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Thread: Using a Amtrol WX 350 to improve well efficiency

  1. #16
    DIY Junior Member Michaelco's Avatar
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    I think I am understanding your points - just not clear in my writings...

    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    I did not recommend a CSV for the well pump.
    Got it. I understood you recommended to use a Dole valve. There was a point in my thinking last night, when I thought it might be useful to use a CSV. But, then realized you'd still need to use a restrictor for health of the pump, and keep the crevices and cracks filled with water. Which meant there was no benefit in having the CSV with this fixed demand situation. I think I have this piece, just putting it out there in case I missed something.

    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post

    The drawing shows a Cycle Sensor attached to the well pump. With the Cycle Sensor you don’t have to worry about “losing the larger "contrast” where the SymCom might miss seeing the "run dry” occurrence.”
    This is the kind of thing I was looking for. I thought the SymCom PumpSaver Plus works in a similar manner as the Cycle Sensor - e.g., monitors the current and trips when the current drops. Is there some other difference?
    I'd like to see if I can get the SymCom to work, as it just replaced an old pump monitoring unit that's been there since the well went in. I would go out now, and play with it, but the tank is full and we're getting some much needed rain.
    I haven't adjusted the SymCom's sensitivity level as it was recommended to keep it at the factory default. I'm assuming, if it doesn't catch a current drop, then I should disregard this recommendation and bump the sensitivity up, and re-check.

    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    It also means your well is cycling on at full flow and off for zero flow, to supply a steady 3 GPM to the storage tank. This is not good for the pump or the well.
    Understand - that was what I was referring to when I said "but isn't as 'friendly' to the pump...". Still, seems there is a benefit (higher contrast) that this approach offers. I understand the negative (cycling) that comes with the benefit. Yes, and I hear you when you say the Cycle Sensor doesn't require the additional "contrast" - don't know why, but heard your message :~}.
    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post

    You can leave the well restricted to 3 GPM, and the Cycle Sensor will cycle the pump off when the well pumps dry. Then it will restart the pump after a set period of time. This will protect your pump from dry run, but it would be better to restrict the output of the pump to match the inflow from the well.
    You said it much clearer than my attempt at it :~}.

    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    As described, when properly weighted, you could put the air line in a well where the pump is installed. Or you can use rigid pipe like ˝ PVC. However, the amp draw will tell you when the well is pumped dry, and you can adjust things accordingly without a water level gauge.

  2. #17
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michaelco View Post
    Got it. I understood you recommended to use a Dole valve. There was a point in my thinking last night, when I thought it might be useful to use a CSV. But, then realized you'd still need to use a restrictor for health of the pump, and keep the crevices and cracks filled with water. Which meant there was no benefit in having the CSV with this fixed demand situation. I think I have this piece, just putting it out there in case I missed something.
    I hope this doesn’t further confuse you, but the CSV could still be used on the well pump if you want to keep the same control set up for the storage tank. I assume you are using a solenoid valve controlled by a float switch to fill the storage tank. In this way the pressure switch turns the well pump on when the float switch drops, opening the solenoid valve that fills the storage tank. I am sure you restrict the flow going into the storage tank with a ball valve. So you choke the ball valve back to 3 GPM, which is the recovery rate of the well. This effectively draws 3 GPM continuously from the well. However, the well pump is filling the pressure tank at maybe 10 GPM, depending on the size of the pump. Then the well pump shuts off while the storage tank drains the pressure tank at a rate of 3 GPM. So the well pump is cycling on and off. This causes the well to draw way down, then recover its level while the pump is off, even though the storage tank is being filled at a steady 3 GPM.

    You could simply put a CSV on the well pump. When the pressure switch starts the pump, the CSV will adjust the output of the well pump to match the rate you set at the flow control gate valve. So the pump will draw a steady 3 GPM from the well while you are filling the storage tank at 3 GPM. The water level in the well will remain constant, instead of going up and down like it does when the pump is cycling.

    But it would be simpler to just put a 3 GPM Dole valve on the well pump, (or use the gate valve you have now), and let the float switch in the storage tank turn the well pump on directly. No pressure tank, no pressure switch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michaelco View Post
    This is the kind of thing I was looking for. I thought the SymCom PumpSaver Plus works in a similar manner as the Cycle Sensor - e.g., monitors the current and trips when the current drops. Is there some other difference?
    Many of the devices out there like the Symcom pumpsaver work fine for dry well protection, as long as you don’t restrict the pump with a valve of any kind. When the pump is cycling on and off at full capacity, it is also drawing maximum amperage when running. And as you said there is a “higher contrast” between full load amperage and dry run amperage, so the Symcom default is to see a 25% amp reduction as a dry well condition, which turns the pump off.

