GFCI question

Old 05-29-06, 09:26 AM
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Angry GFCI question

I have a large fountain that i use for aeration in a pond that is about 85 feet x 120 ft.

the fountain is hooked up to a GFCI plug that is controlled by a timer that is hardwired in ( not a cheap plug in timer) in the basement.

the fountain has been working for a year or so and just recently the GFCI occasionally trips. I can reset the GFCI and it will run again for a few seconds or a few minutes, or hours or days.

the pump on the fountain has a water proof screw in plug , I checked that and it was wet so I let it dry out for a week , then I reassembled it and put some flexible marine epoxy around the screw and plug and wire.

It ran for a few weeks without tripping and now I'm back to where I was with the tripping and resetting.

it is a 3/4 hp sump pump that powers the fountain, it GFCI is wired correctly and I have already replaced the GFCI because I have had them go bad. I was wondering if there is anyone that might be able to give me any ideas. I am almost ready to just removethe GFCI and install a standard plug.

Old 05-29-06, 10:17 AM
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As motors get older they sometimes start to allow leakage current. This leakage current is enough to trip the GFCI, but not enough to cause an over current situation and trip the circuit breaker. This is why sump pumps (in houses) are usually not GFCI protected.

I recommend a new pump, and this time get a good quality pump, not a sump pump.
Old 05-29-06, 01:30 PM
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Some of the pumps are filled with a light oil, I believe that's to help transfer heat from the motor to the outer case.
I have seen some of the oil go bad or water gets into the oil and that goes bad.
That will trip a GFI, the wires inside the motor are exposed to the oil, no insulation at the connections inside.
If you have a plug more then likely that's the way they filled the pump with oil.

Don't know what type oil they use, but it looks like vegetable oil.
Old 05-30-06, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by shadow
the fountain is hooked up to a GFCI plug that is controlled by a timer that is hardwired in ( not a cheap plug in timer) in the basement.
Is the GFCI in the basement, or at the pond?

If the GFCI is in the basement, is it possible that current is leaking to ground somewhere between the basement and the pond?

I used to have a GFCI inside that powered an outdoor recep that worked fine all year except in the spring and after heavy rains.

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