Wiring Help for a 4KW Steam Generator

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Old 07-27-16, 10:58 AM
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Wiring Help for a 4KW Steam Generator

Hi, I recently purchased a home with a Steam Shower Whirlpool Tub. When testing the steam shower I would hear the steam generator start to warm up but then the circuit tripped. A few more tests and it consistently tripped. Upon further inspection it looks like they had a the steam generator along with the Whirlpool pump plugged into the wall with a 20 Amp circuit. I tested the whirlpool pump only and it works fine on the 20amp circuit. I'm guessing when they installed the tub they didn't realize the Steam Generator required a larger circuit and just used the tub as a "hot tub". No I'm trying to get the steam generator hooked up and need your help with the wiring. The thing was prob made in china and I can't find any electrical wiring specs for this model. "Western Fertile SOWO KL-823 4KM Steam Generator. All I could find was a tag on the wiring from the generator. It says and I quote the broken English "WARNING Power supply electric voltage 110V/60HZ-27A on an electric circuit for /a power supply must conectin at having electric leakage switch electric leakage switch must be over and above 40A and have a connect goodly ground" I love the English. I need help is figuring out what this means and how I should wire this. I have about a 125 foot run to the main panel. Do I need to have a 40a GFCI at the panel with 6/2 wire to account for voltage drop? or can I do a 30a breaker with 8/2 wire? I'll post a picture of the lovely tag. thanks in advance for your help. Name:  Steam Generator.jpg
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Old 07-27-16, 11:16 AM
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I have never heard of a spa tub and steam shower in one unit. I have a steam shower and the steam generator is powered by a dedicated circuit with no GFCI. My generator is located in another room and there is only a low voltage control panel in the shower. In your situation I would assume you'll at least need a dedicated 40amp 240 volt circuit for the steam generator. You want the maximum working load to be 80% (max) of the circuit's capacity so a 30 amp circuit is not an option.
 
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Old 07-27-16, 11:20 AM
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Power supply electric voltage 110V/60HZ-27A
I translate this as 120 volts at 27 amps. A good rule of thumb (and code requirement if considered a continuous load) is to have the load no more than 80% of the breaker rating I would use a 40 amp breaker and #8 wire.
having electric leakage switch electric leakage switch must be over and above 40A
This is where I'd question weather or not I wanted to use it. Not sure you will find a single pole 40 amp GFCI breaker. Then you say they had it plugged in. What the heck kind of plug was on this. There are no 30 or 40 amp 120 volt receptacles. Something is very wrong. Perhaps in the actual specs for this. 27 amps does not sound correct for a 120 volt equipment. Maybe a typo in the label. Maybe this is 240 but if you guess it could destroy the unit.
 
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Old 07-27-16, 12:21 PM
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Thanks for the quick responses this has already been helpful.

When I mention that it was pluged into the wall, the original stupid owners just put a regular 3 prong standard plug the wires from the steam generator to plug it into the wall. That was not good. I'm surprised the wires even fit on the plug. Pilot Dane, The Steam shower is 1 unit. Similar to this picture. Ray, will the #8 wire be enough for 125 foot run also when you say" I'd question weather or not I wanted to use it" are you referring to the GFCI? Are you thinking just a regular 40amp breaker will be fine with #8? Name:  Steam Shower.jpg
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Old 07-27-16, 01:07 PM
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A 40 amp 120 volt circuit is very unusual (though they do make 40 amp single pole breakers for) which is why I question the information.
a power supply must connecting at having electric leakage switch electric leakage switch
Which I interpret as a GFCI breaker. I'd probably plug it into a 20 amp 120 volt circuit and measure the amps it draws before going further.
 
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Old 07-27-16, 01:26 PM
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Given the weirdness of the supply circuit and the terrible translation it makes me wonder if this unit is actually approved or listed for use in the USA? Does it have any stickers or documentation of UL or CSA approval?
 