    When you restrict the pump with a valve, the amperage drops about 30%, and the Symcom sees that as a dry well, and shuts the pump off, even though it shouldn’t. If you adjust the sensitivity for the Symcom to work at the reduced amperage when the pump is restricted, then it shuts the pump off on overload when you go to full flow. With a 3 GPM restrictor on the well pump, and using the float switch directly, without having a pressure tank and pressure switch, you maybe able to make the Symcom work. This way you can adjust the sensitivity to work at the amperage when the pump is restricted, and the pump will always be restricted. So the Symcom should work with the Dole valve/float switch combination.

    A Symcom won’t work with a Cycle Stop Valve using the solenoid valve/pressure tank/pressure switch method. This is because the CSV would let the pump produce full flow and max amps when it first comes on, then it would reduce to low amperage when the CSV started working to restrict the pump to 3 GPM. The amperage range of the Symcom is not wide enough to let the pump work at high flow/high amperage AND low flow/low amperage.

    The difference in the Cycle Sensor is that it WILL work at high flow/high amperage, and will still protect the pump if the amperage drops below the low flow/low amperage setting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michaelco View Post
    I'd like to see if I can get the SymCom to work, as it just replaced an old pump monitoring unit that's been there since the well went in.
    I don’t blame you. They aren’t cheap. So if you also want the water level in the well to remain constant, use the Dole valve/direct float switch type control, and maybe you can adjust the sensitivity on the Symcom to make that happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michaelco View Post
    I haven't adjusted the SymCom's sensitivity level as it was recommended to keep it at the factory default. I'm assuming, if it doesn't catch a current drop, then I should disregard this recommendation and bump the sensitivity up, and re-check.
    The problem you are going to have is when you restrict the output of the well pump to 3 GPM, the Symcom will shut the pump off on low amperage/dry well condition. You can probably adjust the sensitivity so the pump will stay on when the flow is restricted, but it may not shut off when the well is dry. So after setting the Symcom to stay running at the lower amperage, I would remove the Dove valve, or open the gate valve to pump the well dry. Then while you are watching it with a clip around amp meter, you can tell when the pump runs dry by a slight reduction in amps, and no water coming out the pipe. If the Symcom doesn’t automatically shut the pump off within a minute or so, it is not going to work with the restrictor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michaelco View Post
    Understand - that was what I was referring to when I said "but isn't as 'friendly' to the pump...". Still, seems there is a benefit (higher contrast) that this approach offers. I understand the negative (cycling) that comes with the benefit. Yes, and I hear you when you say the Cycle Sensor doesn't require the additional "contrast" - don't know why, but heard your message :~}.
    If the Symcom won’t work with the flow restrictor, the Cycle Sensor will. It lets you set the exact amperage where you want the pump to shut off. So it can tell the difference between low flow and no flow.
    Last edited by valveman; 02-02-2014 at 03:36 PM.

  3. #18
    DIY Junior Member Michaelco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    I hope this doesn’t further confuse you, but the CSV could still be used on the well pump if you want to keep the same control set up for the storage tank. I assume you are using a solenoid valve controlled by a float switch to fill the storage tank. In this way the pressure switch turns the well pump on when the float switch drops, opening the solenoid valve that fills the storage tank. I am sure you restrict the flow going into the storage tank with a ball valve. So you choke the ball valve back to 3 GPM, which is the recovery rate of the well. This effectively draws 3 GPM continuously from the well. However, the well pump is filling the pressure tank at maybe 10 GPM, depending on the size of the pump. Then the well pump shuts off while the storage tank drains the pressure tank at a rate of 3 GPM. So the well pump is cycling on and off. This causes the well to draw way down, then recover its level while the pump is off, even though the storage tank is being filled at a steady 3 GPM.

    You could simply put a CSV on the well pump. When the pressure switch starts the pump, the CSV will adjust the output of the well pump to match the rate you set at the flow control gate valve. So the pump will draw a steady 3 GPM from the well while you are filling the storage tank at 3 GPM. The water level in the well will remain constant, instead of going up and down like it does when the pump is cycling.

