Need help choosing new float/switch method for cistern

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by suceress, Sep 4, 2021.

  1. suceress

    suceress Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Location:
    LA
    I have an antiquated well system with an odd set up. I have a PVC pipe that goes in to the ground (not sure how deep). Attached to that pipe is a 2-wheeled air compressor pump. Specs on the motor say it is 1HP, 12.2/6.0-6.1A, 115/208-230V. (so we have horse power, amperage, and voltage). The pump connects to the PVC with metal pipe (probably galvanized steel). When the wheels spin the pipe gets hot (I'm sure from air passing through it) and water comes up the pipe. The pipe goes up a few feet and then has an elbow to come down in to the top of the lid to the cistern. It's a very large cistern big enough to fit several people, but I don't know the gallons. The wiring to the pump connects to a D-box float switch that sits on top of the lid. The old one was mounted to a pipe coming out of the top of the lid. It has a lever that extends forward and a rod goes through the lever. The rod has a float on it. When the float is down, it pulls the lever down and triggers the pump to turn on. The old switch rusted & kept jamming in downward position so the well repairman replaced it-- but the only switch available was a surface mount switch. He caulked a wooden block to the top of the lid & screwed the switch on to it. Unfortunately, over time the block seems to have shifted and will not shift back to where it originally was. This makes the rod go in to the hole at an angle. We previously adjusted the position of the switch to line up better, but it no longer lines up & the rod keeps turning sideways and keeping the lever down. This has caused the cistern to overflow. It had not happened for a long time but last night it happened again and the well house was flooded almost to the level of the pumps (almost hitting wiring). I pulled it up and now have to keep checking to make sure the float is not getting stuck when water gets used, but it is very frustrating. I was told the rod and D-box setup was not very efficient and it was suggested that I get a new setup. When I spoke to the repairman, he didn't know of any other way to do it (he was grandfathered in from his father being in the business & hasn't updated his knowledge but he is the ONLY repairman for well systems that will come out to my area).

    TL:DR? I need something more efficient and reliable than a D-box switch lever & rod float to connect to a 1hp 12.2Amp 115/208-230V air compressor pump to fill my cistern.

    I've been looking at options but having a hard time finding anything that fits exactly with that pump and I also need to figure out how to connect it to the pump. Right now the wires are attached to the switch. I know the wires of whatever I get will likely not be the same size as the wires to the pump (wires to the pump are 10AWG bc anything smaller kept getting fried).

    I don't want to spend a ton of money. There are no working electrical outlets to plug things in to in the shed. The roof leaks so I need something waterproof. I need something safe for potable water.

    Any suggestions? Any advice/feedback on what else I would need? A contactor or relay of some sort? I've heard relays are for lower powered devices. I want it to work so that the circuit is normally closed (to keep the pump on) until the water is high enough and then have the circuit open to shut it off. Or I suppose it could be normally open until the water level drops. Not sure which way would be best so I need advice.

    Is anyone familiar with such a setup? I can provide photos if needed.
     
  2. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Just look for a pump up float switch that is rated for more than 6 amps and you won't need a relay.

    LOW YIELD WELL_and storage with two PK1A.jpg
     
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. suceress

    suceress Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Location:
    LA
    I keep seeing ones that are rated for 13amps up to 250v but only 1/2HP. Mine is up to 12.2A & up to 230V but is 1HP. I saw a neat system someone recommended but it says it only goes up to 220v and requires regular plugs. The pump has 2 hots and a ground so I don't think it would go in a plug.

    If I get a float switch, how do I attach the wires to the pump? Through some sort of junction box? That is the part that has me confused. I can figure out how to get a float put on a rod down in the cistern, but figuring out what I need to connect the wiring is the issue. I haven't heard back from the well repair guy. I don't know if he's still in business-- or even alive.
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    More than one way.
    https://1ycswe91wp2m03pf3oeepg54-wp...p-content/uploads/2021/08/9500103I_PM-WEB.pdf
    If you pick a switch with a description that ends in U2WP, it will come with a piggyback NEMA 6-15 or NEMA 6-20 (I don't know which) plug. So you would put a plug to power the pump, put the piggyback between that and the outlet, and the float switch is in service.

    Or wire the switch, in a box, in series with one of the hots. You would have a 2-pole disconnect before that.

    https://1ycswe91wp2m03pf3oeepg54-wp...ads/2020/07/9500136G-PUMP-SWITCH-OVERVIEW.pdf
     
    suceress likes this.
  6. suceress

    suceress Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Location:
    LA
    So the seller of Sump Alarm Float Switch w / 10 ft. (3 Meter) Cable, Water Tank, Sump Pump (5 Year Warranty) said I will need a contactor for a 1hp pump. I need something that can handle the higher voltage and up to 13 amps (maybe 15 to play it safe). Not really sure which one would be the right one to go with. I would have to buy the weight separately as the one that comes with it is not rated for potable water. The weight is another $20 but I've seen worse.

    Seller said:
    To be clear, there are two types of 220 V service:
    1. The pump received 220 V on a “hot leg“ and has a neutral.
    2. The pump has “too hot legs“ which are in all actuality -110 V, and positive 110 V, and a ground.
    In scenario number one, the float switch can activate and deactivate the pump directly and should be placed in line on the hot leg.
    And scenario number two, a contactor or relay should be used to start and stop the pump, and the float switch should be used to turn the relay on or off.


