S1 is tripping ground fault

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S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by sailforfun15 » Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:52 am

I have an S1 that is about 4 years old, spent about 3 years on 24/7, and has been problem free until now. I have the 20 amp version but run it on a 15 amp circuit in econ mode. This morning I turned the machine on, did a 40 minute jog and then discovered that the machine was hot, but off and had tripped the ground fault circuit. Resetting the circuit puts the machine in standby mode, but as soon as I try to turn it on it immediately trips the circuit again. I also tried resetting the circuit with the machine unplugged and sometimes when I plug the machine in, it also trips the circuit. This might mean that the problem is not with the heating elements or pump. Any suggestions for how to locate the problem? I have already checked the outlet with other devices to see if the problem might be with the ground fault circuit. I don't believe it is.

Todd

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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by chas » Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:16 pm

I'd pull the covers and look over the wiring for wires - especially on or around the boilers - whose insulation might have melted. It's a damp, hot environment and sometimes the larger, heavy current carrying wires - especially near the steam boiler - will corrode, heat up, and melt their insulation. At least that's the most obvious cause and the first thing to rule out.

Based on age of your S1, I would check all the crimp connectors on both boilers and replace any that don't look virtually pristine. This happened to me once and it was recommended that I replace bad crimp connectors with ones that have a length of heat shrink insulation on them. This will create a much better barrier to keep moisture out of the crimp area. I had never heard of these before receiving the recommendation. I was easily able to locate them with a short Google search. I am not sure if Home Depot or your local Ace Hardware carries them. You would be looking for a 10 gauge crimp spade connector.

I hope this is your issue as locating and repairing this type of problem is pretty easy.
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by sailforfun15 » Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:08 pm

Thanks Chas. I forgot to mention that I had pulled the top and front covers to look for obvious wiring problems. I did notice that a very thin wire on the steam boiler had most of its insulation burnt and some had fallen away. It looked like something that happened over time. I moved it so it wasn't touching any metal, but that didn't solve the problem. I also noticed that the plastic sheath on the connectors going into the steam boiler were cracked and brittle. I intended to pull the connectors off to check for corrosion, but when I went to pull one of them off the plastic sheath broke into pieces. I googled for crimp spade connector and it looks like the connectors I'm talking about are not the ones you talking about. I'll pull more covers off over the next day or two and check for more problems.

Thanks again for the tips.

Todd

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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by chas » Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:09 pm

Here's one place that carries the ones I mentioned. I don't think this is were I purchased mine. It was just the first place that popped up on Google. The ones you'd need are the yellow 10gauge female ones at the bottom of this web page:

http://www.wiringproducts.com/index1.ht ... GgodzR0iDA
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by JohnB » Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:07 pm

You can also just use regular crimp connectors & buy heat shrink tubing at Radio Shack or other suppliers & put it on yourself. The really trick connectors are the ones that come with a layer of solder inside the tube where your wire goes. As you heat the heat shrink tubing the solder melts & flows into your wire. I got some of these from Wurth a few years ago but haven't looked for them since. Of course if you have a soldering station (doesn't everyone?) that would be the ideal way to attach the spades.
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by sailforfun15 » Sat Dec 27, 2008 4:46 pm

I took all the panels off today and found no obvious short circuits, though it is hard to inspect the area near where the power cord comes in as well as all the circuitry around the small PC board above the fan. So my question is whether the ground fault circuit could be tripped due to a poor connection or a faulty heating element? I'm not sure what to look at next.

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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by MDL » Sat Dec 27, 2008 6:05 pm

I believe that the ground fault tripping suggests that you must have a short somewhere in your Vivaldi. Current is shorting to ground and that is the fault that is being sensed.
As to where to look for it I am afraid that I can't help out,
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by sailforfun15 » Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:00 am

Yesterday I took out the black control box so that I could inspect the wires going in and coming out of it, as well as the wiring around that area. I also opened the control box up to look inside. I could see no obvious problem with any of the wires or PC board. With the black box and wires out of the way I was able to inspect the PC board and heat sinks above the fan. Again, no obvious problems. I also took out the front control panel and that looks good (there is just a ribbon cable inside). To pull out the black control box I had to remove the main grounding screw and all 7 of the wires secured by it, so those all look good too. At this point the only wires (or portion of wiring) I've not been able to inspect are those that are sheathed. I notice that these sheaths often touch hot components at various points. I suppose that over time heat might damage the wires inside.

Other possibilities: a solenoid might have gone bad. I cannot easily inspect the wires as the enter the solenoids.Any ideas on how to test these? I've had an increasingly more frequent drip from the hot water spout for about the past 6 months. Could that indicate a damaged solenoid? I don't understand the internal workings of the solenoids, but if water mixed in with the electrical components in the solenoid that would certainly trip the ground fault.

Also, I read that a high inductance load can trip ground fault circuits. It has been about 25 years since my EE classes, so my knowledge here is rusty, but I wonder if a bad heating element might cause enough inductance to trip the circuit. My multimeter is busted, so I've not been able to check the resistance of the heating elements.