    But it would be simpler to just put a 3 GPM Dole valve on the well pump, (or use the gate valve you have now), and let the float switch in the storage tank turn the well pump on directly. No pressure tank, no pressure switch.
    Currently, we pump directly from the submersible into the 5000 gal tank without any intermediary storage/pressure tank. We haven't added an intermediary tank, nor have we throttled the output of the submersible pump, but were planning on doing so prior to the info you have provided.
    Except for the last 4 months, we have been fine with this setup rarely tripping. The 5000 gal tank recovered as expected - e.g, in the number of calculated hours). The thought was to add a pressure tank and throttle it's output to 3 GPM to accomplish a couple of things - cycle the pump at 50% cycle, limit the big drawdown in the well and still keep the "contrast" high. However, I can see the benefits of keeping the pump running at the throttled level keeping the water level up, making it easier on the pump, and possibly easier on the structure of the well (an assumption, but no basis).
    At this point, I will experiment with the existing system, and see what I can and can't get to work. If I can't get the SymCom to work with the flow restrictor I'll try the Cycle Sensor. I'll deal with the booster pump in the spring time - another few months most likely won't "do it in" - willing to take the gamble.
    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    Many of the devices out there like the Symcom pumpsaver work fine for dry well protection, as long as you don’t restrict the pump with a valve of any kind. When the pump is cycling on and off at full capacity, it is also drawing maximum amperage when running. And as you said there is a “higher contrast” between full load amperage and dry run amperage, so the Symcom default is to see a 25% amp reduction as a dry well condition, which turns the pump off.
    To set up the Symcom, I first placed it in Calibration mode, and turned on the power. It ran for 10 seconds, and the calibration light went out. I assumed this captured a reference current to use for the max current level. I don't know what the purpose of this step would be if this is not the case. After calibration was done, I set the time delay to 160 minutes and let it r
    My plan was to first see if the Symcom could trip if the current dropped. If it didn't, I would adjust the sensitivity until it did. I would then restrict the well output (e.g, throttle the valve), and once I had it set properly to give me 3 gpm, I would re-calibrate so the SymCom would capture a new reference. The only questionable area is whether the sensitivity made when set with no throttling would be "workable" for the restricted case. And, in throttling down to 3 gpm the drawdown might not lower the water level down far enough to the pump level - I guess I could wait until the 5000 gal tank is fully emptied before allowing it to refill to give it as good a chance to run dry that I could give it.
    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    A Symcom won’t work with a Cycle Stop Valve using the solenoid valve/pressure tank/pressure switch method. This is because the CSV would let the pump produce full flow and max amps when it first comes on, then it would reduce to low amperage when the CSV started working to restrict the pump to 3 GPM.
    Good to know.
    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    If the Symcom won’t work with the flow restrictor, the Cycle Sensor will. It lets you set the exact amperage where you want the pump to shut off. So it can tell the difference between low flow and no flow.
    Seems like a better approach (Cycle Sensor) - I may try to contact SymCom to see if they have any thoughts on how to approach. If the sensitivity adjustment is a percentage of the current captured during calibration, then I might be able to extrapolate what the sensitivity adjustment should be. Too verify it works may be a whole different issue - especially if I'm restricting flow to keep the water level high and avoid getting into a run dry situation.

    Thanks again for sharing your experience and ideas. Definitely has changed where I was headed, and with a better solution.

  4. #19
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I have used thousands of Symcoms. Their model 77C has an adjustable underload, but I don't think the one you have will work when throttling the pump. After the Sysmcom is calibrated for the 3 GPM throttled flow, you will need to run the pump wide open until it pumps the well dry to see if the Symcom will still shut off the pump on dry run.

  5. #20
    DIY Junior Member Michaelco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    I have used thousands of Symcoms. Their model 77C has an adjustable underload, but I don't think the one you have will work when throttling the pump. After the Sysmcom is calibrated for the 3 GPM throttled flow, you will need to run the pump wide open until it pumps the well dry to see if the Symcom will still shut off the pump on dry run.
    If that's the case, I would need to repipe to provide a bypass around the flow restrictor. Thanks for the info.
    Probably still worth contacting SymCom and see if they think the unit would do the job - less likely chance of success if they say it won't - presuming I can get a hold of anyone who has good knowledge. I may be willing to put the effort in to repipe if they say it should work - knowing the quality of the info is "fuzzy" and it's not a "sure thing"

  6. #21
    DIY Junior Member Michaelco's Avatar
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    I finally ran a few amperage measurements, and saw very little difference in the current draw for full flow rate, restricted flow and dead headed condition.

    I turned off the power to the well pump, and pumped 1500 gallons from the storage tank to irrigate a few rows of trees in the orchard. Having the well pump's power off kept the well's water level at it's highest level, when I measured the pump's current draw.

