Inherited a sub panel wiring issue that's halting my EasyTouch install. Help?


New member
May 1, 2014
East Tennessee
Like the famous line says, long-time lurker, first time poster (waves to the room).

My wife and I bought our dream house this past October and the pool had already been closed. The pool details are in my sig. We knew the pool needed some major TLC so we budgets for some fun upgrades. Starting 2 weeks ago, we replaced the liner, installed a heater, and I'm waiting on a ColorSplash 3g to be installed. I've also purchased an Autelis, EasyTouch 4 and an IC40 as I would like to automate the pump (about to upgrade to an Intelliflo variable-speed), lights, and heater. I've been using the TFPC method and have a TF-100 test kit. The chemistry is spot-on but I now want to get my SWG up and running.

I received the EasyTouch a few days ago so I decided it was time to take a look at the subpanel. I found that there is no GFCI in the main breaker, so I naturally assumed there would be GFCI breakers at the pool. Nope. Not even for the pool light. There is #6 wire in the existing sub panel, and only three of them. 2 hots and a bonded ground is what I'm guessing. Oh, and the existing copper ground wire, which is connected to the pump, went to a metal stake buried about 16" into the ground. I dropped in an 8' copper ground rod using a home-made water drill into a salted hole, so at least that part is done, but here's my issue.

The pool is about 80' from the house, and has a pool house. It's 60 amps at the main breaker feeding the sub panel, and is mixed 220/110. Can I install this new panel and have working GFCI 220 (pump / heater) and 110 (light, automation, everything else) breakers? How would I need to go about wiring the neutral and ground? I really don't want to have to run 4-wire to this if I can avoid it, since it should be grand-fathered in due to the age of install.

Thanks for any help you can give!


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
Franklin, NC
I'm not an electrician, don't play one on TV and didn't sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so take my advice as you may...

Best solution - Hire an electrician and have them make everything perfect.

Next best solution, pull the new 4 conductor wire and drive a second ground rod (don't drill it). As I understand it, the current code requires two separate ground rods at a detached structure.

While you may be grandfathered, electricity and water do not understand the electrical code and what grandfathering means. The safety of your family and friends are what is most important.


TFP Guide
Jun 4, 2012
western NY
Kriszilla, it would be a big help if you could post up a couple of pictures of the insides of the main panel and the sub panel. If it is a true sub panel there should be two hot leads, a neutral, and a ground coming into it from the main panel. The two hots should be black wires or a combination of black and another color. The neutral should/must be a white wire, and the ground will most likely be a bare copper wire. You mentioned that there is only three wires in the panel,... at some time in the past it was allowed to use the ground as a neutral feed. Several code cycles ago that was not allowed any more. The ground rod at the out building is a requirement but is not the grounding source for that circuit. There needs to be a ground path back to the main panel for the ground to clear a fault (trip the breaker). A ground rod will not provide that protection. A ground rod is there for high voltage surges such as lightning strikes.
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