Todd

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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by JohnB » Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:14 am

sailforfun15 wrote: Also, I read that a high inductance load can trip ground fault circuits. It has been about 25 years since my EE classes, so my knowledge here is rusty, but I wonder if a bad heating element might cause enough inductance to trip the circuit. My multimeter is busted, so I've not been able to check the resistance of the heating elements.

Todd
That was my thought. Have you tried disconnecting high draw components one at a time to see if you could isolate the problem? i.e. remove power from the steam boiler element & see if the circuit still trips, ect.
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by sailforfun15 » Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:45 pm

Unplugging leads was a good suggestion. I have found that when I unplug the black wire going to the group boiler heating element, the S1 still usually trips the ground fault when I plug it in, but once plugged in, I can turn the machine on and it shows normal operation with the group and boiler lights flashing. Interestingly, unplugging the white wire going into the heating element causes the machine to trip the circuit when I try to turn it on. I traced the black wire away from the heating element and unplugged it in other spots. As long as that circuit is open, the machine comes on normally, though I am still concerned that it is tripping the ground fault when I plug in the machine.

I spoke with a very helpful person at La Spaziale's Seattle office who suggested that it was probably one of the heating elements, most likely the one in the steam boiler; however, unplugging the wires going to the steam boiler does nothing to prevent the ground fault. I am going to go get a new multimeter so that I can test each element.

Todd

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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by sailforfun15 » Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:21 pm

10 16.2

My new multimeter shows 10 ohms across the steam boiler terminals and 16.2 ohms across the group boiler terminals. I get continuity across the steam boiler, but not the group terminals. From what I understand the steam boiler is near enough to normal, but I don't know what the group boiler should read. Anyone know this?

Todd

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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by chas » Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:55 pm

A straight application of Ohm's law using 115V and 800W for the group boiler yields 16.5 ohms so your 16.2 ohm reading sounds right on. I don't know what you mean when you say you get 16.2 ohms across the group boiler leads but no continuity. The 16.2ohm reading would seem to indicate that you do have continuity.

Since tripping the GFCI means you are getting some current between voltage and ground rather than just current between voltage and neutral, you should also check the resistance between each group boiler lead and the boiler itself. Since the boiler is connected to ground it would be good to see if you have any high resistance current path between the the heater element leads and the boiler. It might also be good to also check the steam boiler for comparison.

Given what you have found so far, I think the problem either has to be the group boiler element or the group boiler Triac board since both group boiler wires connect to that circuit board.

The triac board is in a spot where water could get splashed on it from time to time. It could possibly be that some mineral deposits have dried on the board and are creating a high resistance path between power and ground.
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by sailforfun15 » Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:09 am

I attached one probe of the multimeter to the main grounding post on the S1, disconnected the wires from both boilers and then found the following:

Group boiler and steam boiler: both showed 0.2 to 0.5 ohms.

Either lead on the steam boiler heating element: no reading (overrange displayed on multimeter)

Either lead on the group boiler heating element: The readings start at around 25 mega ohms and then keep dropping. If I remove the probe and replace it, the reading picks up from where it left off. After several minutes it is down to 16.25 mega ohms and seems to be dropping slower.

Either wire that connects to the group element leads: no reading for resistance. This should eliminate the triac as the source of the short.

I assume this means that I am getting a high resistance connection between the group heating element and ground, indicating a problem with the group heating element.

Todd

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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by chas » Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:56 am

You should definitely bookmark this thread on opening up the group boiler supplied by John B. While John only opened his boiler up for descaling, he covers all the procedures you will need for boiler element replacement.

viewtopic.php?f=26&t=872

You will need to order both a new heating element and a gasket. The group boiler element does sound like the most likely culprit at this point. If the element is measuring 16M Ohms that is probably not low enough to cause enough current flow trip the GFCI. However, since the resistance is dropping while you have the Ohmmeter connected and that is only due to the current of the 1.5V battery in your ohmmeter, the resistance probably drops quite a bit further with 115V applied and that could be enough to trigger the GFCI.

Perhaps a small amount of moisture has gotten inside the element.
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by sailforfun15 » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:43 am

Thanks for the pointer. Just to be clear, the resistance across the element terminals is 16 Ohms. The high resistance readings are between either terminal and the ground post, or either terminal and the boiler itself. When I unplug both wires that connect to the element terminals, the machine no longer trips the GFCI either when I plug it in to the outlet or turn it on (take it out of standby).

Todd

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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by sailforfun15 » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:49 am

Is there a way to drain the group boiler prior to cracking it open?

Also, could the heating element itself be cracked and leaking current to the water in the boiler? I'm not sure how the element is designed.

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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by chas » Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:02 am

There is a large brass hex head bolt on top of the boiler. You'll need to remove this and then siphon the water out. I did this to my old S1 before shipping it to the new owner. I had to go buy one this size as I didn't have anything nearly this large in my hex key collection, especially metric.
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by JohnB » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:02 pm

sailforfun15 wrote:Is there a way to drain the group boiler prior to cracking it open?

