Low pressure nuisance cut-off

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by LLigetfa, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    I use a pressure switch with the low pressure cut-off and never before had a nuisance trip except of course after a power failure. It seems that the way the Square D units work, the cut-off point is not hard set but rather some percentage of the kick-in/kick-out. I think when the switch is set to somewhere around 20/40 that the cut-off is 10 PSI.

    Anyway... I did some recent work on the well to develop it and dropped in a new pump so that I could up the pressure to 40/60. While I had the system down, I also cut into the 3/4" copper line between the precipitation tank and the iron filter and found that there was almost 1/4" of iron build-up reducing the pipe to almost 1/4". I snaked and flushed out the line and ran 3 manual backwashes to get all the iron out of the line and filter.

    Now, at 40/60 PSI I have to run the micronizer with the bypass fully choked so the effective GPM through the micronizer is now less than the GPM through the iron filter. Enter the wife and her soaker tub... it has full port valves and can fill at a rate faster than the micronizer permits so when the pump kicks in at 40 PSI, it cannot gain PSI but rather, slowly drops precariously close to the low pressure cut-off.

    The precipitation tank has an air volume control that is float actuated to bleed off excess air but since it is in such a harsh environment with all that precipitated iron, it tends to stick sometimes, not regulating the air volume precisely. I keep a spare AVC on hand that I let soak in Super Iron Out for days to rejuvenate. It would appear that perhaps the AVC finally opened when the pressure (and subsequent water level) dropped and that in turn caused the pressure to drop below the cut-off. Keeping the wife happy is getting to be a long row to hoe...

    At this point, I don't think I want to risk running without a low pressure cut-off but then again, I don't want it to trip off again when I'm not home and incur the wrath of an unhappy wife. There's no way that I will teach her how to go down into the crawlspace to hold the lever "just so" long enough for the pressure to climb above the cut-off, so I'm looking at replacing it with EPS15/99 from Cycle Stop Valves ( http://cyclestopvalves.com/products.html#eps1599 ). From what I've read it has a fixed cut-off of 10 PSI. Anyone have experience with this unit and know of a Canadian source?
    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  2. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    Buy her a hot tub and the soaker bath is always ready.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    A hot tub is not the answer.

    Tonight I monitored the pressure while she filled the tub. The pump came on at 40 PSI but slowly dropped to 28 PSI. The micronizer has not yet drawn in enough air since yesterday for the precipitation tank to level off and I did not add air with my compressor so the AVC did not vent during a low pressure situation. I still don't know the exact PSI the low cut-off trips but according to Schneider Electric it should be 10 PSI below cut-in so in my case, 30 PSI.
  4. justwater

    justwater Well Drilling/Service

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    i'd keep it simple and install a shut-off valve to choke the flow back just enough that the system cant get below trip pressure. jmo
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Now that the wife has seen how fast her tub fills, there is no going back otherwise I could just lower the kick-in for now. The surface of the gate valve on the micronizer bypass got scoured over time and so I cannot adjust it to let a little more GPM through as it chews up the O-ring. I have a replacement gate valve on order but who knows when it will get here.

    With the new pump, the micronizer currently draws more air at the given PSI setting than it needs to. I've read differing instructions WRT adjusting the amount of by-pass. Waterite, the maker of the micronizer say it should suck air for 30% to 35% of the pump cycle time. The instructions for the iron filter say it should suck for at least 50% of the cycle.

    http://waterite.ca/micronizer.html
    http://waterite.ca/PDF/Micronizer_Specifications.pdf
    http://waterite.ca/PDF/Micronizer Instructions.pdf
  6. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

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    The ESP15/99 is brand new. No one is going to have any feedback about it yet. However, I have been working on it for about 3 years and think I have all the bugs worked out. The attached picture is the one at my house. It went through 200,000 cycles in my test pit while under a heat lamp. Then I put it on my house several months ago. I tested several of them this way.

