Adding a pressure tank and switch to rural setup

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Llano Rancher

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Hi Folks - New member here. Have lurked for a while and found lots of great information and now I’m hoping for some specific help.

I’ve got a 1/2 HP (230v) submersible pump in my well and this has historically been used to supply a water trough for cattle so no pressure tank or switch. The set up has power running from a 30 amp breaker to a control box and that runs the well to fill the trough when the water level in the trough drops.

I’m in the process of completing a new barn and would like to run water to the barn (approx 150 feet from well) for a small bathroom (sink, toilet, etc.). My plan was to add a pressure switch and pressure tank to my current setup which seemed easy enough - take the power from the control box and route it to the pressure switch and then the wire pressure switch to control box (L1, L2 and ground). The well wire (R-Y-B-G) would stay as wired in the control box.

When I opened up the control box I saw two sets of wires coming from the well head and the hot wires from the breaker running to the well wires (connected with wire nuts) and then back out of the well to L1 and L2. There’s also some sort of 3 wire pigtail attached to L1 and L2 and grounded in the box too. Can somebody tell me what I’m looking at here and how I can go about adding my pressure switch and tank? I’ll try and attach the diagram of the current wiring.

My initial thought is move the R & G going to L1 and L2 and run them to the pressure switch and then wire the switch to the control box (L1 & L2) but I have no idea if that’s right. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Reach4

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Pressure switch is in line between L1 and L2, and the breaker.

By convention, the breaker hots go to terminals 1 and 4, and terminals 2 and 3 go to the L1 and L2 of the control box.

I wrote that before looking at your PDF. Your PDF is not right.
 

Llano Rancher

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Pressure switch is in line between L1 and L2, and the breaker.

By convention, the breaker hots go to terminals 1 and 4, and terminals 2 and 3 go to the L1 and L2 of the control box.

I wrote that before looking at your PDF. Your PDF is not right.
Thanks for your response. I understand where the switch is supposed to sit and how it needs to be wired to the control box. The PDF is how my well is wired today (without pressure switch and tank) and it’s operating just fine for it’s current use. I’m trying to understand (1) why it’s currently wired this way, and (2) what do I need to do to in order to wire it in the pressure switch. Seemed odd to me that it’s wired the way it is and was hoping for some insight and a path forward to add the switch and tank.
 

Reach4

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Thanks for your response. I understand where the switch is supposed to sit and how it needs to be wired to the control box. The PDF is how my well is wired today (without pressure switch and tank) and it’s operating just fine for it’s current use. I’m trying to understand (1) why it’s currently wired this way, and (2) what do I need to do to in order to wire it in the pressure switch. Seemed odd to me that it’s wired the way it is and was hoping for some insight and a path forward to add the switch and tank.
I made the drawing, so I might as well publish it...

On your PDF, I don't understand. You seem to have some wires going down the well from the top, and some into the side of the casing. Could some of the wires maybe be going into splices and not going down the well?

Note there is no established color code for the 4 wires that connect to the pressure switch, other than not bare and not green, and not yellow with a green stripe. And avoid white, but that can be OK too if it is in the cable from the breaker box. They could all be black.

If you can put the pressure switch in series with the two hots from the breaker, that would be good.

It looks to me as if there may be two splices in what you show into the top of the casing: maybe Yellow to Red and Black to Green??? You should not use green wire for a hot.

I am also confused by "3-wire pigtail". What does that mean? Wires not connected to anything, and just insulated on the ends?
 

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Llano Rancher

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I made the drawing, so I might as well publish it...

On your PDF, I don't understand. You seem to have some wires going down the well from the top, and some into the side of the casing. Could some of the wires maybe be going into splices and not going down the well?

Note there is no established color code for the 4 wires that connect to the pressure switch, other than not bare and not green, and not yellow with a green stripe. They could all be black.
Yeah. I don’t understand the current wire setup either which is why I came here. When I opened up the control box and saw all of that, I simply shook my head in confusion. I had expected to only see one wire harness coming out of the well wired into the control box (R-Y-B-G) and the power from the breaker going to the L1, L2 and ground. Instead I got the surprise you see in my PDF (see pic below for two sets of wire coming from well to control box) so now I’m trying to figure out next steps without pulling the pump and taking a look at what’s happening with all the wires in the well.
 

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Llano Rancher

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I made the drawing, so I might as well publish it...

On your PDF, I don't understand. You seem to have some wires going down the well from the top, and some into the side of the casing. Could some of the wires maybe be going into splices and not going down the well?

Note there is no established color code for the 4 wires that connect to the pressure switch, other than not bare and not green, and not yellow with a green stripe. And avoid white, but that can be OK too if it is in the cable from the breaker box. They could all be black.

If you can put the pressure switch in series with the two hots from the breaker, that would be good.

It looks to me as if there may be two splices in what you show into the top of the casing: maybe Yellow to Red and Black to Green??? You should not use green wire for a hot.

I am also confused by "3-wire pigtail". What does that mean? Wires not connected to anything, and just insulated on the ends?
Here are a few other pictures taken of the control box. Hard to see how it’s laid out but you can see all the extra wires and the ”pigtail” I referenced. I took notes of all connections and that all went into my diagram. Again, none of this makes sense to me which is why I’m looking for some help.
 

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Reach4

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How about a wider photo that shows the top of the well and the control box and that pull box.
 

Llano Rancher

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How about a wider photo that shows the top of the well and the control box and that pull box.
Sorry for the delayed response. Dealing with this crazy ice storm here at home. Here‘s a pic of the whole setup
 

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Reach4

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Interesting. So went back and tried to relate this all to you your original PDF.

Is that a pitless unit or is that a cap over a pitless unit? It must be. If you lift that cover, there will be wires. Was your original PDF based in part on what you saw under that cover (well cap)?

Would the new pressure tank and pressure switch be in the barn and protected against freezing? Would the pressure tank and pressure switch be underground near the well, to prevent freezing?
 

Valveman

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I don't know how or if it was working wired as in your PDF. Scrap all that and wire the pressure switch the way it shows on the Pumptrol pressure switch wiring diagram.

You are going from a manually on with a hose filling a trough to having a pressure switch in control. A float valve in the troughs will cause the pump to cycle on and off a lot. Even using the hose as before will cycle the pump on and off unless the hose is large enough to let out enough water to keep the pressure below the shut off point.

Filling troughs with a float valve or a hose is a good reason to add a Cycle Stop Valve to the pressure tank system. It will also allow the use of a much smaller pressure tank. But with modulating float valves in a trough I would use at least a 20 gallon tank with a CSV, and at least an 86 gallon tank without the CSV.

 
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