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Thread: Subdrive 150 flashing red fault light.

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member whotheguy's Avatar
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    Angry Subdrive 150 flashing red fault light.

    I'm a new poster but was hoping the members here could help me out.

    Up until about 3:00p.m. today all was good as far as running water. Shortly after that I noticed no water flowing from the faucets. Went into the garage and immediately saw the red "fault" light flashing on my Subdrive 150. It's flashing red 5 times. I turned off the circuit, let it degenerize, flipped the circuit back on, same thing. Consulted the owners manual for what the 5 light flashes meant, it says open ciruit. I checked the well head, as well as all other wiring that isn't underground. I found nothing wrong. I also checked the connections at the pressure sensor, they seem okay. I was going to un-hook the wiring on it and check the ohm resistance but I found no reference for what it should be.

    The entire unit is about 4 years old and this is the first time I've experienced a problem.

    So, until I can get somebody out to check on it, or I actually can find the problem myself, is there anyway to bypass the system so I can get water going in the house? The wife is getting crankier by the second if you know what I mean. In case it matters, my heating is dependent on the water running as I have a geo-thermal system to heat the house...brrrrrr it's getting cold.

    Thanks all!!!

    Robert

  2. #2
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    open circuit can either be in the wiring or the pump itself. I suspect the pump needs to come up.

  3. #3
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I am sorry but, that is probably all the life you will get from a Sub Drive. The pressure sensor on a Sub Drive clicks on and off 45 times per minute when you are using water. That is a little over 64,000 times every 24 hours of use, or 2 million times per month. Every time that sensor clicks, the pump start up torque spins that motor to one side and back. This torque probably bent the wire at the pump back and forth until the wire broke. The wire could also be broke in the motor from the added voltage stress from the variable speed controller. Either way, if there is really an open circuit, there is nothing you can do but replace the motor.

    Now figure how much it cost you to replace that pump, divide it by 48, and add that cost to your monthly electric bill. As a heat pump owner myself, I know it is impossible to make a heat pump as efficient as it should be, unless the pump last a long time. I am sorry but, any of the variable speed pumps, including the Sub Drive were designed to make money for the manufacturer. This means "planned obsolescence" was designed into the pump so it would not last very long. Anybody who told you that the variable speed system would save energy was lying. Not only do they not save energy but, they are designed to fail in short order. Just look at all the pump and motor companies who are heavily promoting variable speed pumps. Then think about it. Would a pump or motor company spend a lot of money advertising something that would save you money, or something that would make them a lot of money?

    Many, like the Franklin Sub Drive go one step further. They started you out with a three phase motor, which meant they could sell you smaller wire. However, now you are stuck with going back with the same system, because the wire is too small for a standard single phase motor. If I were you, I would make them install a regular single phase motor, change out the wire to the correct size, and install a Cycle Stop Valve (CSV) to limit the cycling. Using a standard speed motor, running on standard power, and limiting the cycling with a CSV, will give you the same energy efficiency, and deliver the same "constant pressure" as a variable speed pump. The CSV has also proven to triple or quadruple the average life of a pump system. That is why pump and motor companies so adamantly discourage the use of a CSV. With variable speed systems they get to sell you a new pump about every three years, with a CSV they would only get to sell you a new pump about every 20 years. Now divide the cost of the pump system by 240 months, which is 20 years. Add that figure to the monthly electric bill and a heat pump is saving you a lot of money. Now you can see that the life of the pump system is the most important part of making a heat pump system efficient.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member whotheguy's Avatar
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    This isn't looking good at all based on the responses. Although I know next to nothing about all this well pump stuff I do know electricity pretty well and in some way was hoping it was that.

    I guess there is no chance of it being the pressure sensor at this point?

    Valveman, I know you don't know what system I have but any thought on what it would take, money wise, to do you what you suggest? Also, I hear the pump is down about 150'. In your opinion, is getting the pump out of the ground a DIY project?

    I need to do something fast as the inside of the house is already down to 43 degrees, not to mention we got some snow last night.

    Thank you all so much, I really appreciate it.

    Robert

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    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    If you know electricity then ohm out the wires going down hole. There should be no short to ground, and the three phases should all ohm the same. If the indicator light is correct, one or more of the lines down hole is open.

    The pressure sensor is just a switch. You can twist the two wires together and see if it will run.

    Pulling 150' is not a problem as long as it is plastic pipe. Steel pipe is a different matter.

    You might get lucky and it just be the wire that is bad. If it has an open leg down hole, you won’t know what it is for sure until you get it pulled.