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Old 07-27-16, 04:33 PM
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Thanks Ray, I verified the current doing as you suggested. Its pulling 36-37 amps. Also its CE listed. I've added more pictures. Name:  Steam Gen Panel CE.jpg
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Old 07-27-16, 05:56 PM
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It will have to be hard wired with #8. A 40 or maybe 50 amp breaker will have to be used. You may have to use one side of a two pole breaker in order to get a GFCI breaker. I would really be uncomfortable using the generator. The electric specs just aren't normal to me. Not familiar with steam generators so maybe I'm wrong to think it is odd.
 
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Old 07-27-16, 10:18 PM
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CE= Conformité Européene" which literally means "European Conformity".

Strange to see that certification as most of the power in Europe is 230v.
 
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Old 07-27-16, 10:33 PM
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Strange to see that certification as most of the power in Europe is 230v.
I was wondering if it was 230v hacked to work on 120 or is that possible?
 
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Old 07-27-16, 11:05 PM
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It could be two elements wired in series for 230v or in parallel for 120v use but there is next to no support online for that unit. It appears to be a China built unit intended to be sold in Europe.
 
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Old 07-28-16, 05:20 AM
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Or if it's a cheap Chinese unit there may be no actual certification and they simply put the CE logo on there to make it look good. It's especially possible with a name like "Western Fertile".
 
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Old 07-28-16, 06:48 AM
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Does it have separate plugs for the whirlpool and the steam generator?

For 4KW worth of steam generating capability it must draw 34 amps not counting the whirlpool motor. It is not supposed to have an ordinary appliance plug since the latter is limited to 15 amps.

"Continuous load" stands for running more than 3 hours at a time or being named as such in the NEC load calculation section. I am not sure whether a whirlpool bath unit tends to be used that long. Given a total actual 37 amp draw you measured, it will need a 50 amp (6 gauge) circuit if treated as continuous load.

You may want to run new 6 gauge (as a 50 amp combination 120/240 volt circuit) anyway if the steam bath is in a separate cabin in the back yard since only one feed cable may run out to any given outbuilding and you want power for lights and other things as well.

The bath unit instructions or name plate may also stipulate a maximum breaker rating for the supply circuit. I suspect that this is 40 amps regardless of any upsizing of the wiring.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 07-28-16 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 07-28-16, 07:23 AM
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Thanks yes the Whirlpool tub is on its own separate plug and works fine on the 20 amp circuit. its not shocking to me to see that this isn't standard and is becoming more trouble than its worth. If it was straight forward I would probably continue to work on this but being that there are so many red flags I should prob not hook it up. Unless there are any other suggestions or of you want pictures of the inside of the steam generator showing the cable hooks I can do that if it helps. Thanks everyone
 
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Old 07-28-16, 08:28 AM
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"WARNING Power supply electric voltage 110V/60HZ-27A on an electric circuit for /a power supply must conectin at having electric leakage switch electric leakage switch must be over and above 40A and have a connect goodly ground"
Allan....the mfg has given explicit connection instructions.


Pictures are always helpful.
 
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Old 07-28-16, 09:22 AM
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Here are some more pictures of inside the Generator. The yellow Green wire is ground, Blue is neutral and Brown is hot. Name:  Steam Gen top cover.jpg
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Size:  25.8 KBName:  Electric Connection`.jpg
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Old 07-28-16, 09:56 AM
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Based on the diagram it has only one heat element so not convertible to 120/240. I would replace it. As you said just not worth fooling with.

Name:  Steam Gen top cover.jpg
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Old 07-28-16, 10:04 AM
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Name:  Transformer.jpg
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Size:  22.5 KB this is of the transformer inside but its just to convert to 12v
 
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Old 07-28-16, 10:10 AM
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The transformer is just for the electronics.
 
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Old 07-29-16, 09:19 AM
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Yeah, this has to be an illegal Chinese import somebody got cheap on eBay. There is no way this thing is approved for use in the USA or Canada. Even the CE mark has to be forged as this unit is no where near EU specs. Or sometimes the counterfeiters will use a few licensed components (like wiring or relays) to imply that the entire unit has approval based on a few internal components carrying the authentic mark.

As with most of these type of items it is probably a knock off of a fancy European brand with some hacks applied to make it somewhat compatible with North American power system.

I honestly wouldn't use it. There are probably some tweaks you can do to improve it, but I just don't think it's worth the fire or shock risk.
 
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