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Installed a Siemens 60amp GFI breaker for a spa. Ran 6 -3

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with a ground and a...
Installed a Siemens 60amp GFI breaker for a spa. Ran 6 -3 with a ground and a disconnect box at the spa. With no load the breaker trips, when the neutral is disconnected it doesnt. Existing panel is grounded and functioning. Tried hooking the ground to a new grounding rod outside, still trips.
Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Electrical
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9/15/2016
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 1 year ago
Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 7,762
Experience: Proven Professional 48 years Experience
Verified

Hi, I'm Mike G and I'll be assisting you. Ell me how you wired the breaker.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Red and black to load, white to the neutral on breaker, white tail on the breaker to the neutral bus and ground to the bus. Tried new GFI breaker and regular breaker. Regular breaker doesn't trip.
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 1 year ago

Disconnect the neutral at the tub and see if the GFCI holds.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I will try that later today or tomorrow. I got called away.
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 1 year ago

No, problem, come back when you can.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I disconnected the neutral at the tub and it's not tripping. Where do I go from here?
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 1 year ago

There obviously is a problem with the tub. Is there any connection with both the neutral and the ground attached in the same place?

Reattach the neutral and disconnect all ground wire connections.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I dont think it's the tub. It's tripping when it's disconnected from the tub also.
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 1 year ago

Your previous reply said it didn't trip the breaker and now you said it is. Which is it?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Disconnected tub neutral and reconnected line back to the disconnect in the box and it tripped
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
It has always tripped when the neutral is attached.
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 1 year ago

You need to read my entire message. I said to disconnect the grounds

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Everything has been done with no load on it.
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 1 year ago

You need to have the breaker in after each step to test.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
The breaker is in the panel and there's a disconnect box at the tub. We have the tub disconnected.
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 1 year ago

We're working on a 60A GFCI tripping, that is what needs to be on at each step. That is tripping for a fault on either the neutral or ground.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
It's still tripping with the grounds disconnected and the neutral reattached
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 1 year ago

You have a fault on the neutral. You would be best to have the tub serviced to locate it. Sorry there isn't more I can do with you. I'll opt out.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I hooked up a regular breaker and it doesn't trip. Only the GFI breaker trips.
Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago
Steve G.
Steve G., Electrical Engineer
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 17,987
Experience: Spent 20 years as an Electrical Engineer, designing electrical plans and specifications.
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Hello there and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** another expert here and I will be assisting you today. I am an engineer with over 30 years of electrical and electronic training, repair and installation experience. I will try and answer your question accurately and precisely so that we can get you on your way.

GFI breakers are much more sensitive than regular thermal/magnetic breakers which is why they are used in bathrooms and for protecting spas, hot tubs, pools and any other electrical items that are outside.

Just so I understand. If you disconnect all wires AT THE TUB, but leave them connected at the GFI breaker, the breaker still trips.

Also, can you get your hands on an insulation tester commonly known in the trade as a "Megger"?

Is that correct? I apologize if you have already gone over this with the previous expert.

Please let me know so that we can continue.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
You are correct. It doesn't trip when the neutral is disconnected. We tried a new GFI breaker, same problem. When a regular breaker is used it's fine. I cannot get a Megger.
Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago

Ok. Roughly how long is the run from the breaker to the tub and what kind of wiring/conduit did you use?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
44' of 6-3 with a ground.
Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago

Ok. Do you have a multimeter? If so, set it to "Ohms" and measure the resistance between:

N-L1
N-L2
L1-L2

L1-G

L2-G

N-G

Do this to the disconnected conductors at the far end. Let me know what you find.

Thanks.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I won't be able to test it till monday
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
With the meter set at 200k it was as follows
N - L1. 25
N - L2. 57
L1 - L2. 82
L1 - G. 25
L2 - G. 55
N - G 0When tested at 200 N - G was the only one that registered, it was 1.0
Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago

Ok. I'm not quite sure of those measurements. Are they ohms or kilo-ohms?

