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Thread: Pump trips breaker after a few seconds

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    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Question Pump trips breaker after a few seconds

    Long time lurker, first time poster. I've read lots of other threads with similar issues but nothing seems to match mine.

    Got heavy rain a few days ago with some minor flooding. Since then, my pump trips the breaker after running for 3-5 seconds. I assumed the issue was caused by moisture in the motor or wiring. But the equipment has been sitting in the hot Arizona sun for a couple days and the problem continues.

    I inspected the cord and removed the endcap of the motor and my layman eyes didn't see moisture or anything unusual. I also removed the cover from the run capacitor on top and it looked fine. The ground wire is still firmly attached. The motor and impeller appear to work as I can see water getting sucked from the leaf basket into the pump during those few seconds before it shuts off. The motor is hardwired to a breaker inside a control box. The controller and pool light work fine.

    Unless its a big coincidence, I'm convinced the rain caused this. The equipment got VERY wet. I don't think the motor was submerged, but it's possible the flooding reached the bottom vents. But if the motor or starter capacitor got damaged, it wouldn't run at all, right? Could it be the run capacitor? An electrical issue that needs a pro? Or do I have to bite the bullet and buy a new motor?

    Any advice appreciated!

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    Re: Pump trips breaker after a few seconds

    if it got that wet the windings may have gotten damp. if the insulation was damp when you turned it very well may have shorted. If that is the case the motor would need to be rewound (rebuilt) to fix it. Best bet is a new motor. If you are handy with a VOM you figure out if the motor is shot.
    TFP Moderator Chris V. ~16K Pool & Spa, 48NSF DE, IG Plaster Circa 2000, Intermatic PE653, Challenger pump with a 2 speed B2984, 20gal stenner chlorine injection, Houston, TX
    One cannot follow Islam and Christianity at the same time, nor can one follow pool store methods and TFP at the same time.
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    Re: Pump trips breaker after a few seconds

    I was afraid of that! It's very plausable that's what happened as it was still rainy when the timer started the pump that night. I would've assumed the motor was shot when it still didn't work after it dried, but the fact that it still works briefly threw me off. I would've expected it to just hum or have no response if that was the case. It is possible for a motor to briefly function before it shorts out?

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    gtemkin's Avatar
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    Re: Pump trips breaker after a few seconds

    Quote Originally Posted by doubleak View Post
    It is possible for a motor to briefly function before it shorts out?
    Short answer is YES.

    You didn't say whether your breaker is a GFCI style, but on the off chance that the short didn't cause a permanent conductive path of any consequence, you could try some hours of forced air drying with a hair dryer blowing into the motor's innards. Air flow is quite effective at getting things dry and since the motor inside contains thousands of small, water wicking cavities, you really need a lot of air flow to truly get it dried.

    It's likely it won't work and the insulative materials of the motor have been too compromised, but you may bring it back to life long enough to buy some time while you search for a replacement.
    21K gal 16' x 40' in-ground pool built 1959, old school with Jacuzzi bronze pump, American Products 24" Sand Filter & Americana Multiport valve, Jandy Lite2 millivolt heater, Coverstar cover, and classic Kreepy Krauly.

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    Re: Pump trips breaker after a few seconds

    Get a meter that can read uf and check the cap and make sure it's in spec. That could kick the breaker. If not. Make sure the windings aren't grounded to frame (ground). Make sure it's hooked up to the correct voltage and settings are correct . Some pumps have a jumper wire and some have a pressure connector that just Moves from 115v to 230v, I've seen alot get easily moved and customer is unhappy that it's that easy to fix such a mistake they made.


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    Re: Pump trips breaker after a few seconds

    Thank you all for the wise words. I let it dry out for a couple more days but no luck. I lack the electrical knowledge to fix it myself and its an old single-speed motor anyway so I'm just going to bite down and upgrade to a variable speed pump. The price stings a bit but least my lower electric bill will soften the blow!

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