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Question about automating well pump

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting and Repair' started by paulcalif, May 10, 2010.

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  1. paulcalif


    May 10, 2010
    I recently closed escrow on an old house in the Calif. desert (vintage 1960). It has a water well. I have experience with plumbing (was a pipefitter), and electrical, with some electronics.

    Here is what I know about the well.

    It's probably around 300 feet deep.
    There are two old pumps laying outside of the pump shed so I assume we are now on at least the 3rd. pump.

    To start the pump, I flip a 50 amp, 240V single phase circuit breaker. Above the breaker is a motor control box. It has two lables on it. One says Franklin Bluffton Indiana, model 282 302 1 201
    HP - 3
    RPM 3450
    Amps 16.5
    Volts 230
    SF 1.15
    HZ 60 Code F
    Date ? hard to read but looks like 173 - guessing 1973.

    The lable is rivited onto the control box on one side and taped on the other. I'm thinking it may not be the original.

    There is another label above the franklin. This one says:
    Submersible Pump, Berkley Pump company.
    I can't make out the complete model number but it starts with 4BM2 and maybe an L
    3 HP
    The rest of the label info is blank.

    The pump seems to work great, and puts out a LOT of water.

    The well is located 150 feet from the storage tank. I know this because I just dug a trench and replaced the pipe from the well to the storage tank. I'm 55 years old and out of shape, that was a LOT of work. I employed a ditchwitch, but the soil is fine sand. The sand filled the trench almost as fast as I could dig it.

    There is NO automation on this system, and it doesn't look like there ever was. While running the new pipe, I put in a new 1" conduit so that I could run wire and automate the fill.

    That is why I am writing.
    My plan is to put a float in the tank, and using low voltage, control a relay with a time delay. I've already built the time delay circuit using a 12V power supply. I already have a new float that I picked up at Lowes on a close out for a dollar. Unfortunately, it only has one contact that is closed when the float is UP. I can just add another relay to my circuit and still use the float.

    My question is about a relay or contactor for the pump. My plan is to put a contactor with a low voltage coil between the existing circuit breaker and the motor control. Since both information lables rate the pump at 3HP, I feel pretty confident that we are at least close. My question is, if I were to use a 240V contactor with a 20 Amp rating that uses a 24V coil, would that be the right choice?

    I need to do this on a tight budget, so I am looking for a new "old stock" relay on Ebay and have found a few.

    Ideally, I would find a relay with a 12V coil and contacts rated for 20A at 240V, but I haven't seen one of those yet. Do you think that 12 to 15V would pull in a 24V coil?

    Any ideas or suggestions are welcome and will be greatly appreciated.

    Sorry for the LONG post, but I wanted to give you all the info.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009
    In my experience with relays, 12V isnt likely to pull in a 24V coiled relay and it if did I would venture to say it would be very unreliable.
    I have this problem when I want to use 24-28V SMA connector relays, they are plentiful on eBay and often less than 1/2 the price of the rarer 12V versions. But they just wont pull in till the drive gets to ~ 16V or so
    I have a way around that that suits my purpose but prob not really reliable for what you want to do.
    so I suggest this solution.....
    instead of using a coil contactor and worrying about the voltage difference
    use a solid state contactor(relay) like the SY4084, load ratings 40A, 240V
    can be driven by any voltage between 4 and 32VDC
    dunno what country you are in. here in Australia the device is $48 :)
    Ideal item for what you want to do

    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  3. paulcalif


    May 10, 2010
    Thanks for that Dave! I am in California. I will look at those. I would rather go with a solid state device, in fact I have one somewhere, but I don't know the rating. I'll have to go dig it up. I could always find a 24V power supply to power the relay. I will be using a couple of low voltage relays anyway. I'm glad I found this forum. Thanks again!!
  4. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009
    cool remember when/if you find your one GOOGLE IS your friend type in the device part number and you will probably get a datasheet for it :)
    there's various electronics parts stores in the USA mouser, digikey etc if you dont have
    a SS relay I am sure one of those or other places will have something.

    off topic....
    been 4 yrs since my last trip to the USA for some stormchasing ... was very tempted to
    moving to the US at one time but always happy to visit now :)

  5. paulcalif


    May 10, 2010
    I bought 2 SSRs, 40amp just in case, with heat sinks. $34 dollars including shipping. Each line needs to be switched since it's 220~240V. I am planning on using a single relay as the control voltage.

    Storm chasing - are you nuts? LOL - sounds like a dangerous way to have a lot of fun!

    Thanks again....
  6. paulcalif


    May 10, 2010
    Oops - Wish I had done more homework! I didn't know that there are SSRs with AC or DC output and ac or dc control!! I bought DC/DC and of course they don't work. So, I found some 50A AC output x DC control SSRs on eBay for $25 each with free shipping. I already have heat sinks, so these should do the trick. Thanks again, I'll let you know if they work. Getting HOT here...
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