Well not pumping after lightning storm

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by yheitman, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. yheitman

    yheitman New Member

    Washington State
    Had a very bad lightning storm here in Washington state night before last and I know the lightening hit pretty close to the house. Yesterday morning no water from the well (also no phone). When I went downstairs and looked at the fuses, one of them was scorched. I didn't see any arcs or trace on anything but the one burnt fuse. It's an old switch box with regular glass fuses (20 amps). Replaced the fuse and pump began working again and then went outside for hours to work on another project. When I came back in-no water again. Disconnected power-hit overload reset on control box-reconnected power and the pump comes on for 10-15 seconds, and then shuts off again.

    It appears that lightning came up or down the line (or both) and damaged something. I tried testing the control box components per the instructions on the Franklin Electric box with my ohm meter but I can't make heads or tails out of the readings I am getting. How do I test the pressure switch to see if it is getting current? What readings should I be getting on the Franklin Control box? I'm pretty good at testing things but I do need step-by-step instructions.

    I have a 1.5 hp submersible pump (not sure which kind), a Franklin Electric control box (the correct kind for the submersed pump), and my well is 150 ft. deep. The well head is about 300 feet from the house.

    Help! Can't afford a lot to have this thing fixed.
  2. craigpump

    craigpump Well-Known Member

    To check the power at the pressure switch, put one lead on one of the line screws and the other lead from your volt meter on the line screw. There should be 230 volts. Now put your leads on the other two screws, there should be 230 volts there as well.

    The best way to check your motor is to go to the AIM manual for instructions, you can find it on the Franklin web site
  3. yheitman

    yheitman New Member

    Washington State
    Craigpump thanks for getting back to me. I'll check the pressure switch tomorrow. In the meantime, I took the control box out and noticed that the capacitor had what looked like a leak or a melted area. I still put a ohm meter on it (there were four different kinds of tests for the different components posted inside the control box lid) but I wasn't getting the readings that I was supposed to be getting when I was testing the relay coil, etc. so I put the control box back in place. I started the system several times to fill the water tank so we could take very short showers and I noticed that the capacitor got hot and began leaking. I know I definitely have a fried capacitor so I'll have to replace it on Monday if I can find a store that sells them in Tacoma.

    The lightning was the worst I have ever been through and there was a strike very, very near the house. We lost power for hours and the phone company still hasn't fixed the phone. I guess what I want to know is the bad capacitor a sign that there may be something else wrong with the system? The pump is getting power because it runs for 20-30 seconds before it shuts off again but is there a good chance the lightning strike went down the buried wires and did some damage to it and that's why it only runs for such a short time?
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
  4. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Houston, TX
    A bad motor could cause the cap to get hot, if a winding is shorted.

    But replacing the cap could be the easy test, and it could just be bad.

    If a new cap gets hot, then kill power before it blows. You most likely will have a smoked motor.

    Good Luck.
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