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breaker keeps jumping

Posted by bandito (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 8:13

The GFI breaker has recently has been jumping lately. Whenever the heater kicks in a few minutes later the breaker jumps and one if the leads coming from the breaker gets hot and smokes a little. Look at the picture of the lead. I tested the breaker with a volt meter. 117 volts from each hot lead to ground and 234 from hot lead to hot lead so it appears to be working properly. I checked all the wiring for shorts and no luck. I also poked around the wiring looking for one the may be hot which was not the case. I even pulled the filter figuring that maybe the pump was working to hard. Any ideas for trouble shooting?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: breaker keeps jumping

You don't say whether this is for a pool or a hotub.

A pool heater cannot be on the same circuit as the pool pump. If it is, you can be drawing more amps than the conductors can handle and therefore the breaker is tripping from the current overload.

If this is for a hotub with built in heater, you may also have undersized conductors which could cause the overcurrent protection device (GFCI) to trip...

The problem could also be a loose conductor lug which can cause arcing and a GFCI or Overcurrent Protection Device) to trip...

It could also be a faulty GFCI device.

Whatever the cause this is a job for a qualified electrician since it could place one's ;life at risk if they use this pool or spa.


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RE: breaker keeps jumping

if it is a standalone hot tub then I would guess that it is a bad heater element. When they go they will commonly cause the GFI to pop. They are fairly easy to replace if you are handy.


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RE: breaker keeps jumping

Before I do that here is some data I gathered now own an clamp meter and want to confirm the correct amp breaker first.

On the side of the circuit panel it says 32 amp 240v 60hz (current gfci breaker is 50 amp). I only turned power on for a few seconds to be able to record some data.

Results...

Red and black wire on the load side of the breaker with the heater on:
Pump on High:
Red 32 amps
Black 29.8 amps

Pump on Low:
Red 24.7 amps
Black 23.3 amps

Both leads at the heater: 21.8 on one side and 21.5 on the other

At the pump:
Low (red wire) speed 3.9 amps
High (black wire) speed 9.5 amps

Testing the heater with the power off using a multi meter I was getting around 11 amps.

Can a conclusion be made from these results?


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RE: breaker keeps jumping

Before I do that here is some data I gathered now own an clamp meter and want to confirm the correct amp breaker first.

On the side of the circuit panel it says 32 amp 240v 60hz (current gfci breaker is 50 amp). I only turned power on for a few seconds to be able to record some data.

Results...

Red and black wire on the load side of the breaker with the heater on:
Pump on High:
Red 32 amps
Black 29.8 amps

Pump on Low:
Red 24.7 amps
Black 23.3 amps

Both leads at the heater: 21.8 on one side and 21.5 on the other

At the pump:
Low (red wire) speed 3.9 amps
High (black wire) speed 9.5 amps

Testing the heater with the power off using a multi meter I was getting around 11 amps.

Can a conclusion be made from these results?


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RE: breaker keeps jumping

So I assume this is feeding a package spa of some sort.
Looking at the heat damage on the GFCI, I would replace it. Looks like wire was not tightened enough and was arcing and heated up. You are saying this is still occurring. Problem is it heats up the connections inside the breaker and melts them, making a bad connection so eventually it will fail. It is probably causing a low voltage issue as well which will eventually destroy your pump or heater.
I know they are not cheap, but probably cheaper then the alternative.
My two cents being a pool builder and a Master Electrician.


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