    I really like the digital readout. The low pressure cut off is set at 10 PSI and is not adjustable. To prevent nuisance trips and allow jet pumps to prime it has to be below 10 PSI for a minute or two before it will shut off the pump.


    [​IMG]
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Thanks Cary, for the feedback. So I'm guessing you don't have a list of Canadian dealers.

    If you are open to ideas, I'd like to suggest that it be a split unit providing an option to relocate the low voltage side with the LED display away from the high voltage and water side. That way the display and control could be mounted up out of the crawlspace or pit.

    Or you could give it an ethernet port so that it could be accessed with a web browser and with SNMP so that stats could be graphed.
  8. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

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    I have many dealers in Canada, but none of them are yet stocking the ESP15-99 and none of them will sell to a homeowner. Call or email me and I will find someone who can help you out.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am already working on something like that. But the first thing was to make it dependable and affordable. There are a few others out there, but I have not been able to make any of them last. We went through several prototypes and made many changes before we got it to be reliable. Now that we have a base system that will last, we can start adding to it. However, we still want it to be simple. I have already had a couple come back because the installer couldn’t figure out how to adjust it, and it only has one mode button. It would be great to have lots of options, but it still has to be simple enough that anyone can set it up. Many old pump installers don’t know how to work a computer. And I don’t want them to have to bring their kid or grandkid to the job just to set the pressure switch for them.
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    I wasn't suggesting you don't have Canadian dealers, just that you don't have a public list. What I find confusing however is your statement that "none of them will sell to a homeowner". Are they distributors that only sell to pumpmen or are they pumpmen that insist on installing what they sell?

    Anyway, I managed to open the bypass on the micronizer to 1/4 (2 turns) without the O-ring leaking. Now the GPM through the micronizer is the same as the GPM on the tub filler. I dropped the kick-in to 38 PSI for a little more margin as well. I also increased the air precharge with a compressor.
  10. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

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    My mistake! I should have said we have many "distributors" in Canada and none of THEM will sell to homeowners. The distributors have many "dealers" who are installers, and I don't have a list of those. But "dealers" will sell to homeowners, and some of them also sell on Internet sites and to do it yourselfers. I don't have a list of these, but I would be glad to help you find one of you like.
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    The suggestion was not to replace the simple single mode button but IKWYM about technophobes. A computer can simplify things for complex folk but complicate things for simple folk.
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    LOL... how true! I came up with a system to simplify holding the lever "just so" by slipping a nut driver over the lever and simply resting it against the box connector for the teck wire. I even left the nut driver on the floor next to the switch. Can't make it much easier than that.

    Anyway... yesterday I mentioned to the wife that UPS will be delivering my new EPS15/99 which then raised the question "what is an EPS15/99?". I start to explain what it is and why I'm replacing the existing Square D and her eyes glaze over. I ask her how she would restart the pump should the low pressure cut-off trip and get a blank stare. I drop hints like "crawlspace", "lever", and "nut driver"... nothing... deer in the headlights.

    I explain how the EPS15/99 will reset itself when the power comes back on. She says, "good". I explain that she can reset the EPS15/99 by turning the breaker off/on to which she says "that, I think I can handle". Since I will be less likely to get a nuisance trip once installed and since it will reset itself, I may never know if she will remember how, but that's OK. A happy wife is a happy life.

    BTW, I rebuilt the micronizer with a new bypass valve and tweaked it so the GPM through it matches the draw through the iron filter.
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Today I finally got around to installing the EPS15/99. There are two minor peeves that I'd like to point out. One is that there is not a lot of space under the cover for extra lead length. I generally leave my leads long enough so that if I mess up there is enough wire to cut the ends off and redo them.

    The other thing is the relay is so quiet that it provides no feedback of when there is a call for water. The programmer probably could have used the decimal place to indicate a call for water. The Square D was so loud I could hear the contacts open and close from up on the main floor.

