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Thread: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

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    Angry 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    I've had the same pump/GFCI breaker and wiring for 15 years now. Pump motor was rebuilt 2 years ago.

    The pool is in-ground, 16x32, pump is 240volt protected by GFCI breaker at the panel, dedicated circuit. Wall-mounted outside by the pump is a power shutoff and a motor control switch to start/stop the pump. All equipment is open-air, but rated as such.

    Pump has worked fine all season (past 3 months). We had heavy rain on Wed afternoon, I had the pump turned off at the time. After the rain stopped I went out to switch on the pump. Started fine, but a few mins later it was off. Now it will not start, as the GFI breaker trips immediately.

    What I have done so far;
    - replace the outdoor switch
    - replace the GFCI breaker
    - bypass the power shutoff box
    - took the pump apart and had a tech check it out. Works fine, started up (mind you it's a dual voltage pump 120/240 he used 120)

    What the heck else can I test/check? My pool is starting to turn on me, it's a long weekend and can't find an electrician.
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    borjis's Avatar
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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    wait..it was wired as 240 but the tech put it back to 120??

    need some clarity as it doesn't make sense and might be part of the problem.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
    Dolphin E10 Cleaning Robot.

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    No it's just capable of running at either 120 or 240 - depending on how your wiring is connected. He didn't change anything, he just connected it to 120v in his shop.
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    Most likely some water got into the motor. With my 20+ year old pool Iíve also found water in the conduit and degraded wire insulation so I had to pull new wires.

    Get a low cost digital multimeter and check for leakage resistance. The steps are:

    Turn off the power to the pool subpanel
    Turn off the pump GFCI
    Turn on the pump switch.

    Check the resistance between ground (the panel box) and each side of the pump breaker. This should be a minimum of 50K ohms and ideally well over 500K.

    If you have < 50K Ohms, disconnect the wiring at the pump and check each line terminal to ground. Check the wiring for leakage to ground too. The problem will be at the pump, wiring or switch or all three.

    If itís the pump, let it dry for a few days, and check it again. If it returns to normal reconnect it, reinstall the wiring cover and seal the cover with silicone calk. If it's the switch or wiring you should just replace with new.

    If you are not experienced working with 220V, call an electrician. You can be easily injured or killed.
    20' x 40' 30,000 gallon IG Plaster with Spa, wading pool, fountain built 1993
    Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo / 2HP fountain pump / 2 HP spa jet punp / Jandy Ji8000 controller with IntelliComm II interface to IntelliFlo
    Crystal Water Aqua Clean 60 Sq ft DE filter / FlowVis Flow / Stenner DIY Chlorinator / The Poolcleaner 4-wheel / Taylor K-2006

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    CA92807 - I know how not to electrocute myself but I have no idea how to test for leakage, so your suggestion is fantastic - thank you!

    I assumed the rain was the cause but I have completely disassembled the pump (except the motor itself) and saw no signs of water. Further, it worked just fine on the bench at the shop so I assume the difference is that the shop didn't have a GFCI and I do?

    As I mentioned I replaced the switch, the breaker and bypassed the outdoor shutoff panel, so it has to be wiring - or still the pump itself.
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    Quote Originally Posted by Cybergy View Post
    I assumed the rain was the cause but I have completely disassembled the pump (except the motor itself) and saw no signs of water. Further, it worked just fine on the bench at the shop so I assume the difference is that the shop didn't have a GFCI and I do?
    Even with high leakage current (low resistance) the motor will run fine without a GFCI. You usually won't see any evidence except in extreme cases when it arcs, ruining the motor as plastic is turned into carbon from the heat.

    You need a multimeter to isolate the root cause, but you don't need to pay over $20. Check out at Amazon. If you had a Harbor Freight nearby you can get one for free with a coupon.
    20' x 40' 30,000 gallon IG Plaster with Spa, wading pool, fountain built 1993
    Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo / 2HP fountain pump / 2 HP spa jet punp / Jandy Ji8000 controller with IntelliComm II interface to IntelliFlo
    Crystal Water Aqua Clean 60 Sq ft DE filter / FlowVis Flow / Stenner DIY Chlorinator / The Poolcleaner 4-wheel / Taylor K-2006

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    Gotcha, so if the short is minute enough it won't trip a breaker but will trip a GFCI. I'll just wait and keep trying the pump. Hopefully it will start before the long weekend is over!

    I've been using my multimeter all day but just checking for continuity where there shouldn't be. Will try testing for leakage tomorrow.
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    Well the numbers don't look good either way. Here's what I got testing between pony panel ground and each side of the GFI breaker (GFI Breaker OFF and pony panel breaker OFF);

    Pump Connected, Pump Switch On
    Red .9K ohms
    Black .9K ohms

    Pump Dis-Connected (at the pump switch - the "whip" was left connected to pump), Pump Switch On
    Red 14K ohms
    Black 33K ohms

    The resistance is very low either way.
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    Disconnect the wires at the pump and check from each side of the line input to the pump case ground. If it's 900 ohms at the motor you have a major issue, perhaps insulation breakdown in the field coils. Small chance it could be a failure of the start cap, so disconnect that and check. Also a chance there is debris in the centrifugal start switch, if you have one.

