GFCI Circuit Breaker wont reset

Apr 26, 2017
3
Wake Forest
#1
I recently installed a new Hayward MaxFlo 2303VS pump about a week ago on my above ground pool. Pump was performing perfect the first week after installation.

I had installed a 240v 15amp 2 pole GFCI breaker. Since the MaxFlo does not have a neutral at the pump, the GFCI breaker at the panel does not utilize the neutral, the white pig tail goes to ground.

After 2 days of heavy rain (around 5" or better) my pump stopped working. I went out to the panel and the GFCI breaker was popped and would not allow for a reset - not even for a fraction of a second. I don't get that hard click like you get when locks into the on position. Once I let go it just moves back to middle position. I do get a click when I move it to reset (left) but still wont stay on when I move it right, it just goes back to middle when I let it go.

The next day (yesterday) after the rain stopped I went under the deck and removed the watertight cover to the electrical connection on the pump housing and found it full of water. (This is the area where the electrical leads are connected) I found the leaky culprit and corrected it and after drying everything out for a couple of hours I still cannot get the breaker to reset. Its still behaving as described above.

Could I have damaged the pump circuit board or is it possible the GFCI breaker went bad? Another question is could the water have gotten deeper into the pump behind the lead (watertight) housing?

I have another 2 pole 15 amp (non GFCI) breaker I am thinking of swapping out with the non resetting GFCI just to test and see if it is the breaker but don't know if this could damage the pump if the problem is elsewhere. Or should I let the pump dry out for a day or two before trying this.
 

JoeGolan

Bronze Supporter
Nov 2, 2016
200
Palm Coast, FL
#2
Most likely the GFCI breaker is working and the fact that it keeps tripping should be telling you something is wrong. GFCIs trip when they see unbalanced current. This is how it protects you.

Click here for a great article on GFCI circuits Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs):


Do NOT energize that pump before you learn what is causing the GFCI to trip.

If you know how to use a meter, disconnect the pump from the circuit and measure the resistance (ohms) from each hot wire to the ground wire (and housing) of the pump, use the higher scale so you can see high resistance readings. The proper readings would be "infinity" indicating that there is NOT a high resistance short (or leak) to ground causing unbalanced current. If you see any resistance reading at all, that would indicate that there is a problem. If the readings are still infinite then your cause may also be water in the conduit that hold the wiring feeding the pump. A similar test could be done on the (de-energized) wiring as well.

If you do not know how to use a meter or are not sure what you are doing, please hire a professional to diagnose it for you.
 

gwegan

TFP Expert
Apr 19, 2013
2,769
Sacramento, CA
#3
The white pigtail should be connected to the panel neutral bus bar in a sub panel not to ground. Are you saying there is no neutral bus bar in the panel.

If this is a main panel it should go to the common neutral ground bus

If there is no neutral in the sub panel then you cap the white wire. Though I have never done this with a self testing GFCI
 
OP
OP
K
Apr 26, 2017
3
Wake Forest
#4
Great advice! My neighbor is an technical representative for Square D and I have asked him if he could help with using the meter and testing for any resistance. I need to wait until he gets home this evening and let you know how the results. I was afraid to swap breakers for the reasons you describe.
 
OP
OP
K
Apr 26, 2017
3
Wake Forest
#5
At your advice I did not try to replace the breaker. I actually pulled the pump and when tipped on end about another cup of water came out. I used a blow dryer on it for about and hour then placed it in a box with moisture removal agents. I tested the circuit breaker after disconnection the pump and it reset just fine.

I installed the old pump and will allow the new pump to dry out over the next several days. I did test the ohms after drying out and everything looks good so I am hopeful the GFCI breaker helped to prevent damage to the pump. All I can do now is cross my fingers and hope for the best!

BTW thanks for the article on GFCI breakers!

Ill reply next week after re installing with the results.

Thanks for advising me not to swap out the breaker as a means to test!
 

CountyBumkin

Bronze Supporter
Apr 3, 2016
48
Orlando FL
#7
A pool Pump does not normally use a GFI breaker. Those types of breakers are for pool lights and outlets near the pool. 120V and 240V pumps use a standard breaker and the pump is grounded in the panel, and bonded to the other equipment at the pad.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,044
#8
A pool Pump does not normally use a GFI breaker. Those types of breakers are for pool lights and outlets near the pool. 120V and 240V pumps use a standard breaker and the pump is grounded in the panel, and bonded to the other equipment at the pad.
The current NEC requires GFCI for pool pump motors.

Pool pump motors should be on GFCI and it's good that this one was.
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,194
Quaker Hill, CT
#9
The 2014 NEC code book patched a loophole that was in previous versions of the NEC that made it so you could "design" the motor circuit to not need a GFCI per code which is how a lot of pools that should have GFCI on the pump motors ended up without it. The loophole had to do with the circuit load calculations. People used that loophole to say that pump motors didn't require GFCI across the board, which we all know is a bad idea.

This is what the current code says.

" 2014 NEC 680.21 sec (C) GFCI Protection.
Outlets supplying pool pump motors connected to single phase 120-volt through 240-volt branch circuits, whether by receptacle or by direct connection, shall be provided with ground fault-circuit-interrupter protection for personnel."
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
#11
I learned something important today. Thanks.
BTW, the link provided in post #2 even states that motors should not be on GFI breakers - so i guess both of us are outdated.
That article may be before the 2014 NEC release, and should be updated. 'Permently installed motors' is a very broad term, the NEC spells out specifically 'pool pump motors'.
 

JoeGolan

Bronze Supporter
Nov 2, 2016
200
Palm Coast, FL
#12
I learned something important today. Thanks.
BTW, the link provided in post #2 even states that motors should not be on GFI breakers - so i guess both of us are outdated.
You are also taking that statement out of context as it is under the subheading of "What is nuisance tripping of a GFCI". I also agree with domct203 's statement that 'Permanently installed motors' is a very broad term.

Understanding codes and their intent is an ever changing animal, always remember that codes are adopted by the local jurisdiction and are there for safety first. If there is ever a conflict always go with the stronger restraint.
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
#13
You are also taking that statement out of context as it is under the subheading of "What is nuisance tripping of a GFCI". I also agree with domct203's statement that 'Permanently installed motors' is a very broad term.

Understanding codes and their intent is an ever changing animal, always remember that codes are adopted by the local jurisdiction and are there for safety first. If there is ever a conflict always go with the stronger restraint.
Hmm that's interesting, my screen name in your post contains a link to someone else's profile. How did you manage that LOL ?