Pump Trips Breaker

Gabek1

Member
Dec 29, 2012
8
Orlando, FL
Hi everyone,

I had a 2 year old 1.5hp 230v pump that started to trip the breaker every time it was turned on. The pump begins to spin, water begins to move, and within about a second, a small audible poof/pop electrical sound can be heard, and the breaker trips - I haven't been able to determine where the sound is coming from yet but it sounds like the controller (20 year old Blue Haven BH2100 Controller) or the pump itself. I did some research and, although it seemed like awfully early failure (which I've learned definitely doesn't rule anything out with pools), all sources pointed at a bad pump so I replaced the old pump with a new hayward 1.5hp 230v pump.

Looks like I should've done some additional troubleshooting because it's doing the exact same thing with the new pump installed. I've done some basic troubleshooting but haven't found anything. Here's what I've checked since I've installed the new pump

Verified the pump is wired for 230v
Verified the pump's shaft spins freely
Verified the wiring at the pump is tight with plenty of metal to metal contact at the terminals
Replaced the dual post 30a circuit breaker in the main circuit breaker box as it looked like an easy possible fix, but same symptoms with the new one.

The pool system has a circuit breaker installed at the BH2100 controller board that's also a dual post 30a. Not sure if it means anything, or if this opens possibilities to additional trouble shooting, but the breaker at the pool isn't tripping, but the breaker in the main box for the house's dedicated pool circuit is.

I'm not certain what to check next or how to go about doing some of the checks I'm thinking might be required. Your expertise and experience is greatly appreciated.

Here are some of the next steps I'm thinking about doing.
Let me know if I'm on the right track with any of these or way off base and need some redirection:

  • Test the boards in the controller but I'm not sure how to go about testing it
  • Bypass the controller board and put 230v from the house's circuit breaker directly to the pump just to trouble shoot the board/board wiring - If that fixes it I'd be tempted to go with a couple hundred dollar mechanical timer instead of replacing the BH2100
  • Replace the dual post 30a at the pool equipment
  • Replace the hard wires in the conduit leading up to the pump from the controller. They're old and crusty 20 year old wires that have baked in the Florida heat their whole lives. It's only a 5 foot run from the control board's circuit breaker. The insulation I can see looks okay but is getting brittle.
If you've dealt with this before or you're a super expert in the pool, what would you do next?

Thanks again for your help!
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Since the new pump is doing the same thing as the old one, it's probably safe to rule that out. I like the idea of bypassing the board and running power directly to the pump - as a test anyways. The old wiring? .... a possibility as well. But before that I'd see if taking the board out of the equation makes a difference. @JamesW or @ajw22 , you guys have any other thoughts?
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,633
Bedford, TX
Gab,

I suggest that you pop the breaker at the equipment pad and see of the breaker in the main panel still pops.. If it does, you know the problem cannot be the new pump or the controller board.

If the main breaker does not pop with the equipment pad breaker open, that would mean it is either the controller or the pump/wiring. I would then disconnect the pump and try it again a see if either breaker pops again..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Gabek1

Member
Dec 29, 2012
8
Orlando, FL
Thank you. That's the direction I was leaning. Stupid question but I want to be extra careful as I'm dealing with 230v. Should be fine to turn off the power to the circuit at the main breaker, take the wires out of the back of the pool controller's own breaker, twist them together good with a pair of pliers to the wires coming from the pump and then switch the power on at the main breaker to test, right? I figure the extra resistance from a twist connection isn't great but for a temporary test of a few minutes it's fine, right? I'll work with a second person so it can be turned off ASAP if there's any issue - also, I know this isn't legal advice here. Just asking for best practice.

Thanks again!
 

Gabek1

Member
Dec 29, 2012
8
Orlando, FL
Gabe,

I suggest that you pop the breaker at the equipment pad and see of the breaker in the main panel still pops.. If it does, you know the problem cannot be the new pump or the controller board.

If the main breaker does not pop with the equipment pad breaker open, that would mean it is either the controller or the pump/wiring. I would then disconnect the pump and try it again a see if either breaker pops again..

Thanks,

Jim R.
Thank you for the help!

Excellent advice and an interesting result! Turning off the breaker at the pad allowed me to press the pump button on the BH2100 without issue. I could hear the relay click on and off with the button inside the controller. Then, I turned pad's circuit breaker back on and tried again - the sun set about 20 minutes ago in Florida so it's pretty dark at the pad. When I clicked the pump button, I heard the poof/pop sound and, out of the corner of my eye, I'm fairly certain I saw a flash of light come out of the bottom of the LRZ gas pool heater, which is grounded with the pool pump and automatically gets power when the pool pump gets power.

I took the cover off the heater and looked for char marks with a flashlight and didn't see anything, but, reset the breaker and tried the pump again without the cover on the heater and verified that's DEFINITELY where the spark is coming from. Interesting find - never expected the heater to be the culprit! (But should've, that heater is finicky!)

I probably won't have time to investigate further until the weekend. I know without any idea of where the spark is coming from it might be a shot in the dark, but any idea what I should be looking for inside the heater? All I can tell tonight in the dark is that the spark looks like it's coming from the bottom 3rd of the unit, towards the front (which is where the gas burner is located) and that it's getting pretty rusty inside that heater.

Thank you again,

Gabe
 
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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Gabe, now that you are on-hold for darkness, this might be a good time to update your signature. List all your pool and equipment info as best as you can - test kit too. Make sure to specify what type/brand/model heater you have as well. It can help us give you potential possibilities for that spark issue. Glad you have the breaker issue a bit more narrowed down now. :goodjob:
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
23,640
SouthWest Alabama
I know you've narrowed the issue to the heater, but for future reference if you ever have trouble with the controller, it's a Jandy Aqualink (not the newer RS) rebranded for Blue Haven.