Also, could the heating element itself be cracked and leaking current to the water in the boiler? I'm not sure how the element is designed.

Todd
There isn't all that much water in the group boiler & the seal doesn't let go just because you've loosened or removed the ring nut; at least mine didn't. If you hold a bowl just under the the rear cover you can catch what comes out when you wiggle the cover/seal loose. The seal is an o'ring & "could" be reused but if you order a new element get a new one. While you are in there it would be a good time to open the steam boiler & check for scale. That gasket is definitely not reusable but there is a drain plug underneath to simplify draining.

There must be an isolating bushing/seal between the element & cover that could be defective allowing current to leak by.
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by JohnB » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:06 pm

By the way if you don't have one of the special toothed spanners to grab onto the ring nut on the back of the group boiler wrap a rag around it to protect the teeth & use a plumbers pipe wrench to break it loose & retighten.
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by sailforfun15 » Tue Dec 30, 2008 3:16 pm

A person in service at Chris Coffee agreed that the group boiler is likely damaged, so I've ordered the parts and should know in a week or so if this is it.

T

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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by Niko » Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:39 pm

This thread is getting more and more interesting by the post.
So are they saying that the group boiler may be damaged?
...or the group boiler element?
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by sailforfun15 » Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:16 pm

Sorry for the confusion. The group boiler element is likely the problem, not the group boiler itself.

Todd

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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by sailforfun15 » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Replacing the group boiler heating element resolved the problem. The biggest hurdle with the replacement was removing the retaining ring at the back of the boiler. I could not quite get a pipe wrench of any size to latch onto it, so I ended up using the end of a wooden handled hammer and a rubber mallet to loosen the ring and to put it back on.

The old heating element appeared to be touching the front and side of the boiler and there was mineral buildup at both points. The old heating element was bent back on itself at a point that made it slightly longer than the new element. Also, one of the sides was bent down slightly. This appears to have allowed the element to touch the front of the boiler at one point and the bottom. This might have been what eventually led to the problem.

There was a bit of debris in the boiler that I needed to clean out. I thought I got it all, but now the flow meter is acting up, so it looks like I missed some.

Thanks for everyone's help.

Todd

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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by chas » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:14 am

That sounds very familiar to an issue I had with my Hottop roaster about a year back. I started getting a scraping sound when the drum was turning. It was because the heat element had started to droop and ended up touching the drum. I can see over time the heat and gravity having this effect on the Hottop with the heater element being in the air. However, it is strange to hear of something similar when the heater element is immersed in water.
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by mc-escher » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:45 pm

JohnB wrote:
There must be an isolating bushing/seal between the element & cover that could be defective allowing current to leak by.

RESURRECTION OF A DEAD THREAD. (beware of Zombies!!)

Ok, so I've been loving my Vivaldi since 2005, and finally decided to do full tear down-descale

When I put everything back together, I had a problem with the Steam Boiler, which caused my GFCI outlet to POP! on startup of the steam boiler heater.

Full disclosure: it was probably a bonehead move to saturate the entire Steam Boiler cap with all attachments (eg: heating element, various pressure valves sensors, etc) in a pot full of hot lemon juice on the stove. Anyway... here are the facts:

Measuring resistance across the heating elements, I get;
Group Boiler: 16ohm
Steam boiler: 9.2ohm

Measuring unplugged heating element posts to the main ground post:
Group Boiler: INF
Steam Boiler: ~1.9Mohm [moves around, but anyway should probably be INF since it theoretically isn't attached to anything)

My best guess is that I've somehow created a new path to ground through the little isolator seal that you speak of when I soaked it in lemon juice earlier today.. (in fact, I'm thinking it's part 424 in the parts catalog => download/file.php?id=375 )

Are these seals made of cardboard?
if So, can I hope that dry lemon juice is not conductive??
Is it possible that my steam element is fine since it still reads (roughly) the correct resistance? (or should I bite the bullet and order a new one?)


PS: One more tidbit that might help other folks: I ALSO noticed that if I disconnected the 'BLACK' wire into the steam boiler heater that the machine more or less acted normal (except the steam boiler never heated)... But When I removed the white wire (black wire plugged in), the GFCI tripped as it was wont to do.
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by JohnB » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:23 am

You never want to fully submerge the entire heating element/cover assy. Let it dry out & see what happens but you may have ruined the element.
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by chas » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:46 am

If I were you I'd be on the horn with CCS first thing tomorrow morning and get a new element in the mail. Even dry lemon juice is probably slightly conductive and this will be used in a very damp area. At this point even if you can dry it out and get it working, I'd say the future reliability of the steam boiler element is toast.
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Re: S1 is tripping ground fault

Post by mc-escher » Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:49 pm

Awesome! :-| Well, at least if it's ruined, it's ruined and really clean!

Just for my peace of mind.. If anyone has their machine open on the bench, Could you please measure the resistance from your unplugged steam boiler element to ground (or even just the steam boiler case, which should be grounded anyway)


Thanks!

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