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Thread: pool light trips gfci breaker

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    pool light trips gfci breaker

    Hi everyone as the title says I'm having issues with my pool light tripping my gfci breaker. The pool light is attached to a gfci outlet in my pentair easytouch control panel. When I push the pool light button it trips the gfci breaker. When I reset the breaker and turn on the light again it works fine. Any idea what he issue could be when I first turn the light on? I also have a spa light that is filled with water but wired separately in the same control panel that doesn't have a bulb in it (when I can afford it I'll be replacing that next) if it makes any difference. Thanks for any help.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    It's not uncommon for GFCI outlets or breakers to fail, though yours seems to be acting oddly. If it isn't crazy expensive, try a new one or swap one from another location to see what happens.
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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    Is the spa light on the same gfci?

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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    If your panel and gfci outlet are more than 5 years old, I will bet of the gfci is starting to go and becoming overly sensative. A fresh gfci outlet is around $20 and have improved, look for the version that has a "WP" marking.
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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    If that spa light is on the same GFI as the pool light (probably), they should be both sharing the same neutral, and in most cases the neutral is not switched. This can be the reason the GFI is tripping even though the light is not on. If you wanted to find out if the bulb or the fixture is the cause, or it it is the breaker, AND YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH DOING THIS, you can disconnect or take the spa light out of the circuit. You probably have the wiring for the spa light coming up in the E/T box and can disconnect it there. Don't forget to disconnect the neutral too. If it still trips, reconnect and try the pool light. Also, the lights for the pool and spa may not be the only things on the circuit. There can be a sump pump in an observation well, or other outlets around the pool, Pool cover motor, etc. Don't forget to check for those too.
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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    I think Clown is on the correct track here. In addition to what he suggests you should probably go back and check that all the connections are tight. Because this runs off a breaker you have to check (as Clown points out) everything on the circuit. Both hot and neutral. Look and make sure that your subpanel has the neutral and ground bars separate and the neutral bar is insulated from the panel. As components age they change and you may (or may not) be getting a bit of leakage here and there.
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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    make sure that your subpanel has the neutral and ground bars separate and the neutral bar is insulated from the panel. As components age they change and you may (or may not) be getting a bit of leakage here and there.
    Just to be clear, The GFI breaker has two neutrals...

    In the case of a GFI Breaker it will have its own wire hanging off the breaker that attaches to the panels' neutral buss. Then, all components protected by the GFI must have their neutral wire connected directly to the breakers' neutral (or connection marked neutral). This isolation of the neutral from the neutral buss in the panel is VERY important. If wired incorrectly, you either wont be able to reset the GFI (it will stay tripped) or you will be able to reset, have power to your component(s), but they will not be protected.

    Does that make sense?

    If you have a GFI Outlet, you will need to pay close attention to how it is wired already, and/ or follow the destructions that come with the new outlet carefully, to be sure you have the isolation correct.

    Note: If it trips ONLY when you turn the pool light on, it is probably that fixture. Or rather that circuit.
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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    So if I'm reading this correctly if the spa and pool are both on the gfi outlet the spa (because it has water in it) could be tripping the breaker? It's supposed to rain here pretty good this weekend so if I get a chance when we get a break in the weather I'll try all of your suggestions.

    - - - Updated - - -

    On a side note the gfi outlet is brand new with the pentair panel we just had put in.

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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    If the breaker is not tripping spontaneously, but only when the pool light is turned on, i think there is something is going on with the pool light, or wiring. This would be from the load side of the relay all the way to the filament in the bulb. Note: Both a working bulb and a burned out bulb Can trip a GFI. I don't think the GFI is the problem (yet). Thats why we want to disconnect the light at the j-box, and then see if the breaker will hold when you turn it on, or put power to it. But i would at least wait till it stops raining before you start opening things up.
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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    I do not want to confuse things here.

    In the first post you say a GFCI breaker ( circuit breaker in a panel with a test button). In your last post you say a GFCI outlet (an electrical outlet with a test and rest button). Those are different things. Is it a GFCI breaker or outlet?

    Poolclown's test works as a initial test for either but as we go along its important to know which one we are dealing with.
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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    I apologize. It's a gfci outlet. The person that installed the intellitouch panel said the lights needed to be connected to it. When I turn on the pool light it pops the gfci outlet. Than in need to push the reset button. Turn the pool light on agin and it works fine.

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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    going to try what you are suggesting today clown.....by turning off the main breaker for the pool pad will that eliminate power to the box that the wiring is going to near the pool as well?

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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by clg82 View Post
    Hi everyone as the title says I'm having issues with my pool light tripping my gfci breaker. The pool light is attached to a gfci outlet in my pentair easytouch control panel. When I push the pool light button it trips the gfci breaker. When I reset the breaker and turn on the light again it works fine. Any idea what he issue could be when I first turn the light on? I also have a spa light that is filled with water but wired separately in the same control panel that doesn't have a bulb in it (when I can afford it I'll be replacing that next) if it makes any difference. Thanks for any help.
    Me and a buddy both had pools installed by the same builder at the same time last may, we both experienced gfci breakers blowing on light operation, on and off was fine but changing colors would blow the breaker, called the rep out, and apparently there was a run of bad breakers, after they replaced the breaker all was well



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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    Turning off the breaker for the pad should kill all the power. BUT double check with a tester in the GFCI. Or just insert the plug from a lamp and see if there is power.
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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    GFI outlets are considerably cheaper than the breaker type. 20.00 vs > 50.00. If you can get the light to work indefinitely after you reset the outlet the first time, then i would try getting a new outlet (GFI type of course).
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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Pool Clown View Post
    GFI outlets are considerably cheaper than the breaker type. 20.00 vs > 50.00. If you can get the light to work indefinitely after you reset the outlet the first time, then i would try getting a new outlet (GFI type of course).
    even tho this gfi outlet came with the intellitouch panel they installed? i checked all of the wiring this past weekend and everything looks good and snug.....un attached all of the wires going to t the gfi outlet as well and reinstalled and am still getting when turning the pool light on it trips the outlet....reset the outlet and wala! the light works just fine......on a side note i was getting intermitent pump wouldn't turn off after pushing the off button on the panel.....or the app....called customer surpport and talked to someone at pentair....they said if i can't hear a "click" noise when turning the pump on or off that it is probably the "relay" could this have anything to do with my pool light or is this a seperate issue?

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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    That outlet was mounted in the box after it left the factory. Probably by your electrician. It (the outlet), is not a Pentair part.

    I suggested replacing the outlet because it is relatively inexpensive to do so. If the outlet is somewhat new, perhaps the electrician will replace it under his warranty.
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    Re: pool light trips gfci breaker

    What kind of light? My pool was built last year with a Colorlogic led. The builder warned me of an issue that required a "filter" in the housing that handled color switching that was backordered from the manufacturer. Something to do with changing the colors and once it hit a certain color ( I don't remember which ) the frequency it put out would cause it to trip. They put the filter in and I never had an issue since.

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