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Thread: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

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    Question Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    Hi All-

    Hoping you all can help me work through an electrical problem I'm having. The problem is my low-voltage niche pool lights are tripping the GFCI breaker that my timer/SWG/heater/pump are connected to. This only happens when turning the lights OFF, and only after turning them on and then off a couple/few times. The lights (and their transformer) are not connected to a GFCI breaker. The light breaker does not trip, nor does the other GFCI breaker (for the service outlet) in the panel.

    Here's my setup:

    60A 2-pole breaker in my home feeding the sub-panel outside.
    20A 2-pole GFCI breaker feeding the pump, timer, heater and SWG.
    20A 1-pole breaker to the transformer and 3 niche lights.
    20A 1-pole GFCI breaker to the service outlet by the pool.

    A picture of the panel is attached.

    If I swap the 20A GFCI breaker for a non-GFCI it doesn't trip, however this is a code violation.

    This was installed by a licensed electrician, who is aware of the problem and can't figure out what's going on.

    So, do we think it's bad lights? A bad transformer? A bad breaker? What could it be?

    IMG_4743.jpg
    Pool Size/Type: 17,500 gallon, 16x40 IG fiberglass; Pump: Hayward Superpump II, 2 HP, 2 Speed; Filter: Hayward C3030 cartridge
    Heater: Hayward H250FDN; Sanitation: Hayward Aquarite w/ T-CELL-9 SWG; Test Kit: Taylor K-2006 // Spa: Hot Spot Rhythm; 355 gallons; CD ozonator; Bromine

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    I saw another post for the same problem turned out be a bad GFCI have you tried a new one? If not that only other thing I can think of is the LED transformer putting some sort of voltage on the neutral as it drains down that the GFCI is picking up on should not happen if they are not on the same circuit but who knows electrons go where ever they can.
    12,300 Gallon, IG PebbleFina, 3 ft sheer, 2 Jandy nicheless LED lights, Jandy Pro 1.5HP VS pump (A.O. Smith Motor), PB4-60 Booster pump, Polaris 280, Jandy cv340 cartridge filter, Zodiac Z4 control panel W/iAquaLink, Stenner pumps for chlorine & MA connected to WiOn WiFi switches, TF-100. You can support TFP with AmazonSmile just click the link!

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    Thanks! I'll definitely try a different breaker. 2-pole 20A GFCIs are expensive!
    Pool Size/Type: 17,500 gallon, 16x40 IG fiberglass; Pump: Hayward Superpump II, 2 HP, 2 Speed; Filter: Hayward C3030 cartridge
    Heater: Hayward H250FDN; Sanitation: Hayward Aquarite w/ T-CELL-9 SWG; Test Kit: Taylor K-2006 // Spa: Hot Spot Rhythm; 355 gallons; CD ozonator; Bromine

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    First check all the connections. make sure everything is tight. That is both on the pump breaker circuit and the light circuit. Check the connections to the transformer and in the j box. Make sure its all tight. I suspect that will resolve the problem. Check an tighten all the connections in the sub panel especially on the neutral buss bar and for fun the ground bus bar. They are separate and the neutral is separate from the enclosure? correct? Make sure the SWG is wired correctly (and the pump and timer for that matter) No polarity reversals?

    Still keep happening?

    Replace the GFCI 2 pole breaker or the transformer, whichever is less expensive. Still happening replace the remaining item.


    My first thought is there is something on this panel that is causing a problem after its been on for a while. That is most likely a loose connection. So I would concentrate my efforts there.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    First check all the connections. make sure everything is tight. That is both on the pump breaker circuit and the light circuit. Check the connections to the transformer and in the j box. Make sure its all tight. I suspect that will resolve the problem. Check an tighten all the connections in the sub panel especially on the neutral buss bar and for fun the ground bus bar. They are separate and the neutral is separate from the enclosure? correct? Make sure the SWG is wired correctly (and the pump and timer for that matter) No polarity reversals?

    Still keep happening?

    Replace the GFCI 2 pole breaker or the transformer, whichever is less expensive. Still happening replace the remaining item.


    My first thought is there is something on this panel that is causing a problem after its been on for a while. That is most likely a loose connection. So I would concentrate my efforts there.
    Thanks! I just swapped in a non-GFCI breaker on the pump circuit (to test), and then back again, so I know all the connections are tight there. I'll check/tighten everything else.

    Yes, the ground and neutral bars are separate. I'll check that the neutral bar is separated from the enclosure.
    Pool Size/Type: 17,500 gallon, 16x40 IG fiberglass; Pump: Hayward Superpump II, 2 HP, 2 Speed; Filter: Hayward C3030 cartridge
    Heater: Hayward H250FDN; Sanitation: Hayward Aquarite w/ T-CELL-9 SWG; Test Kit: Taylor K-2006 // Spa: Hot Spot Rhythm; 355 gallons; CD ozonator; Bromine

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    I am going to suspect that the 60 amp GFCI feeding the sub panel which also has GFCI's may be the culprit. GFCI's sometimes/most times do not play well in series.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by danpik View Post
    I am going to suspect that the 60 amp GFCI feeding the sub panel which also has GFCI's may be the culprit. GFCI's sometimes/most times do not play well in series.
    The 60A breaker feeding the sub panel is not GFCI, it's just a regular 2-pole 60A breaker.