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Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago

Ok. I'm still not sure about those readings though. Can you do the N-L1 and N to L2 again with the meter set to 200 ohms?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
It doesn't register anything.
Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago

Ok. I'm not sure what is going on then. Without an insulation tester, I can only assume that the neutral conductor is at fault somewhere.

Is the 6-3 that you purchased installed in a conduit or a trench or some other method? And I assume that you are using a sheathed three conductor cable like NM-B or SER?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
It's is sheathed. We have it run in grey PVC pipe down the side of the house and through the attic to the panel.
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
It is NM-B
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
We disconnected the 6-3 and connected a 12-3 to the breaker and the ran the same set of ohm tests and the result was almost identical.
Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago

When you connect the 12/3, does the breaker trip?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
it does
Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago

Then something has to be wrong with the breaker - at the neutral terminal.

I would have it replaced. There is no other explanation for what we are experiencing.

Steve

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
That was the first thing we tried
Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago

Then I'm not sure what is going on.

Simply connecting "a wire" to the neutral connection pops the breaker - that doesn't make sense. I am sorry.

Plug the breaker in with no wires attached and turn it on. Then try and connect the neutral. Be careful b/c the other two terminals are hot.

Does it trip?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
The breaker works when the neutral is not connected at the box. Or with the neutral connected at the breaker but not the disconnect box.
Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago

Ok, let me try and understand.

The breaker is in your main house panel - inside, not adjacent to the tub.

At the tub you have a disconnect box? Does the box have separate neutral and ground bars, or are they tied together with a metal tie?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
That is correct. They neutral and ground bars are connected.
Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago

That's your problem. There should be a small link between the two. Remove it.

Let me know the outcome.

Steve

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
In the main panel there is only one bus. Is that going to change anything?
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
They are disconnected and it's still tripping.
Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago

Check for shorts in that disconnect. Between the hots and ground, the neutral and ground and the hots and the neutral.

Disconnect the wires first - at the disconnect.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
We tried bypassing the disconnect and hooking it directly to the spa and it still trips.
Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago

The panel that the GFI is installed, is that your main house panel or a sub panel that was maybe added later?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Main house panel
Electrician: Steve G., Electrical Engineer replied 1 year ago

I'm sorry but I just can't make sense of this. I completely understand how GFI devices work and what you are experiencing is very odd indeed. I am going to opt out of this question which will allow other experts to chime in.

I'm sorry I was unable to help.

Steve

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Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago
Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3,791
Experience: 31 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
Verified

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) At the 60 amp disco, is the feeder neutral bonded to the equipment ground? Is there a green screw or a main bonding jumper strap installed that bonds the neutral bus bar to the panel metal enclosure? Does the disco contain a separate equipment ground bar?

2) What is the voltage of the hot tub? 240 volts only or a combo of 120/240 volts?

If a combo voltage, is the white neutral from the tub terminated to the GFCI breaker or to the neutral bus bar?

3) If the NMB cable is exterior to the home, that is a code violation. Romex cable is not rated for wet conditions.

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Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks...............Kevin:)

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
The neutral and ground bars are separate on the disconnect. The spa is 240 v. And the bomb is in grey PVC pipe on the exterior of the house.
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

1) Is the white neutral GFCI pigtail terminated to the neutral bus bar?

2) Not sure what you mean by the bomb is in grey PVC?

3) If you remove the 2 hots from the GFCI LOAD side, does the GFCI still trip

4) Has the main bonding screw or main bonding jumper strap been removed at the neutral bus bar?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I won't be back over to the house until tomorrow. My phone auto corrected bomb, it was supposed to be wire.
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

No problem, just reply back to me tomorrow..........Thanks............Kevin:)

1) If NM Romex cable was installed in exterior PVC conduit, that is a code violation since Romex cable is not rated for wet conditions. Even though the Romex cable is installed in conduit, it is not rated for exterior/wet conditions. Over time, the NM Romex insulation will break down and fail.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
The breaker still pops with the hots disconnected from the breaker
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

1) What about the GFCI pigtail neutral? Is it terminated to the neutral bus bar even though the 2 hot wires have been removed?

