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One breaker keeps tripping


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01-07-18, 08:01 AM   #1 (permalink)  
One breaker keeps tripping

About a week ago - in the middle of the night - we had a rather loud bang and the power went out to our house. The rest of the neighborhood was fine. There were no storms in the area. In the morning we found that the three capsule like fuses (60A/250V) were blown These sit in a box between the breaker panel and the large voltage regulator - all outside near the meter. We replaced those 3 fuses and all was good for about an hour and then the power in the house starting going on and off every minute or so. We noticed that the 3 indicator lights on the voltage regulator indicated an error on L1/L2 and L3. Turns out the 3 much smaller fuses in that box were also blown - so we replaced them as well. All was good for a few days and then I went to clean the pool. The pool pump would not start. I looked in the fuse box and the breaker for the pool area was still flipped on but the red light was lit - indicating an error. I flipped the breaker and the pool pump was fine.

I just now went to clean the pool again. Again the pool pump would not start. Once again the breaker was lit. I flipped the breaker, went to turn on the pool pump and the breaker immediately popped again. The rest of the house is fine.

I am not electrically savvy. If one breaker keeps popping and the other 9 or so are ok does that tell you anything. Does it say that the problem is probably a short or ground problem with the pool pump itself ? About 2 weeks ago I was in the pool room and noticed that the ground wire which went from the motor into the cement floor was severed. Might have been like that for years I have no idea. So we bought some wire and re-grounded the pump.

Sorry for the lengthy description but I would appreciate any thoughts. Thanks.

 
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01-07-18, 09:30 AM   #2 (permalink)  
This is mainly a US site, but adding your location could also help you.

In the US most house are only fed with single phase power which is 2 hot conductors and one neutral grounded conductor. You may have a 3 phase system in your home. Not that this changes anything, just some general information.

The 3 60 amp fuses blowing, 3 smaller fuses blowing, and the pool circuit tripping all at once tells me you had a short circuit or a voltage surge. The one breaker that keeps tripping could have been damaged if it is a GFCI/DDFT breaker. Is your home fed by your own transformer? (again, this is where your location would be handy.) The ground wire being severed could also be from a short or surge.

If everything else is working correctly, you could change the breaker and see if that fixes the issue. If not, there may be something wrong with the pump.


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01-07-18, 09:39 AM   #3 (permalink)  
Thanks for the reply. I do have Mexico in my profile - but the website software wants to display the state a member lives in and it doesn't know the States of Mexico - thus non-US. I have been a member on this site for like 10 years - including the 5 years we lived in Florida.

We do not have a transformer but we do have a PV system - with a bidirectional meter. That system has been working fine throughout. The meter and the inverter look fine.

Could our problem be a grounding isuue ?

 
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01-07-18, 10:14 AM   #4 (permalink)  
Could our problem be a grounding isuue ?
.
Likely not. Ground is only there for safety and is used as a path back to the source, the transformer. It is possible that by reconnecting the ground wire you have given an existing fault a path back to the source and the issue reared its ugly head and caused the fuses/breakers to blow.

I want to be clear here: This is not a bad thing. You connected the ground wire which is there for a reason, for safety. If there is a fault, it should be repaired rather then removing the ground wire. If you removed the ground wire, you remove the path to the source. Then, if anybody were to create that path with their body they could receive a very bad shock.


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01-07-18, 11:28 AM   #5 (permalink)  
Are 'shorts' almost always at one end of the wiring or the other ? Our pool pump is maybe 100 feet or so from the breaker which is tripping. The wiring is all underground - running under the lawn in places and the cement driveway. I'm sure it would be pretty tough if not impossible to replace that wiring by pulling on it from one end.

I did find this very helpful article on this site :

https://www.doityourself.com/stry/ho...ectrical-short

 
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01-07-18, 11:46 AM   #6 (permalink)  
Most cases wire underground does not spontaneously produce a short unless it has been damaged somehow. It mostly happens at equipment (the pool pump) or junction boxes.


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01-07-18, 11:50 AM   #7 (permalink)  
So after checking at the pool pump and the panel and not seeing an issue is there a (simple) way to confirm that the problem is NOT in the underground wiring ? (Probably a stupid question - but if I don't ask I'll never learn).

 
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01-07-18, 08:23 PM   #8 (permalink)  
The only real way is to use a special tool called a MegOhm Meter or a "Megger". It uses higher then normal voltage to test the insulation of the wire.

A simple way would be to by pass the underground wiring by running a temporary cable above ground. Then connect everything the same as it is with the underground wire and see if it works like it should.