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    It could be some sort of inductive kick from the transformer being turned off. I'd try moving the lighting breaker away from the problem GFCI breaker in the panel, and possibly lightly twisting the black and white wires between the transformer and the breaker in any areas where they are adjacent to the problem circuit wireing.
    8.5k gallon IG pebble sheen play pool with Intellitouch control, Intellifo VF, IC 20, Rainbow tab feeder (not currently in use), Pentaire mystery cartridge filter with labels faded to the point I have no idea on the model, Intellibrite 5g LED light, Hayward Navigator. Adding IntelliPh and Crestron control next.

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    I went out and checked the panel. The neutral bus bar is separated and not touching the enclosure in any way (the green screw has been removed). It turns out this separation is visible in the pic in the 1st post as well. The ground bus bar has the following attached: ground from the main panel, bonding wire, ground from the service outlet, light transformer, and timer (which then goes to the SWG, pump and heater). Other items on the bonding grid (if it matters) are the heater, SWG enclosure, pump, water and j-box.
    Pool Size/Type: 17,500 gallon, 16x40 IG fiberglass; Pump: Hayward Superpump II, 2 HP, 2 Speed; Filter: Hayward C3030 cartridge
    Heater: Hayward H250FDN; Sanitation: Hayward Aquarite w/ T-CELL-9 SWG; Test Kit: Taylor K-2006 // Spa: Hot Spot Rhythm; 355 gallons; CD ozonator; Bromine

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by dtlight View Post
    It could be some sort of inductive kick from the transformer being turned off. I'd try moving the lighting breaker away from the problem GFCI breaker in the panel, and possibly lightly twisting the black and white wires between the transformer and the breaker in any areas where they are adjacent to the problem circuit wireing.
    That's what it seems like. I can try moving it to a different spot in the panel (right now the problem/tripping breaker is on the top left in the photo and the transformer/lights are on the bottom right breaker). I don't think the wires to the two breakers have much, if any contact or proximity in the panel, but I'll double check and twist. Thanks for the suggestions!
    Pool Size/Type: 17,500 gallon, 16x40 IG fiberglass; Pump: Hayward Superpump II, 2 HP, 2 Speed; Filter: Hayward C3030 cartridge
    Heater: Hayward H250FDN; Sanitation: Hayward Aquarite w/ T-CELL-9 SWG; Test Kit: Taylor K-2006 // Spa: Hot Spot Rhythm; 355 gallons; CD ozonator; Bromine

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    If you haven't got this figured out yet, what I would do is...disconnect the load wires off the gfi feeding the timer, swg, heater and pump and see if you can still make the gfi trip...If so, move the breaker feeding lights as far from the other and then see if you can make it trip in that spot. If so, before i would buy a new gfi breaker, I would change the switch controlling the lights. Actually thinking about it, I would change the switch first (cheapest) and see if that works. (for an explanation as to why its possible, (GFCI and AFCI Devices). Its an article from Amatuer Radio Relay Leaque on radio frequency interference and afci and gfci) (a bad contact in a switch as a cause of rfi)
    14.6k gal., AG, Pentair SD60 sand filter, Pentair DynII-N2-2 pump, 2 hp/2 speed motor, installed on 9/2015, taylor 2006 test kit, Hayward Diver Dive pool cleaner, well water

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by chrismar View Post
    The 60A breaker feeding the sub panel is not GFCI, it's just a regular 2-pole 60A breaker.
    Yep, my bad. I was reading two lines at once.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by dobeluvr View Post
    If you haven't got this figured out yet, what I would do is...disconnect the load wires off the gfi feeding the timer, swg, heater and pump and see if you can still make the gfi trip...If so, move the breaker feeding lights as far from the other and then see if you can make it trip in that spot. If so, before i would buy a new gfi breaker, I would change the switch controlling the lights. Actually thinking about it, I would change the switch first (cheapest) and see if that works. (for an explanation as to why its possible, (GFCI and AFCI Devices). Its an article from Amatuer Radio Relay Leaque on radio frequency interference and afci and gfci) (a bad contact in a switch as a cause of rfi)
    Great ideas, thanks! I like the switch idea, so I'll try that first. I went ahead and purchased a new breaker from the supply house this afternoon since they're not open on the weekends. I'll keep that tucked away until I try everything else, though, so I can potentially return it.
    Pool Size/Type: 17,500 gallon, 16x40 IG fiberglass; Pump: Hayward Superpump II, 2 HP, 2 Speed; Filter: Hayward C3030 cartridge
    Heater: Hayward H250FDN; Sanitation: Hayward Aquarite w/ T-CELL-9 SWG; Test Kit: Taylor K-2006 // Spa: Hot Spot Rhythm; 355 gallons; CD ozonator; Bromine

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    ... Though, I did do a test with the timer (and subsequently the pump, swg & heater) off and the breaker still tripped. I'll try again with the load wires disconnected to see if that changes anything.

