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View Full Version : Convert pool pump to 220v


teeitup
May 21st, 2009, 04:50 PM
My pool pump is currently wired for 120v but is capable of operating on 230v. I am wondering how difficult it would be to convert. I have attached a picture of the breaker panel in the pool house. It has 240v across the two 30amp breakers coming into panel. The bottom left 20amp breaker is for the pool pump. The middle one is the pool light. The 20amp breaker on the far right is for the pool house outlet and light. So I have one empty slot. How difficult would this be to do and how would I go about doing? Thanks.

joed
May 21st, 2009, 06:29 PM
To convert the pump you need to refer to motor info not the breaker panel.
The breaker panel part is simple. You install double pole breaker instead oa single pole. Both wires go to the breaker instead of one ot the breaker and one the neutral bus.

suemarkp
May 21st, 2009, 08:45 PM
Did you hold the camera sideways, or is your panel mounted like that. If it is really mounted as shown, its a minor code violation -- circuit breakers must have their handle down when off if it flips up and down. With the design of this (and most all) panels, the breaker handles need to work side to side. Is your pool light wired in Romex? You can't use that if it is an uderwater 120V light -- it must have an insulated grounding wire, not just covered. Also, romex is not rated for environments, and all outside or underground conduits are considered wet areas.

Once you change the motor to 240V, you need a double pole breaker. That is going to displace the 20A GFCI you have now. Can the wide GFCI be moved to the outermost position, or will those only take the skinny breakers?

If a GFCI will only fit in the middle, then you'd need a double pole GFCI (very expensive) but you could most likely run the pump and light off that 20A double pole breaker (pump would have to draw less than 10A at 240V).

I don't recognize the breaker type. Is this old GE stuff? If a double pole GFCI is too expensive, you may want to buy a new 8 slot panel, mount it correctly, and put in a double 15A for the pump, a 15A or 20A GFCI breaker for the pool light, and a 20A for the other stuff. Technically, you could use a GFCI receptacle for the pool light. Under 2008 NEC, the pool pump is also now required to be GFCI protected, so shop around and see whose 20A double pole GFCI is reasonably priced (and most will be about $100). Then buy a panel of that brand.

teeitup
May 21st, 2009, 09:36 PM
The panel is mounted as shown in the picture. The pool was installed around 1984. The pool light is ran in a grey PVC type conduit. Not sure if that is Romex?? The pool pump is in the blue flex tubing.

I went to Lowe's tonight looking for a double pole breaker but none look like the type I have. The two breaker positions in the middle look like they make a different type of connection than the outer ones, so I don't think I can move the wide GFCI to the outside. So I may be out of luck unless I replace the whole panel. I just went out and looked for a brand on the breakers. They are Federal Pacific Electric Co. "Stab-Lok" breakers.

Update: I just found a couple of links to the "Stab-Lok" type breakers. So the question is if I can add a double pole breaker in the middle that will bridge between the two busses.....And if the wider GFCI breaker (pool light) can be moved to the outside?

http://www.azpartsmaster.com/Products/Circuit-Breaker---Federal-Pacific-Stab-Lok-20A-DP__BKRNC220.aspx

http://www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CatalogSearchResultView?D=901382&Ntt=901382&catalogId=10051&langId=-15&storeId=10051&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntx=mode+matchall&recN=0&N=0&Ntk=P_PartNumber

suemarkp
May 22nd, 2009, 07:34 PM
Federal Pacific panels have a bad reputation for safety, and their breakers are expensive. That being said, how many screw holes does your existing GFCI breaker have? If it has two sets, measure the voltage between each. If its 240V, then you already have a 240V GFCI breaker. I'm not familiar with the bussing of Federal Pacific panels and breakers. Some types, like Challenger and it looks like these too, can fit a 240V breaker in a 1" slot. So you may already have what you need and just need to change the jumper in the motor to 240V and move its wires to the two screws on the breaker instead of one on the breaker and one on the neutral bus.

Romex (NM cable) is a cable type wiring method. It contains two insulated wire and a bare wire inside a jacket (typically a white jacket, but now you'll see white in #14, yellow in #12 and orange in #10 from many companies). There is nothing wrong with running romex inside a conduit, but if you have conduit you should just run individual wires -- easier to pull, you can use the correct colors, and you can use an insulated grounding wire. In your photos, it looks like romex is going into each conduit except for the source power -- that is individual conductors. So your pool light circuit is most likely not wired to code, assuming the NEC applies in your area. You need a #12 green insulated copper grounding wire in the pump circuit and a #8 green insulated copper in the light circuit.

Rick Christopherson
May 22nd, 2009, 08:44 PM
Just out of curiosity, for a pool that has been in place for so long and for all the extra hassle, why is it that you want to convert the motor to 240 volts?

Wgoodrich
May 23rd, 2009, 08:03 AM
Rick

Very good question !

Wg

scuba_dave
May 23rd, 2009, 12:39 PM
My pool has been there quite a while too
But over the years the pump/filter was upgraded & was pilling 18.6a
It only kicked off when I had it on an extension cord while running a sub panel.
As long as the pump is not pulling a lot of juice I'd leave it on 120v

Wgoodrich
May 23rd, 2009, 03:24 PM
Many believe 220 volts are more efficient than 120 volt. This is not true. The only reason to pick 220 volts over 120 volts is available voltage limitation or long distance to motor from power source exceeding about 150 feet. Otherwise 120 is as efficient as 220 volt. Power output is also equal.

Just my opinion

Wg

teeitup
May 23rd, 2009, 10:43 PM
Just out of curiosity, for a pool that has been in place for so long and for all the extra hassle, why is it that you want to convert the motor to 240 volts?

I am adding a pool pump timer. Originally the pool timers I was looking at were either 120V or 240V. I was just thinking long term in case I decided to add a different pump later on. I ended up finding a pool timer that will work on either 120V or 240V so that eliminates that concern. My existing pump/motor runs great and doesn't have a problem tripping. It is just a couple feet run from breaker to pump.

Many believe 220 volts are more efficient than 120 volt. This is not true. The only reason to pick 220 volts over 120 volts is available voltage limitation or long distance to motor from power source exceeding about 150 feet. Otherwise 120 is as efficient as 220 volt. Power output is also equal.
Wg

I had also heard that 240V was more efficient. Thanks for clearing that up. I believe I will just keep it how it is for now. Thanks for everyone's feedback and knowledge. I feel more confident if I decide to convert this in the future.

Rick Christopherson
May 25th, 2009, 03:09 PM
I had also heard that 240V was more efficient. Thanks for clearing that up. That was the reason I was asking, but didn't want to be rude. Doing the conversion does have its reasons and benefits for those reasons, but I see a whole lot of people doing it for the wrong reasons, so I am glad to know that you know better now.