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Thread: Pump wiring and GFI

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    jimmcg29's Avatar
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    Pump wiring and GFI

    I am in the market for a new pump and was looking at a two speed. I was thinking there would simply be a switch on the motor to switch from fast to slow. After some research it sounds like there is a little more to it so I donít think I will be doing that. I donít want to replace timers and add wires etc. Doing this research however, got me thinking about how mine is wired.
    Pool pump originally wired in the 70s but 7 years ago the electrical was all updated inside the house but I donít think the electrician changed anything on the outside of the house. The point is there are no aluminum wires or old fashioned fuse boxes or anything like that.

    Inside the breaker box in the basement there are two 20 amp circuits dedicated to the pool pump. These do not have GFCI protection. Next to the breaker box there is a mechanical timer for the pump. One cable goes from the breaker box into the timer and another from the timer to the pool equipment. The neutral (white) wires are covered in black electrical tape which I understand that indicates they are actually hot. The timer also has some all-white jumper wires.
    Outside where the wires come out of the house there is a standard GFCI outlet that does not work. I donít remember ever plugging anything into it but the reset button never reset the outlet which I just ignored because I never used it. The only time I would ever want to use it I would have the power shut-off anyhow.
    From there the wires go to a covered double pole switch and then to the motor.

    From some research I done on this site I am sensing something is not right even beyond the receptacle that will not reset the GFIC. Before I wire up a new pump I want this right.
    I am thinking what needs to happen is first replace the 2 separate 20 amp breakers with a double pole with 2 -20 amps and GFCi protection. (Over $100). I seen a few videos on how to install the new breaker but they always go from a single pole to single pole or double pole to double pole. I would be going from two single poles to one double poles. The other oddity is I would not have a neutral (white) wire. Do I connect the white wire from the new circuit to the neutral bus bar anyhow?

    Assuming I get that installed moving to the outside the house the cable will have two hots and a ground. Can I even hook up the outlet? Seems like any outlet would require one hot and one neutral and the ground.

    Could I be overthinking this whole thing and all I really need to do is replace the non-working receptacle with a new one and if I wired everything exactly the same way I would get the GFCI protection I would need?

    One other thing the pump was attached to a separate ground buried in the ground. Is that because the pump was originally installed before houses were grounded the way they are now? Should I continue to use that or should I use the ground coming out of the cable.

    I am trying to figure out as much as I can before I open anything up or buy anything.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pump wiring and GFI

    Having a simple switch to choose between low and high speed is very common and often is the preferred setup. If you have a pool cleaner powered by the main pump or a solar system you will probably need something more complex, but for a standard setup a simple switch is the best approach.

    It sounds like your wiring was changed from 115 volts to 230 volts at some point and whoever did that didn't really follow electrical code. You should never have a 230 volt circuit on two separate breakers, always on a 230 volt breaker so both legs turn off at the same time when the breaker trips.

    Your basic plan is fine. The white/neutral wire on the new CGFI breaker gets wired to the neural bus bar inside the panel, but is not run out to the pool.

    You can not hook up the outlet (unless it is on a separate circuit). There is some chance they were using the outlet as a CGFI for the pool motor, but if so it is a code violation and should be removed.

    The "ground" wire coming out of the ground is actually part of the bonding system and should be connected to the bonding connector on the chassis of the pump. This is a crucial safety feature that has nothing to do with normal grounding. The normal ground wire should be connected just as it (hopefully) currently is to the green grounding terminal.
    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: Pump wiring and GFI

    By your description, you have a 240 volt pump. This circuit requires two wires to function properly. Both are connected to a double pole breaker, or in your case two single pole breakers (this is not code compliant any more unless both handles are connected together) What you want to do as far as replacing the breaker is fine as far as using the wires as is. Both hot leads, black and white with tape, will connect to the breaker. There also has to be a ground wire connected between the motor and the ground bar in the panel. By todays codes, the ground wire from the pump to the panel must be an insulated ground wire. There is no code requirement for a ground rod at the pump. There is a code requirement for a bonding wire to the bond grid to be attached to the pump. The separate GFCI receptacle needs to be on it's own circuit. or receive it's power from another 120 volt circuit. You can not pull the power from the 240 volt circuit in this case as it will cause problems with the GFCI protection for the pump.

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    jimmcg29's Avatar
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    Re: Pump wiring and GFI

    Thanks for the quick replies. Sounds like I am going in the right direction. I should point out the two circuit breakers are connected with a bracket so when one trips the other does as well. Maybe what I will find when I start opening things up is there are two wires coming from the house and one is the standard 120 feeding the receptacle and the other is the wire for the pump.

    Now you got be thinking about this two speed motor again. Maybe I need to do some more investigating before I rule that out. I don’t have any other cleaners or anything just the pump. I can look to see if there are other posts that explain how that is wired. I thought I read I will need a new timer and run another cable from the timer which is not going to happen.

    A late Spring in Michigan is giving me time to figure this out.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pump wiring and GFI

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmcg29 View Post
    I should point out the two circuit breakers are connected with a bracket so when one trips the other does as well.
    Good! That is much better than I feared from your description. That is a 230 volt breaker, non-GFCI of course.

