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Hey guys,

This is my first time here. We have a little house in Costa Rica, and have had a hot tub for several years. It is a little bit of a Rube Goldberg setup, but it works. It uses two motors from the US (with air switches) and two locally produced heaters. We just fill it up when we want to use it.

When we rewired the house about ten years ago, I brought down a GE load center, with a 125 amp main switch. There is also a knife blade shut off at the meter.

When we installed the hot tub, we increased the gauge of the line from the meter to the house. I also installed GE GFI breakers. One 50 amp for each of heater, and a 20 amp to run both motors. While the motors have air switches, we have been turning the heaters on and off with the breakers.

We haven't had an real problems. A couple of years ago, we had to replace the original 30 amp heaters. We did this with two 50 amp heaters (all we could find down there). The new heaters are great, because they heat up the tub quicker. But we are overloading the current load center.

My electrician there said that we should just create a second circuit away from the main box, exclusively. So next week we are heading to Costa Rica to completely rewire the tub. I have a little bit of a language barrier with my electrician. So I am on my own buying the box

I looked for a small load center at the usual big box stores. I have to buy GE, because I have several pricey GFI breakers and spares on site. I also needed to buy a small one, because of luggage constraints.

I could not find a small load center that had the rating to handle the current. I ended up with a GE 125 amp Main Lug (Model TLM612RCUP).

There is not a main shut off, but this is something that I can buy down there or at a supply house here in the US. I kind of like the idea of the separate shut off. We rent the house to guests, and an easy to see shut off might be a wise idea.

So am I on the right track? Will this main lug work if it is properly installed and grounded? Am I on track with adding the separate shut off there?

I have to get it right the first time. We are in a very rural area, and it is a three hour run to the nearest "real" hardware store.

Thanks y'all. Let me know if my thinking is correct. We will give you hot tub privileges on the mountaintop.

Pat in New Orleans
 

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Ok after reading this a few times I think I understand what you are saying, I'm guessing you currently have a 125 amp load center installed in your home? You have ONE 50 amp circuit for the heaters and ONE 20 amp for the motors. The motors are fine i'm guessing but here's what I think, if the heaters are rated at 50 amps (i would assume they are 240 volt?) you need TWO 50 amp circuits for both of them, you can't put two heaters drawing 50 amps EACH on 1 50 amp circuit. NOW You say you over loading you current load center meaning the main breaker/fuse some where is tripping/blowing (Not sure if you currently have a MLO panel or not, you stated that you had an outside disco) and everything looses power? If your saying you currently have a 125 amp service , replacing the panel with another 125 amp panel will do nothing. You will still have the same problem. You need to upgrade to a higher amp panel, you said you increased the wire size coming from the meter, I can't tell you what you could upgrade to without knowing the size.
 
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