Go Back  DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Electrical, AC & DC. Electronic Equipment and Computers > Electrical - AC & DC
Reload this Page >

Hot Tub wiring question. GFI inside or outside? No neutral wire??

Hot Tub wiring question. GFI inside or outside? No neutral wire??

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-17-05, 11:10 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 249
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hot Tub wiring question. GFI inside or outside? No neutral wire??

I'm in the process of installing the wiring for my new Jacuzzi brand hot tub.

I'm debating whether to install the 50A GFI in my main panel, then pulling #6 THHN outside to the safety cut off switch, and then on to the hot tubs electrical hook up. Call this option 1. I will use liquid tight conduit for all exterior wires.

Option 2 is to use a regular 50A DP breaker in my main panel, then running the #6 out to a Cuttler Hammer outdoor 50A GFI box - model CH50SPA, then connecting to the tub. In this option the GFI box would also serve as the safety cut of switch. (required by code 5 feet from tub etc.)

Option 2 is slightly less expensive (the Square D QO250GFI breaker for option 1 on the main panel alone is $130) but I'm fine with the addition cost if its better to have the GFI inside vs outside? Any advice would be appreciated.

I have one more question. here is a link to the wiring diagram for my spa:

http://www.brainerd.net/~jasonw/tub.jpg

As you can see, there is no Neutral White connected to the tub. Everyone I talk to is surprised by this, but accepts it when they see the mfr's diagram.
Thought I would run the same question by this forum.
Thanks!!!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-17-05, 11:26 AM
EricT
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I just installed a hot springs brand tub not too long ago.

Code here is that a sub panel with GFI or GFI's, so that the tub can be shutoff quickly, nearby. I think the panel had to be within 15 feet, mines about 7. The reason being, the test buttons on the gfis are good enough as shutoff buttons.

I had to run a 50 amp breaker (non gfi) and 6-3 romex about 90 feet to a siemens GFI sub panel - once the gfi is in the box, they call them load centers. Sounds fancy! Now for my tub I had to break it out into 30amp 240 volt run, and a 20 amp 120 volt run - so two gfis - to the tub. Hot springs tubs wire up really strangely. I ran 8 guage thhn to the tub, my spa tech who actually wired it - I just ran the cable, grunt work - said I could have used 10s and 12s... I always over guage my wire. Inspectors might shake thier heads, but they wont fail me.

I am pretty sure youre going to have to do a similar setup - 50 amp breaker, to a sub panel with a 50 amp gfi. Ask around, but I am pretty certain this is code most places.

What I found interesting - my hot springs dealer wanted me to buy the hot springs brand load center - again, just a metal box with 2 gfi breakers inside - for $450. When I was done laughing, I ended up getting a 30amp load center, siemens brand, for 100$, and added another 20 amp single pole gfi breaker for $55. Just a hair cheaper.

Not sure if that helps - but I would reather overdo my stuff slightly, that way later if you go to sell the house, the buyer doesnt have some wierd point to work your price down on when the home inspecter finds you out of code.

doing things to code I recommend. mind that I am not advocating buying a permit...

Eric

Edit- I think, from your wiring diagram, your jacuzzi electrical innards are using the ground AS a neutral. For current to flow, it comes in the red/black, 120 plus 120 gives you your 240 - and goes out the ground. Thats, odd but in most panels the grounds and neutrals end up tying to the same place at the end of the run. This also assumes you are running your tub at 240 volts? If not - look into doing so. Much better way to run things, and the heater barely works in the convertible 120 models. Goes up 1 degree an hour, tops. Turn on the jets and the heater cant even keep up. Go 240.

Were I wiring that into a gfi I would expect to tie that ground into the neutral spot on the gfi breaker. Lets get a more experienced hot tub guy in here to check this out though, although I just did one of these, I have only done one.

Eric
 
  #3  
Old 12-17-05, 12:13 PM
fixitron's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Warren, Vermont
Posts: 353
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I have wired a bunch of different brands of tubs. The GFCI breaker should be outside. If it trips on a ground fault, you don't have to go inside to reset it.
Some tubs are wired for just 240 volts, thus no neutral is used. Some are wired with the heater on one 30 amp breaker and the pump and controls on a 20 amp breaker, thus the need for two GFCI breakers.
I have found some tub manufacturers selling a weatherproof load center with GFCI for less than what I can buy at my electrical supply wholesale.
One problem with 50 amp load centers is that the box has to be a generous size to accomodate the larger GFCI breaker and larger wires.
Make sure that the grounding wires are all connected properly, inlcuding bonded to the load center box.
 
