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Thread: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

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    Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    I have a two-year-old in-ground 10K-gallon Gunite pool with all Pentair controls and pumps. The electrical installation was done by an electrician who primarily does pool installations. The pool passed multiple electrical inspections by the city inspector. The filter pump is a 3-hp variable speed Pentair Intelliflo model. The pump is on a dedicated 20-amp GFCI breaker installed in an EasyTouch 8 outdoor control panel. The pump is approximately 6 feet from the breaker. The pool filters are clean and the baskets are free of debris. The pool water is fine.

    About a year ago, the GFCI breaker began to sporadically trip (weeks without a trip, then perhaps once or twice in one week). There was no noise from the pump when it started or while it was running. The breaker reset without a problem. Because the system was still under warranty, I contacted the contractor who immediately sent out the electrician. I was not at home, but the evidence suggests that he replaced the GFCI breaker. This seemed to fix the problem, or so I thought. A few months later, however, the same problem reappeared---very sporadic tripping of the breaker. It seems unlikely the new GFCI is bad. This is what I have tried to fix the problem:

    1. Swapped out the filter pump relay. Curiously, the tripping stopped for a while after I did this, but it returned again later.
    2. Ensured that all the electrical connections in the control panel and at the pump are tight.
    3. Looked for water infiltration from rain at the panel and between the panel and the pump. I noticed that the wires for the pump passed through a junction box. When I looked inside the junction box, there had obviously been rain water infiltrating the box, but the wires themselves were dry. I sealed the junction box with silicon caulk and thought that this should solve the problem. It did not.

    At this point, I am thinking it could be one of these issues:

    1. There might be a nick in the wires running from the breaker to the pump. Although the wires are in above-ground outdoor-rated conduit, we live in a hot, humid climate. Perhaps the moisture builds up in the conduit, causing the fault.
    2. The pump periodically pulls too many amps, tripping the breaker (i.e., the pump is bad). I could measure the amps with a clamp-on ammeter, but unless I catch it when it trips, it will not be high.

    Before I replace the wiring and/or replace the very expensive pump, does anyone have another suggestion for what might be causing the breaker to trip? Should I try a different brand GFCI breaker?

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    Since VSP pumps seem to be so finicky trying a different brand would probably be worth a shot if from somewhere you can return it if it does no good. I found while looking into my own GFCI issues with my Hayward that a Siemens GFCI was recommended and when I got one I had no further issues. Pentair sells their own breakers: http://www.pentairpool.com/products/...reaker-428.htm

    However, I doubt they actually make them and they look suspiciously just like a Siemens along with the note "Works in any breaker base that is approved for use with Siemens QPF style breakers". It may be worth picking up a Siemens locally. For 20A double pole it's QF220P.
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    Thanks. I was thinking I would give this a try. My question was going to be who makes the Pentair-branded breaker, but it seems like that they are Siemens based on what you discovered. I will see if I can find one locally. Thanks for taking the time to help.

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    I don't know for a fact that Siemens makes the Pentair, but only suspect based on it looking identical and their manual stating it fits anything that fits the Siemens. Home Depot takes returns pretty easy if it doesn't resolve it anyway
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    You mentioned that you swapped out the pump relay...An intelliflo should be wired directly to the breaker when using controls such as easytouch. If you are not wired directly to the breaker, I would start with that.
    Last edited by thepoolman; 06-29-2015 at 09:58 AM. Reason: Incomplete

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by thepoolman View Post
    You mentioned that you swapped out the pump relay...An intelliflo should be wired directly to the breaker when using controls such as easytouch. If you are not wired directly to the breaker, I would start with that.
    According to the diagram stamped on the inside cover of the load center, the filter pump should be connected to a power relay. Also, see page 32 of this document: http://www.pentairpool.com/pdfs/LoadCenterIG.pdf

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by thepoolman View Post
    You mentioned that you swapped out the pump relay...An intelliflo should be wired directly to the breaker when using controls such as easytouch. If you are not wired directly to the breaker, I would start with that.
    OK, I see your point. But now I am confused. The panel and EasyTouch was installed by a licensed electrician who does mostly pool installations. This is why I did not question the wiring configuration.

    This is my wiring set up: There are two wires coming from each live lug of the two-pole GFCI breaker. One wire from each lug goes directly to conduit and then where I do not know. The other wire from each lug goes to the line 1 and line 2 lugs on a power relay. Separate wires are connected to the line 1 and line 2 lugs (but not to the load lugs on this relay?) and these also disappear into the conduit. When the pump is off, there is no voltage measured between the line 1 and line 2 lugs on the power relay. When the pump is turned on, however, I measure around 230 VAC across the line 1 and line 2 lugs on the relay. My first question is why are there two wires leading from each of the power lugs on the GFCI breaker. I see that one set of wires goes to the relay, which energizes to 230 VAC when the pump is turned on. So, that set of wires makes sense to me. But where would the second set of wires, which do NOT pass through a relay, go to? Second, why would the electrician not connect the outgoing wires from the power relay to the load 1 and load 2 lugs on the relay?

    I am trying to figure out how to upload pictures. So far, my attempts have failed.

    Thank you for your kind help.

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    You may have even more issues then. While "some" breakers allow for double-tapping very few do and are marked as such. Based ONLY on what is available at the big box stores I've never seen a GFCI marked to allow double-taps.

    I have Hayward gear, but from the posts above I'm assuming it's similar and the VS has constant power and then only a data cable to control it. By your description it simply makes no sense. Do you have another 230V device that could possibly be using the same breaker, and your pump using what comes via the relay? Not that it's correct, but it makes no sense
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    you are best off using photobucket or some other external photo hosting service.
    10,500 gal IG, Topaz Pebble, auto-level
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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    I agree---there should be no other load on the GFCI. Before I bother you guys more, I will track down where the other set of wires lead by checking for continuity. There is a waterfall pump, cleaner booster, and air pump, but I have already confirmed that these are all connected to the other breakers and power relays in the load center (i.e., they are not running off of the GFCI breaker).

    I think tracking down where the other wires go will solve the mystery. Perhaps the electrician prewired for a salt water generator, which I believe is supposed to be on the same power relay as the filter pump?

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    Any reputable electrical company will have access to a power quality analyzer. among other things it graphs current flow (amps) to help determine possible causes. The last time I used ours it showed that a 20 amp breaker tripping off at 16 amps.

    With breaker off using your meter check for resistance from line to ground. You should have none. And Needmoresun is correct. Unless lugs are listed for 2 conductors they are only designed to have one conductor. Installing more than that causes unwanted heat which is how your breaker works. Also if the breaker is installed in ambient temperature greater than 80 it's ampacity (amp carrying capacity) must be derated per NEC. Which is to say on a hot day the same breaker will overload trip with less amps.

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    There should not be 2 wires coming off a GFCI breaker (or any other breaker normally).
    16 x 32 17500 gallons
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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    Hopefully someone knowing Pentair and that panel comes back along quick. With a brief glance at the single and double speed pump configs the SWG is indeed connected to the filter relay as well but then via a transformer and not right to conduit. I'd be most concerned about the double tap at the breaker though, although just because Home Depot doesn't have them it doesn't mean you don't have one listed to allow it. I'd think it would create confusion though even then. Pics would help once those with the same gear come by though.

    Edit: Home we recently bought had multiple double-taps in our load centers. Besides just listing it as issues I thought the home inspector was going to have a stroke!!! I already saw them on my own walk-through though and it was quickly fixed once I made some room getting the pool all shifted to its own load center
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    There are definitely two wires connected to the lugs on the 20-amp double-pole GFCI breaker. The GFCI is an Eaton brand as I recall.

    To be clear, I do NOT have a SWG. I am just thinking that maybe the electrician PRE-wired in case I wanted one later. I am grasping here...

    Even if it is wired incorrectly, the breaker does not trip literally 99% of the time. It is the 1% that is killing me.

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by dmh View Post
    There are definitely two wires connected to the lugs on the 20-amp double-pole GFCI breaker. The GFCI is an Eaton brand as I recall.

    To be clear, I do NOT have a SWG. I am just thinking that maybe the electrician PRE-wired in case I wanted one later. I am grasping here...

