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Thread: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

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    ITR's Avatar
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    Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    Hey there...having a little challenge. New pool as of December and PB has been trying to diagnose a problem...asking you guys for any insight.

    The pool pump breaker is a GFCI...it works great most of the time, but about once a week, the breaker trips and has to be reset. I can reset it and it works fine for another week. The electrical contractor came out and checked the wiring and breakers...could not find anything. They suggested I keep the sprinklers off for a week...which isn't going to help due to the breaker being tripped on days when the sprinklers aren't even set to go off.

    I think the PB is stumped....any ideas on thing I can check?

    John
    ----
    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    Skitch's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    The cheap fix is to replace the GFCI breaker.
    18k gal AG Sand Filter K-2006

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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    You can meggar the motor. This determines if there is any leakage from the motor and motor wiring to ground.

    Simple test, but needs special equipment. Maybe ask your electrician friends. Semi-standard procedure for motors in industrial facilities.


    30,000 gal inground (20 ft. x 40 ft. w/ deep end), vinyl liner, Pentair Clear & Clear 420 cartridge filter, single speed 1.5 HP Pentair Whisperflow pump, heat pump, SunTouch controller

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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    I'm with skitch. Replace the gfi breaker, but with a standard one., ASSUMING that you can put gfci recepticals on each outlet. I've seen many of times the gfci breaker failing, which impacts everything on that circuit. The best way to triage and how we always worked was standard breakers and gfci outlets. That allows you to pinpoint the problematic source rather than guessing which faulty device connecting to that one breaker.



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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    The puzzler is that it runs for a week before it trips. Is there any commonality to when it trips (day of week, time, clothes washing day, garbage day, etc.)? I was being a little facetious, but try to think of something out of the ordinary that happens.

    I see that you have an ozonator. Does it run whenever the pump runs or is it on a timer or automation system?

    What size is the breaker?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    A question first. Do you have ANY other GFCI devices, such as a GFCI outlet or a piece of equipment with integral GFCI protection, connected to your circuit breaker? If you do, they are probably interfering with each. If there is, replace the GFCI outlet with a standard outlet. The GFCI breaker will provide protection to the entire circuit. If your equipment has integral protection, you will need to install a separate circuit for that piece of equipment.

    All breakers can fail, many times exhibiting symptoms you are experiencing. Over time they will open more frequently, eventually being unable to be reset. To test, you can try temporarily replacing it with a standard breaker and wait to see if it trips. If it does, you've found the problem. Replace it with a new GFCI breaker. If not, then there is something else in the circuit drawing excessive power but not enough to cause an instanteous trip. If you decide to try the test, I strongly suggest that you do not allow anyone in the pool as you will not have any ground fault protection.
    Steve
    32 X 16 inground, 17260 gallons, Vinyl Liner, Triton II TR-60 filter,
    Sta-Rite 1hp pump Model #MPRA6E-147L, CircuPool SI-30 Plus SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    question, where exactly is the GFCI? If it is in you main and power is running to the pool pad and other electrical devices are connected to the box at the pad that could be the problem.. All the electrical guru's on here have told me only 1 thing on a GFCI and only at the pad with a regular breaker in the main..

    What was explained to me is the GFCI can detect something else turning on or off and tripping because it thinks there is a problem..

    hope that helps
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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    From looking at your equipment I assume you have a 220v pump. What is the amp rating on the breaker? Does the breaker trip only on low or high speed or trip at either speed? The pump draws more current on high. Do you have any other devices on that breaker? In my opinion the best thing to do first if the breaker is sized properly is to replace the breaker and see if the trouble goes away. It is possible that you could have a bad breaker that is tripping in error.

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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    Wow...you guys are awesome! Sorry I didn't get back to you until now...work got in the way. Let's see if I can answer all the questions here (forgive the explanations...I am definitely not an electrician):

    1) The circuit breaker is labeled 20amp "dual pole?" breaker. Sorry, I don't know the specific name for it, but it has two circuits that are tied together...since there are two maybe that makes it a 40amp? It looks like this picture, except with some white one it which they tell me is the GFCI-specific part. http://www.aaronssupply.com/file/201..._Breaker_1.jpg

    2) Our county code requires GFCI on the pump. The PB thinks its a "stupid code" and I have no knowledge to disagree or agree with them...but they are trying to stay "legal", which I appreciate.

    3) I have not been able to recreate the tripping while I am there. Generally here is what happens. I wake up, notice the pump is not on or come home and notice "****" on the water surface and pretty much know something is wrong. I spent an hour last weekend spraying a hose on the equipment like "rain" and could not recreate the problem to make it trip. At first I thought it was happening only during/after a rain, but this week it tripped without any rain or sprinkler or any water happening.

    4) The ozonator is on the same circuit as the pump. They had the ozonator checked and they plugged a hole which they said it problematic during rains as water seeps in. Unfortunately it is hardwired into the circuit and has no "on/off" switch so I can't eliminate for troubleshooting purposes on my own. Also, it is "always on"...I assume...since it isn't on a timer. My assumption it also that it also is only "live" when it the pump is scheduled to run.

    5) No commonality on day it trips. Sometimes its during the week, sometimes on the weekend.

    6) Speaking with the PB, they did replace the seals and something else in the motor, unfortunately that has not helped. What is "meggar"ing?