    I set up a video camera to capture the clamp on meter display and flipped the breaker for the well pump.
    Full Flow (no restrictor) - 6.6 amps.
    Throttled Flow to 3 GPM - no change (still 6.6 amps)
    Throttled Flow to 0 GPM ~ 6.5 amps

    Looks like the 3/4 HP pump is not the right pump for the job, and the SymCom's most sensitive setting wouldn't have a chance to catch either dead head, or dry well condition. I adjusted the throttling valve to match as closely as I could to what I think the well is capable of sustaining, and plan to change out the pump if and when the pump fails - The biggest downside I can think of with this approach is a pump failure, if it occurs, may not come at a convenient time.

    Are there any other potential issues?

    Are there any good source for sizing of well pumps?

  7. #22
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    It must be a 10 GPM series Pentair brand of pump. Those particular ones don’t seem to drop in amps at all when the flow is restricted. The fact that the pump doesn’t drop in amperage when restricted is a good thing for the Symcom. This way it doesn’t have to be sensitive enough to know the difference between low flow and dry run. The pump runs at 6.6 amps pretty much no matter what you do, so when it pumps the well dry, any drop in amps will be enough for the Symcom to see the difference.

    In this case the Symcom can tell the difference between deadhead and dry run. There is no difference in amps between deadhead and full flow, but the amps will drop lower when the pump runs dry.

  8. #23
    DIY Junior Member Michaelco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valveman View Post
    The pump runs at 6.6 amps pretty much no matter what you do, so when it pumps the well dry, any drop in amps will be enough for the Symcom to see the difference.

    In this case the Symcom can tell the difference between deadhead and dry run. There is no difference in amps between deadhead and full flow, but the amps will drop lower when the pump runs dry.
    Unfortunately I don't know what pump was installed. So, if I understand correctly, the current draw when deadheading, on this pump, is significantly different than when it runs dry - is this correct? Then, the SymCom trip point set at 90% should work? To make that work, the pump current would have to drop below ~5.9 amps when the well runs dry. I didn't run it long enough to run the well dry, as I thought the dead head current draw was going to be approximately the same as the "run dry" case. Could remove the flow restriction, monitor the current, and see if the SymCom trips - I did leave the SymCom sensitivity set at 90%.

    Right now, it takes roughly 6 hours to replenish 1000 gallons in the storage tank - the pumping costs are around $1.50. Assuming the SymCom would catch the "run dry" case, pumping out at a faster rate would reduce the electricity costs, but would cycle the pump more often. Plus, would reduce the well productivity (if I understand the situation correctly). Not sure how to assess what would be a better way to go.

    I would think the best thing would be to have had a smaller pump, which would run at a reduced cost, and more likely to trip the SymCom in both the "dead head" and "run dry" cases - but, at his this point, the cost to swap out the pump isn't trivial - and, would pay for a lot of electricity.

    Any recommendations/thoughts?

  9. #24
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    When the amps do not drop when going from full flow to restricted flow, there should be a fairly good drop when the pump runs dry. You should test it as you said to make sure, but the 90% figure should work because I think it will drop from 6 to about 4 amps when running dry.

    If it works you can remove the restrictor and let the pump cycle with the Symcom, as long as it runs at least a few minutes at a time. 10 minutes of run time would be good, even if you have to restrict it a little. It is the amount of time before the pump restarts that takes some trial and error to get right.

  10. #25
    DIY Junior Member Michaelco's Avatar
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    Thanks - for the info. We're due for some rain, so will hold off running the test until next time I irrigate - There's over 300 gallons in the casing (above the pump) when the well is completely full. So the pump should run for over an hour (ignoring any influx of "new" water into the well). Like you said, figuring the restart time is an "unknown" - at least without a water level measurement. My thought was to draw down the storage tank by 1000 gallons, with the restart timer at the default setting, and measure the time it takes to refill the storage tank. Then repeat that process, increasing the restart timer each time.

    I would think the time it takes to refill the storage tank should decrease until I hit a restart timer setting which is longer than needed (e.g. well totally recovers, and pump isn't taking advantage of well being full). Does that seem reasonable, or is there a better way (that is, without use of a level measurement tool).

  11. #26
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    Without being able to measure the water level, it is just trial and error as you have stated.

  12. #27
    DIY Junior Member Michaelco's Avatar
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    Thanks for confirmation - wasn't sure if my approach to "zero in" on a good restart timer setting was realistic.

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