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01-11-18, 04:37 PM   #9 (permalink)  
We have a really hookie (?) electrical setup in our pool room. As I write this - our jack of all trades - has switched our pool pump from 220 to 110 and bypassed the pool timer to another manual switch so that I can clean the pool in the morning. He (and especially I) have no idea what our problem really is. Earlier this week - the pool pump was not working and then the gardener ran the lawn mower over an area of the lawn where we had planted a new tree (within the last couple of years) and all of a sudden the pool pump started.

So - my very naive question - 220 vs 110 - does 220 require 2 X 110 wires ? Is there a real advantage of 220 over 110 ? Do we lose anything by running our pool pump at 110 ? Does any of this make sense ?

Thanks

 
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01-11-18, 06:29 PM   #10 (permalink)  
Note: Nominal voltage in the US is 120/240 volts

220 vs 110 - does 220 require 2 X 110 wires ?
No. It uses 2 wires with 240 volts between them.

Is there a real advantage of 220 over 110 ?
The main thing is the amount of current will double running the motor on 120 volts instead of 240 volts. As long as the wire is large enough to handle the higher current, there should be little difference.

Do we lose anything by running our pool pump at 110 ?
No. The only other effect of changing it to 120 volts is voltage drop will increase. This is not an issue unless it is a very long run of wire.

Does any of this make sense ?
You have bypassed the issue for now. In my experience the issue will not go away and will likely reappear somehow.


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01-11-18, 06:47 PM   #11 (permalink)  
It is true - you are a swell guy.

In hindsight we really need 220v to drive the water up to the roof to the heating panels. Today's solution at least lets me clean the pool (shutting off the roof access) before it becomes a health issue.

The distance from the electrical panel to the pump is perhaps 100 feet,

Our most costly solution to this problem seems to be running a new tube with 4 wires on top of the wall separating us from our neighbor.

 
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01-13-18, 06:12 AM   #12 (permalink)  
At 100 feet voltage drop should not be an issue.

Earlier this week - the pool pump was not working and then the gardener ran the lawn mower over an area of the lawn where we had planted a new tree (within the last couple of years) and all of a sudden the pool pump started.
lksajdhfo
That could be where the wires were damaged.


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01-13-18, 06:22 AM   #13 (permalink)  
Earlier this week our jack-of-all-trades wired the pool pump to run at 110v. Yesterday I tried to vacuum the pool. When I first started the pump it was really hesitant. It made like a noises like wah, wah,wah,wah,wah and then finally started. But it only ran for about 10 minutes and then shut itself off. Too be honest there wasn't much suction, and there wasn't much water moving through the pump. I waited about a half hour and tried to start the pump again - just to see if it had burnt out. It started again. I immediately turned it off and left it alone. On Tuesday we have a real electrician coming to have a look at it.

Today I intend to try and locate the underground wiring.

 
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01-13-18, 08:09 AM   #14 (permalink)  
There are tools out there that will locate underground wiring, but they are very expensive. Perhaps there is a place that will rent them?

This is what we have: https://accusrc.com/product-Dynatel-...IaAnaFEALw_wcB


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01-13-18, 02:34 PM   #15 (permalink)  
That solution is a little pricey :-) and no we have never seen any sort of rentals in Mexico - other that car rentals... On a recent project at our home we need a jack hammer to speed things along. We could not rent a jack hammer but we could hire a guy who owned one by the day ...

But if I were a little younger owning one of those gizmos might make for a decent business, That and one of those devices they use to find leaks in water pipes like under foundations. In Florida we had to have one of those guys come and he found a leak under the living room floor. His cost was like $250 USD for his hour. (We opted to run new PVC through the attic crawlspace).

 
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01-14-18, 12:09 AM   #16 (permalink)  
For underground locating I use a Dynatel 573. True, it doesn't have a separate wand thing and it looks like something from the cold war era, but it works and it's relatively inexpensive. They can be found on ebay/etc for $100-150 usually. For locating faults in the cable you'd also need the A-frame which is not usually included.

 
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01-14-18, 12:34 PM   #17 (permalink)  
There are tools out there that will locate underground wiring, but they are very expensive.

There are inexpensive methods too, but many will laugh at witching out an underground cable or pipe with divining rods. I would laugh too had I not seen it for myself and tried it. Many years ago a plumber showed me how they used to find water service lines in subdivisions using the divining rods. It works on pipes or cables.

 
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01-14-18, 12:50 PM   #18 (permalink)  
Actually we live in a very, centuries old, mystical place (goes back before the Spaniards). But I asked around and could not find anyone with divining services. That was last year when I had to dig up our septic system and the arch. diagrams were not true.

 
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