GFCI Breakers

Bradbury

Member
May 23, 2021
9
Dallas, Texas
I have a 17 year old pool and am upgrading the electrical in my subpanel to GFCI breakers. I am able to wire electrical directly from my subpanel to my new Pentair VS pump with a 20 amp 2 pole GFCI breaker without going through the pool control panel. This main pump has its own separate controller wire, so the power does not need to go through relays in the control panel. That pump is working great. But all other pool equipment is controlled through relays in the control panel- booster pump, spa blower, lights, and heater. The line power to several relays is shared via jumper wires. Other than the GFCI breaker for the main pump, my plan was to have another 20 amp 2 pole GFCI breaker for the booster pump, a 15 amp single pole for the transformer control panel power, and a 15 amp for the lights. No matter how I have wired these, they all either trip the moment I turn on the breaker or when any relay turns on equipment. It is very frustrating. For example, I installed brand new Pentair LED pool and spa lights to their junction boxes nearer the pool, in which is an always-on outlet, with a separate source load wire from the light relay that goes to the black wire of the pool light, all fed by the same GFCI breaker. Everything works fine until the moment the lights turn on the breaker trips. When instead I put in a non-GFCI breaker and install a GFCI outlet in the junction box that then feeds the light from its load side, everything works fine and does not trip the GFCI outlet, but the outlet can only be on when the lights are on. I prefer to have GFCI breakers instead. I have tried both GE and Siemens breakers. Either way, any GFCI breaker that supplies power to relays in the control panel is essentially non-useable. So other than for my main pump, I am having to use non-GFCI breakers to keep equipment running.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.
 

ImpalaSS

Well-known member
May 5, 2020
99
Southern Maryland
Sounds to me that you do not have your GFCI wired correctly.

The neutral wire (white) from your load (lights, pumps, etc) need to land directly on the GFCI breaker on the terminal with the white mark. The white wire from the GFCI breaker lands on the neutral bar.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
22,692
Bedford, TX
Brad,

What kind of "control panel" do you have?

I agree with Impala, sounds to me like you have not wired your GFCI correctly.

Show us some pics of the wiring and we should be able to get you pointed in the right direction.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Bradbury

Member
May 23, 2021
9
Dallas, Texas
Oh Crud! Maybe that is it. Since the breaker has the neutral wire that connects to the neutral bar, I thought the neutral wire from my equipment went to the neutral bar as usual also. So I screw it directly to the "N" terminal of the breaker? How does this work on 2 pole breakers for 240v equipment that does not have a neutral wire? Thanks for your help.
 

ImpalaSS

Well-known member
May 5, 2020
99
Southern Maryland
Oh Crud! Maybe that is it. Since the breaker has the neutral wire that connects to the neutral bar, I thought the neutral wire from my equipment went to the neutral bar as usual also. So I screw it directly to the "N" terminal of the breaker? How does this work on 2 pole breakers for 240v equipment that does not have a neutral wire? Thanks for your help.
Yes, screw it directly to the N terminal on the breaker.

You will have no connection on the 240v breakers. But you still need to connect the factory wire from the breaker to the neutral bar.
 

Bradbury

Member
May 23, 2021
9
Dallas, Texas
Thanks. If a breaker is supplying more than one piece of equipment via relay jumper wires, do the neutrals from each piece of equipment all go back to the N terminal of the breaker? Or is it best to have a separate breaker for each piece of equipment?
 

proavia

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Feb 6, 2015
2,470
Chandler AZ
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
What "control panel" do you have?
Show us pictures of the inside of the control panel?
 

ImpalaSS

Well-known member
May 5, 2020
99
Southern Maryland
Thanks. If a breaker is supplying more than one piece of equipment via relay jumper wires, do the neutrals from each piece of equipment all go back to the N terminal of the breaker? Or is it best to have a separate breaker for each piece of equipment?
Each neutral needs to be connected to the breaker. You can wire nut them all together and have one tail going to the breaker.

Like others have said, post a picture of your control panel and we can advise you better.
 

Bradbury

Member
May 23, 2021
9
Dallas, Texas
I need to thank you both for easily solving my problem. I went out and put all the new GFCI breakers back in except correctly connecting the neutral to the breaker this time. Everything is working perfectly, including the lights. And I now have full time power to an outlet in the light junction box and can control the lights and all other equipment with my app. I feel much better now that everything is GFCI protected. I have worked with many regular breakers before but this is my first to install GFCI. I did the 240v to the main pump first, which does not have a neutral, and that worked fine. So I mistakenly tried to do the 120v the same. It makes total sense now that I think about it that the breaker has to compare the inflow and outflow current in order to work correctly. Thank you again.
 

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