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Thread: Intermintant overload failure

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Joebif's Avatar
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    Default Intermintant overload failure

    Every once in a while I get a overload failure. I have a Franklan control box with a reset button on it. About a month ago it went and tripped so I started looking into what could be wrong. I have a submersible 1-1/2 hp pump 252 feet deep that is a Berkley about 30 years old.

    I first checked my Air pressure tank after I drained it and found that it was at 6lbs so I filled it up to 33 lbs. I had not ever checked this in years. After I filled it to the correct pressure it ran for about 2 weeks and then it tripped again. I ran all the water out and checked the air and it was still at 33 lbs.

    So I reset the button and it ran for about a week. I purchased a new start capacitor, because they are cheap and decided to change it out. I check the air again and it was the same. I tripped the reset and it ran for about another week.

    I went on-line to the Franklin site and downloaded all the info I could on testing the voltages and amperage.
    I checked to see if I had any open grounds and did not. I reset it and it ran for a couple of days.

    Today I tested my voltage coming into the control box also when it was running and it was the same. It was about 239.
    I checked the black wire going coming from the pole and it was 10.5 amps.
    I checked the black wire going to the pump and it was 10.5 amps
    I checked the yellow wire going to the pump and it was 10.5 amps
    I checked the red wire going to the pump and it was 2.4 then went to 1.39.
    All of these are within tolerance on the info I downloaded from Franklin.

    I can't seem to find anything wrong.

    Is there a way to check my pressure switch?
    Could my reset overload button have a defect and can it be checked?

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    A lot of things are possible. But from the age of the pump and the fact that you only had 6 PSI air in the tank, I think your pump is just about on its last cycle. Years of cycling on and off have taken a toll. It probably trips the overload when it cycles the second or third time, as the motor is still warm or hot when it tries to restart. Better start looking for a new pump/motor.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Joebif's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    A lot of things are possible. But from the age of the pump and the fact that you only had 6 PSI air in the tank, I think your pump is just about on its last cycle. Years of cycling on and off have taken a toll. It probably trips the overload when it cycles the second or third time, as the motor is still warm or hot when it tries to restart. Better start looking for a new pump/motor.
    Plus a new storage tank because it has a slow leak.

    If I fill a horse tank with water and another tank I need filled today, which is about 300 gallons, then if your theory is correct the pump should get pretty warm and cycle a second,third or more times I would think. It should overload with that much usage. I will go out and try that and see what happens. If it does trip I will report back on what I find.

    Can the overload reset button get old and start tripping when it shouldn't?

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member Joebif's Avatar
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    I just had several water hydrants and hose bibs going full blast. Had them turn them off and on to give the pump a real workout.

    As that was being done I watched the yellow wire and I had a constant 11.44 to 11.46 on a real good digital meter. The pump ran perfect. I tried it several times to make sure it would come back on and no problems.

    What else can I check?

  5. #5
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joebif View Post
    ...then if your theory is correct the pump should get pretty warm and cycle a second,third or more times I would think...
    A pump is designed to run continuously so no, that doesn't really give it a workout. What gets a pump heated up is the start windings. If after start, it gets to run, it also gets to cool off. If it doesn't run long enough, the next start cycle gets hotter, and so on.

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    DIY Junior Member Joebif's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    A pump is designed to run continuously so no, that doesn't really give it a workout. What gets a pump heated up is the start windings. If after start, it gets to run, it also gets to cool off. If it doesn't run long enough, the next start cycle gets hotter, and so on.
    So should I open a water hydrant and put a amp meter on the yellow wire and then use the big flip switch circuit box in the pit to turn the pump off and on several times during a call for water?

    In my last test I did it turned on and off 3 times and I did not see any amperage changes at all.

  7. #7
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    I would consider that a trial by fire. It is just abusing the pump.

    The other possibility is that your wire is chafing against the casing from the torque at start.

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    After 30 years of providing reliable service the pump/motor are giving up the ghost, get a new pump, tank and string of wire and be done with it. Be sure to chlorinate the well when you're done.

