for the wires when I installed the outlet in the first place. I've never liked the push in concept for wiring as I can't see inside the outlet to verify good and solid mechanical connections. 10 gauge wire is hard to wrap around the screws but I wrapped so I could visually verify a good mechanical connection to the outlet. The two circuit lengths are 10 ft and 40 ft and I'm using the shorter one for my EVSE.

I read the document you posted. I also found some other documentation from NEMA showing GFCI circuits with equipment grounding and believe it or not, some without equipment grounding. While working yesterday I opened my breaker panel to double-check that I had originally wired the circuits properly, verifying the hot, neutral, and ground wires at the breaker box to verify I had wired the circuit correctly in the first place (the insulators on this cable are Black, Red, and none - go figure) and I had indeed secured Black to the hot leg and Red to the Neutral leg with none obviously going to Ground. The original installation was done prior to the 1997 NEC update requiring GFCIs in garages and everything is still in good shape and cobweb free.

I'll be hiring an electrician to install my 240V circuit. I'll be using 6 gauge for this but only putting a 20 amp breaker and receptacle at this time. It'll parallel the 10 ft circuit currently installed.
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For those who think I don't have a ground line, my sprinkler system controller is "load" tied to the outlet and it also requires a ground to operate as it's an outdoor controller mounted inside the garage. It worked properly with the GFCI as it connects to the load and ground screws on the back of the outlet.
Did you try wiring it? Did you get an error code on the EVSE? If so, is it possible the hot and neutral wires were reversed? And if that is the case, maybe an electrician should be brought in.
Yes - the solid red light on the EVSE which the tag shows is a no ground alert. I double checked the wiring as well, both at the breaker panel and at the outlet to ensure I hadn't misrouted the wires.
Because of the later post explaining the various stickers (and their use) that come with a GFCI device. If you have a ground, don't use the sticker.
Not a sticker (sorry for the confusion on this item). It was an insert shoved in the box and not printed on the outside of the box. The downstream load screws did have a sticker on them noting not to use them for the incoming wiring. The instructions clearly showed them in use when there are downstream outlets or other equipment on the circuit however, so this wasn't the issue.
Were those ORIGINAL pair of outlets done with ungrounded wire???
Because if they were and you just put a GFCI outlet without a ground wire running back to the panel, you should have marked the receptacles with the words “GFCI Protected” and “No Equipment Ground”
Three strand 10 gauge wire cable, Black - Hot, Red - Neutral, and bare ground. (I couldn't find Black/White/Green in 10 gauge at the time.) As I posted my sprinkler system controller requires a ground wire as well since it's designed to be installed outdoor with a direct tie to the circuit. It works. My EVSE works on the original non-GFCI outlet as well.
If you really have a no ground outlet, then it seems your problem would be solved by returning it and buying almost anything else.
That's the plan, which is why I've asked this question. I have Hot/Neutral/Ground going to the outlet, I just need to know a brand that will do the job. Since these outlets are close to the front of the garage I'd prefer weather resistant outlets so if I have the garage open during a blizzard they're less likely to be damaged or trip as a result of snow melting on them.
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