Question about Spa Parts Plus GFCI, Circuit Breaker, 30 Amp

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GFI 'shorted' Residential 240V 1PH, GE 200A panel, GE 2 pole 50A Breaker, 6AWG Copper 65' to Midwest Spa GFI box. Wiring is correct, 2 hots, 1 neutral, 1 ground. Load is 15' (following brick wall contour) 6AWG Copper to inside Cal Spas Spa. Weather-sealed plastic junction box housed by spa skirt connects 6' whip with 6AWG Copper, connections in junction are twisted with #6 weather resistant wirenuts. Whip terminates at Balboa CS6200 control box. Hots, Neutral and Ground are all connected according to color at applicable points. The first time power was applied, the control panel for the spa lit the LED display. I pressed the TEST button on the GE 50A GFI in the Midwest panel, a brief (< 1 sec) hum, then a 'poof' with a 'spark' from the inside of the GFI. The spa still had power, the GFI TEST button did nothing (note: the GFI breaker bar did not trip). Went back to The Home Depot, purchased another Midwest Spa Panel. Swapped the new breaker into the existing box, same exact result. Phoned two other electricians for opinions, described configuration (as above), was told I have it right, so there are two possibilities: the Midwest GFI is wired backwards, (it's not) but that would only cause the GFI not to operate -or- a defective GFI breaker. My problem with that idea is the odds of two identical failures. Continuity testing between the Midwest neutral bar to both hots showed no connection. When the load neutral is connected to the neutral bar, there is continuity to the earth ground. So, my question is: What condition would cause the GFI circuit inside a GFI breaker to be destroyed the first time it is TESTed? I didn't find any similar concern on the 'Net, and this is getting expensive. Thank you for your insight!

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  • Jason May 11, 2010

    Just clarifying...the ground and neutral are not bonded together in the Midwest panel, nor in the spa pack itself, correct?

    You may also want to start at the source panel with a voltmeter and check each wire to make sure that what you *think* is wired correctly is actually wired correctly. Remember...things happen, especially if you are not the one that did the original install.


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Load neutral connects to the neutral binding screw on the GFI, do NOT connect the load neutral to the neutral bar.

Posted on Mar 05, 2009

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I have 110 volts n each leg but not 220 across both why??

In a traditional North American residential electrical panel (120/240 volt, single phase), installing a single width or single pole circuit breaker, you would expect to read 120 volts from the breaker terminal screw to either ground or neutral. A double width or double pole breaker would provide 120 volts from either of the breaker terminal screws to ground or neutral AND it will provide 240 volts BETWEEN the TWO breaker terminals.

A single-width circuit breaker case that contains two handles is NOT a two pole circuit breaker (these are called "tandem" or "1/2 size" breakers). This is because a single width breaker engages only one "line" in the panel. A double width breaker will engage 2 "lines" as a triple width breaker would engage 3 "lines" of a 3 phase panel. A single wide breaker can not physically engage more than 1 "line" so it will never be able to pass 240 volts.

You must install a double width / double pole breaker to safely supply a 240 volt circuit / device.

Mar 15, 2014 | GE 20 Amp 1 In Double Pole Circuit Breaker...

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I need to know if a double pole 30 breaker acts as a jumper from 1 hot bar to the other.

1) Copy following links:

2) Double-pole circuit breaker snaps down over both hot busbars.
Each busbar supplies 120Volts, and each busbar is out-of-phase with the other busbar. Together, the two 120volt out-of-phase wires have 240Volt potential.

3) Does the double-pole breaker act as a jumper?
Typically a 'jumper' wire bonds two electrical connections together so power flows between the things that are jumpered together.
If you 'jumper' one busbar to the other busbar in live 240V split phase panel, it will short out.

4) 240Volt circuit requires two hot wires. One hot from each busbar.
When the two hots are applied to two screws on a heating element, that action will complete circuit, and element will heat.
Instead of shorting out, the element has resistance in the form of a coil of wire that impedes the flow of current and converts the electric current into heat at the element.
This is same as filament inside light bulb.
If the element does not have resistance to impede current, then the two hot wires in the 240Volt circuit will short out and cause flash of overheating and burning that will burn out element. If element does not burn out immediately, and short continues, then the wire connected to circuit breaker begins to heat. When heat on wire exceeds circuit breaker rating, then the breaker trips off.
Circuit breakers are triggered by heat.
This is why wire size and breaker size must match.., to avoid overheated wire inside wall that will catch house on fire.