    Speaking of programming, it was easy enough without RTFM. I have yet to test the low pressure cutoff but have no reason to think it wouldn't work. The procedure I used to test it on the Square D was simply to turn off the breaker and watch the pressure gauge and switch contacts. I can't turn off the breaker to test the EPS so what I'll have to do is to cut the power to the pump after the EPS and monitor the voltage. Maybe I'll put a neon indicator lamp on the pump's motor control box.

    One thing that I wasn't expecting is that when I turn the power on, the EPS calls for water even if the pressure is above the cut-in setting. The Square D of course would not and when I wanted to top up the pressure, I would have to remove the cover and manipulate the pressure plate. To lockout/turn off the pump without going to the breaker panel, I could just lift the lever on the Square D. I installed a 2-pole switch on the wall before the EPS to lockout the pump from the crawlspace. Should the low cutoff ever trip, the wall switch will let me reset the EPS without RTFM. Of course the same can be done at the breaker panel without going down in the crawlspace. In the event I lose all pressure during a power outage, it will reset itself on resumption of power. According to the manual, the pump has 2 minutes to get the pressure above the 10 PSI low cutoff.

    While the EPS has a digital display showing the pressure, you probably still want to keep the old manual pressure gauge for when the power may be out. Also, a manual gauge is a handy tool for troubleshooting as the way the needle may quiver speaks volumes more than a digital readout ever could.
  14. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    If you want to sell those gauges like hot cakes to the young and old, you ABSOLUTELY need 2 dial gauges with printed numbers on them
    - ON and OFF.

    Something a human can SEE. I had a digital timer and finally hit it with a big ball pein hammer.

    Even the great normal switches requires spilling 80 gallons of water to confirm its operating characteristic.

    Until then, I think the Franklin pumptek with the 10$ switch will rule, which gives you a dial with numbers on it to work with.

    I have a sprinkler timer that even a 14 year old computer nerd cant figure out. And without a dial, how the hell do you know how to check the days and times? Laminate a 3 page instruction sheet and chain it to the device? Dark times we live in.

    The other problem, is that you are heading into the territory of the "constant pressure" overcomplicated electronic devices that we know you so correctly hate a bunch. Better find some good Chinese factory and post a US guard at the assembly line, lest you end up like grunfos. Just trying to help.

    A thought would be building on the standard switch design and bring "up" 2 knobs with pressure indicators on them so one could turn it without tools and see what the hell he just did. Add a auto reset low pressure cutout and a fast cycle shut off, and you are retired. Send me some money.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    WOW, were did that come from? First off, I don't sell them. Maybe your post is directed at Cary?

    Second, why the cynical attitude about anything digital? I'm sorry you have a technophobia. Computers make life simple for complex folk, complex for simple folk. Is your alarm clock mechanical?

    It's not fair comparing the EPS to your sprinkler timer. Now, maybe because I'm a computer nerd or perhaps I have a genetic predisposition that made it brain-dead simple to program this without RTFM. I mean, it has ONE mode button and an up and down button. A caveman could figure it out. IMHO, it is easier to set this up than to wrap your mind around how the two spring Square D needs to be setup.
  16. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    Sorry, I figured one would see it directly meant for valveman. I was just adding to your critique.

    Point being, FEW of us have the DNA for understanding a device that has no obvious mode of operation unless you are lucky enough to have the instructions at hand.

    I once had a great sprinkler timer. At a glance I could see zones on, time per zone, and days per week. All on a nice bunch of dials.

    Now, the only ones available hide all the set times within a barely readable screen, that requires 25 ORIENTED key strokes and a clipboard and pencil to record the findings to figure out what the hell you did a month ago.

    I want my information AT A GLANCE. Just like a cockpit on a airplane.

    If I thought there was a analog one available, my oven would have gotten the ball pein hammer long ago.
  17. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the feedback on the EPS15/99 pressure switch. I understand your concerns about the digital properties compared to the old mechanical switch. We have been testing and redesigning this switch for about three years. We went through several prototypes that did not pass the smoke test. The latest design has withstood hundreds of thousands of cycles while working under a heat lamp. This accelerated test put more than 10 years worth of abuse on the switch, after which I installed the very same switch at my own house, and several others in places where I can keep an eye on them.

    If there is one thing I know, it is what destroys pumps or pump system components. I was able to make several of the first prototypes fail in short order. I won’t say the new EPS15/99 is completely bullet proof, but it withstood all of my accelerated tests. Any component has to be fairly robust to stand up to my accelerated testing.

    The people who work at Cycle Stop Valves are now confident enough that we have installed the EPS15/99 on our own homes, and even on the pump at the CSV factory. We are offering a two year warranty, which is pretty good for any electronic component.

    We get ask how to set a pressure switch many times a day. Many people are afraid to try adjusting a mechanical pressure switch. And you would be surprised how many pump installers do not know how to set a pressure switch. Many times they will purchase a new 40/60 switch, because they don’t know how to turn up a perfectly good 30/50.

    So the EPS15/99 has push button adjustments. You set the mode to Lo and push the up or down arrow until it reads 40. Then you set the mode to Hi and push the up or down arrow until it reads 60, and you are done. No more guess work.

    The enclosed relay and gasket sealed enclosure also prevents problems with fire ants. Fire ants have become a real problem for switch contacts in the south, and they are continually moving farther north.

    Low pressure cut off, voltage protection, and rapid cycle alarm are features that come standard on the EPS15/99.

    The old style FSG2 has become less dependable over the years. The points are smaller and the plastic point retainer is not nearly as reliable as the old fiberboard style. The diaphragms also tend to leak much more often that they use to. Many people now say that some of the knockoffs are actually better than the original FSG2.

    The EPS15/99 is a little more expensive than the FSG2. However, it is less expensive than many of the higher end switches such as the Allen Bradley or Mercoid. Being able to digitally set the bandwidth to as little as 10 PSI makes the EPS15/99 work very well on large pump systems or systems with multiple pumps.

    The EPS15/99 is Cycle Stop Valves, Inc. way of giving the customers what they want, which is a pressure switch with easy push button adjustment, easy readable display, and keeps the fire ants out.
  18. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    No obvious mode of operation??? It has three; Pr (pressure), HI (high setting), and LO (low setting). No need to RTFM for that. Even if one were to resort to RTFM, there is less than half of a page needed to fully describe it.

    Lemme guess... you were the installer that Cary mentioned returning a unit cuz he couldn't figure out how to program it? Technology and old school folk is a funny mix. Many old school folk have an immediate reaction when faced with it. Give the same thing to a young child and no problem. It's not DNA, it's technophobia.

    I work in the IT field and see a lot of bad designs that truly do require a computer science degree to figure out. My measuring stick for what is good versus bad, is whether or not an average person can figure it out without having to take a course or RTFM.

    Anyway... that is a digression. The EPS15/99 fills a market need with a simple interface. The low pressure cutoff on the Square D is a poor design where the threshold follows ~10 PSI below the cut-in. Also, having to hold that tiny lever "just so" as long as it takes for the pressure to get above the trip point has a learning curve far worse than the mode button on the EPS.

    The Square D being a mechanical device, the setting will drift over time. Springs weaken and mineral fills the space under the diaphragm. I deliberately purchased the model with low pressure trip but over time, mineral buildup defeated it. Over time the low cut-in threshold kept dropping. If I had a bladder tank rather than a hydro-pneumatic tank, the cut-in would have drifted below the precharge and subsequently the pressure would have nose-dived below the trip point. I know why most pump men don't want to install those cuz your average homeowner would be making nuisance support calls. A homeowner that is not a DIY could pay out a few hundred in call out over a $10 - $20 switch. Of course Murphy makes sure the switch screws up on a weekend or holiday with a house full of guests.
  19. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

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    I haven't had anyone who couldn't figure out how to set the Digital pressure switch EPS15/99. I was talking about the old style mechanical type pressure switches.
  20. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    Sorry, I inferred from that, that you meant a EPS.
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