    Even if it is wired incorrectly, the breaker does not trip literally 99% of the time. It is the 1% that is killing me.
    Just the double tap could be your issue, once you figure out where it goes. Hmmm, he need room and pulled one back inside to the water heater maybe? Ok, joking and not funny IF, once those issues are resolved though if you still have trips with the Eaton I'd try the Siemens but no point until it's wired right.
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    R
    Quote Originally Posted by chrislaubach View Post

    With breaker off using your meter check for resistance from line to ground. You should have none.
    I'm sure this was a simple mistake, but for the person testing , you should have infinite resistance, not "none" or 0.
    If there were no resistance, it would be a dead short.
    24k gallon inground vinyl liner pool, 8'-3' depth, 2 skimmers, 3 returns, basic 5 chem kit.
    Hayward: DE-60 filter, Superpump VS, AquaRite salt chlorinator w/T-Cell 15, TigerShark QC robot. Jacuzzi hot tub ~350gal. Air blower type, w/8 jets.

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    Wrong thread?

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    "9. The pump should be permanently connected to either a circuit breaker, 2-pole timer or 2-pole relay. If AC power is supplied by a GFCI circuit breaker, use a dedicated circuit breaker that has no other electrical load electrical loads."

    "Pentair offers 2-Pole 20 Amp GFCI breakers (P/N PA220GF) which offer 6 milliamp personnel protection while meeting 2008 to current NEC Standards for Pool Pumps."

    http://www.pentairpool.com/pdfs/IntelliFloVSOM.pdf
    24k gallon inground vinyl liner pool, 8'-3' depth, 2 skimmers, 3 returns, basic 5 chem kit.
    Hayward: DE-60 filter, Superpump VS, AquaRite salt chlorinator w/T-Cell 15, TigerShark QC robot. Jacuzzi hot tub ~350gal. Air blower type, w/8 jets.

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    I tracked the wires. To recap, the filter pump 20-amp GFCI breaker had TWO wires attached to the live lugs. Two wires go to a power relay that is activated when the pool pump is switched on via the EasyTouch controls. Where the other two wires attached to the GFCI goes was a mystery.

    I tracked down the wiring today: the mystery two wires attached to the GFCI run to a MasterTemp 400 pool heater to give power to the igniter (I guess).

    Now that the mystery is solved, the question is whether this is a proper way to wire the system. The MasterTemp 400 manual is useless. The Intelliflo VS pump manual clearly states that it should be wired alone to a GFCI breaker.

    This is what I am thinking of doing: Buy another 20-amp GFCI breaker and hook it directly to the MasterTemp 400. This would isolate the Intelliflo VS pump by itself on a GFCI breaker. There is room in the panel for another double pole breaker.

    Any opinions? Is it correctly wired as it is?

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    Re: Pentair VS Trips Dedicated 20-amp GFCI Breaker

    This is from the MasterTemp manual:

    The filter pump should run continuously when the heater is on, and for at least 15 minutes after the heaterturns off.
    Any switches in the pump circuit (including circuit breakers) that can disconnect the pump must also disconnect the heater.

    This is from the Intelliflo manual:

    The pump should be permanently connected to either a circuit breaker, 2-pole timer or 2-pole relay. If AC power is supplied by a GFCI circuit breaker, use a dedicated circuit breaker that has no other electrical load electrical loads.


    1. Aren't these two requirements contradictory?


    - - - Updated - - -

    This is from the MasterTemp manual:
    The filter pump should run continuously when the heater is on, and for at least 15 minutes after the heaterturns off. Any switches in the pump circuit (including circuit breakers) that can disconnect the pump must also disconnect the heater.

    1. The pump should be permanently connected to either a circuit breaker, 2-pole timer or 2-pole relay. If AC power is supplied by a GFCI circuit breaker, use a dedicated circuit breaker that has no other electrical load electrical loads."


      So, the Intelliflo VS manual says that it has to be connected to a dedicated GFCI breaker. On the other hand, the MasterTemp manual seems to say they have to be on the same GFCI breaker.

      What am I missing here?

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