Dec 23, 2012 | Electrical Supplies

1 Answer

What's youI just wired in my J-300 Jacuzzi hot tub. The GFI trips every time I reset it. I took the GFI out of the equation and the tub runs fine, does not trip the breaker at the main breaker box

2. There is a short. You need to get multimeter and start checking each part for current running to ground wire.
3) Power is ON. Connect power without GFCI.
4) Tape tester leads to wood sticks to keep hands away from power.
5) Do not touch anything directly or you will become the ground rod.
6) Ground wire must be present, and bonded back to main panel box.
7) Do not sit or touch directly on cement or bare ground. Do not touch or lean into anything made of metal.
8) Body and parts must be on sheet of plywood, or similar non-conductive dry surface.
9) Test each part with spa, but also test electric line coming from main box.
10) GFCI will also trip with any fault detected on line. So the wire coming to spa may have the fault.
11) Add a new dedicated line from main box to spa.

Oct 02, 2012 | Electrical Supplies

1 Answer

QO115GFI breaker trips when I switch on the breaker next to it.

I happen to have one of these in the box, so I've reviewed the installation & on-line literature for this model. Let's address installation notes:
Don't connect more than 250 ft of load conductor for the total one-way run, to prevent nuisance tripping.
The breaker is to be used on grounded power supply circuits only. We're talking a properly-grounded breaker box, not just the protected circuit.
Look at the side of the breaker. You will notice that the curly white wire is meant to be connected to the (properly grounded) neutral bar in your panel.
The circuit neutral that you're protecting should be landed on the terminal just above that curly wire. Make sure you have the right neutral!
The circuit's hot wire would of course be landed on the topmost screw.
You did not state what you mean by "the breaker next to it": just above, just below, or directly across from the GFI breaker?
I suspect that you meant just above or below the GFI breaker. And I assume you've swapped out other breakers to rule out a defective breaker.
Now, it is possible that you have a "shared neutral" situation. It's a common wiring practice to use one neutral wire for two "hots", where one circuit is fed from the phase A side and the other is fed from the phase B side, (which you'll have in a two-pole, 220V breaker), picking up a 110 volts from each phase. The two 110v "Hots" share a single neutral wire between them to carry return current. The phase shift between the two phases allows this.
However, to avoid nuisance tripping of your GFI, your protected circuit cannot share neutrals with another circuit, as the "other" circuit's operation will cause the 6 milliamp differential between current out (hot) and current return (neutral) which the GFI by design senses and trips.
Your GFI-protected circuit probably needs its own dedicated neutral!
I'd like to hear what you find. Good luck!

Feb 24, 2012 | Square D QO115GFI QO Circuit Breaker

1 Answer

I have a GE two speed motor/pump for a hot tub that I have adapted for a type of therapy called underwater pressure massage (all of the hot tub jets are channeled through a single hose for the high...

Disconnect both hot leads from the breaker at the box. Using an ohmmeter measure the resistance to ground or the neutral bar in your box. If the resistance is LESS than about 50 K you have excessive leakage current. It is unlikely the motor is the problem. I would check the wiring and switching for the leakage. Now to the second problem: If you switch between speeds while the unit is running, the GFI will LIKELY trip. This is normal as you create a massive transient that the GFI PROBABLY can't handle. There are a couple things to try: One is using a two pole control switch and turn off the pump before "switching gears" ... as an electrical engineer I can't explain this unless you can understand electrical transients AND capacitive coupling between the windings and the case of the motor. I realize you may have a combination speed and on off switch so you MIGHT have to add a switch. Ideally I would want a relay for on/off near the breaker that momentarily disconnected before shifting gears. The next fix possibility involves a trick we use to control transients in electronics. This involves noise control by using a toroid around the pair of hot wires. This MIGHT take several turns through a good sized ferrite toroid with both the hots in the same direction, side by side. This forms what we call a "Bi-Filar" choke. Look that up on Google to understand the principle... it essentially helps balance the currents in the hots and isolates them from ground for transients.