  9. #9
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    You worst case cycling scenario is using about of what the pump can produce. In your case that is probably about 5 to 8 GPM. While using this much water your pump is cycling on and off, and is on about the same amount of time that it stays off. After cycling like this for a while, the stator will heat up, and eventually grip the rotor, which causes the overload to trip. When you are using enough water to keep the pump running continuously (no cycling) the overload probably won’t trip. But once the stator has gotten hot and swelled up, it will never be the same again. As they say, once you let the smoke out of the motor, you can never put it back. It will work until it quits, and it will quit at the most inopportune time. So either fix it now, or just be ready to go without water on a Sunday or holiday.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member Joebif's Avatar
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    Update and need help on Voltage question. I have been having a 220 deep well situation for several weeks now where my overload was tripping. It would trip sometimes every day. I went through all of the things Franklin told me to do as far as checking the pump via amperage readings and seeing if there was a ground. I had no problems. The Franklin people said to have my voltage checked at the pole and going to my well, so I called the Electric company and they set up 2 readers to see what they could find. They are still testing.

    The day before they came my tenant said that they could not get a 220 heater to turn off in the basement apartment. I tried several things but it was really hot when I turned it to low. It is a base board unit about 2 years old from Home Depot. After looking at it I noticed that the curtain string which had small plastic pulls at the end had been melted and I then saw some plastic on top of the heater where they hung. I turned off the breaker.

    Ever since I turned off the heater my well pump has not tripped the overload.

    Is it possible that the 220 heater was drawing so much current or voltage that my well pump did not have enough and it tripped the overload?

    I will bring in the heater to home depot but is this possible?

  11. #11
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    If the heater was pulling too much current, it could have brought the voltage down, which makes the amperage on the pump go up. So yes it is possible.

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member Joebif's Avatar
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    Two other related things have just come to my attention regarding the well pump. My tenant upstairs said that the guest bathroom toilet stopped filling the bowl about 1 to 1-1/2 weeks ago, about the same time my pump was tripping. I pulled the water line and had good pressure but the toilet plastic valve inside the upper tank would not let out any water. The inside of the bowl was full of reddish/brown sand or rust but probably sand.

    The my tenant downstairs said before she went on her trip about 9 days ago the washing machine stopped filling the washer. Upon examination the screen on the cold water side inlet to the pump of the washing machine was full of the same materials. I cleaned it out and it is running fine.

    Is it possible then that my pump just sucked up a clump of sand and it got sent through the system and that made my pump trip?

    Is there supposed to be a filter on the pump so sand will not get in it?

  13. #13
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joebif View Post
    I first checked my Air pressure tank after I drained it and found that it was at 6lbs...
    Short cycling a pump because of an inadequate precharge can surge develop the well which may bring up sediment.

  14. #14
    DIY Junior Member Joebif's Avatar
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    This morning it tripped the overload in the control box and when I went into the well pit the pressure switch was closed or engaged. I did notice that there was a small space on one of the contacts on the white side of the pressure switch.

    I pressed the reset button and it tripped right away. I tried that 3 times and it kept tripping. Then I flipped the 20 amp box in the pit that has a disconnect with fusses in it and when it was off hit the resit on the control box and then flipped the 20 amp box on and the pump ran right away. I waited for it to shut off and then turned on the hydrant and it took a while and turned on again and shut off.

    Do I need a new control box or reset overload switch?

    Should I see a small gap in my contacts when they are closed? I heard of filing them, with the power off. But is it better to get a new pressure switch? How do you test if it is the pressure switch?

    I had the electric company put on 2 readers to see voltage and amperage. One on the main line and one on the pump. The pump tripped last week only one time and according to there chart it was about 30 minutes prior to when I noticed the water being out. Because of the 60 gallon storage tank.

    They said that the amperage jumped to a little over 200 amps just prior to the pump tripping. He said that the voltage was fine and that it was in the pump area that I am having the problems. He thought it could be the overload switch, pressure switch or pump or bad or corroded wiring. He thought that the pump would be last or it would be doing it all the time.

    Any thoughts?

  15. #15
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Replace the pressure switch. You may not be getting a good connection every time and trying to start on 115V will trip the overload.

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