Spa / hottub keeps tripping

Hi,
I have a spa outside my home. It was installed by a certified electrician, etc. It used to trip the breaker on occasion (60amp, 2 pole), like if we left the high power jets on for 20 minutes or so. No big deal.
We just had the main CPU of the spa replaced and now it trips daily, regardless of jet usage. The guy who put in the new CPU said the electrician who installed the spa initially used 8ga wire instead of 6ga, which he should have used.
Would this be the main reason for the tripping that used to occur on occasion? And, if so, why would it trip more frequently now?
HELP! :)
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he doesn't know his ass from his elbo. Lowering the resistance will increase current draw at a given voltage and load resistance.

It is very simple. The spa is drawing more power than the circuit breaker will permit. Only three things can cause it: 1) the heater is out of spec, resistance is too low. A controller could possibly affect this if it is using PWM and the duty cycle is higher. 2) voltage is too high 3) the circuit breaker is triping at a current where it shouldn't.
I'd first replace the breaker with a new one of the same current rating.
With the heavier wire, maybe you can use a breaker of a higher rating? I wouldn't make such a substitution on my own; an electrician has to do it. 6 guage is supposed to be good for 105 amps. but have an electrician do it as your insurance won't cover it make a error on your own and your house burns to the ground to say nothing about possible criminal charges.
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Yikes, 6 gauge is not good for 105 amps. It varies, but generally 60 amp
wrote:

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That's why he's so concerned about insurance requirements and criminal charges !!!
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You need to read the spec label for the spa and find the total amperage. That will determine the size feeder and breaker necessary. It should also be protected by a GFCI device. If the circuit breaker that's tripping is a GFCI breaker, it could be tripping on a ground fault.

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I ran the no. 8 copper through with my online calculator and it says a 50 amp breaker is maximum and the continuous load is 40 amperes maximum assuming using 90 degree C insulation on the wire and 75 degrees for the terminations. With no other information NEC 110.14 says to use the 60 degree termination rating and this gives a 40 ampere max breaker size and a 32 ampere maximum continuous load fro No. 8 copper. For No. 6 copper with a 90 degree C insulation and a 60 degree C termination a 60 ampere breaker is maximum for a 48 ampere continuous load (three hours or more.) Your breaker may be tripping because of over heating at the terminals that is causing the breaker to over heat and trip. The caculator is at: http://www.electrician2.com/calculators/wireocpd_ver_1_reverse.htm
REF: 110.14 (a) Termination provisions of equipment for circuits rated 100 amperes or less, or marked for 14 AWG through 1 AWG conductors, shall be used only for one of the following: (1) Conductors rated 60C (140F). (2) Conductors with higher temperature ratings, provided the ampacity of such conductors is determined based on the 60C (140F) ampacity of the conductor size used. (3) Conductors with higher temperature ratings if the equipment is listed and identified for use with such conductors. (4) For motors marked with design letters B, C, or D, conductors having an insulation rating of 75C (167F) or higher shall be permitted to be used, provided the ampacity of such conductors does not exceed the 75C (167F) ampacity.
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Someone wrote:
As others have asked, where is the GFCI? Most times, it is at the breaker. If that's the case, it could be tripping from a ground fault, not a current overload. I'd carefully inspect for any wet areas wherever there is electrical connections. That include outside the spa as well. The undersized wiring is a seperate problem. What size circuit does the spa documentation say it needs?
~~~
The documentation recommends 6ga if the spa is more than 150 feet from the power source - in this case the breaker in the house. He used 8ga.
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There should also have been a disconnect installed near the spa for service people to kill the power as needed. Is the breaker in the house a GFI circuit breaker?
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John Grabowski wrote:

There is not - the only breaker is in the house. Also, I have no idea if it's GFI. How could I tell?
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It will have a "Test" button on it
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RBM wrote:

I'm starting to think he cut corners here. WHY, then, would it be "okay" for a couple years then crap out now regularly?
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Anything is possible. Typically some wet control would cause a GFCI to trip, but for an oversized Federal Pacific breaker to trip, you must have an intermittent dead short somewhere. To conform to NEC he would have to have a disconnect located five feet or more and within site of the tub, and a GFCI outlet between ten and twenty feet from the tub. Unless the control box has built in GFCI protection, the feeder or disconnect must have GFCI protection. Yes, it sounds like he screwed up
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From what you have posted to date, I would recommend that you not use the tub at all, or even run it, until a qualified person comes out and re-does the wiring properly. You have undersized wiring and no GFCI. This is nopt a hot tub, it's a death trap that has not sprung yet. Your life and your family's are worth quite a bit more than having this fixed. It's not even a "maybe".
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Is this a GFI circuit breaker? If so, it doesn't take much to trip it. It's possible that the service guy got something wet inside which would be enough to trip it. He may have also done something with the neutral and ground connections when he made the changeout. Since it worked fine before I'm inclined to think that the service guy is at fault.
Check the installation manual as it usually gives the wiring specifications to confirm if the wrong wire gauge was used. 60 amps is usually too much for #8 wire, but I doubt that is what's causing your problem.
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Replace breaker. If it continues, contact a licensed electrician or spa tech and have him fix whatever the problem is. The problem could be electrical, or in the spa brain.
Steve
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As others have asked, where is the GFCI? Most times, it is at the breaker. If that's the case, it could be tripping from a ground fault, not a current overload. I'd carefully inspect for any wet areas wherever there is electrical connections. That include outside the spa as well. The undersized wiring is a seperate problem. What size circuit does the spa documentation say it needs?
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As good as all of the other advice is -- esp when not knowing all of the details -- I think there are other, non-wiring issues you should explore. The first thing I would do is check for leaks. Make absolutely sure that you don't have a leak somewhere that is screwing up your electronics. For example, did the repairman get in there and shove something around and make a small leak slightly bigger and thereby cause the additional tripping? Did it dry out during the 2- day hiatus?
Most hardware stores have boxes (like milk cartons) of stuff to reduce humidity. Put some of that inside the shell and see how much water it absorbs -- might indicate a leak. But get inside of there and poke around a bit.
Of course all of the usual warnings apply like "don't go play with electricity and water at the same time" so shut off the electricity -- the the worse case is that your drownd.
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Pat wrote:

There is no water inside the electrical box at all - no condensation, no leaks, etc. There is usually some in the "shell" under the spa since, when it rains, water gets and stays there for a bit.
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Has water gotten into your circuit breaker box? This happened to ours a couple of times, when windstorms drove the rain onto the side of the house and some water found a small hole in the putty plug for the hot tub power line, and it was enough to get the breaker to trip repeatedly. After I realized what was going on, I fixed the putty plug and made sure the entire electrical circuit breaker box was dry, and the hot tub breaker has been fine ever since. Sometimes a simple thing like this can wreak serious havoc.
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