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    DIY Junior Member whotheguy's Avatar
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    Well, I can't figure out how to get the pump out of the ground. I've dug down to where the line branches off the big well pipe that goes into the ground. It has some kind of copper/gasket connection that looks like it's a compression fit inside the well pipe. I've also looked into the wellhead pipe and can see a round thing and it looks as if the pvc pipe compined with an elbow sits on top of that round thing.

    Here is a couple pictures of the line that hooks into the well pipe.

    The other is a pic down inside the well pipe about 7 feet.

    Any advice would be appreciated.






  7. #7
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Sorry man, you didn't need to dig on the outside of the well. That is a standard pitless adapter. Looks like a 1". Just need a piece of 1" steel pipe about 8' or 10' long. Make a tee handle on one end, and screw the other end into the part of the pitless that is sticking up. It should have 1" female threads looking up. Just pull it up about 2" and you are free. If you can see below the brass pitless, you can tell what kind of pipe you have. If it is steel pipe, it is going to be heavy and 21' long sticks to take loose. If it is poly or PVC pipe, just don't bend it more than you have to and pull it all out in one piece. Don't let any of it hang up on the pitless on the way out.

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    DIY Junior Member whotheguy's Avatar
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    That's okay about the digging, Lord knows I needed the excercise. I'm just trying to wrap my head around what you said about pulling the pump/motor thing by using a pipe. I can tell the pipe in the well is pvc as I can see it. But how would the PVC pipe hook into the other pipe to send water to the house? Wouldn't it be a really sloppy fit and just leak?

    Sorry for all the questions but I appreciate it.

    Robert

  9. #9
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    The pitless adapter makes everything fit. The PVC pipe is threaded into the bottom of that brass thing you see sticking up. Then the brass thing slides out of the flange that is attached to the well casing. When you pull up on the pitless half, it will slide out of the flange and you will be holding all the weight. 1.25" PVC full of water weighs 1.11 pounds per foot, plus the weight of the pump 35#, and the wire 30#, equals 232 pounds. You can pull it all out in 1 piece, just don't bend it much at the couplings.

  10. #10
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Picture still worth a thousand words-

    T-handle pipe screws into top for pulling the whole works out=


    another view-


    More info-
    http://www.deanbennett.com/pitless-adapters.htm

    If you drop anything down the well, including the pipe & pump, you will be sorry.
    Last edited by cacher_chick; 12-22-2009 at 03:51 PM.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member whotheguy's Avatar
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    Thank you Valveman and cacher chick, your help is starting to make sense. I ohm'd out the wires in the garage at the drive box, of the three differerant combinations of wires to test, blk/red, red/wht, blk/wht. Only the red/wht combo would ohm out and it was within the parameters at 2.8ohms. 2.2 is the max but I'm running approximately 200ft not considering the depth of the well which is unknown. I then went to the well head, unhooked the wires from the drive to the pump and ohm'd out the wires heading back to the drive in the garage, I got the same result, only red/wht would ohm out. I then tested the wires at the wellhead leading to the pump/motor in the well. All three combinations, red/wht, blk/wht, red/blk ohm'd out within the allowed parameters. So, it appears at this point I did a bunch of unnecessary digging. I'm now trying to find the break between the drive in the garage and the wellhead. If it matters, we have a real problem with gophers in our area. Not sure if that could be a likely culpret. Tomorrow I'm going to buy a couple hundred feet of 10/3 wire and run a jumper between the drive and the wellhead and see what happens.

    I'm thinking the motor/pump is okay considering the ohm values I got.

    So, am I on the right path with my thoughts?

    Robert
    Last edited by whotheguy; 12-22-2009 at 07:39 PM.

  12. #12
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Gophers usually cause a short but, not an open leg. The problem was probably still caused by the voltage stress from the VFD. However, you are on the right track. Finding where it is broken is priority. Then replacing the broken wire should be the fix.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member whotheguy's Avatar
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    Well I have good news and bad news. Good news is, the jumper wire I bought and put in today solved the problem and we have water and heat once again. Bad news is, I'm not even going to try and find the short in the one leg. Since the wire that was put into the ground when the house was built isn't in pvc or anything, just it's own white casing. So, come spring I'll be running all new wire in PVC. Sounds fun, but I'm happy and I get the wife off my back.

  14. #14
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Hopefully you have back filled the water line and closed up the well before the line etc. freezes.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member whotheguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Hopefully you have back filled the water line and closed up the well before the line etc. freezes.
    Yep, backfilled it yesterday before the temps dropped. Freezing/bursting lines is nothing I want to deal with right now, maybe April or so...

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