Diagnosing the issue. Control box, breaker, or pump?

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Zebra

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I'm fairly new to being responsible for our well on our property, and like to know what the problem is before paying an expert. I also DIY most home and vehicle repairs, so I like to know if I can fix it before calling a company I don't know out.

I do not know any specs for the pump, I just know it's submersible, and I believe 15' down.
It's definitely not the pressure switch, there's a brand new one on and we have to change it once a year typically.

The well is about 1/4 mile from our home, no agriculture use

I suspect the pump control box, but am not sure how often they need to be replaced. It's been almost 3 years since we got a new one installed.

The exact box runs around $260. My question is regarding the SFA. The current one is 11.6 SFA. I found one that is 10 SFA and all the other specs are the same. That one cost $60.

How can I pinpoint the issue with my ohmmeter so I'm not wasting money I can't afford at the moment?

Current submersible pump control box label:

1.5HP. 230VAC. 11.6SFA. 1 phase. 60HZ
 

Valveman

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10 amp box won't work with 11.6 amp 1.5hp. What is the problem? Pump not running at all? Clicking and buzzing? I can tell your pump is cycling on and off too much cause that is what causes starter box problems.
 

Reach4

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( WOW ... the well 1/4 mile away )
She did not say the water was supplying that house.

To supply a house from a 50 ft-down well, a 1.5 HP pump would usually be overkill. A 1/2 HP 10 gpm pump would be normal.

Now if the pump was supplying water to the house 1/4 mile away, and the elevation to the house vs the well is significant, then a 1.5 HP pump may be appropriate.

Zebra, I figured out that SFA was your TLA for safety factor amps.
 

Fitter30

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Since you don't know what pump you have where are you coming up with service factor amps. SF varies FLA amps varies. Instead of replacing the pressure switch once a year, wire in a 40 amp contactor 2 pole 240vac cost would be under $20. What size wire running from breaker , from switch to starter and starter to pump?
Pump service company could pull the pump get all the numbers and put it back probably 2 hours or less. You need a clamp on amp meter can be purchased for $25 or less from Harbor Freight. Would also measure the voltage at the well.
 
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Reach4

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A "deluxe" control box generally has that contactor built in.
 

Clyde Logan

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If you have a good multimeter that measures capacitance , open up the box and test the capacitors and also the relay. If it is a 3 wire well pump, there will be two capacitors, one start and one run. I recently had a problem, found both capacitors were way out of spec, and replaced both of them for around $20. They were not available locally, but Amazon got them to me in one day. A new control box would have been $250. An electrician quoted over $500 to replace the box, which was basically unhooking 5 wires from the old box, and plugging them into a replacement box. Have you opened up your controller box and looked inside? If not, you may be pleasantly surprised at how easy unplugging the old capacitors and plugging in new ones will be.

My well service person, who I trust, said that the controller boxes they use (Grundfos) typically last around 10 years before needing a new capacitor, switch, or relay.
 

Valveman

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Start capacitors and relays are only in the circuit for a split second on each pump start. They will last much longer than 1o years if the pump is controlled with a Cycle Stop Valve. Pumps are made to run 24/7. It is the cycling on and off that greatly shortens the life of pumps and controls. Using a CSV to reduce the cycles by 75% can make the pump and controls last 30-40 years instead.
 

Clyde Logan

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Thank you for the information about cycle stop valves. In my situation, I have one installed. The company I referred to as "my well guy" routinely installs cycle stop valves on their residential wells. So do you think that the 10 years figure for capacitor life must be a figure someone pulled out of his a$$, or giving them the benefit of the doubt they do regularly use Grundfos control boxes and perhaps these aren't the highest quality units? I do know that my start capacitor failed at 9 years plus change, and the run capacitor was slightly out of the specified range. My background is not in plumbing, so I believed the well company. Sorry to have posted misleading information.
 

Valveman

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Thank you for the information about cycle stop valves. In my situation, I have one installed. The company I referred to as "my well guy" routinely installs cycle stop valves on their residential wells. So do you think that the 10 years figure for capacitor life must be a figure someone pulled out of his a$$, or giving them the benefit of the doubt they do regularly use Grundfos control boxes and perhaps these aren't the highest quality units? I do know that my start capacitor failed at 9 years plus change, and the run capacitor was slightly out of the specified range. My background is not in plumbing, so I believed the well company. Sorry to have posted misleading information.
Sorry for your problem. If you had a Cycle Stop Valve installed for the full 10 years since the pump was new, it would be unusual for a start cap to go bad. If the pressure switch contacts burned first, cycling on and off is why the start cap went bad. It would take a lot of cycling when using a Cycle Stop Valve to burn a pressure switch, and something must not be correct. But if the pressure switch points did not burn, the start cap could have just been bad to start with or had an electrical surge of some kind.

Don't think you were misleading anyone as sometimes things just happen. But I have a Grundfos control box and pump that I installed in 1982 and I am getting a glass of water from it as we speak.
 
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