May 08, 2011 | Bryant 50 Amp 2 Pole Br250 Type Br Ni...

1 Answer

Can I install a 20a gfi breaker in a 50a 240 gfi spa sub panel?

No. Don't ever do this. You have to install the correct amperage breaker ( magnetic contact ). This will burn your 20a gfi breaker quickly.

Mar 05, 2011 | Cutler Hammer Gfi Breaker 2 Pole 20 Amp

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1 question can Cutler Hammer breakers have the amperage feed through the breakers. To the breaker box and from the box grid to the load. Does it matter which way the amperage is fed through the breaker?...

There seem to be several questions mingled in with those 2 questions.

1) Amps can go either way

2) Breakers trip when heat exceeds certain level. Heat is caused by amps.

3) You want to add a subpanel in garage.
I do not know the code in your area for installing a subpanel.
Your plan will work by connecting 6 gauge wire to main breaker, and new 60 amp breaker will protect wires between main box and subpanel.
Remember, wires going into main breaker cannot be turned off without pulling meter.
Some areas require license to pull meter.

4) To work around license and meter-pull, simply replace a 240V breaker in main panel with your new 60 amp breaker.
Then move breakers around to match new set-up.
New subpanel can accommodate two new 240V breakers and one new 120 Breaker

5) 6 gauge wire is correct for 60 amp breaker.

6) I'm not sure what you mean by the box rails?

7) Do you need more amperage on main service?
This means adding a larger service panel with 150 Watt or 200 Watt main breaker.
Some areas require service upgrade when remodeling or adding circuits.

8) How to figure total amp draw at your house.
Add up total watts being used.
For example you have 1/2 Hp motor
754 watts per Hp
1/2 Hp = 377Watts
Volts x Amps = Watts
Amps = Watts divided by Volts.
377 Watts divided by 240Volts = 1.57 amps (plus a bit more amperage when motor starts)
40 watt light bulb divided by 120Volts = .33 amps
Double oven has label located inside door that shows upper and lower wattage.
Dishwasher, dryer, big screen TV, satellite receiver all have labels that show wattage.
Water heater has label that shows wattage of each element.

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Feb 18, 2011 | Cutler Hammer 100 Amp Main Breaker...

1 Answer

Gfi Breaker 2 Pole 20 Amp: installed 20 amp dbl pole breaker to hot tub. Keep...

When Working with Household Electricity you want to always keep in mind that the BLACK wire ALWAYS carries DEATH. What I mean by this is that working with a Single Phase Circuit (one that uses 120VAC) the only wire that should be carrying a voltage is the BLACK one, the other 2 wires (typically the White Neutral and Green Ground) should both be electrically connected to Earth Ground (usually by being attached to your water pipe.)

It is also possible that your hot tub may use more than 20 Amps.

May 17, 2010 | Cutler Hammer Gfi Breaker 2 Pole 20 Amp

1 Answer


A single pole ground fault breaker has a screw terminal on one side for the black wire to the ciorcuit, a white curly pigtail that goes to the panel neutral/ground bar, and a screw terminal near the white wire for the white neutral wire from the circuit.

A 2 pole GFI breaker is similar, But it has another screw terminal for the other hot wire in the circuit.
For a 220 volt, 2 pole, GFI protected circuit, you need to run a 4 wire cable. black, red, white, green.

Please Vote !!

Apr 13, 2010 | Siemens 50 Amp Ground Fault Circuit...

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I need to install a GFI breaker on a Baptistry.

You could install a standard GFCI in line at each component ( heater, pump & timer) or you could install AFCI breakers similar to what are required in many residential codes (provide the same protection at the panel not at the location...

The AFCI breakers will need to match your panel type (siemens, GE or Square-D) and the amperage/configuration.

I would install them at the lowest level (closest to the components) in the system to reduce possibility of fire in the wiring between the components and the afci breaker.

Jan 04, 2009 | Electrical Supplies

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