    I'm not sure which setup mine has or how to check. I have a friend who is a certified electrician but he mostly fixes arcade games, computers, and vehicles. Pumps are outside his wheelhouse. Diagrams I've seen have recommended an MCB (mini circuit breaker) as a bridge between the power and the pump (with the ground wire skipping it and going directly to the pump).

    A Youtube video showed this diagram
    upload_2021-9-8_1-5-27.png
    Another site had this info:
    Float Switch Connection:
    The float switch consists of three wires. To check the float switch we will set the Multimeter on continuity it contains red, blue and black wires in which black is neutral wire. We will connect the multimeter one probe with the black wire and the other with the blue wire when the float switch will be at bottom it will act as closed circuit and give signal to the motor to turn on. It give beep on multimeter which show that it act as closed circuit. Now connect the one probe of the multimeter with the black and other with the red wire when the float switch will move upward it act like a closed circuit.

    Float Switch Working :
    We will connect miniature circuit breaker (mcb) which automatically switches off electrical circuit during an abnormal condition of the network means in overload condition as well as a faulty condition with live and neutral wire at input. Connect the output of the mcb with the contactor input. Magnetic Contactor is for lossy magnetic flow generated with current in winding of such devices as transformer, throttles, magnetic cartridges filters and circuit. Output of contactor is connected with the motor. Connect the wire of the float switch with the neutral wire. Connect the L1 of the contactor with the A1. Connect the blue wire of the float switch with the A2 of the contactor.

    upload_2021-9-8_1-6-42.png

    I am trying to figure out what MCB and contactor to get and whether or not the red/white wire on the switch needs to be left floating or if it connects to a ground.
     
  7. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Your main breaker is all you need. No need for the MCB. You only need the two wires in the float switch that make contact when the bulb drops.
     
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    In #2, he said there are two hot legs. In North America, 240/230/207 service does not use a neutral. If you open one hot leg, the pump turns off. The person you are talking to probably thinks you were required to open both hot legs. I used to think that.

    Regarding the tether, you can use a weight dangling from a cord. You can alternatively use a pvc pipe and tape the tether to that.
     
    suceress likes this.
  9. suceress

    suceress Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Location:
    LA
    Thank you for the replies. The wiring in my shed is a hot mess (but I'm having trouble trying to get pictures posted for it). I need to go through with a sensor to detect electricity and see which lines have electricity, which don't, remove stuff that doesn't work or that is dead (like all of the outlets), install a GFCI outlet, etc. The pumps and the whole shed run on a double 20A breaker (so I guess that's 40A?).

    I want to use the float switch with a weight so I won't have to mess with trying to run pipes down. I have a pvc pipe that the old switch used to mount to & I can't tell if it goes all the way through the lid- if it does, it might be where I put the float. If not, I will use the hole for the rod. Both holes are relatively small. If I use the pipe I will cover up the other hole.

    I'm going to try to get a better look at the setup tonight when I go in to annihilate the a-holes with wings (wasps/hornets) while they are sleeping. They were in my way when I tried to check today.

    I do have a question: If the float setup to FILL the tank is set to Normally Closed (which would then send signal to the contactor) does that mean I would need a Normally Open contactor so that it will close (and turn the pump on) when the float is down/closed/on?
     
  10. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Use a normally closed float switch to energize a relay when the float is down. Use a normally open contact in the relay to energize the pump when the float is down. When the float is up the float switch will open, de-energizing the relay and opening the normally open contact that turns the pump off.
     
    suceress likes this.
  11. suceress

    suceress Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Location:
    LA
    Thanks. My friend (who is a certified electrician) reviewed the wiring diagram for the current switch and looked at the wires in the shed earlier to determine what awg they were and what we need to do to streamline things. It looks like there were some 110v outlets connected to 220v wires (although we will have to go out when power is off to try to remove extraneous wires to figure out if there is a source of 110v in there-- but there only appears to be one line cable coming in to the shed.

    I was confused when I realized that the current switch has wires that split off from it to go to the jet pump but my friend said it's working as a junction and that we could put those wires through a junction box. The wire that I thought was 10awg is actually 8awg but we are going to replace it with 10 and make sure all wires throughout are 10awg.

    I'm still trying to select the right contactor (but I want to wait until I have figured out the wiring in the shed for certain & make a plan for everything we will have in there).
     
  12. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    No problem with #8 wire as it is larger diameter compared to #10 and is therefore capable of greater load capacity than #10.

    As you said there is a single cable supplying both 220 volts and 110 volts, then I anticipate the cable contains 3 conductors + ground. There will be two 'hot' conductors that will provide 220 volts when measured one to the other. The 3rd conductor will be neutral so measuring voltage from either hot conductor to neutral will measure 110 volts.

    As the power is utilized for multiple applications, the incoming line should have fed a small panel which incorporated a main shutoff and breaker for each circuit including a double breaker to supply 220 volts to the pump pressure switch.
     
Similar Threads: Need help
Forum Title Date
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. Need help on submersible pump chart May 3, 2021
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. New construction and needing help! Jan 24, 2021
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. Someone stole my pump. I need some help please... Jan 19, 2021
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. Need help with Chlorine amounts for Well Dec 15, 2020
Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life. Everything seems to work, but no water :( Amateur needs help Oct 25, 2020

Share This Page