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Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

Thanks for confirming.

1) Since removing the LOAD side connection at the GFCI and it still trips, this rules out a problem with the hot tub.

2) At the disconnect, is there a main bonding screw or a main bonding jumper strap terminated to the neutral bus bar?, If so, remove the main bonding screw or strap.

3) If no main bonding screw or no main bonding strap installed in the disco, then I recommend to obtain a replacement GFCI.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
The neutral is bonded at the disconnect and the ground is separated. We have tried it both ways and it still trips. We also tried a new breaker. Same problem.
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

The disco box needs to be configured as a sub-panel. On all sub-panels, the main bonding screw or main bonding jumper strap needs to be removed. The neutral must be isolated from the panel metal enclosure. Neutral and ground are only bonded together at the main service panel and never at a downstream sub-panel.

There should be a separate equipment ground bar or a separate ground lug in the disco box to terminate all grounds. The neutral bus bar in the disco only lands the GFCI white neutral pigtail and a neutral from the feeder circuit

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Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

See attached diagram. Is this how the disco box is configured?

If so, then you may have a short on the neutral feeder wire or the GFCI breaker is defective.

Remove all 4 feeder wires at the main panel and at the disco box and check for continuity to rule out any short on the neutral.

If no neutral to ground or no neutral to hot shorts, then the feeder circuit is good. Only item remaining is a possible faulty GFCI.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
The disconnect box doesn't have the gfci breaker in it. The grounds are tied together and the neutrals are goino to the neutral bus I'm the disco box. We tested for continuity and we are good on that. When a normal breaker is put in its doesn't trip. We tried a new gfci breaker and that didn't work either. The only time it doesn't trip is whenot the neutral pigtail is not attached in the main panel.
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

1) Is the main panel configured as a main service disconnect or as a sub-panel? How do you kill power to the home? Using a main breaker at the main panel or a separate disconnect switch or a separate main breaker located near the meter socket?

2) At the main panel, is there a green main bonding screw or a main bonding jumper strap at the neutral bus bar.

3) Does the main panel have a separate equipment ground bar to only land bare copper and/or green ground wires or are the ground wires also terminated to the neutral bus bar?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
It is configured as a sub panel, the main breaker is at the pole. There is no bonding screw or jumper. The neutral bus is isolated from the panel. The ground bus is grounded to the panel. The grounds and neutrals are separated.
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

OK, Thanks for confirming.

The main panel is properly configurated then.

I am running out of possibilities on this.

1) Is the manufacturer of the main panel also Siemens or another brand?

2) Is the hot tub GFCI the only GFCI breaker installed in the panel or others? If other GFCI breakers installed, I assume they test and reset correctly?

3) Is the main feed from the pole panel a 3 or a 4 wire feed? Does it contain a separate equipment grounding conductor in addition to the 2 hots and 1 neutral from the pole box to the house sub-panel?

4) At the house sub-panel, are the ground rod and/or cold water main metal piping grounding electrode conductors terminated to the separate equipment ground bar or do they land on the sub-panel neutral bus bar at the house?

5) At the pole box, the neutral and the ground rod are bonded together, correct?

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Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

On the diagram, notice that neutral and ground are only bonded together at the main pole panel? They never meet up again at the house sub-panel or at the hot tub disco switch. Neutral to ground bonding only takes place at the main service disconnect, which in your application is at the pole panel.

A) Pole panel has the main bonding screw installed.

B) House sub-panel does not have the main bonding screw installed.

C) House sub-panel ground rod and/or city water ground terminates to the separate equipment ground bar and not to the neutral bus bar.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
That is how we have it
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

1) Then the GFCI should work and should not trip even with the hot tub load disconnected.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I know. But it is. ��
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

Unfortunately, I have run out of ideas as to the cause of the problem. Sorry that I was not able to assist you.

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