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GFCI Newly Connected for Spa/Test Button Not Working - Next Steps?

GFCI Newly Connected for Spa/Test Button Not Working - Next Steps?

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  #1  
Old 10-21-13, 11:49 PM
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GFCI Newly Connected for Spa/Test Button Not Working - Next Steps?

Hi,
Any help is appreciated. I have owned this spa/jacuzzi for 2 years but have failed so far. The GFCI is now connected in the main circuit breaker which is 30 feet from the spa. The 2 hot leads, ground and neutral go from the main breaker through an intermediate box which is ~7' from the spa. The wires go from there to the spa/jacuzzi. The images attached include (1) image 0779 - diagram of spa circuit, (2) image 1002 - connections inside spa (probably no help), and (3) image 0994 - switch in the main breaker. I had trouble getting these shots, so feel free to ask questions. I am looking for the next steps since when I press the Test button on the GFCI nothing happens (i.e. the spa does not turn off). Could the switch be bad? How do I verify? What do I do to check the wiring to the spa? Is the line length to the spa too long. Ideas?
Thanks!
Alan
 
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  #2  
Old 10-22-13, 12:34 AM
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I have owned this spa/jacuzzi for 2 years but have failed so far.
Failed at what..... not getting a shock ?

(Since it's been two years without a properly working GFI breaker)


The GFI breaker should trip with nothing connected if you push the test button. That looks like a Cutler Hammer breaker. It should have a white wire tail coming out of the breaker case. Did you connect that to the neutral bar ?
 
  #3  
Old 10-22-13, 03:23 AM
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If the breaker is not tripping when the test button is pushed it sounds like the breaker has failed.

If the tub is tripping the breaker many times the heater is the culprit.
 
  #4  
Old 10-22-13, 07:43 AM
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GFCI Newly Connected for Spa/Test Button Not Working - Next Steps?

Hi,
I will try the test button and let you know. Originally, I had the tail connected (in a different configuration) but it does not look like it is currently installed. I had some electrical help with this piece and it does not look like he connected it up (i.e. he did not add the tail but although I believe the switch is connected to the neutral line). Do I need to install the tail to verify if the switch is working (i.e. test by pushing the Test button after disconnecting the spa)? Is the tail hard to make?

Oh yes, fortunately no shocks for 2 years but we are not going in the spa either .

Thanks,
Alan
 
  #5  
Old 10-22-13, 09:06 AM
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If the breaker does have the permanently attached white wire coming out of it then that needs to be connected to the neutral bar. That white wire supplies power to the trip mechanism/test button.

The ground for the spa does not connect to the breaker.
 
  #6  
Old 10-22-13, 02:02 PM
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I disconnected the spa the test button still did not trip the breaker. The neutral line was connected to a bar that had about 15-20 other white wires. It looked a lot like a ground bar (but with white wires). I have removed the GFCI breaker and will see about getting a replacement. I expect there will be more to follow - at least an update. Thanks for all of the advice! Alan
 
  #7  
Old 10-22-13, 02:27 PM
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What brand is your main panel? The GFI breaker looks a little like it may be a Cutler-Hammer, but the breakers in the panel look like GE thin Type THQP breakers. If it is a GE panel, the GFI breaker should also be GE.
 
  #8  
Old 10-22-13, 02:39 PM
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The neutral line was connected to a bar that had about 15-20 other white wires.
Which neutral wire is connected to the neutral bus?

A GFCI circuit breaker has two white wires connected to it. One of those is the breaker's neutral pigtail. It is factory installed and cannot be disconnected from the breaker.
Originally Posted by PJmax
that needs to be connected to the neutral bar. That white wire supplies power to the trip mechanism/test button.
It actually supplies a return path, but why quibble. It needs to be connected to neutral for the breaker and its test button to work.

The other neutral wire connected to a GFCI breaker is the neutral going to the load. On a 2-pole 240V GFCI breaker there will be three terminals. Two of those are for the two hot wires, just as on any 240V breaker. The third one is for the neutral that runs with those two hot wires.

Is that how your breaker is wired? Sorry, but can't tell from the picture.

The 2 hot leads, ground and neutral go from the main breaker through an intermediate box which is ~7' from the spa.
That sounds like an outside, within-sight disconnect location. Is there a disconnect in that box?
 
  #9  
Old 10-22-13, 02:52 PM
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He doesn't have a neutral. So in this instance the white wire is supplying the return path to make the test button work on the breaker.

