Generator sizing for submersible pump

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Smith333, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. Smith333

    Smith333 Member

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    I'm in the process of installing a manual transfer switch for use with a portable generator (which we have yet to buy). It will be served by a 30 amp inlet. I thought I had this all figured out, but now am having some uneasiness about the adequacy for use with our deep well submersible pump. It is a Sta-rite 1/2 hp on a 15 amp double pole (240 volt) circuit. The depth is 175 feet. The instruction manual for the transfer switch indicates that a shallow well 1/2 hp pump requires 1000 running watts plus 2350 starting watts. What would be the smallest generator capable of running my deep well pump if it is the only load on the generator?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2009
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    watts/volts = amps. So, peak = about 9.8A...should be fine on a 30A circuit.
     
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  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    The locked rotor amps for a half horse power 240 volt motor are 29.4 amps or just over 7000 watts.
     
  5. Smith333

    Smith333 Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I made a mistake in the specs for my pump. It is actually 3/4 hp. It is Sta-Rite model 10P4D20J-02 3-wire on a 15amp 2 pole breaker.

    I was not familiar with the term locked rotor amps, so that helps a lot.

    I cannot find specifications for my particular pump, but have found a different 3/4 hp submersible showing a LRA of 33.1 amps at 230 volts, or 7613 watts. Does this sound reasonable?

    The 5500 watt generator I'm looking at has a surge rating of 6875 watts. Is this close enough to be adequate or am I required to move up to a 6500 watt (8000 surge watt) model?
     
  6. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    The 5500 will work fine as long as it has nothing but the pump

    Table 430.251(A) list a 3/4 hp motot as 41.4 amps locked rotor.
     
  7. Smith333

    Smith333 Member

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    I opened the control box for the pump and found this information:

    HP: 3/4
    Voltage: 230
    S.F. Max Amp: 8.0
    KVA Code: M

    Googling "KVA Code" found:

    Code Letter M value: Range of 10.00 - 11.19 (10.6 midrange)

    and the equation:

    INRUSH AMPERES(SINGLE PHASE MOTORS)
    = ((CODE LETTER VALUE) X HP X 1000)/(RATED VOLTAGE)

    Using the high end code letter value of 11.19, yields a maximum LRA of 37.83



    Is there any way to determining if a particular generator can handle this magnitude of LRA?

    I appologize in advance if this is too anal, but I really don't want an undersized generator! Thanks!
     
  8. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    At locked rotor amps the windings of the motor start to fail should the current continue for any amount of time (more than a couple of seconds).

    If the motor did lock up then the generator would simply shut down and no harm would come to the generator.

    I have horses and a portable generator (5500) that I connect to the well via a twist lock straight to the generator. This way I don’t have the issues of grounding and bonding that come into play when using a transfer switch.

    Anyone that has owned a horse knows that you can lead the horse to water but you can’t make him drink. In icy weather the horse will always wait until you are about back to the barn then decide that he wants to drink and back you go to the pond either being dragged along or to fetch the horse so it is easier to just fill a bucket in his stall.

    The math you found on Google is good but will not fly when sizing things such as conductors, overcurrent and generators. The tables found at the end of Article 430 is what must be used in order to be code compliant as well as insure that everything will carry the current imposed.
    What you found on Google is lab type numbers such as 746 watts equal one horse power but you will never find a one horse power motor that pulls 746 watts. The best I have found has been just over 1200 watts with no load.
     
  9. Smith333

    Smith333 Member

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    Thanks for your help, it is greatly appreciated.

    One more question: The owner's manual for the generator I'm looking at has a wattage reference guide, which indicates that a 1 hp submersible pump needs only 6000 watts to start. While that contradicts the math and code, is that just their way (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) of indicating that the generator should be able to start the load even though it technically isn't rated to do so?

    It is a Generac GP6500, see page 7 if so inclined: http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/manuals/5623manual.pdf
     
  10. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

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    ***************xx
     
  11. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

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    I work in the generator field and work on them all the time. From small units to very large units.......RV, commercial you name it I have worked on them.

    When it comes to pumps and compressors and motors on small units we usually advise people they need 3 times the running amp requirement for starting the motor/pump. There is a huge variance in motor types and in generators themselves. The rough formula we used to use was that an engine for a generator needs to produce 1.5 hp for every KW of output. That is not always true with many units out there today. Generacs are not real high quality units. If the generators engine and voltage regualtion circuitry is poor it may very well stall when trying to start a motor that runs a pump that on paper should work. The locked rotor amp draw ratings is a good guide but with small units there is no substitute for an actual test of your equipment to see how it responds.

