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Thread: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

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    threecheese's Avatar
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    Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    What are the implications of not using a GFCI circuit with a robotic cleaner?

    I was planning to use the exterior outlet designated for my old polaris 380 booster pump, now retired, for my new polaris P9550 robot. I am unsure if the outlet is GFCI protected (there is no button on it). I am going to call an electrician to replace it, can I safely use the robot until that is complete? The instructions clearly state that nobody should ever be in the pool with the robot, so what is the danger?

    I have another GFCI exterior outlet that I can use, but it is not optimally placed for this purpose.

    Thanks!
    30kgal in-ground/steel with vinyl liner, aluminum bullnose coping || 1 H.P. superpump || Polaris P9550 robot|| Hayward 48sq ft DE filter || Taylor K2006 kit

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    Re: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    No!!!! It'll work for sure but if anything fails it could be pretty dangerous. A GFCI will stop the electricity as soon as a ground fault (think electrocution) occurs. Otherwise It'll zap you until the breaker trips.

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    Re: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    By code the outlet for your Polaris booster pump needs to be GFCI (at least where I live). The outlet itself doesn't have to be a GFCI outlet, the electrician could've installed a GFCI circuit breaker in your electrical panel, or a GFCI outlet in line between the outlet outside and the circuit breaker.

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    Re: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by smiticans View Post
    By code the outlet for your Polaris booster pump needs to be GFCI (at least where I live). The outlet itself doesn't have to be a GFCI outlet, the electrician could've installed a GFCI circuit breaker in your electrical panel, or a GFCI outlet in line between the outlet outside and the circuit breaker.
    This is typically what is done. Check other GFI receptacle to see if connected downstream. Usually one in the garage or basement. Outdoor receptacles have to be on a GFI circuit.

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    Re: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    Welcome to the forum Spyfish

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by threecheese View Post
    What are the implications of not using a GFCI circuit with a robotic cleaner?
    My pool, if I was unsure if the was a GFCI upstream of the outlet I'd install a GFCI at the box you plug the cleaner into.
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    Re: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    You need to understand that the cleaner itself is NOT GFCI protected even if used on a GFCI protected plug.

    I'll say it again. The cleaner operates on 30 volts DC off the secondary side of a transformer, so even if the primary side of the circuit is GFCI protected there is no GFCI protection for the cleaner.

    You should not swim while using the cleaner.


    The National Electrical Code states two things regarding your situation: All pool equipment except low voltage lights must be GFCI protected. All exterior outlets at a residence must be GFCI protected, So yes have an electrician come out and figure out if that outlet is GFCI protected. If it isn't then he should install GFCI protection.



    IS it safe to use the cleaner until the electrician replaces the plug? That is your call. I would not have much of a problem wit it, it is an increased risk.
    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: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiss4aFrog View Post
    Welcome to the forum Spyfish

    - - - Updated - - -



    My pool, if I was unsure if the was a GFCI upstream of the outlet I'd install a GFCI at the box you plug the cleaner into.
    Thanks for the welcome. Just got my first pool and doing some reading......

    Fiberglass IG Pool 16' x 40' XX gallons & fiberglass IG Spa XX gallons
    Using Hayward equipment including AuqaPlus, EcoStar VSP, TurboCell T-CELL-9 SWG, cartridge filter, heater & actuator values
    Installed May 10, 2016 using city water with known hardness of 200ppm, water test kit - TBD

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    Re: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    Very good info Gwegan. All I read was 120v and water! I'd still make sure it was GFCI, the tranny probably isn't too far from a water source. If the secondary and the primary share a ground, I think the GFCI would still go off correct?
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    Re: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    NO A fault on the secondary side of a transformer (by itself) will never trip the GFCI protecting the primary side.

    The ground wire has nothing to do with a GFCI device. They operate just fine without a ground wire attached, A GFCI operates by measuring the difference in current between the hot conductor and the neutral conductor, if the differential exceeds a certain amount they trip.
    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: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    Amazing information; thank you everyone.
    30kgal in-ground/steel with vinyl liner, aluminum bullnose coping || 1 H.P. superpump || Polaris P9550 robot|| Hayward 48sq ft DE filter || Taylor K2006 kit

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    Re: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    So gwegan how exactly would a fault behind a transformer in the form of a path to ground not cause a current imbalance between hot and neutral at the GFCI and trip it? I don't see how having a transformer in a circuit disables the GFCI protection.

    EDIT: So I guess it depends on whether the transformers are isolated or not.
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    Re: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by C3Cl3N3O3 View Post
    So gwegan how exactly would a fault behind a transformer in the form of a path to ground not cause a current imbalance between hot and neutral at the GFCI and trip it? I don't see how having a transformer in a circuit disables the GFCI protection.

    EDIT: So I guess it depends on whether the transformers are isolated or not.
    A transformer is essentially an isolator. Both sides of the transformer are really only related via current and the ratio of the windings. Sorry deep into electrical engineering here. The primary side windings (in this case 120V) simply have to supply the current needed based on the load on the secondary side. The " bad" event could happen on either port on the secondary side and thus draw more current from the primary side and the primary side has no insight into where the "bad" event occurred because both ports (or wires) on the primary side still have equal current. You see the "bad" event did not occur in their loop. There is a law, Kirchoff's current law, that states current around a loop must be maintained and GFI is working off that law. Essentially the secondary windings are outside that loop, only the primary windings of the transformer are in the loop.

    Fiberglass IG Pool 16' x 40' XX gallons & fiberglass IG Spa XX gallons
    Using Hayward equipment including AuqaPlus, EcoStar VSP, TurboCell T-CELL-9 SWG, cartridge filter, heater & actuator values
    Installed May 10, 2016 using city water with known hardness of 200ppm, water test kit - TBD

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    Re: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    Go to Home Depot and spend $8.48 and get yourself one of these....
    Commercial Electric Tools GFCI Outlet Tester - Green-MS102H - The Home Depot

    Then plug into the receptacle that your booster pump was plugged into and press the red button...If the circuit shuts off, then it is GFCI protected, if it doesn't, then it's not (or it's not working).... If it shuts off, then you'll have to find the reset switch (its usually on another receptacle or on the breaker panel..if its on the breaker panel, that breaker will be tripped....that breaker will also have a button on it to test the GFCI just like you did with your Home Depot tool)...

    If it doesn't shut off, then you can put a GFCI receptacle in or just have an electrician or a handyman put one in...replacing a receptacle is not required to be done by an electrician...

    You can use your robot without a GFCI for the time being, just don't get in the water while its on for safety reasons (just in case)....
    20k Gunite 16' x 32' , Hayward c7030 700 sq ft cartridge filter. Pentair Superflo 1hp 2sp pump, Intellichlor IC40 w/ Power Center SWG, Hayward GL-235 Solar Controller, (2) Digital GE Timers.

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    Re: Robotic cleaner, no GFCI? What happens?

    Thank you. Great idea.

    30kgal in-ground/steel with vinyl liner, aluminum bullnose coping || 1 H.P. superpump || Polaris P9550 robot|| Hayward 48sq ft DE filter || Taylor K2006 kit

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