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#37682 - 05/04/04 06:14 PM hot tub service call
donles Offline

Registered: 04/28/01
Posts: 82
Loc: Pennsylvania
A guy called because he's haaving trouble with his outdoor hot tub. It's four years old. Evidently had some internal problems that were repaired by dealer. Now his 60A 2 pole GFCI trips, even with no load connected to the lugs. Dealer tells owner that cable is incorrect from panel to disconnect - no neutral. Cable is 6/2 w/#10 or 12 bare ground.
The white wire from the GFCI is not connected.
I've looked at some older posts on this board and have concluded that a neutral is not required to be run if there is not a need for one. I think the white wire from the GFCI should be connected to the ground bar in the outdoor disconnect box. Would the fact that the white wire is not connected cause the GFCI to trip with no load connected?
I'm going to read art. 680 this evening but right now I feel owner may have a bad GFCI and no neutral is required. Anyone?

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#37683 - 05/04/04 06:51 PM Re: hot tub service call
caselec Offline

Registered: 04/14/02
Posts: 557
Loc: San Jose, CA
The neutral wire is required for the line side of the GFCI breaker but not the load. A 4-wire circuit needs to be run from the source panel to the GFCI enclosure. You should not connect the line neutral from the GFCI to the equipment ground bar.

Curt Swartz

#37684 - 05/04/04 07:04 PM Re: hot tub service call
Jps1006 Offline

Registered: 01/22/04
Posts: 609
Loc: Northern IL
I'm a little unclear what the situation is. If the dealer says you need a neutral and you don't have one, then you need one. The unit may be 240/120. If the cable has a neutral and the dealer says you don't need it, then as long as it is hooked up properly, leaving it capped should be fine as long as there isn't excessive moisture or humidity. But the white coming off the GFI breaker has to be hooked to the neutral buss either way.

#37685 - 05/04/04 07:42 PM Re: hot tub service call
BigB Offline

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 727
Loc: Tucson, AZ USA
Look up the spa installation instructions online for that particular unit to see about the neutral requirements.Also my experience with spa dealers is they don't always know a lot. I had one exactly as you said, the GFCI would trip even with NO LOAD attached to it. The dealer tried to tell me that it was because the neutrals were not arranged right on the SAME busbar! He said the two load neutrals had to be on either side of the line neutral!!! Plus the unit had ran ok for a year before this anyway. Well after I finally argued another breaker out of him, everything was fine. Then he tells the customer the breaker could have been damaged by the neutrals not being arranged right on the bus.
Anyway you can get diagrams and wiring instructions online for most spas if you have the make and model.

#37686 - 05/04/04 08:08 PM Re: hot tub service call
donles Offline

Registered: 04/28/01
Posts: 82
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks for the help. I will try to find info for this make/model. I've been wanting to assume that the original electrician wired it properly but I know there was no inspection so I'll verify the requirements.
BigB - the dealer's neutral arrangement claim is hilarious!

#37687 - 05/05/04 08:15 PM Re: hot tub service call
BigB Offline

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 727
Loc: Tucson, AZ USA
Wow just had another unbelievable hottub call. Customer says spa (above ground)needs a motor. When I get there he says the handyman already verified the motor was getting power but wouldn't run. First I go to check the breaker. Opening the panel I find a single pole 30A breaker with a red and a black #10 from a 10/3 romex both landed on the 30A 1P. It's also not a GFCI breaker, nor does the spa contain one. The romex also is buried. And even though the load is 24A, the nameplate calls for #8's. Oh, and did I mention the spa is 240 VOLTS???
So then I ask if the spa EVER worked. No, he says, he got it used and he and the handyman installed it.
Well after I explain that a 1 pole breaker will not provide 240 volts and run through all the other violations he says, so if you put in a bigger breaker it will work? without any concern for all the hazards I just rattled off.
So I tell him I can't make it work without taking care of the other issues he decides to pass. I'm sure by tomorrow the handyman will have put in the 2 pole.

#37688 - 05/05/04 08:35 PM Re: hot tub service call
PCBelarge Offline

Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 657
Loc: Dobbs Ferry, NY, USA
I would tell the building department that you feel there is a real safety issue and that it should be inspected.

Pierre Belarge

#37689 - 05/05/04 08:47 PM Re: hot tub service call
samster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/06/04
Posts: 9
Loc: Denver, CO
Did you charge for the time you were there or did they get you out there on the we need a "free estimate" game?

I just got done with a inspection/estimate. The panel was a old FPE that had burned pretty good. I found signs of allot of DIY work and looked around. I found a garage with a FPE sub-panel that looked like it was next, flying splices on the garage florescent (the plug in cords were cut and wirenuted to romex and had lots of tape). Then I looked in the "new porch", I could tell there had been no permit here because the framing for the addition was directly on the old cement (no foundation) and the service entrance cable along with the overhead feed to the garage where all dragging on the porch roof. Then I looked inside and found a big whirlpool like tub that had some cord caps on romex feeding it. These wires had lots of nicks and scratches with the copper showing. No GFCI in site. Then I found a time clock and contactor with the contactor screwed directly to the framing under a big hole cut in the wall.

Well when I talked to the owner they told me I was a thief, why should they fix that stuff it was there when they bought the house. They only wanted the power back on and they knew a handy man that could just replace the burnt parts for a few hundred dollars. Jeez!

Now I was there because they already had one fire. Tomorrow I'm call a friendly inspector at the city and report this fire, he'll find the rest and the new owners (I think they are selling this house) will get a list latter, from me (we'll see if everything was disclosed)

I don't usually go so out of my way but they were out of line calling me a thief and they were way to rude.


PS on the hot tubs people don’t want to fix. I send news articles to them, like in the latest trade mag were the guy lost his wife and daughter because of the way he wired the male plug on his boat. Sometimes safety will come first after reading something like that.


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