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Thread: Pool Pump Ground Wire Question (Bonding Wire)

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    Pool Pump Ground Wire Question (Bonding Wire)

    Hi everyone,

    When I opened my pool this year, the pump wouldn't come on. When I turned the power on, the motor would hum, but not actually start. I took everything apart and found that the shaft was siezed. I used some vice grips and WD-40 to get it spinning again. I also noticed that the cover on the back of the motor was heavily corroded. The pump motor is situated directly beneith the backwash output from my mulitport, which slowly drips. I think the dripping over time caused the top/back of the motor housing to corrode. In any event, when I put everything back together, I used duct tape around the back of the motor to hold the cover on and to prevent water dripping from the multiport valve from getting into the motor housing.

    Everything worked for about two months, but this morning I noticed the pump wasn't on. When I inspected, I found that the ground wire was broken and the circuit breaker was tripped. My ground wire is a bare wire that runs from out of the ground on the left side of the pump station, over the pump motor - where it connects to the outside of the pump housing, and finally it gets wrapped around a pipe comming out of the ground, that looks like it may be a gas line hook up for a heater??? The ground wire was broken in between where it connects to the motor housing and where it is wrapped around the pipe coming out of the ground.

    I temporarily connected the groundwire where it had broken and turned the power back on. When I did, I heard a loud pop and the breaker tripped again. I did the same thing again and heard another pop and the breaker tripped again. After a third time, I saw smoke coming from the back of the pump motor from under the area I had duct tapped.

    Upon reflection, I think the duct tape was maybe a bad idea because although it was designed to keep water out, it proparly also keeps water in. We just had 24 hours of heavy rain and I'm guessing water got in the back cover and was held there by the duct tape, thus causing a short in the motor under the back cover where the wiring is. I'm going to take a look at it when I get home tonight, but my quesion is what's up with my ground wire? Why would it break? Could that be caused by the motor being shorted out? Can I just twist it together where it broke to repair it? Where does it connect to under ther gound? Should it be connected to the metal pipe on the other side? Do I need the ground wire? I'm just looking for information on the ground wire since I know nothing about it.

    Thanks,

    Kevin
    ---
    30,000 gallon vinyl pool
    Hayward DE Filter
    Hayward Super Pump
    AO Smith 1 1/2 HP Pump (27GPM)
    Polaris 380 Pool Cleaner

    Check out the app I created to control my pool equipment from my smartphone:
    i-created-an-app-to-control-pool-equipment-with-smartphone-t61606-20.html

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Re: Pool Pump Ground Wire Question (Bonding Wire)

    Upon further research, it seems the wire I am referring to is actually a bonding wire, which I know nothing about. I changed the title to reflect this. I'm looking for information on the bonding wire. Thanks,

    Kevin
    ---
    30,000 gallon vinyl pool
    Hayward DE Filter
    Hayward Super Pump
    AO Smith 1 1/2 HP Pump (27GPM)
    Polaris 380 Pool Cleaner

    Check out the app I created to control my pool equipment from my smartphone:
    i-created-an-app-to-control-pool-equipment-with-smartphone-t61606-20.html

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Silver Spring, MD
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    Re: Pool Pump Ground Wire Question (Bonding Wire)

    The bonding wire probably broke for the same reasons the circuit breaker is tripping, a short inside the motor combined with/caused by corrosion.

    The bonding wire is supposed to connect together everything metal that comes in contact with the water or is within 3' of the waters edge. Normally it runs from the pump and heater to a loop all the way around the pool which also contacts to rebar in the concrete (if you have concrete) and the ladders (if your ladders are metal).

    Simple twisted together connections are not sufficient for a bonding wire. Connections should be made using split bolt clamps rated for use with bonding systems.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Pool Pump Ground Wire Question (Bonding Wire)

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    The bonding wire probably broke for the same reasons the circuit breaker is tripping, a short inside the motor combined with/caused by corrosion.

    The bonding wire is supposed to connect together everything metal that comes in contact with the water or is within 3' of the waters edge. Normally it runs from the pump and heater to a loop all the way around the pool which also contacts to rebar in the concrete (if you have concrete) and the ladders (if your ladders are metal).

    Simple twisted together connections are not sufficient for a bonding wire. Connections should be made using split bolt clamps rated for use with bonding systems.
    Thanks for the response... Any idea if I can get split bolt clamps from my local pool store or H.D./Lowes?

    Kevin
    ---
    30,000 gallon vinyl pool
    Hayward DE Filter
    Hayward Super Pump
    AO Smith 1 1/2 HP Pump (27GPM)
    Polaris 380 Pool Cleaner

    Check out the app I created to control my pool equipment from my smartphone:
    i-created-an-app-to-control-pool-equipment-with-smartphone-t61606-20.html

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    Location
    SouthWest Alabama
    Posts
    22,349

    Re: Pool Pump Ground Wire Question (Bonding Wire)

    As Jason said, the bonding wire has to be spliced using an approved split bolt connector. You can pick those up at most big box stores or electrical supply hoouses.

    It could have broken for a number of reasons. Fatigue over time from the pump vibrating, corrosion from stray voltages and the water dripping on it, etc. Or some combination of things. The important thing is to fix it.

    Your motor problem might have been exacerbated by the duct tape or it might have already been in such bad shape that failure was going to happen anyway.

    You need to fix the waste piping so that it doesn't drip on the new motor when you replace it or you'll be right back in the same situation in the near future.

    P.S. The broken bonding wire didn't have anything to do with the motor shorting out. Just wanted to point that out.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Pool Pump Ground Wire Question (Bonding Wire)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    As Jason said, the bonding wire has to be spliced using an approved split bolt connector. You can pick those up at most big box stores or electrical supply hoouses.

    It could have broken for a number of reasons. Fatigue over time from the pump vibrating, corrosion from stray voltages and the water dripping on it, etc. Or some combination of things. The important thing is to fix it.

    Your motor problem might have been exacerbated by the duct tape or it might have already been in such bad shape that failure was going to happen anyway.

    You need to fix the waste piping so that it doesn't drip on the new motor when you replace it or you'll be right back in the same situation in the near future.

    P.S. The broken bonding wire didn't have anything to do with the motor shorting out. Just wanted to point that out.
    Thanks for the response. I am definitely going to address the waste pipe issue. I think I'll grab one of those short (2') flexible PVC pipes and use a hose clamp to connect it to the waste output on the multiport valve. That way, the dripping will go out the pipe and away from my pump.

    I'll check my big box stores from the split bolt connectors.

    Kevin
    ---
    30,000 gallon vinyl pool
    Hayward DE Filter
    Hayward Super Pump
    AO Smith 1 1/2 HP Pump (27GPM)
    Polaris 380 Pool Cleaner

    Check out the app I created to control my pool equipment from my smartphone:
    i-created-an-app-to-control-pool-equipment-with-smartphone-t61606-20.html

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