Spa GFCI Trips with 120VAC load. What next?

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The Background: I had the motor on my 1994 FunSpa go bad on me. I purchased a used one from a local spa dealer. Before I hooked up all the plumbing, I hooked up the electrical wires to it and fired it up. It worked on both low and high w/o any issues. I ran it less than 30 seconds total. I then bolted it down and put all the plumbing and electrical back the way it was.
The Problem: As soon as I supplied power it the spa, the built in GFCI tripped. I tried this a few times to no avail. So I started trouble shooting.
The Tests: Here are the things I tested and the result from each test. 1. Disconnected the heater. Still tripped 2. Disconnected the motor. Still tripped 3. Disconnected the blower. Still tripped 4. Disconnected a prong that goes up to the control panel Still tripped 5. Educated myself on how GFCI's work. Disconnected the 120 VAC load from the GFCI. DID NOT TRIP 6. Reconnected the load and removed the fuse that feeds all the 120 VAC components. DID NOT TRIP
The Additional Info on my Setup: I have two GFCI in series. The built in one and the 50 Amp I placed 8 ft upstream of the spa. The built in one is a Leviton 06895. Which as far as I can tell is the same as the 6895 and has the same form factor as the 8895. Here is a link to the 8895. Go to page 184, it is a large document. I'm using it as in Diagram # 3.
http://stevenengineering.com/Tech_Support/PDFs/74OEMMAIN.pdf
I do not believe having two GFCI's in series is not the problem as I have been running like that for over 4 years. This next link is a picture of my tub's electrical panel. Note most everything is disconnected. This is also a large file.
http://www.acequality.net/temp/tubpanel01.jpg
The Questions: 1. Where do I go from here? What else do I need to test. 2. Could having run the tub w/o any water be the cause of my problems? Did I fry something by doing this? 3. Does anyone know where I can get a schematic of the panel?
The Conclusion: I own a nice voltmeter and I am not afraid to use it. I just need to know where to use it.
Thanx to all in advance who help out. jg
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I found a smaller pdf of the 8895 GFCI. Only 8 pages. Diagram 3 is on page 4.
http://stevenengineering.com/tech_support/PDFs/74OEML.pdf
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On Mon, 11 Jan 2010 20:45:45 -0800 (PST), jg

Are you sure all the neutral load is going through the GFCI?
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On Jan 11, 10:02 pm, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Yep, it is. However, it does a little detour before going through the GFCI. It goes through a Potter & Brumfield T981S5A52-120. Not sure what that is though.
jg.
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On Mon, 11 Jan 2010 22:36:31 -0800 (PST), jg

A Potter Brumfield (anything) is about a 99.9% chance of being a relay. That is pretty much all they make.
I still bet it is a problem with the neutral
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jg wrote:

This is a 240V GFI? The 120 V load unbalances the two legs - the GFI trips. My best guess. The gfi trips if the two legs carry different current. Adding a 120 V load makes them different.
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It's probably a 120/240 volt gfci, which will do both

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I think at this point, you need to find anything else that the 120 volt load is attached to, that is causing the fault
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It sounds like both GFCIs include neutral protection, ie will work with both 240V and a 120V load. In which case you really don't need two. At least for testing purposes, you could try eliminating the built-in one and see if the other one trips. It's possible the GFCI has gone bad.
Other than that, I agree with RBM, you need to trace the 120V wiring and see where it goes, connections, loads, etc. You could also just disconnect the 120V at the GFCI and see if it stops tripping, measure the resistance to ground on the wire with it disconnected and the power off, etc.
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I would start by bypassing the GFCI breaker that is tripping and see if the other trips. Ive had two go bad in 5 years. Spa guy says I should remove it and have one at my disconnect.
Jimmie
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wrote:

I would start by bypassing the GFCI breaker that is tripping and see if the other trips. Ive had two go bad in 5 years. Spa guy says I should remove it and have one at my disconnect.
Jimmie
Not knowing what wiring you may have taken apart, if by chance you connected something to a neutral that was not passing through the internal GFCI, but was connected to the external GFCI breaker, it would trip the internal unit. At least as a test, I would try what Jimmie recommends, and bypass the internal GFCI to see if the external one trips. If it doesn't trip, you either have a bad GFCI, or a transposed neutral.
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Here are more bits of information I failed to share with you guys.
1. Even though I replaced the motor... I never even opened the panel box since the motor connects outside the box. Hence I doubt it has ANYTHING to do with my wiring. 2. I am unable to trip the outside GFCI. I push the test button and nothing happens. I am fairly confident this has nothing to do with the problem at hand. 3. Yes, the GFCI is wired correctly for both 240 and 120 VAC. See diagram # 3 above. 4. Given the the internal GFCI does not trip without 120VAC, I am convinced that the problem is with a 120 device.
Tonight I will systematically remove 120 devices until the problem goes away. But even if I find the device that causes it to trip, I am not confident that I would have found the culprit since many of these devices are interconnected.
Thanx to all who reponded.
jg
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On Tue, 12 Jan 2010 10:00:34 -0800 (PST), jg

Is this a 120v motor? It may have a short to the case. If this is on the neutral side it will work fine but still trip the GFCI
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Yes, it is a 120v motor. However, GFCI is tripping with motor disconnected.
jg
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If the GFCI is not tripping, that is the first thing to replace as that is absolutely not acceptable. The ground/neutral wiring is probably somehow involved with the overall problem.
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This project just keeps getting more interesting....
So tonight I troubleshooted some more. Here are my steps and findings.
New tests: 1. I disconnected the hot wire from one of the 7 or so devices. I supplied power. GFCI did not trip. Excellent news. 2. Just for grins I connected the 120 device from step 1. GFCI did not trip. This is weird! 3. So I connected all the external connections (blower, motor, etc.,) set the heat to the lowest setting and supplied power. GFCI did not trip. Even more weird! 4. I figured something must have been damp... so I left everything running and started putting the panel back on. Half way through my first screw, GFCI trips again. Bummer. 5. So I open up the panel and disconnect the motor. I then supply power. GFCI does not trip. 6. If I connect the motor back on and once again supply power GFCI trips. 7. I repeated 5 and 6. Same results as the first time around for 5 and 6. 8. So I rotate the clock so as to have the motor not run (it it set to only run at certain times of the day) and repeat steps 5 and 6. Now the GFCI does not trip. 9. With motor connected and power supplied, as soon as I rotate timer to supply power to motor... GFCI trips.
Conclusion: So now evidence points to a faulty motor.... but the interesting things is, that up until now, all my other tests (and GFCI trippings) have been with the motor disconnected. Of this I am 100% sure.
So do I have a faulty GFCI? It is starting to look that way. I am thinking of bypassing it next. However before I do that, I will replace the external GFCI just in case.....
Anybody have any other suggestions/ideas?
jg
Once again supplied power and as long as the motor is not running (I have it on a timer) it is all good. However, as soon as I rotate the clock (to supply power to the motor) GFCI trips again. So now evidence points to the motor
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You are relying on the GFCI breaker as your test device and you dont even know if it is good or not.
Jimmie
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It does, although previously the GFCI tripped without the motor attached. It's a shame that so much wiring is crammed into such a small box. It really makes it difficult to see if anything is grounding. I would try to follow the neutral wire that feeds the pump, to be sure that it's not coming in contact with ground, but IMO, most likely you have an intermittent problem with the pump
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