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    Chris,

    I have not read all the other prior posts, but here is what I would do.

    1. I would never have anything on the DB 20amp GCFI breaker other than my VSP. Each pump should have it's own dedicated breaker, period.
    2. I would make sure that the DB 20amp breaker that the pump is on [by itself], is not on the same bus-board side as the 20amp breaker for the LED lights. Further more, I would not have those 2 breakers in any position where they touch via being adjacent, cater-corned, or any position to where they touch. There has been reported "electrical interfere" w these breakers and that could be throwing them.

    So separate out the pump on it's own DB 20amp GCFI breaker, and make sure it's not anywhere near the breaker that supports your lights, and I bet you will be good to go....

    Also, check out this forum [an electrical forum] and look at the 2nd post [I would read the whole thing]. This poster is having exactly the same problem you are. And they are explaining it as "electrical noise". A Hayward rep steps in and asks the poster to contact him. Maybe you can do the same thing, but I bet if you separate your VSP and move the pump breaker and LED breaker far from each other on the bus-board, your problem will end

    Pool Pump GFCI Protection
    InGround 15K gal, 18'x30' 3.5' to 5.5' depth w/ 9'x9' spillover Spa, Pebblesheen w/ Travertine, Hayward 3 HP VSP, Hayward C4030 Cartridge, Hayward 1.5 HP for 2 Scupper columns, ProLogic, PL-PS-8 Panel, Hayward 400K BTU Heater, 3 ColorLogic LED, Spa Blower, TF-100 w S-Stick, QC Tiger Shark, Autofill

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    Make sure the Neutral for the Light isn't landed on the GFCI breaker for the pumps etc...
    Gunite Pool/Spa, CLI Caribbean blue crystal stone smooth, Pentair 3hp Intellifo VS, Pentair Quad DE Filter, Pentair 400k BTU Heater, KK Prowler 820, Pentair PSL4 controler with Screenlogic wifi, Inline Chlorinator, Pentair 1.5hp Spa Blower, TF-100 Test Kit w/ Speed Stir. My 2016 Pool Build

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    If it is the transformer or even the pump I wonder if a a surge protector might serve to absorb whatever is being put on the line causing the breaker to trip? Even if it does not work might be worth it in genral to protect your pump. Something like THIS
    12,300 Gallon, IG PebbleFina, 3 ft sheer, 2 Jandy nicheless LED lights, Jandy Pro 1.5HP VS pump (A.O. Smith Motor), PB4-60 Booster pump, Polaris 280, Jandy cv340 cartridge filter, Zodiac Z4 control panel W/iAquaLink, Stenner pumps for chlorine & MA connected to WiOn WiFi switches, TF-100. You can support TFP with AmazonSmile just click the link!

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    Adding a surge protector will only increase nuisance tripping.

    I think tstex may be on the right track here.

    How long was this in place before this started happening?
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    I'm going to have some time to tinker with this later this afternoon, so thanks everyone for the ideas!

    I can't really separate the pump, timer, heater and swg since they're all kind of dependent on each other.

    To answer gwegan's question: this has been happening since the pool was installed last summer.

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    Re: Pool lights tripping a DIFFERENT breaker in the panel. HELP!

    "I can't really separate the pump, timer, heater and swg since they're all kind of dependent on each other."

    Chris, you can. I noticed that you do not have a controller, is this correct? if so, then you controlling the equip by a timer, correct? If so, you can separate the pump, and add a timer to this device too and set the pump to 1 minute earlier than the rest, bc they are all dependent on the pump. Once the pump is going, then the rest can follow.

    If you do not want to do that, then you will live w the breakers tripping. And let me tell you that when "an expensive breaker" has tripped enough times, it becomes more and more prone to tripping easier and loses its integrity.

    Since this has happened since day one, this more than confirms it's a configuration issue and not something that started happening recently. You are eventually going to have to replace that breaker that keeps tripping anyway. It's your system, so whatever you want to live w, that's your prerogative. But if you want to resolve it, buy an identical DB 20amp GCFI breaker as you have now, and put the pump on it as far away from the LED breaker as possible, and another timer. good luck either way

    PS - "To answer gwegan's question: this has been happening since the pool was installed last summer."

    What does your PB say? What about Hayward too if this has been going on since last summer?
    InGround 15K gal, 18'x30' 3.5' to 5.5' depth w/ 9'x9' spillover Spa, Pebblesheen w/ Travertine, Hayward 3 HP VSP, Hayward C4030 Cartridge, Hayward 1.5 HP for 2 Scupper columns, ProLogic, PL-PS-8 Panel, Hayward 400K BTU Heater, 3 ColorLogic LED, Spa Blower, TF-100 w S-Stick, QC Tiger Shark, Autofill

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