New switch for pool pump

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  #1  
Old 07-19-07, 08:11 PM
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New switch for pool pump

I recently purchased a fixer upper home, and the previous owner had wired his own outlet box outside to plug the pool pump into. Although I'm not an electrical expert by any means, I know that a loose metal outlet box hanging on the end of household wiriing laying in the dirt near the pool is just not a good idea! And everytime I wanted to turn the pump on, I had to hold the metal outlet box and plug the pump in. I wanted to be able to mount it on the side of the house and hardwire it in, so...

My local diy place set me up with a lightswitch and an exterior switchbox made for wet exposure. Since I didn't know what gauge the wire was that came from the pump, he suggested I go to the largest available rather than take a chance at getting one that was not a large enough gauge. I changed the outlet box to the switch; black to black, white to white, ground to ground. No problem. Then I took the case off the pump, noted which wire went where (black/white/ground) and rewired it using the heavier gauge wire. Then I took the other end and wired it to the switch, again. black to black, white to white and ground to ground. I put the switchbox on, mounted it to the wall. Everything seemed good, nice red switch, flip it on, flip it off. So, I left the switch in the on position (not on purpose, but I'm glad I did) and then went and flipped the circuit back on. It worked beautifully. Pump running, all was well. Except when I turned the switch off, and then flipped it back on, the circuit blew. I found, by trial and error, that as long as the switch was in the "on" position, I could flip the circuit breaker and the pump would turn on and run just fine. But, if I have the switch in the "off" position, and flip the circuit breaker, it just flips off again, right away. This is a bit puzzling, but I'm sure someone can tell me what I did wrong? Is it maybe cause I'm using a larger gauge wire from the pump to the switch than was was originally used? Any help is appreciated...thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 07-19-07, 08:29 PM
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You really need to call an electrician or read a book on wiring before you go any further. Vague statements like "largest available wire" are very scary. You could easily kill your self. There are all sorts of issues with pools that can kill you.
 
  #3  
Old 07-19-07, 08:34 PM
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The swimming pool system is very picky to work on and it have very good section of code dealing with this.

really IMO i think it alot safer to get the electrician to come out and get this fix it right for your safety sake and if you try to do any more work on this please stop right now and leave this alone the electrician will do the repair in correct way to meet the current code.

Merci , Marc
 
  #4  
Old 07-19-07, 09:17 PM
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I'm hoping someone else will reply, please. After reading some of the other inquiries and replies, I half-expected this. Regardless, if I was intending to call an electrician, obviously I already would have done so. Yes, I can go read a book, but then, what would be the point of this forum? If no-one ELSE on this forum is willing to give me some troubleshooting tips, please say so. I can go elsewhere, but I was hoping that would not be the case.

Detach this from a swimming pool. It is a motor with a switch. What could cause an overload only when the switch is disabled and power is applied? That is the question I would like assistance with. I am nowhere near water at this point, 18 feet away as a matter of fact. The pump is not near the water, either, it is inside a pump house and three feet away from the pump filter. This is simply a motor with a switch. Anyone else willing to help?
 
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Old 07-19-07, 10:22 PM
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The point of reading a book is so you will know how meaningless your description of the wire was and how important the correct size is. It is so you will be familiar with such things as bonding, equipment grounding, and GFCIs. Your life could depend on that.

What kind of switch did you get? Was it a switch with two brass screws and a green screw or three screws and a green screw? It should have been the former. Did you attach the hot (black) wire from the breaker box to one side of the switch and tie the black wire (brass screw) from the receptacle to the other screw on the switch? Did you run the neutral from the breaker panel directly to the silver screw on the receptacle? Did you use a GFCI receptacle?
 
  #6  
Old 07-20-07, 04:26 AM
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You need to call an electrician and have a proper circuit run. Your circuit is improper from the point it leaves thew house, and perhaps even earlier.

You could easily have killed your self.

I have no idea how you wired this switch. From what you have stated, you didn't even use the switch, although i suspect you did. I also suspect that you connected the white wires to the switch.

Pardon me for being blunt, but you have no idea what you are doing and will kill yourself or someone else. Call an electrician.
 
  #7  
Old 07-20-07, 07:26 AM
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Suppose this was a medical forum. Now suppose you just asked us the correct way to floss your teeth. We could easily help you out there. But suppose you instead asked us how to do open heart surgery. I don't think we'd try to describe how to do that in this forum. We'd tell you to go to medical school first. After you did go to medical school, you might come back again with your question about open heart surgery. This time, you might ask what kind of thread should be used to close the incision after the surgery. Then we'd again be able to help you.

