Installing 220 GFIC breaker

I have 3 pool pumps operating on individual 220 circuits. Each pump is grounded with an 6 AWG bare copper wire to metal structures of the pool from the bonding lugs on pumps. All wire is carried in metal conduit. Each pump has two hot lines (black and red) coming from the main breaker panel. The pumps are all connected to a single ground (Green) which is grounded (attached) to the box containing the pump switches. For additional safety I wish to replace each pumps 2 pole breakers with 2 pole GFIC breakers. Because I do not have a neutral and I understand that the ground and neutral bars are connected in the main, I assume that to make the breakers function properly I must route the ground (Green) through the GFIC breaker where the neutral line would attach and attach the pigtail on the breaker to the neutral bar in the main breaker box. Is this correct? If this is the case I will need to detach the ground from the switch box and pull a ground to the main breaker box? Should a pull three separate grounds, one for each pump, or can I use a single ground that is spliced in the main breaker box so I can route the ground to each of the breakers?
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reno ( snipped-for-privacy@uchicago.edu) said...

Absolutely NOT.
The groundING conductor (green or bare) is bonded to the ground bus in the panel - regardless of whether the circuit is protected by an "ordinary" overcurrent protection breaker, a GFCI breaker, or an AFCI breaker.
A GFCI breaker (or an AFCI breaker) will have a neutral conductor from it that must be attached to the neutral bus in the panel.
Both hots from the circuit's cable attach to the hot terminals on the breaker, and since there is no neutral conductor for the circuit, there is nothing to attach to the neutral terminal on the breaker.
It is only the hots and the neutral (groundED) conductors that must pass through the GFCI breaker. The ground (groundING) conductor has nothing different to its installation than any other situation.
GFCI protection works on detecting any current that does not return through its intended path. With a single pole breaker, this means measuring the current through the hot and the neutral to detect a difference. With a two pole breaker, current in one hot must return through either the other hot, or the neutral, or split between the two. GFCI protection involves measuring all three to make sure everything works out even.
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Calvin Henry-Cotnam wrote:

Thanks! The GFIC breakers work fine on two of the pumps.
The third pump circuit (220vac) is on a timer and which controls the pump and an ionizer (120 vac). The ionizer and the circulation pump should be running simultaneously. The the ionizer is plugged into an outlet which gets its power from one of the hot leads (120), coming the timer that also goes to the pump. The neutral to the 120 ioinizer outlet is from another circuit in the box. When the ionizer is plugged in and on the GFIC breaker trips. If the ionizer is not pluged in the GFIC breaker works fine. The ioinizer and pump work fine under this set up when the non-GFIC breaker is in place. The ionizer and the circulation pump should be running simultaneously thus both need to be triggered by the timer. Any ideas of how to solve this problem?
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reno wrote:

There are 2 types of 240V GFCI. One is for applications that only require 240V and have no neutral. The other is for applications that use both 240V and 120V and use a neutral.
As was pointed out, these all work by comparing current going out and coming back. In the case of the ionizer, the current through it is not coming back to the GFCI, so it will always trip. You need a 240V GFCI with neutral protection and to route the neutral from the ionizer through it. Since the ionizer is tied to some other neutral, if that neutral has anything other load on it, you will need to get the ionizer on to it's own neutral. Or, equivalently, have whatever supplies any other loads on the ionizer neutral pull its hot from one of the hots on the same GFCI. The second approach would then provide GFCI protection for the other loads as well.
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reno ( snipped-for-privacy@uchicago.edu) said...

That last sentence is the key to the problem.
Any load current that flows through the GFCI in any way must return through it as well. If the outlet is powered by a hot that comes from a GFCI, it must use a neutral that goes back to that same GFCI, and not directly to the neutral bus (or to a different GFCI).
By the way, generally speaking, code doesn't usually allow one two pole breaker to supply both 120 volt loads and 240 volt loads as described. Yes, in a clothes dryer and electric range, there tend to be both loads, but supplying different devices where some are 120 and others are 240 is generally frowned upon.
That said, exceptions are sometimes made. We have a cold storage room that has a 3-wire feed from a two-pole breaker. 240 volts is needed for a small (300 watt) baseboard heater that provides a tiny heat source should the temperature in the winter drop below freezing. The room has a light and one outlet, and each of these are powered off of opposite hots on the feed. The inspector did not have a problem with this, probably because of its light use -- the light probably draws more energy in a year than anything else on that circuit.
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Calvin Henry-Cotnam wrote:

I'm no expert on electric code, but exactly are you referring to when you say code usually doesn't allow a two pole 240V breaker to supply both 240V and 120V loads.? Just like the OP, my spa has both 240V and 120V loads. The heater is 240V, the blower, pump, light are 120V. The spa is UL listed, so it's hard to imagine this is somehow prohibited by code. Plus, you point out that it's routinely done for some other appliances too. So, how can it be prohibited by code?

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When an appliance has but one attachment plug, the power is supplied through two hots and a neutral in the one plug. Internally, the appliance splits the power as needed. The issue that the Code has with using a 240 volt circuit to feed a 120 volt receptical is that typically, the 240 volt circuit is supplied by a circuit breaker rated at more than 20 amps, usually a 30 or 50 amp 2-pole breaker. By installing the 15 or 20 amp receptical on this 30 or 50 amp circuit, you are in violation right there. In the case of the exception for the storage room that was cited in another post, a single 300 watt heater, a light and one outlet can get by on a 15 or 20 amp circuit, so that is probably the basis for the exception.
Because you are dealing with a swimming pool, grounding and bonding are very important and are not always as simple as they appear. A frank discussion with your local electrical inspector and/ or electrician would not be a bad thing.
If you wanto to learn more about the whys and wherefores, take a look at this link: http://ecmweb.com/searchresults/?terms=swimming+pool&ord=d
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You have 220 volt and ground. You have no need for a neutral, so try to get double pole GFCI's without them. They used to make them, but I'm not sure they still do. Check the instructions, as there may be no need to connect the neutral wire, as your not using a neutral

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