    The wiring from the breaker to the pump should really measure open from either side to ground. The GFCI should have no leakage to ground when open, but disconnect the wires and check just to be certain (I know, it's new). Your 15K & 33K measurement to ground is about what I had too, so I pulled out the wires and found water in the plastic conduit. The insulation had degraded and the line was leaking the ground wire. I used a pull rope with a long skinny rag at the end to collect the water (took several passes) and replaced the wires.
    20' x 40' 30,000 gallon IG Plaster with Spa, wading pool, fountain built 1993
    Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo / 2HP fountain pump / 2 HP spa jet punp / Jandy Ji8000 controller with IntelliComm II interface to IntelliFlo
    Crystal Water Aqua Clean 60 Sq ft DE filter / FlowVis Flow / Stenner DIY Chlorinator / The Poolcleaner 4-wheel / Taylor K-2006

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    CA92807, I messed up my shoulder so testing is done for today

    However earlier I had an idea to run from a regular, non gfi, breaker to see how the pump responded. It started and ran for about 30 seconds but was more noisy than normal, then the breaker tripped. I think it's the motor that's shot.

    Thought perhaps when the shop tested it at 120v it only uses half of the windings as opposed to me running at 240?

    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    Well I got the news from the shop today - pump is internally grounding out and it's toast. No idea why it worked on the bench last week, but possibly due to the fact it was only hooked up to 120v.

    I am now combing through the Pump forum posts for recommendations on a replacement.


    Thanks for all the help on this one!
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    Sorry for the bad news. You still need to check out your wiring in the conduit. If there is still leakage between any of the wires or to ground with both ends open (as you indicated) you need to fix that.
    20' x 40' 30,000 gallon IG Plaster with Spa, wading pool, fountain built 1993
    Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo / 2HP fountain pump / 2 HP spa jet punp / Jandy Ji8000 controller with IntelliComm II interface to IntelliFlo
    Crystal Water Aqua Clean 60 Sq ft DE filter / FlowVis Flow / Stenner DIY Chlorinator / The Poolcleaner 4-wheel / Taylor K-2006

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    The conduit has no water in it and readings on the lines show no issue, so I think I will be good to hook up the new pump when it arrives next week sometime.

    I settled on a Hayward 1hp, 2-speed pump which cost less than $100 more than putting a new motor in the old one speed.
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    If the motor tech connected 120v source to test the motor, he would have to change some wires on the motor terminal board to run it at 120v, because you have a 240v connection, are you sure he changed the terminal board connections back to 240v after he tested the motor? you brought the motor to the tech with a known 240v motor configuration, because you have 240v source that you connect to it normally, that's obvious.

    If he forgot to do that, it means you could have reconnected your wires, which supply 240v, to a terminal board set to run at 120v, which will fry the motor.

    you can hook 120v power source to 240v motor, and it will run usually, but it runs slower, and will trip thermal overload circuit on motor, because the motor runs hotter.
    you cannot run 240v power source to 120v configured motor, this may possibly explain why after 30 seconds, and unusual noise heard, was why motor fried. did it smell bad after it did this?

    everything you describe as to original problem with g.f.i. tripping, most likely was moisture related (rainfall), g.f.i,s are very sensitive to water, and are specifically designed to trip at the slightest sense of it.

    you said he was a "tech" most motor shops i know of have various voltage supply options where they bench test motors at, that clip on motor terminals, eliminating the need to alter terminal board to configure for 120v as in your case.

    i think the tech may be responsible for what happened, what may have been a fluke moisture related issue, that would have dried, and possibly fixed itself, and stop the gfi tripping, has now left you with a fried motor, just my thoughts on what could have happened, without being able to put my eyes on it.

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    Quote Originally Posted by Cybergy View Post
    The conduit has no water in it and readings on the lines show no issue, so I think I will be good to hook up the new pump when it arrives next week sometime.

    I settled on a Hayward 1hp, 2-speed pump which cost less than $100 more than putting a new motor in the old one speed.
    Please check the wiring for leaks as already recommended, they were suspiciously high (resistance too low) in your tests with pump off.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    Quote Originally Posted by pool&spatech View Post
    ...are you sure he changed the terminal board connections back to 240v
    I understand what you are saying but, I would say the point is moot now as I can't prove anything. I have no installation manual for the pentair whisperflo to confirm how to switch from 115 to 230. I just hooked up my friends old Hayward pump and there is a definite switch. I see nothing similar in my old dead pentair. There are two screw terminals and two wires connected to spade terminals. Think he put power on one screw and one spade. But I didn't see where he put his alligator clips.



    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    Quote Originally Posted by max2k View Post
    Please check the wiring for leaks as already recommended, they were suspiciously high (resistance too low) in your tests with pump off.
    Hooked up my friends old pump and its running great, so if there's an electrical issue it's not tripping the gfi any longer.

    It just seems to all point to the pump internally shorting out as was diagnosed at the shop.

    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    I'd like to close the loop on this issue;

    I was unable to sort things out before the winter freeze last season. Started up this spring and of course the tripping GFCI persisted.
    I emailed Hayward. After telling them the house wiring showed no fault, they had a new pump at my door in 2 days (motor and control only - not the wet end). Completely different motor manufacturer and design. I suspect they had issues with the old design, because that was too easy.


    New pump runs like a dream! No trips at all. Even through driving rain, etc.
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: 240v Pump Trips GFCI Immediately

    C,

    Thanks for the feedback, it will help us help others...

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

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