gfci breaker problems

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  #1  
Old 05-09-14, 11:55 AM
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Unhappy gfci breaker problems

I have a double pole gfci breaker in its own breaker box that powers my hot tub. About 3 months ago my pump would no longer turn on and I found that on the output side of the breaker hot to hot was like 60 volts. one of the hots had 120 to ground the other was pretty much nfg. I pressed the test button and saw a spark come from the breaker and a burning smell. Now hot to hot was 0 volts.

Replaced the breaker and all was fine. The old breaker was scorched. The posts in the breaker box looked fine although the plastic backing they screw into was singed a bit. I had to bend one of the two posts out with pliers to make it straight enough to push the new breaker in. Even after attempting to straighten the post I still had to use most of my body weight to make it "slip" on.

So now 3 months later I find that my pump wont turn on again. I press the trip button and nothing happens. Check voltage and one of the hots is nfg again. So I turn it off and on again press the test and it still doesnt trip. Go out side and the pump is running.

I guess flipping the breaker off and on brought it back up to 240. My guess is that it wont be for long.
So I guess my question is, what now? Was this just awful luck and iv had 2 lemon breakers, or could there be something else thats killing these breakers?
 
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Old 05-09-14, 02:16 PM
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What is the amperage & what gauge wire was used? Who installed it & when?
 
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Old 05-09-14, 06:23 PM
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Most spa panels serve not only to provide the required GFCI protection, but also serve as the required disconnect near the tub, where is your spa panel located? It sounds as if it is inside. Do you have a separate disconnect near the tub? From your description of the problem, it sounds to me like you need a new spa panel (they usually come with a 2 pole GFCI breaker).
 
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Old 05-09-14, 09:35 PM
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Yes its inside. And its in a spa box. There is no regular breaker before it like there should be in the breaker panel. And if your wondering how this is even possible, its because whoever wired this thing tapped into the main line coming into the house just before the breaker panel.
 
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Old 05-09-14, 10:53 PM
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Dont know what gauge wire its definitely thick enough though. The breaker is only 40 amp and its never tripped, the tub probably draws 33 amps max and thats only when your in it. Otherwise mabe 24 when its heating with the pump on low

Its a thick enough gauge that it was a ***** to get the breaker wired up.

Bought the house with the tub. I know the guy wired the tub up him self and all the components were burnt to ****. I installed a circuit board just before the breaker finished melting out. Since then there has been no problems untill now. Clearly the guy who sold the house likes to do things himself maybe he wired the breaker to. Dont know. I dont understand why he would bypass the main panel when installing the spa box but I know I felt really unsafe trying to shove that new breaker onto 240vac
 
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Old 05-10-14, 04:44 AM
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That sounds pretty bad & I'd say that it's against code too. I would fix it, even if you have to pull the meter or hire someone to do it.
 
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Old 05-10-14, 07:18 AM
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If there is no breaker how is the SPA panel connected to the main pane? If it is just wired in, no breaker, the first thing you have to do is put the Spa box on a correctly sized breaker in the main panel and supply the Spa panel with the correct size and type of wire. Till then turn off the main breaker and remove the wires to the spa panel from the main breaker box. If it is ahead of the main breaker box call an electrician and have the wires disconnected.
Its a thick enough gauge that it was a ***** to get the breaker wired up.
Never guess] the wire size, be sure.
 
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Old 05-10-14, 08:41 AM
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whoever wired this thing tapped into the main line coming into the house just before the breaker panel.
I don't need to know much about Canadian codes to know this is a major violation and safety/fire issue. You need a qualified electrician immediately to pull the meter and disconnect this fiasco and repair any damage that may have been done tapping the service entrance wiring.
 
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