Don't fault this forum for not explaining open heart surgery. Some kinds of help are just not feasible with this tool. We're not being stubborn or uncooperative. We're just being practical.
 
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Old 07-20-07, 09:01 AM
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> previous owner had wired his own outlet box outside to plug the pool pump

You can't both criticize the previous owner for the unsafe shortcuts he made and not be willing to do it right yourself.

> Detach this from a swimming pool. It is a motor with a switch.

It is not legal to wire a pool pump motor by standard motor rules; pools have very specific rules that are to prevent swimmers from being electrocuted. You've had several responses (and mine included) telling you that what you have is UNSAFE.

> The pump is not near the water

Then what exactly is it pumping?

> Anyone else willing to help?

I'm willing to help, but you'll need to tell us exactly how this is wired up starting from the breaker panel. What amperage and type of breaker? What type of cable, conduits and conductors? Does the wiring run inside the house, underground, to a separate structure? Inground or aboveground pool? Pump specs: voltage, amperage, horsepower, hardwire or cord? Any other electrical equipment associated with the pool: heater, chlorinator, etc?
 
  #9  
Old 07-20-07, 08:46 PM
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IPBOOKS, yours was the only useful reply, thank you. But allow me to respond to your first few comments:

"You can't both criticize the previous owner for the unsafe shortcuts he made and not be willing to do it right yourself."

- I was not criticizing the previous owner, I was simply giving some background. The previous owner is a good friend of mine and it was hurtful to say that. I am very willing to learn how to do this right myself. That's why I'm here. I'm not sure how I indicated otherwise...

"It is not legal to wire a pool pump motor by standard motor rules; pools have very specific rules that are to prevent swimmers from being electrocuted."

- This motor originally (one week ago actually) had a regular 110v 3-prong plug made to plug into standard 110 household current PER THE POOL SHOP that repaired/reconditioned it for me in June. You plug it in just like a weedeater or other outdoor appliance. Plug it in to turn it on, unplug it to turn it off. I'm not sure what code that would follow other than the usual codes for wiring an outdoor electrical box. Except the outlet box was not mounted on the wall nor in a water-proof enclosure, nor with a GFCI. I am sure THAT was UNSAFE. Which is, again, why I am wanting to correct it. (remember: the switchbox is now 18' away from the pool.)

"Then what exactly is it pumping?"

- This is a very old pump.The portion of the pump that has the electrical is encased separately from the portion of the motor that has the impeller that sucks in and expels the water. The configuration is a bit odd from other pool pumps I've seen, but works nicely. I cannot find anything like it on the internet. The intake runs into the impeller end and right back out to the filter cannister which is three feet away INSIDE a pumphouse. There is no moisture, no water exposure, nothing to blow loose and get water on the motor. It's quite secure and dry. You can argue with me about it, but it's not as dangerous as what I think some of you are imagining, and I say that because I'm here and I can see the set-up; you can't.

I have to laugh a bit about another response I got; I'm not a surgeon, but I had to perform a tracheotomy on an elderly person under my care when I was a bit younger. I had never done anything like that in my life, but I did it via assistance from an EMT over the phone. THANK GOD he didn't tell me I should read a book first or call someone who was trained to do it. And he didn't tell me I was incapable because I didn't understand complex medical terms. He guided me expertly, and I carefully followed his instructions. The lady lived several more years, and I learned a valuable lesson. See, you can perform medical procedures sucessfully even if you have never gone to medical school, lol. Sorry

"I'm willing to help, but you'll need to tell us exactly how this is wired up starting from....."

Bless you. I will get you all that information tomorrow and let you know so I can do this SAFELY and CORRECTLY. Thanks a bunch!
 
  #10  
Old 07-21-07, 04:41 AM
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A pool pump can only have a standard plug (like most in your house) if it plugs in more than 10 feet from the pool. Between five and ten feet (five is as close as it can be) it needs a twist lock plug.

A pool pump must be GFCI protected, and any outdoor wiring must include an insulated ground wire. Whatever feeds the receptacle box that comes out of the ground is clearly not the proper kind of wiring.

You need a convenience receptacle (standard 120 volt receptacle) located between ten and 20 feet from the pool.

There are more rules.

Friend or not, the previous owner of this house had an illegal and dangerous installation and is lucky to be alive. Even friends make mistakes.
 
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