Just as an aside here.... new GFI devices use an IC to control the hold and trip of the mechanism which is one reason why you can reset a GFI receptacle if there is no power.
 
  #10  
Old 10-22-13, 03:11 PM
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He doesn't have a neutral.
He doesn't? Between the breaker and the hot tub?

I'm wondering why the diagram shows green, red, black and white, wires coming in, and talks about both 120V and 240V, if there's no neutral.
 
  #11  
Old 10-22-13, 03:22 PM
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I take that back. Can't tell if that's a 120/240 spa converted to 240 or a dedicated 240v unit.

In the panel I see two heavy reds, one heavy black taped white, a smaller white and a small green.
In the spa I see a heavy red taped white. I don't see a heavy black in the spa ??

Looks like there may be several wiring issues here.
 
  #12  
Old 10-23-13, 10:34 AM
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PJmax, Nashkat1, CasualJoe, pcboss (apologies if I missed anyone),

It works!!!! Thanks for all of the help and keep up the great work you do on this forum - very helpful.

The breaker had a neutral hard wired but underneath so it could not be seen in the pictures unfortunately. I exchanged it (surprised the hardware store took it back) and the new one works perfectly. The spa is heating up now.

Thanks again for the great advice!

Alan
 
  #13  
Old 10-23-13, 06:48 PM
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I still have a question. ..........................
CasualJoe

What brand is your main panel? The GFI breaker looks a little like it may be a Cutler-Hammer, but the breakers in the panel look like GE thin Type THQP breakers. If it is a GE panel, the GFI breaker should also be GE.
 
  #14  
Old 10-28-13, 06:15 PM
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CasualJoe,
Yes, it is a GE CTL Panelboard. I would have answered sooner, but I checked earlier on the 23rd and was not expecting additional comments. You make a good point. In fact, 4 hours after I started the spa, the breaker flipped. I do not know why. Now the spa works just periodically with the breaker flipping often. It looks like I may need the GE GFI breaker? I still need to see if it is the Cutler-Hammer breaker currently. Being naive, I am wondering why it would matter? Is it a bad fit?

I am still optimistic about a solution.

Best and thanks!

Alan
 
  #15  
Old 10-28-13, 06:52 PM
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It looks like I may need the GE GFI breaker? I still need to see if it is the Cutler-Hammer breaker currently. Being naive, I am wondering why it would matter? Is it a bad fit?
If the existing GFI breaker is periodically tripping, you could have either a bad breaker or a problem with the spa. Have you checked the current draw against the breaker rating? Cutler-Hammer breakers are not U.L. Listed for use in a GE panel so it is more of a code compliance issue. This merely means that the Cutler-Hammer breaker has never been tested in a GE loadcenter for fit and performance and that's usually because GE hasn't offered to pay for it, they'd rather sell their own breakers. If you need to replace the GFI breaker with a GE GFI breaker, check out the Midwest spa panels at the big box stores that come with a GE GFI breaker factory installed. You can normally buy the complete Midwest spa panel with a GE GFI breaker cheaper than just buying a GE GFI breaker from a supply house.
 
  #16  
Old 10-29-13, 03:04 PM
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Thanks CasualJoe! I am afraid of the potential spa issue. It is interesting though since it ran for close to 4 hours before the breaker tripped. Months ago, it would work without the GFI breaker (I would run it to keep the equipment going versus the potential of roasting myself). If it works without the GFI breaker now, is that still a potential spa issue? I would think so, but wondering how likely (but understand you may not know). The GFI breaker is rated at 60 amps and this is a small 3 person spa. I believe half that rating would suffice (from memory but I will double check). Right now, going with your idea and replacing the breaker with a GE GFI breaker sounds like the easiest route to try (even with the cost of ~$65). I see a 2 pole GFI 50amp on ebay currently. Due to expenses, I may need to wait a while though. Thanks again!
 
  #17  
Old 10-29-13, 07:41 PM
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It is interesting though since it ran for close to 4 hours before the breaker tripped.
That sounds more like an overload issue than a ground fault issue, you could just have a bad or weak GFI breaker that is tripping prematurely. I am not fond of GE.

The GFI breaker is rated at 60 amps
That may be a problem, I am not sure GE still makes a 60 amp 2 pole GFI breaker. I'll try to check that out later and will try to post back.
 
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