electrical contacts on Pressure switch

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by mrspaceman, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. mrspaceman

    mrspaceman New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    New York
    On Friday, I had no water in the house. Inspected my jet pump and pressure switch. Found that the diaphram on the 4 year old pressure switch was leaking. I replaced the pressure switch with a copy - Square-D 30/50 pressure switch rated for 115 or 230v. I run it at 230V. Turned on the power. Worked like a charm for about two hours. Inspected the switch again and noted that the contacts on the switch had gone askew such that when the switch was closed the only one contacts was (well) making contact. Thought it was a defective switch. Exchanged it for a new one, replaced the defective one. Pump cycled on and off like it should for 48 hours. Inspected the switch, same problem.
    Only other thing I can add is that the contacts seem to sparking a lot when the pump is running.

    Better description of the switch.
    Switch has 4 connections for wires. Two outer ones are connected to power. The two inner are connected to the pump. When the switch is closed contact is made by a small metal bar across the right two and a separate metal bar makes contact across the left two. In the case of the first bad replacement switch the right bar was rotated such that no contact was made when the switch was closed. In the case of the second switch, it was the left contact.

    Any suggestions??
    I had the first Square D switch for 4 yrs, now two bad ones? Is it my set up or maybe a bad lot of switches?
    Are there better switches?
    I believe the pump is 2 or 2.5 HP. Could I be pulling too much current for the switch?

    In advance, thanks for your help.
  2. 1960 rancher

    1960 rancher New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    priming pump
    If you replaced the 4yr old switch with the same model then there should not be any issues. Although you should check the full load current ratting on the nameplate of your pump and confirm that the contacts on the switch are rated 20% higher than the pump. If you have a 2HP pump that could be around 12 amps... But all pumps are different so check the name plate. If all are good then maybe some Emory cloth and contact cleaner may do the trick... Just make sure the power is off.... Also make sure the contacts are closing all of the way with no obstructions...
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,247
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    switch

    There should be NO arcing when the pump is running. Arcing means either that the "bars" are not making solid contact, OR the switch is cycling on and off very rapidly.
  4. mrspaceman

    mrspaceman New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    New York
    The name plate rating on the pump is 5.5A @230V or 1265W or about 1.7 HP

    There is most definitely arcing on both of the "bad switches". Any idea why the switch would be turning on and off so fast? I can't believe that the pressure would be cycling much and that fast.

    Switch is mounted to a 3 inch pipe right on the pump. Could it be vibration? Pump seems to be running relatively smoothly.
  5. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    5.5 amps would be around a 1/2 hp. Points should not be arching while the pump motor is running. Square D switches have been getting cheaper as the years go by for a long time now. If you tighten the screws like most of us think they should be tightened, you will probably bend something which will possibly cause your problem. I suggest using connectors instead of just the wire under the screws. Then you won't have to tighten them so tight. It doesn't take a lot of torque to bend those bars these days.

    bob...
  6. sammyhydro11

    sammyhydro11 Previous member

    Messages:
    709
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    You more than likely have a bad tank if the switch is rapidly turning on and off. I would kill the power to the pump, drain down the tank, and see if the tank has drained by pushing on it. If it's heavy and feels like its full of water, then the tank is no good, and should be replaced. Do not buy pressure switches from big box stores, they are garbage!

    sammy

    www.tylerwellandpump.com
  7. mrspaceman

    mrspaceman New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    New York
    Thanks all - problem solved. But one last question:

    I thought Square D was a solid brand. The only other company that I could find who sell pressure switches was Flotec/Parts2O/STA-RITE Industries. I got the switch from our local ACE hardware. Regardless, I went to Home Depot and bought a Part2O switch - figure it couldn't hurt. Opened it up in the store and while the connections points seem "cheaper" than the Square D, the contact assembly seemed much beefier. Anyway replaced the switch, no arcing and all seems well.

    The last question is: Can someone recommend a high quality switch? Just in case . . . Thanks all for the help.
  8. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    You could go with the GSG-2 by Square D, but it's the 3hp version, is much bigger and costs about 5 times the price of the FSG-2. Other than that, there isn't a decent domestic switch made in my opinion.

    bob...
  9. Leaky Boot

    Leaky Boot New Member

    Messages:
    31
    Most everything is JUNK

    China, Mexico---and they wonder why consumers are not tripping over themselves to buy-buy-buy.
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