Pool and Booster Pump Wiring Problem

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  #1  
Old 12-21-13, 01:40 PM
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Question Pool and Booster Pump Wiring Problem

I have an outdoor double gang junction box with 2 switches. One switch turns on the pool pump; the other switch can turn the booster pump on only when the pool pump switch is on. When the pool pump switch is turned off, it turns the booster pump off too to prevent it from burning out.

An electrican installed a new wiring cable to the junction box. In removing the pool pump switch to change it, he broke a switch screw off in the junction box. After he rewired the two switches, the pool pump switch would no longer also turn off the booster pump. The electrician mounted the pool pump switch with only one screw; that prevented him from getting the junction box lid to fully close so he calked around it. After the electrician left, when I turned both pumps on together, they repeatedly popped the circuit breaker after several minutes. The pool pump will run by itself without popping the circuit breaker.

I would like to install a new outdoor junction box myself, if someone can tell me how to properly wire the 2 switches. (I would like to have the pool pump switch still be able to also turn off the booster pump to prevent the booster pump from burning out.)
 

Last edited by PJmax; 12-21-13 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Removed email address.
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  #2  
Old 12-21-13, 02:06 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Members email addresses are not allowed to be posted on the site. Mostly for your protection from spam.

It doesn't sound like the wiring should be too hard to handle. Replacing the box will be extremely difficult if conduit was used to install the wiring into the box.

Do you know what you have in there for wiring now ?
Can you pull out the switches and take a pic or two and post them for us ?

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
  #3  
Old 12-21-13, 03:30 PM
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Sorry, I do not have the equipment or knowledge to upload a picture. I hoped someone could tell me how to wire the switches before I remove the box cover. The outdoor box sits on top of 2 conduit connections. Two cable wires run into the top--one is an armored cable and the new one is a covered Romex cable. The 4.5 square box is attached at the back to a metal post. I believe I have to replace the box because the switch screw the electrician broke off in the box.
 
  #4  
Old 12-21-13, 03:47 PM
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It's pretty hard to help you if we don't know what the wiring entails.
Take the box cover off and put a plastic bag over the box to keep water out.

This is outside.... correct ?
Armored cable..... is it plastic coated gray ?
Covered UF cable, I hope, as Romex is not approved for any outside use.
 
  #5  
Old 12-21-13, 04:24 PM
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Do you have a cell phone that takes pictures?
 
  #6  
Old 12-21-13, 04:28 PM
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The junction box is outside. The armored cable appears to have a spiraled aluminum wrapping. The electrician said the new cable he put in was Romex and he covered it with what looked like a plastic conduit covering which he connected to the outlet box. The electrician really appeared to be totally clueless about what he was doing.

I will take the cover off the box tomorrow afternoon, put a plastic bag over it and describe the current wiring back to you. I also have the switch her removed. I think I will use an ohmeter to see if it really needed replacement; I am a little worried that he may have put a wrong switch in to replace it.
 
  #7  
Old 12-21-13, 04:45 PM
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I believe I have to replace the box because the switch screw the electrician broke off in the box.
If you mean that one of the two mounting screws for one of the switches broke, and part of it is still in the hole it was threaded into, you may be able to repair that. It will depend on the material the box is made of and the nature of the break.

It might be easier to replace the box. It might also be more effective, since the existing one appears to have allowed moisture to enter and corrode the screw.

Two cable wires run into the top--one is an armored cable and the new one is a covered Romex cable.
To add to what PJ said, every part of outdoor electrical installations must be done with materials that are rated to be installed there. This includes not only the wiring but the conduit, boxes and devices such as receptacles and switches.

The 4.5 square box is attached at the back to a metal post.
I'm familiar with 4" and 4-11/16" square boxes, but not with 4-1/2" ones. Some pictures would help us see what you have.
 
  #8  
Old 12-21-13, 07:29 PM
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It was one of the 2 mounting screws for the pool pump switch that broke. A spring loaded cap covered that switch. The spring broke off so that cap probably was leaking water onto the bottom of the switch.

I suspect that the electrician that did the work for me knew nothing about outside wiring.

I just measured the box size with a tape measure, probably not super accurately. Originally, the electrician said he was going to change the box, too, but when he came back with parts to do the job, he did not bring a junction box.
 
  #9  
Old 12-21-13, 09:30 PM
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You probably should re-do it all. There are better methods and materials available, and required, now.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 12-22-13 at 01:13 PM.
  #10  
Old 12-22-13, 06:40 AM
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Guys, Because my junction box has 2 conduits coming in from the bottom and two wiring cables coming out the top, I cannot take the calked in box cover off and cover it with a plastic bag. I did check the original pool pump switch that was removed and there was nothing wrong with it. This original pool pump switch has 2 brass screws on one side and two screws on the that appear to be black. The booster pump switch just had 2 brass screws on one side. Is that enough information to tell me how to wire the two switches so that the pool pump switch can also turn the booster pump off?

I was able to schedule a pool electrician to come over on January 3, but I hoped to tackle the repair myself before then if possible.
 
  #11  
Old 12-22-13, 10:06 AM
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How do you plan on replacing the two gang box if there are conduits in the bottom ?

You are describing a two pole switch that would be used for a 240v motor but the other switch is single pole and is hard to envision how it's connected.

Is the pool pump 240 volts ?
Is the booster pump 240 volts ?
 
  #12  
Old 12-22-13, 10:42 AM
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The 2 conduits going into the bottom of the box look as though they can be disconnected. Everything is 110 Volts.
 
  #13  
Old 12-22-13, 01:25 PM
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Everything is 110 Volts.
Everything may be 120V. You have a 120/240V residential service, and 110V is not available without using a transformer.

I was able to schedule a pool electrician to come over on January 3, but I hoped to tackle the repair myself before then if possible.
If you're found an experienced pool electrician and scheduled an appointment for that person to come do the needed work, your best strategy is probably to wait for that person. The code requirements for the wiring associated with pools and pool equipment are both complex and esoteric. Many of us who do electrical work every day have little or no knowledge of this area. It is a true specialty.

This original pool pump switch has 2 brass screws on one side and two screws on the that appear to be black. The booster pump switch just had 2 brass screws on one side. Is that enough information to tell me how to wire the two switches so that the pool pump switch can also turn the booster pump off?
No. If you add a complete description of the wires that enter the box, by color and entrance point, and how each wire is terminated or spliced, we may be able to figure it out from there.
 
  #14  
Old 12-22-13, 02:31 PM
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The way I now figure it. The brass screws on one side of the switch interupt the power going to the pool pump; and the black screws on the other side of the switch interupt the power going to the booster pump switch. And, the booster pump switch interupts the power to the booster pump. Then, the pool pump switch should be able to turn off both pumps and in the on position allow the booster pump to be turned on through its switch.

However, I will probably still wait for the pool electrician, as you suggest. I just try to save everywhere I can because I am a 76 year old retiree with two kids still in college.
 
  #15  
Old 12-22-13, 05:24 PM
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Just one more question..... is there one or two breakers feeding the pumps ?
 
  #16  
Old 12-23-13, 11:35 AM
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There has always been just one breaker for the two pumps.
 
  #17  
Old 12-23-13, 01:00 PM
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The way I now figure it. The brass screws on one side of the switch interupt the power going to the pool pump; and the black screws on the other side of the switch interupt the power going to the booster pump switch.
That sounds right. It also sounds like overkill. The feed to the main pump and the feed to the booster pump switch can be spliced together with a pigtail and connected to one of the two terminals on an ordinary (weather resistant) on/off switch, with the incoming hot power connected to the other terminal on that switch. That will give you the same function you have now at less cost. (IF you need to replace either switch.)

However, I will probably still wait for the pool electrician, as you suggest. I just try to save everywhere I can because I am a 76 year old retiree with two kids still in college.
I hear you. But isn't that all the more reason to hire this work done by someone who's familiar with it? It's tricky, as i said earlier, and it's critically important that it be done properly. I wouldn't be at all surprised, for example, if you wind up with a new ground rod for the pool area -- if you don't already have one.

This is just one of those areas where the skills need to be hired and compensated. Yes, that's more expensive - but it's also safer.
 
  #18  
Old 12-23-13, 03:30 PM
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If this is a weather-proof box , there may be a tapped opening in the back/rear of the box , possibly 1/2" / 3/4" trade-size. If so , you can "nipple" a second box to the back/rear of the existing box.

If the box is aluminum , which is a "soft" metal , possibly you could drill round holes in both boxes for a "back-to-back" connection between the two.
 
  #19  
Old 12-23-13, 04:02 PM
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  1. The back of the box is against a metal pole;
  2. It is difficult to make a site-cut opening weathertight; and
  3. How would adding a second box help?
 
  #20  
Old 12-24-13, 05:45 AM
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I should have responded earlier that the reason that there are 2 switches instead of just 1 to turn on both pumps at the same time is that the pool pump is supposed to be turned on first to bleed air out of the water filter before turning on the booster pump that runs the Polaris pool vacuum.
 
  #21  
Old 12-24-13, 06:47 AM
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Understood. I was just pointing out that a DPST - double-pole single-throw - switch isn't needed to do that. An ordinary SPST - single-pole single-throw - switch can so that just as well, so long as it's wired so that it controls both the power to the power to the pool pump and the power to the booster pump switch.
 
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