    7) This breaker is in the Zodiac/Jandy RS-8 control panel. Not my main home control panel. The Zodiac panel is on the other side of the house by the equipment and they ran conduit through the attic to the main house box on the other side. I'm guessing since nothing else in the Zodiac box trips, this is not an issue with my main house electrical...but again, certainly not qualified/certified/licensed.

    8) I do have another GFCI outlet on the outside of the Zodiac box. Nothing is hooked to it (my landscape lighting is hardwired to the relay), but I never have to hit the "reset" on it after the breaker trips, so I assume that is not the cause.

    9) The electrical company they sent out replaced the breaker once...but again, with a GFCI one, not a standard one.

    Thanks again for the questions...let me know if what I have provided makes anything "trigger" or if you guys have any other questions. The PB is about ready to send out a Pentair rep to check it out...so they are trying...which is nice to see.
    ----
    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    I'll answer the ones I can.
    1. That's a 2-pole 20 amp gfci breaker.
    6. A megger tests the insulation in the motor to make sure it hasn't degraded and is shorting out inside. That's usually done on bigger motors in industrial service, but still a valid test if you suspect the motor is the culprit.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    I'm no expert but on my build, I put only the pool equipment on the double 20 GFCI breaker. No other equipment or receptacles to interfere. Those ground faults are finicky anyway. FYI...150.00 for a breaker will make you go....ugh!
    18x36 Rectangle, 8ft deep end, 26k gallons, vinyl liner, Intellichlor IC40 Chlorinator, 1.5 HP Superflo Pump, Hayward Tigershark QC Robotic Cleaner

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    Propbndr's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    Try plugging in a light into the outlet then turn off the breaker. If the light goes off, it is wired to one side of the breaker. If it is, that could be part or all of your problem. I would disconnect the outlet, insulate the wires, then wait to see if the breaker trips again. If that fixes your problem, and you need that outlet, you will have to have a separate circuit installed to power it.
    Steve
    32 X 16 inground, 17260 gallons, Vinyl Liner, Triton II TR-60 filter,
    Sta-Rite 1hp pump Model #MPRA6E-147L, CircuPool SI-30 Plus SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    Could you post some pictures of the wiring inside the breaker box? I am a bit curious as to the type of wire used to wire this circuit. Also, a couple of shots of the connections on the circuit if you are comfortable with opening the boxes.

    GFCI breakers and receptacles are designed to trip by detecting a current flow imbalance between the hot and neutral wires (120 volt) or between the two hot leads on a 240 circuit. A current imbalance of ~5 milliamps is the normal design threshold to trip the protection. Some older style GFCI's did not like big inrush currents. This has supposedly been corrected for several years now. Having two or more devices on a GFCI should be no problem as long as the voltage is the same on all devices. If there is a 120 volt device on a 240 volt GFCI breaker it can cause tripping problems as the 240 volt breaker does not monitor the neutral in that circuit. Actually, if a neutral wire is included in a 240 volt circuit it is considered a Multi-wire branch circuit and can not have a GFCI breaker protecting it.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    The motor is either shorted (will trip the breaker and wont run) or open (no operation and would not trip the breaker) being an industrial electrician I agree with changing your GFCI, they do "weaken" over time.
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    ITR's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    Good thing I went out to take pictures...it had just tripped. It was working an hour ago when I shut off the pump and went inside. It does not seem as those the external GFCI is on this circuit...but connected to the "controls" circuit. Here are the pictures as requested.








    Oh, and I will mention. This pool was "new" in December of 2014. The equipment was installed in November. MY guess is that they used new breakers and the electrician did replace the GFCI breaker again earlier this month as a troubleshooting step.
    ----
    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    Since this is a new pool, your equipment should be under warranty, I would call the PB and tell them the entire story and request they test / replace the pump.
    Steve
    32 X 16 inground, 17260 gallons, Vinyl Liner, Triton II TR-60 filter,
    Sta-Rite 1hp pump Model #MPRA6E-147L, CircuPool SI-30 Plus SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    Quote Originally Posted by ITR View Post
    2) Our county code requires GFCI on the pump. The PB thinks its a "stupid code" and I have no knowledge to disagree or agree with them...but they are trying to stay "legal", which I appreciate.
    It is actually the National Electrical Code which requires this, you county has just adopted to use this code. It is not a stupid code, it is there for a reason - the safety of your family. It's a new pool and their responsibility to make it right. Just be careful, after a couple of trip sto the house someone is going to try to swap out the GFCI for a standard breaker. Don't accept that!.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    ITR's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    Propbndr, as I mentioned that PB is actively trying to resolve this but has been unsuccessful for a month. I'm hoping have a few more eyes on this through the forum might spark some ideas I could suggest to them.

    Tim, good to know. Probably why they have not replaced the breaker to non-GFCI.


    ----
    15' x 29' 10,300 gal w/ spa, IG-Plaster (Stonescapes Tropics Blue), 2spd WhisperFlo pump (1.5hp WFDS-26), Pentair Clean and Clear CC200 cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 300BTU heater, Clear o3, RS-8 iAqualink

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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    OK, we have determined that your pump is indeed a 240 volt unit. Is the ozone a 240 volt unit or a 120 volt unit?
    The wiring inside the box looks OK. A bit messy for my taste but not bad either. I was not able to trace out which conduit the pump motor wires go out thru so I can not see if there is a neutral wire involved or not. I do have some concern that the pool light circuit is not a GFCI although it is possible that there could be a GFCI receptacle in the circuit.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Anyone good out there with electrical issues (GFCI)

    What is the pump timer schedule? High speed on/off, low speed on/off?

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