    The way we recommend using a two speed pump with a simple pool setup is to have a manual switch which you leave on low speed all the time except for a few exceptions, which all involve you being there to switch the switch yourself. You normally only need high speed for priming the pump, backwashing the filter (if yours needs backwashing), and manual vacuuming.

    Other equipment, like solar panels, often requires other setups, often with a dual timer, but for a simple pool there is no need for all that.
    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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    jimmcg29's Avatar
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    Re: Pump wiring and GFI

    If I ever decide to add a chlorine generator in the future which I would like to do next year how would that fit into this set-up. At that time will I need to run another line? That is a huge deal for me but I could probably do it.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pump wiring and GFI

    Nearly all of the time a SWG will work just fine with low speed. You would wire the SWG so that it is only powered when the pump is running (at either speed).
    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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    jimmcg29's Avatar
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    Re: Pump wiring and GFI

    I was planning on finishing this project over the Memorial Day weekend up unfortunately there was a shipping snafu with the pump. I did end up going with a 2 speed pump. I selected the 2 speed Hayward Super Pump. Only time will tell how super it really is but I like the way the basket opens.

    Anyhow I hope I did not waste a lot of time, energy and money over the holiday weekend. Without the pump I was not sure how to wire all the switches and everything and I moved forward the best I could figure out.
    As mentioned earlier I replaced the double pole standard circuit breaker with a gfci model. That went fairly well. I later moved on to the switch. From what I read I figured I needed two switches so I replaced my single gang switch box with a double box to accommodate the extra switch.

    This is how I wired them.
    ē The two hot wires went to a double pole 30 amp switch
    ē From this switch one went to the motor (or where the motor will be) The other went to another single pole switch
    ē From the single pole switch the wire went to the motor
    ē The green ground wire attaches to all the ground terminals.

    The pump finally arrived and there is a switch on the pump for the speed control. I have a couple questions with how I should proceed from here. The motor plate has two wiring options with switch and without switch. Assuming my original plan mentioned above has some merit, I believe I would wire it as without switch because I am supplying the switch. If that is the case, do I remove the wires coming from the motors switch and simply attach the wires to the motor?
    If so I should connect the wire from the first switch to terminal 4 low speed and the wire coming from the second switch would go to terminal 3 high speed. Green goes to ground Which wire goes to the 2 common terminal? I ran out of wires.

    Also the connections to the motor are nuts rather than screws. Should I get some terminals like the ones they provide for the internal wiring?

    Note the black and white wires in the photo came with the pump as shown and they are only about two inches long and simply cut and the other end is not attached to anything.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pump wiring and GFI

    Using an external switch is fine.

    It would indeed be good to get some crimp on connectors for the ends of the wires that look like the ones internal to the motor.

    If you are supplying your own speed switch, it need to be a single pool double throw switch, one input and two outputs. That is where the "missing" wire should come from.
    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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    TFP Guide

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    Re: Pump wiring and GFI

    don't use the nuts on the terminals to secure wires/crimps. If you want to you will need to supply additional nuts to do this. The nuts that are there are what is holding the studs in place. As Jason mentioned it would be best to get some new 1/4" spade connectors and crimp them to the wires and connect them that way.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    sargent's Avatar
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    Re: Pump wiring and GFI

    It sounds to me like the single pole switch you have is a single throw (just on-off) switch. Assuming I am correct, it should be replaced with a double throw (three way) switch. If you do that, the wire from the two pole switch should go to terminal 2. The second switch, the double throw (three way) switch should have two wires going from it to the pump, as Jason said. One should go to terminal 3, and the other to terminal 4.

    Or you could just keep the external switches as you have them and use the internal switch to change speeds. In that case the wire from the first switch would connect to the white wire with a wire nut, and the wire from the second switch (which you could remove, since it is kind of redundant) would connect to the black wire using a wire nut.
    14k gal IG vinyl, Jandy Flopro 1 hp up-rated, 2 spd pump, Hayward 325 sq ft cartridge filter, Circupool Si-40 SWCG

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    jimmcg29's Avatar
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    Re: Pump wiring and GFI

    Success, Thank you everyone for your help everything is running as expected. I did have a Clark Griswald moment. Everything was running and I could change speeds but I had a couple loose plumbing connections. I shut the pump off and redid some of the connections. I turned the pump back on and about 4 seconds later the pump shut off. Checked the breaker and that was fine. Only thing I could think of the thing overheated and shut itself off. I thought I would let it cool off and try it again. Went to the store and worried about why it would overheat. By the time I got back my wife figured out it wasn’t working so I had to listen how I broke it etc. and should have called in a pro. Still not working I took the cover off the motor to test the connections and sure enough there was now power. Was about to disassemble everything to figure out why no power. I went down to turn the breaker off and by chance looked at the timer. Sure enough I never reset the timer after the power was off and it triped at a random time just as I was starting the pump. Now everything is fine I just need it to warm up now.

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