    I have a Camper with an AC unit on it....it is a 9200 BTU unit and runs easily with a 3500 watt Honda portable. It has a soft start blower motor. BUT if you shut the AC off and then back on without waiting at least a couple minutes.....the generator cannot restart the compressor in the AC unit. The generator bogs down badly even though it is at wide open throttle..That is the LOCKED ROTOR condition mentioned. This is very common with AC units. Another example, I have been on jobs with big sewage pumps that have "hard start" pump motors and they really hit hard when they start.......they also make soft start pump motors that ramp up slowly to full speed. That is an example of the difference in motors.....A much smaller generator can operate the soft start pump motors.....
     
  12. Smith333

    Smith333 Member

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    I received my generator today. I decided to go with the 6500 watt (8000 watt surge) model. Thankfully, the well pump ran just fine on it. The watt meter on my transfer switch showed a surge of about 7000 watts, which lasted maybe a few tenths of a second, then a running wattage of about 2200 watts. So the 3x rule is pretty accurate. Thanks for the help!
     
  13. Jeremy23

    Jeremy23 New Member

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    Arizona
    I recently obtained my dads old place in Northeastern Arizona and since it sat for so long the generator was stolen and so was our water tank, and now I am in the process of replacing the large generator and I wanted to see how I can find out exactly how large of generator I will need. The generator he had was a 25kw 3 phase generator. The pump is a 10 HP that is fairly old and pumps 100 gallons minute. According to the Arizona Dept Water Resources my "Well Depth is 340ft, Water Level 250, and casing depth 200ft, and casing diameter is 8 inches. And I am completely off grid with no power. I guess I have a few questions.

    What size generator do I need just for this pump?

    How can tell what voltage it is, I see generators of this size for sale that vary on voltage i.e. 208 240 120. I have pictures of the electrical box and how it is wired but I dont understand what it means.. I have photos attached of the electrical box if that helps.

    Is there a better option for my type of well that would still allow me to pump 100 GPM? i.e. new generator and pump/motor combo?


    Maybe these are questions are better answered in a electrical forum but I found this post and decided to give it a try.

    Thank you,
    Jeremy
     

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  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Motors get rated all sorts of ways, but a 'real' horsepower = 746W. A motor may be rated at that 10Hp, but usually doesn't pull that amount all of the time, but it can draw sometimes, significantly more when it tries to first start and while coming up to speed. So, a 10HP motor could draw as much as 7.46Kw while running, and maybe twice that to start. Depending on what other loads you might have in the home/ranch/farm would somewhat dictate what you needed.

    Larger motors can benefit from higher voltages which decreases the current required and that means smaller wires. Normal residential fixtures will want either 120vac or 240vac, single phase power. Not sure what your pump motor requires. 208vac is a fairly common commercial power, but generally, not used in residences in the USA. Some appliances will run on it, but not all. They can be configured to have multiple outlets.
     
  15. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    IL
    First figure out if that is a 3 phase motor on the pump. If it is 3 phase, the resistance should be the same between any of the 3 power wires going down-- ignoring a protective ground wire. I think the pictures show some 3 phase stuff, but wiring for 3 phase does not seem to be intact.

    After you figure out if this is 3 phase, we will look at what voltage the motor is.

    You will need an ohmmeter that can measure low ohms -- maybe less than an ohm with at least a couple significant digits of accuracy. A 4-lead ohmmeter is best at that job. It is made for low resistances. There will be some math, but we can help you with that. See table 25 of the Franklin AIM manual. But you will also have to account for wire resistance. I know how to figure that out for a 3 wire pump, but not for 3 phase. For 3 phase, I think you will need to know how big the wire is and how far the pump is set. Or maybe just assume the pump is at 320. Then with the wire size, we would know the wire resistance closely enough. With that and your reading, we know the winding resistance. And from that we can compare to the know resistances of a 10 HP 3 phase pump.

    If it is not a 3 phase pump, there would have been a control box... which could have been stolen.

    100 GPM is a lot. Are you farming with the water or just trying to fill a new storage tank fast? Because if you are filling a 2000 gallon tank, you might be better off to run a smaller pump longer.

    There are also solar solutions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
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