Well Pump Controller/Pressure Switch Problem...I hope

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Watchman63, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. Watchman63

    Watchman63 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    There is a community well on my property serving 5 houses. I am responsible for maintenance, and right now we have no water.

    We put a new well system in during the Spring of 2005. It's a Jacuzzi 1.5 HP pump with a Franklin Electric model 2823008110 controller with 3 pressure tanks.

    I did all of the electronics myself, and the rest of the installation was a cooperative job between the 5 of us on the system. I am not sure that I ever had the pressure switch adjusted properly. Sometimes the switch would chatter when it started, and the contacts on one side now look pretty bad. I have had to go out and manually start the pump several times in the last few weeks.

    Today for the first time, the reset button on the pump controller tripped. When I restarted it, there was a loud "pop" from the box. I took the cover off and watched the capacitor the next time that the pump came on, and sparks shot out of the bottom of the capacitor.

    I would say that makes it a near certainty that I need a new pump controller, and I am also going to put on a new pressure switch.

    What is currently happening is that the motor will not start, the controller hums for a second or two, and the reset button pops on the pump controller. I'm really hoping that the pump is not also fried. Is it possible that the pump is fine and it is just the controller that is shot?

    So here are my questions:

    Should I just replace the pressure switch and controller and see if that works, or should I just quit where I am and call professional help?
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,426
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    The switch is to far from a pressure tank. The switch needs to be on the line that enters one of the pressure tanks. With multiple tanks, people usually put the switch on a line between the tanks. This is also how the tank manufacturers show to install it but, it is wrong. Pick a tank, and install the switch as close to the inlet of the tank as possible. Then make sure you have the correct amount of air in ALL the tanks.

    The chattering switch may have just blown the capacitor, relay, or both in the control box. Have that box fixed or install a new one before looking at the pump. Hopefully the control box will get you back to working. However, chattering or cycling on and off is the worst thing you can do to a pump. If the control box doesn't fix it, then you may also have motor problems.
  3. Watchman63

    Watchman63 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Thanks for the answer.

    The electrician came out this morning and confirmed that the start capacitor was bad. I was relieved to find out that I didn't have to replace the whole box.

    I went into town and got a capacitor from the hardware store plus a new pressure switch. I just finished the job and the pump came on and ran just fine. I left the factory settings alone on the pressure switch.

    One of the three tanks was at 20lbs, the other two were at about 37. I don't have time to tinker with it right now (I have to leave for work soon), so I just turned off the valve to the tank that was low.

    I do have a couple more questions.

    First, the capacitor.

    The old capacitor was a 105-126 uF. The owner of the hardware store gave me a capacitor that he said was the same. It is working fine, but the new capacitor is actually a 124-149 uF. Is that close enough to the old capacitor, or should I get one that is exactly the same?

    As I stated in the original post, it is a Franklin Electric 1/1.5 HP controller.

    As for the layout of the pressure switch in relation to the tanks, the pressure switch is installed right were the pipe from the well comes into the well house.

    It is 54" from the pressure switch to the tee that goes to the pressure tanks. In between the pressure switch and the tee at 38" from the pressure switch is the water line that goes out to the houses.

    The tee is set up between pressure tanks 1 & 2. It is pressure tank #3 that has the low pressure.

    That's how the original system was set up, and that system lasted for about 30 years.

    If the new pressure switch operates fine with no chattering, would you still recommend relocating it closer to the pressure tanks?

    Thanks again for the advice.
  4. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    First of all, the capacitor he sold you is fine.

    Getting the switch as close to one of the tanks is necessary. Not optional.

    You said the system has been working for 30 years. It's hard to believe anything set up improperly lasted for even 5 years. If you do want it to last a long time, getting it right would be far better than leaving it the way it is.

    If those tanks are 30 years old, I would be looking into three new ones.

    bob...
  5. Watchman63

    Watchman63 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    The entire well system was replaced in the Spring of 2005, from the pump to the tanks and everything in between.

    I had no idea that the location for the pressure switch was incorrect. Thanks for straightening me out on that.

    What problems can result from having the system set up the way we do?

    Edit to add: Does anybody have a link to somewhere that shows the correct setup?
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