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Well pump wiring help
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Well pump wiring help
Residential Wiring - The Right Way!

Wiring Information for the Do It Yourself Homeowner

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Thread: Well pump wiring help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    2

    Default Well pump wiring help

    All, I am installing a submersible well pump in my field well and I need some design ideas.

    I am running power from my garage about 175' to well. From well, running water to a 525 gallon water tank approx 200' away. The pump should operate on its own (I cannot be there to turn it on and off). When tank is 3/4 empty I want pump to turn on, when tank is 90% full pump should turn off. