Well pump troubleshooting

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  #1  
Old 04-02-16, 02:18 PM
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Well pump troubleshooting

Hello:
Recently moved into a house with a well for irrigation use. Per the prior homeowner, the irrigation system was working ~3 months ago. Trying to get the pump running. This site has been a lot of help so far, but nothing seems to be working.
1. 240V present at pressure switch on line terminals. Replaced pressure switch and small diameter galvanized pipe that pressure switch is mounted to. Pressure switch is closed. 240V present on line and load terminals.
2. Replaced control box. 240V present on L1 and L2 terminals.
3. There is a splice point at the top of the well pump where the wires (red, black, yellow, green) come from the control box and go down into the well pump. With power on, there is 240V on red, 120V on black, 120V on yellow.

I have not tested with an amp meter to see what the "draw" is. My understanding though is that if things are working properly, I should see ~5 to 9 amps.

I have not tested with an ohm meter either. Not sure which wires to check or the numbers I'm looking for.

Thanks for this site and the continued assistance.

Don
 
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  #2  
Old 04-02-16, 02:58 PM
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I assume you are dealing with a submersible pump. How are you checking the pump wiring? Usually there are two hot lines and a neutral/ground. So, between the two hots you will see 240 volts. When checking from a hot to the neutral you should see 120 volts. So, if you're seeing that which it sounds like you are the pump may need to be pulled.
 
  #3  
Old 04-02-16, 03:06 PM
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Pilot Dane:

You are correct...it is a submersible pump.

I have checked the pump wiring at several locations including the pressure switch and the control box.

The third place that I am checking the pump wiring is at the splice point where the wires go down into the pump itself. There are 4 wires at that point...red, black, yellow and green. I'm not sure if one of those three wires (red, black, yellow) would be defined as "neutral"...those three wires (and green for ground) are coming from the output of the control box.

At the splice point, with power on, the pressure switch contacts closed and using my voltmeter, I'm seeing 240V when measuring from the red wire to the green wire (ground), 120V when measuring from the black wire to the green wire (ground) and 120V when measuring from the yellow wire to the green (ground) wire.

Don
 
  #4  
Old 04-02-16, 11:42 PM
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Red to ground should not be 240v.

You should measure 240v from yellow to black.... and 240v from yellow to red.

Three wire well pump tutorial.
Here's how a submersible pump control box works; when power is applied, the yellow wire that goes to the motor is energized by L2. This wire is common to both the start and run windings in the motor.

The black wire that goes to the motor is the run winding, common to the yellow. It is energized by L1, through the overload. If too much current flows, the overload will disconnect L1 from everything.

During starting, the relay allows current to flow to the start winding (red wire to the motor) through the start capacitor. Once the motor is at about 1/2 to 2/3 speed, there'll be enough voltage on the start winding to energize the coil of the relay. This causes the start winding to disconnect from the capacitor. If the relay fails to disconnect the start capacitor, the motor won't come up to speed, excessive current will flow, thus tripping the overload.

If there's a run capacitor, it's always connected to the start winding. The start capacitor is paralleled across the run capacitor during starting to 'give it an extra kick', so to speak. (It's more complex than that, involving mechanical and electrical phase shifting, but that's a bit deep for the discussion at hand).


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  #5  
Old 04-03-16, 09:09 AM
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Pete:
Thank you for your explanation about the operation of the pump control box...that does make sense.

Any idea as to why I'm seeing the 240V on the red wire to ground and 120V to ground on the other two wires?

I don't have the extra cap in my pump control box...the pump control box is brand new and I made sure that it was the same model number as the one that was present when I purchased the house...it's a "Little Giant 2801084915" which according to the description is a pump control box for a 1HP 230V single phase pump. The previous homeowner did tell me that the pump was working as recently as 2 months before I moved in.

Just not sure where to go from here....pull the pump from the well?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Don
 
  #6  
Old 04-03-16, 11:18 AM
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All:

I have an update regarding my voltage measurements.

The voltage measurements I was making previously at the splice between the pump control box and the well pump were made "through the wire nuts"...meaning that the splices were connected.

If I disconnect the pump control box to well pump splice, I'm seeing the following:

red wire to green (ground) wire: no voltage
black wire to green (ground) wire: 120V
yellow wire to green (ground) wire: 120V
yellow wire to black wire: 240V

I forgot to measure from the yellow to red wire.

Does this help in troubleshooting?

Thanks!

Don
 
  #7  
Old 04-03-16, 11:55 AM
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So, black and yellow are your hots, leaving the red as a neutral (green is ground).
When you swapped stuff out, did you make sure you got the wiring right?
On mine, Red and Black are hot. It really depends, as the wiring out of pump is spliced to the line you see up top at terminal...and those colours may not match.
If I recall, with power off, and lines to pump removed from terminal, you can check resistance with Ohm meter. The manual to pump may shed some light on that, or on this site.
I initially got my lines crossed...luckily, I didn't burn out pump before I noticed error.
 
  #8  
Old 04-03-16, 12:41 PM
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Thanks for your reply.

Going into the pump control box there are three wires (black, white and green) connected to the L1 and L2 terminals with the green wire connected to ground. Going out of the pump control box and to the pump itself are four wires (red, white, yellow and green). Those wires are connected inside the pump control box to the "R", "W" and "Y" terminals and the green one to the ground screw. Those wires then run out to the pump and connect to the corresponding wires at the pump splice itself (red to red, white to white, yellow to yellow and green to green).

I'm pretty sure that I have the wiring correct.

The other thing I'm aware of is exactly what pump is down there. I'm trying to eliminate all other causes before I have to pull that pump.

Don
 
  #9  
Old 04-03-16, 12:53 PM
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Those wires are connected inside the pump control box to the "R", "W" and "Y" terminals
Not R, B and Y ??

red wire to green (ground) wire: no voltage -- n/g.That means no start voltage. Should be 120v
black wire to green (ground) wire: 120V ------ ok. Shows black as hot and green is ground
yellow wire to green (ground) wire: 120V ----- ok. Shows yellow as hot and green is ground
yellow wire to black wire: 240V ---------------- ok. Shows 240v on run line to motor
------------------------------------------------------ yellow wire to red wire should measure 240v


melliam.... you are confusing a standard 240v two wire pump with a 240v three wire pump. There is no neutral on a 240v pump.
 
  #10  
Old 04-03-16, 12:58 PM
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PJMax:

Sorry...you are correct. Those wires inside the pump control box are red, black and yellow.

So...the red wire to ground should show 120V which it does not. Any idea as to why that may be the case? This is a new pump control box.

Where should I be looking? I would think it has to be something in the pump control box since the wire splice between the pump control box and the pump itself isn't even hooked up at this point.

Don
 
  #11  
Old 04-03-16, 02:47 PM
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PJMax - I defer to you, but I didn't know there was a two wire 240V, no neutral pump.
From my understanding of electrical nomenclature, and my pump, it is a three wire (10/3) 240V pump, including neutral (2 hots, 1 Neutral and a ground). The ground wire is not included in the count. If it was, it would be four wires.

As you can see in pic, the colors matched at pump to drop wire, but up top, at control box, they didn't, and I got my wires crossed.
Don't have a pic of control box open...
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Ahhh...are you saying one of those wires is just for starting, not a neutral?
 
  #12  
Old 04-03-16, 07:03 PM
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Melliam:

My understanding is that the red wire is a "start" wire to get the pump started. Once the pump has started, the red wire goes to 0V and the black/yellow wires supply 240V to the pump to keep it running.

My issue appears to be that the red wire is showing 0V (when disconnected from the pump splice) when it should be showing 120V.

Now if I could just figure out what could be causing this...I suppose it could be a defective pump control box, but as I have mentioned before the pump control box is brand new.

Don
 
  #13  
Old 04-03-16, 07:37 PM
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What kind of pressure switch do you have? Mine has to be manually switched on (lever on side), until it reaches a certain pressure (primed).
But if your getting power at the control box, something else is up.
 
  #14  
Old 04-03-16, 08:37 PM
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A basic pump is 240v. Two hot wires and a ground wire. No neutral required. With this type of pump.... the starting capacitor is in the motor.

On a three wire wire pump.... one wire is common, one is the run winding, one is the start winding and there should be a ground wire. The start components are top side to give the pump more starting torque and allow easier service access to them.

Put the pump wiring back together. Go to the control box..... connect your meter to the red and yellow wire. Watch your meter when you start the pump.
 
  #15  
Old 04-04-16, 07:12 AM
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PJMax:

OK...I will put the pump wiring back together at the splice point.

When I do the voltage measurement at the control box...do I need to do those measurements with the pump control box cover installed? If that's the case, I'll need to run my voltmeter leads out of the pump control box thru one of the pump control box knockouts.

Thanks for your continued help.

Don
 
  #16  
Old 04-04-16, 10:30 AM
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The cover can be off when you make the measurements. Keep your face clear.
 
  #17  
Old 04-04-16, 07:18 PM
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PJMax:

I'll get those voltage measurements made per your last reply as soon as possible...it's turning out to be a busy work week, but I'll find some time in the next couple of days.

I'll report back soon....thanks to all for your continued assistance.

Don
 
  #18  
Old 04-06-16, 06:47 PM
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Hello:

Just finished performing the tests that PJMax suggested.

Here's what I did:

Reconnected wires from pump control box to pump at the pump splice. Removed pump control box cover. Pressure switch contacts closed.
Voltage measurements made inside the pump control box.

L1 to ground (green wire): 120V
L2 to ground (green wire): 120V
L1 to L2: 240V
black wire to ground (green wire): 0V
yellow wire to ground (green wire): 0V
red wire to ground (green wire): 0V
black wire to yellow wire: 0V
black wire to red wire: 0V
red wire to yellow wire: 0V

Per PJMax's last suggestion, I had a helper turn off power and I put the voltmeter leads back onto the red wire and yellow wire and watched voltmeter when helper turned power back on. No voltage at all.

Turned off power again and put pump control box back together. Removed wire nuts from pump splice and turned power back on. Still seeing the following voltages:

red wire to green (ground) wire: no voltage
black wire to green (ground) wire: 120V
yellow wire to green (ground) wire: 120V
yellow wire to black wire: 240V

Not sure where to go from here.

Don
 
  #19  
Old 04-07-16, 06:27 AM
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Hello again:

After thinking about the voltage measurements that I posted last night I came to the realization that the voltage measurements are going to be 0V for most of the wires since all of the components are built into the pump control box "lid".

I apologize to PJMax for not explaining that the capacitor/relay are built onto the pump control lid and that by following his suggestion of measuring voltages with the pump control lid removed, I wasn't going to get much.

I did double check the connections in the pump control box itself to ensure that the correct wire color is going to the correct terminal in the pump control box as well as checking the wire colors in the pump control box lid itself. I also verified that the wires coming from the pump control box and going to the splice point where the wires actually connect to the pump wires are correct as well.

Given that, where should I go from here?

Thanks in advance for the continued assistance from all.

Don
 
  #20  
Old 04-07-16, 10:30 AM
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I'm going to need a make and model of that well control or a picture or two.
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html


At this point it appears that the red wire may be open between the control and the pump.
You will need to disconnect the red wire at each end. Connect one end to the green wire. Go to the other end and with your meter on continuity(OHMS) check from green wire to red wire.
 
  #21  
Old 04-07-16, 11:06 AM
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PJMax:

Here's the link to the pump control box that I purchased. It is the exact same part number of the pump control box that was already present when I purchased the property.

2801084915 - Little Giant 2801084915 - Standard Submersible Motor Control Box (1 HP, 230V, 1 Phase)

Here's a picture of the box:

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I will check for an open red wire later today and let you know the results ASAP.

Thanks for your help!

Don
 
  #22  
Old 04-07-16, 11:45 AM
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Thanks for part number. Didn't realize what you had there. Finally... a well control box for idiots.
Can't check anything with front cover removed.

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  #23  
Old 04-07-16, 02:16 PM
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PJMax:

Unfortunately, the red wire does NOT have an open in it.

What else can I check?

I even tried the old pump control cover (with the old components in it). No change.

Don
 
  #24  
Old 04-10-16, 07:21 PM
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Well pump troubleshooting - continued.....

Hello:

Getting back to this issue now....have had a few days to talk to others and no closer to a solution.

I was able to obtain a clamp-on ammeter so that those measurements could be taken as well.

All measurements are being taken at the splice point where the pump wires connect to the wires coming from the pump control box.

When the wires are connected, I get these numbers:

Yellow to green (ground): 120V
Black to green (ground): 120V
Red to green (ground): 258V
Yellow to black: 240V
Clamp-on ammeter (yellow wire): 9.2A
Clamp-on ammeter (black wire): 9.2A

Why am I seeing 258V on the red to green connection??

When the wires are disconnected, I get these numbers:

Yellow to green (ground): 120V
Black to green (ground): 120V
Red to green (ground): 0V
Yellow to black: 240V
Clamp-on ammeter (yellow wire): 0A
Clamp-on ammeter (black wire): 0A

I had a helper turn on the breaker when I had the voltmeter on the red and green wires. The voltage goes almost instantly to 258V when all of the wiring is connected. If I have the "pump splice" disconnected, I get 0V on the red to green wires.

Any other ideas?

Thanks!

Don
 
  #25  
Old 04-12-16, 07:40 PM
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m certainly no pump guy or electrician but I had my well a few years back not pumping water (it has the control box above ground as well) I couldn't figure out what was wrong either but then I noticed my electric usage daily was quite high....pulled the pump and found one wire had been rubbed raw from rubbing on the casing when starting, it was dumping electricity straight into the ground resulting in no water but lots of KWH going through the meter. Just something you might consider?
 
  #26  
Old 04-13-16, 08:23 AM
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William56:

Thank you for the information...

I am going to pull the pump next. There is definitely something wrong with the pump and/or with the wiring running down to the pump.

I talked to Franklin (the pump control box manufacturer) and they told me that the fact I'm seeing 258V on the red wire tells them that the pump is turning (according to them, it's windings act like a generator) and that either the pump wiring or the pump itself has an issue.

Not looking forward to pulling the pump, but it has to be done. At least it's for irrigation only!

Thanks for your reply.

Don
 
  #27  
Old 04-16-16, 04:57 PM
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Solved - Well pump troubleshooting

All:

Pulled the pump today and found why it's not pumping. The connection between the poly pipe that is running down the well (48') is broken off of the pump. The only thing holding up the pump/motor assembly was the poly "safety" rope.

Wires look good.

Of course, this brings up another whole problem....where and how to get parts to fix this thing.

I'll open a new thread to discuss that.

Don
 
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