  #4  
Old 12-17-05, 12:42 PM
Speedy Petey's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,455
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by EricT
Edit- I think, from your wiring diagram, your jacuzzi electrical innards are using the ground AS a neutral. For current to flow, it comes in the red/black, 120 plus 120 gives you your 240 - and goes out the ground. Thats, odd but in most panels the grounds and neutrals end up tying to the same place at the end of the run....
Eric, this is DANGEROUS advice and NOT at all correct.
A ground can NEVER be used as a neutral and is NOT designed to carry current....especially in an installation like a spa or pool.
The ground and neutral landing at the same place in the MAIN panel is a topic for another lenghty discussion but is irrelevant right now.
Also, power does not come in on the balck and red and out to ground.

This point is moot for mchristo's tub anyway.

I hate to sound rude, but wiring one (your own) tub does not qualify you to give advice to others wiring theirs.



mchristo, you have a 240v, 3-wire installation exactly as stated in the instructions. Two hots and a ground, that's it.
Remember, you can only have six feet maximum of sealtite (liquid-tite flex). You cannot use it for the whole run from the disconnect box.
Most areas have no distinction other than the NEC as far as placement of the disconnect. Within sight and typically no more than 50'.
 
  #5  
Old 12-17-05, 12:44 PM
Speedy Petey's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,455
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
  #6  
Old 12-17-05, 01:29 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 249
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks,

Speedy Petey,
From viewing the link you attached, it looks like having an external GFCI Box is not preferred or up to code? (this was option 2 from my original post).

This is a link to the suggested wiring diagram for my spa.
http://imperialspas.com/Content/PreDelivery.pdf

The diagram on page 10 basically shows option 1 and 2 that I'm considering from my original question.
I don't really have a preference for either (unless one is better than the other, of course). Do you have a preference?

Re your statement: "Remember, you can only have six feet maximum of sealtite (liquid-tite flex). You cannot use it for the whole run from the disconnect box."
I was not aware of this. my home center sells this in much longer lenths than 6 feet. (I was planning to go with the pre packaged 25 ft lenth and run it under my deck but not burried to the spa). The link you provided seems to say maximum of 15 feet. In any event, I need to run approx 25 feet. (but the diconnect is only 16 feet from the spa as the crow flies)

I'll take your word for it and switch to rigid pvc conduit, finished off with a short lenght of flexible and finally into the Romex connecter of the spa shell. I just find it interesting that they sell it in longer lengths when it would not meet the code.

Thanks again, this is an excellent forum!
 
  #7  
Old 12-17-05, 01:39 PM
EricT
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
Eric, this is DANGEROUS advice and NOT at all correct.
A ground can NEVER be used as a neutral and is NOT designed to carry current....especially in an installation like a spa or pool.
The ground and neutral landing at the same place in the MAIN panel is a topic for another lenghty discussion but is irrelevant right now.
Also, power does not come in on the balck and red and out to ground.
Thanks for the correction - dont think I take that in offense whatsoever.

I only ran my own cable - I had a pro wire it up. Looking at his diagram posted, my limited knowledge led to my thinking the voltage goes back the other way. Upon a second look, I see the two 120s are bridged in oon the red, out on the black (or vice versa) so that now makes more sense to me.

Sorry for the wrong assumption! I wasnt trying to give any advice really, just talking about how my wiring experience went. Next time I will be a bit more clear on that.

Eric
 
  #8  
Old 12-17-05, 01:55 PM
Speedy Petey's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,455
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Sorry for the strong post, but the whole ground as a neutral,and vice versa, is a scary thing, especially in the DIY world where it is seldom understood very clearly.
Thanks for understanding.



mchristo, it's not so much all code to have only 6' of flex. It is the code for spas.

680.42 Outdoor Installations

A spa or hot tub installed outdoors shall comply with the provisions of Parts I and II of this article, except as permitted in 680.42(A) and 680.42(B), that would otherwise apply to pools installed outdoors.

(A) Flexible Connections Listed packaged spa or hot tub equipment assemblies or self-contained spas or hot tubs utilizing a factory-installed or assembled control panel or panelboard shall be permitted to use flexible connections as covered in 680.42(A)(1) and (A)(2).

(1) Flexible Conduit Liquidtight flexible metal conduit or liquidtight flexible nonmetallic conduit shall be permitted in lengths of not more than 1.8 m (6 ft).




I have been using those weathproof spa disconnect panels with a pre-installed GFCB. I can buy them at my supply house cheaper than I can get just a 2-pole 50 GFCB alone.
I install this in a convenient place that the customer doesn't mind, but still within sight of the tub.
 
  #9  
Old 12-17-05, 04:51 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 249
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
I have been using those weathproof spa disconnect panels with a pre-installed GFCB. I can buy them at my supply house cheaper than I can get just a 2-pole 50 GFCB alone.
I install this in a convenient place that the customer doesn't mind, but still within sight of the tub.
Thanks Speedy Petey! When you use the spa disconnect panel with GFCB, does it also serve as the safety cut off switch? so no other disconnect is required?
Thanks,
Mike.
 
  #10  
Old 12-17-05, 04:53 PM
Speedy Petey's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,455
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Yes. The breaker is a perfect form of disconnect in this case.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: