Well pump dead?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Backglass, Oct 20, 2007.

  1. Backglass

    Backglass New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    New York
    Hey all,

    We have been having strange problems with our well the last few weeks, ending in a total stoppage tonight. I think my pump is dead.

    While I was on the road last week the wife called to say that that the water went out when using the hose in the yard. She freaked out and shut off the hose. The water in the house was out. I told her to just shut everything off and wait an hour. When she tried it again, water flowed and everything was fine. This just happened again earlier today, but this time the water didnt come back on.

    First, I am pretty sure my pressure tank is waterlogged because when the pump WAS working the guage would quickly go from around 70 to 40 and the pump would kick on. It was probably cycling on & off every 5-7 seconds which I now know is very bad for your pump.

    After reading these forums it seems like I have overworked the pump and possibly burned it out. Before I call the local well guy, I have some questions.

    First, there is a strange box on the wall that looks like this:
    [​IMG]

    It clicks and buzzes a lot. I thought perhaps a relay had gone bad, so I popped the cover to find this inside:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    There was some oil below the capacitor, so I think it's leaky. Is this a starter capacitor? If it is bad could this be part of the problem?

    What is the purpose of this box? I have a conventional pressure switch down on the water line that runs to this box. After cleaning all the contacts and replacing the cover, now I hear the relay in this box cycling (no buzzing) but still no water.

    Is there any way electrically to test the pump from up top? Can I bypass this box and put power directly to the pump to test?

    I have a sneaky feeling I am about to get a new pump & tank. :(
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2007
  2. Backglass

    Backglass New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    New York
    UPDATE: OK, the more I learn, the more confused I get. I understand the box is my "Control Box". I tried measuring the resistance on motor windings following the Franklin/Goulds troubleshooting page, but my meter is an auto-ranging fluke so I don't know if they are correct or not or but they do not seen to be shorted. Also my motor is not listed so I am guessing with one close to the same hp, etc.

    Specs from the control box plate:
    • Model #CBC4003X4F
    • 1/3hp
    • 230vac
    • 60cyc
    • PH = 1
    • 3450rpm
    • 3.35amp
    • 1.75sf
    • 4.25 sapm
    • Code "M"
    • Date "F5"
    The capacitor is a 43.5MFD, 220VAC from Mallory.


    UPDATE #2

    Resistance on the lines is :
    • Yellow to Black - 5.7M
    • Yellow to Red - 20.6M

    I think I found the specs for my pump (or very close) and they say 6.0-7.4 for the main windings and 26.1-32 for the starter. My starter readings are low so perhaps I have a bum pump after all. Either that or the leaky cap doesn't have enough juice to start the worn starter windings. I may head to Sears/Lowes/HS tomorrow (Sunday) and see if I can find a control box to test. I might get lucky and buy some time.

    Thanks for any advise....
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2007
  3. Dungmin

    Dungmin New Member

    Messages:
    16
    I'm a newbie neophyte to this forum and to plumbing in general, but make my living in an electro-mechanical world. That most certainly is a start capacitor, and a leaking capacitor is a toasted capacitor. If you can't find one locally McMaster-Carr has your cap for $4.54 (p/n 7245K105) and were you to order it from them you would likely have it next-day for maybe ten bucks, S/H included. Unless someone else here can give you definite direction to resolution, this may be one of the cheaper troubleshooting options.
    Your resistance reading results indicate mega-ohms (by the "M") instead of ohms(Ω), are you certain of that? Something is not right there; you definitely had an "M" on the right of your display?
    Here's wishing you a quick remedy, water woes are among the worst!
  4. Backglass

    Backglass New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    New York
    My mistake...went back and re-measured this morning. No "M" but my starter resistance is still below spec.

    According to the Franklin troubleshooting page "If any one value is less than normal, the motor is shorted.".

    <Sigh>

    Out of curiosty, does anyone know what the date code of "F5" means? "F" is the sixth letter of the alphabet. Could this be a 1965 pump?! We bought this 150 year old house for a steal 6 months ago "as is" (bank sale) and knew we would have issues like this. The boiler will go next. :p

    The REAL joy in all of this is that I have a flight at 6am tomorrow morning and will be on the road for business three days, leaving my wife & three kids under 7 to deal with no water and/or well estimates. Something tells me I wont be getting any lovin' for some time. :eek:
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2007
  5. theelviscerator

    theelviscerator New Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    Elkhart, IN
    Going by visuals alone I would say its time for a replacement.
  6. Backglass

    Backglass New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    New York
    Yeah, it's ancient & rusted. The basement (more like a cellar) was very damp before I stuck a dehumidifier down there to dry things out.

    Another question. I see from the Franklin page that motors and pumps are two separate items. Can only the motor be replaced on my pump or is it better to replace both at once regardless?
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2007
  7. Raucina

    Raucina Previous member

    Messages:
    515
    Looks like pictures from a WWII submarine. I would change it all out. But maybe the pump has some more life in it.

    Run resistance tests from each of the 3 pump wires to ground to see if they are shorted.

    Change the capacitor

    Try to run the motor with a clamp on ammeter on one of the incoming hots and compare to specs.

    get some air in your tank or get a new one.

    You might have electrical connection problems from corrosion. I would be sure to use NO-OX on all fittings if you change it out.
  8. Backglass

    Backglass New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    New York
    Resolution: Well, after driving all over trying to find a control box on a Sunday, I bit the bullet and called the Well company that is literally down the street. I really had no choice as I am flying out at 6am Monday morning for a three day business trip and couldnt leave the wife & three young kids waterless.

    They came right over and much to my chagrin, popped a new control box cover on the quick disconnect and the pump fired right up. They then "blew down" the water logged tank and after re-setting the pressure it seems to be holding and working as it should. The well doesn't cycle 1/20th as much as before that's for sure.

    So, "alls well that ends well". It ended up costing my $225 for a $50-$75 controller, new gauge and a hours and a half of Sunday labor but since I was bracing for a $1500+ pump job, I'm a happy camper. If the tank does lose pressure over the next few days I am confident I can replace that myself. Hopefully the pump, which I am sure was abused will last for another year or so.

    Thanks again for everyones help!
  9. Backglass

    Backglass New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    New York
    Hey All,

    One more quick question. When the Well company replaced my control box, they replaced my 1/3hp box with a 1/2hp as that is all they had on the truck (claiming 1/3hp pumps are rarely seen these days). The tech said it wouldn't make any difference and would in fact give the aging & abused 1/3hp pump an extra "push" when starting up.

    Truth or Bald Faced Lie?
  10. Raucina

    Raucina Previous member

    Messages:
    515
    Truth. You are OKAY with them.
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