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Are my pool/spa LED might GFCI code compliant?

539 Views 8 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  tstex
Hello to all,

The first pic is my pool breaker panel and the second pic is the circuit breaker that feeds my LED lights. The bottom 2 right EATON breakers do not look to be GFCI rated to me. Am I missing something? Are these code?

The last series of pics are the junction boxes where the main panel feeds the LED lights, then the three runs to the LED Lights: 2 pool & 1 spa.

The first pic is where the feed from panel comes in, then connecting the 2 pool lights and feeding the spa light

The next 2 pics are close ups of one of the lines feeding a pool light and the other pool light. I get the 14ga blk, white & green, but what is the much larger Blk wire? Is that a pull wire for feeding the line through conduit? The larger Blk wires are even wired-nutted together.

The last pic is a general perspective pic of both LED light junction boxes.

Main concerns:, are the LED lights on GFCI Circuits and what is the larger Blk wire in the junction boxes?

Thank you very much,
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Your two tandem breakers are not GFCI.

AFAIK, Eaton doesn’t make them (or anyone else for that matter).
Thanks Oso...if I had more slots, I'd simply put the LED's on a 20amp GFCI CB, but I don't.

I can't believe the City Inspector passed it as is...that's a pretty basic requirement to make sure your 120V lights can't fry you.

If I'm missing something, I'm all ears, or if I can take anymore pics or other, I'd be glad to help

Thank you.
I could be wrong but it appears this is not *just* a service panel, but is part of a larger machine, appearing to be a Hayward E-Command pool controller. Note that this is a pool controller. I don't understand how it's possible for *everything* in this controller to not be GFCI. Is it fed from a GFCI in your main panel? (this is not your main panel).

The manual on this controller says, on page 6, which breakers you can use. This information is also on the panel label.

I don't know how those GFCI breakers came to be in this panel, but the manual appears to be calling out Siemens QPF. What you actually have in there is a Square D HOMeline.

For the twin breakers, it calls out a Siemens QT. What you actually have in there is an Eaton BR, one each of the CTL type and the non-CTL type.

I don't know what's up with that. If the factory supplied the panel that way with three Square D GFCI breakers, maybe that version of their panel has Square D busing. Regardless, no way does a BR breaker belong in the same panel as Square D, and likely those are wrong too. Check the labeling of your panel. If that was done locally by jackasses, then don't invite them back. They just put $300 of the wrong breakers in your panel.

Anyway, no, those breakers are not GFCI breakers, and they need to be in order to be around a pool. Further, they are 20A breakers and I seem to recall you saying something about #14 wire - #14 isn't allowed on 20A.

The fat black wires appear to be bundled with the grounds, which tells me they are currently disused.

As far as not putting them on GFCI because that'd be inconvenient given the twins, if your insurance carrier knew about this, they'd cancel your insurance, and in fact, they may not cover you because of this known defect. There's a sad story every week about people dying around water features because of incompetent wiring. Maybe you can fit a GFCI recep in the 2-gang junction box there, so at least you have *something*.
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Thanks seharp...there's a lot of history W the pool panel, VS Pumps and the electrical.

Wanted to acknowledge your thoroughl reply and let you know I'll post back tomorrow and follow up w you

Thanks again
I believe I found out how they GFCI'ed the LED lights.

The first pic of pool panel w cover off is the tandem breaker that serves the LED lights.
A purple is coming off of one side of the breaker, out the conduit to the FIREBOWL subpanel. From this subpanel, it goes down another conduit to a GFCI outlet.

Since the inception of the pool, Jan 2015 go live date, I've never had to reset the GFCI outlet that serves the LED lights.
If I'm reading this wrong, pls advise.

Finally, the variable speed pool pump, at the time of installation, kept flipping the pump breaker (Siemens QF220)...Hayward & PB / electricians were here on and off for 5-6 wks. They switched to SqD, just to try something else. Bottom line, the Hayward VSP (EcoStar[less]) has a controller defect via bad chip design..pls don't make me explain, but just google it and you'll see 1000's of po'ed (ex)customers.

The Siemens has a 6mA threshold while most others have 4-5mA. Mine still flips, but not 2-3 times/wk and I've learned a few things to minimize generating bad VSD harmonics. Also, w reading glasses on, the wiring in the LED junction boxes does look to be 12ga, my apologies and thx Seharp for clarification.

Note, I engaged the LED lights to the on position, then flipped the GFCI outlet and the lights went off..reset it and the lights turned back on...

Thanks for everyone's help and assistance.

Be safe,


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Good on whoever has purple wire on the truck for making the wiring distinctive and easy to follow! (I keep purple wire in stock. In my world purple/gray means you're downline of a GFCI). Suffice it to say the original installers had a flair for excellence. These latest jackasses, on the other hand...

If the Siemens has a 6ma threshold and others have a 4-5 ma threshold, that makes *the others* more sensitive, and the Siemens more tolerant. So if they told you that, they did not know what they were talking about.

It's possible the Siemens breakers have gotten worn out; outdoors is not a good place for GFCIs of any kind.

The fact that your GFCI continues to trip really points to the machine having an actual problem. Tossing alien breakers in there was their idea of a cheap hack, but it certainly violates Code and ignores the actual problem.

SMH, I can't believe they would have done this. Were these "loaners" that they officially own and are just putting in there temporarily for testing? If they billed you out $150 each for those suckers, I'd have them in small claims court.

This isn't brand loyalty. The bus stabs are different and incompatible. Eaton loves making breakers for competitor panels, and as you can see, BR "seems to fit" - but UL won't certify it. They told Eaton they'd need to develop a whole separate breaker line with a special, strong bus clip that can safely clip onto Murray and a few others. This became the Eaton CL line. CL is UL-Classified for Murray, GE and a few others. (note CL is not even allowed in Eaton BR panels). Square D refuses to play this "UL Classified" game, and specifically says "Do not put HOM breakers in anyone else's panel!"

So the installation violates the instructions of 2 separate manufacturers lol. That's a Code violation (110.3b, arguably 110.2 and 110.12).

When I saw the Eatons, I actually zoomed in and looked to see if they were CL. Nope.

Regardless, you cannot have Square D (or Eaton) breakers in a panel which lists Siemens/Murray breakers. The bus stabs are not compatible. Yes, I know they seem to "snap in alright", and "what could possibly go wrong" -> arcing and burning up of the bus stabs, rendering the spaces unusable and potentially wrecking the guts of the panel. "Who cares, it's a $70 subpanel" -->> might want to price a Hayward E-Command 4.

And yeah, I hate built-in subpanels in expensive machines like this.
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Thanks again Seharp...and yrs, you're exactly right that when a CB flips too many times they wear out...I bought the best Siemens DP 20amp GFCI breaker so when the SqD craps out, I'm ready to go for the extra 1-2mA's. However, keeping that pumps VSD running potentially longer may indeed help to burnout the controller faster a get the Hayward infamous "Drive Stall Error".

I've now has this CB for about 2 yrs, it's the best there is for this crappy pump...thanks again


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