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Billy, Technician
Category: Pool and Spa
Satisfied Customers: 22508
Experience:  Licensed in Hydronics and Boilers
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Hot Spring Vanguard. 30a GFI trips after 45 seconds from

Customer Question

Hot Spring Vanguard. 30a GFI trips after 45 seconds from cold start. No heat. Circ pump and ekectrinics are normal. This has happened for the past two years of fall start up. After a day or two of the circ pump running with no heat the GFI will staynenergized and the heater works just fine for the rest of the season. What's wrong?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pool and Spa
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Amprobe clamp on says element is drawing 24a until GFI trips after 45 seconds.
Expert:  Billy replied 1 year ago.


Have you kept the original gfi?

And have you taken a complete amp reading of the entire system while running that 45 sec?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Billy - thanks for responding. The tub is now 14 years old. This problem is stumping my local HotSpring dealer. I run the tub only in the winter. For the past three seasons the outside subpanel 30a GFI keeps tripping (after 30-45seconds) when first bringing the tub up for the winter. As you know the 30a GFI services only the heater element. The circulation pump, electronics, and jet pump are on a separate 20a GFI also in the outside subpanel. Both GFIs are serviced by a 50a 220v circuit from the house breaker panel. After running the circ pump for 1-2 days, I can flip on the 30a GFI and it will then stay on without tripping. Since it has been several days since my initial posting the tub is now up to temp and running perfectly. I don't get it. Everything checks out ok. The heater element itself is continuous with the expected couple of ohms resistance. It ohms out at many megohms of resistance measured element to ground (measured withFluke DVM). 24a draw for the heater alone is correct (80% of 30a GFI). The 20a GFI side always turns on and runs perfectly. Per your question, since the heater element is the only thing on the 30a circuit my Amprobe measures the same 24 amps directly at the element as it does at the GFI. (Did that check last year). I replaced the 30a GFI last year when the problem was occurring. The new GFI would not stay on until after two days of circ pump running. The tub ran all winter perfectly. Just wasted $150. I hate to continue to throw expensive parts at the tub (heater, heater controller board, main circuit board....) when I can wait for a few days and it magically starts working properly. Whats wrong at startup when the 30a GFI keeps tripping?Tom
Expert:  Billy replied 1 year ago.

well it sounds like the issue is only with extended heat run time,,,which the longest is at initial start up. It appears the element runs a long time which could be a scaled up heater.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. I don't agree. Gfi will not hold at startup until circ pump alone runs for 1-2 days. Then gfi holds and heating element comes on for 7 hours steady with no problems. Have you worked on other Hot Spring Vanguards that have this problem?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Bully - Thank you for the referral. I know this one takes a Hot Spring Expert. This is not an easy problem After three years of the same start up symptom lasting 1-2 days it is disconcerting. The first 11 years were problem free with immediate startups!

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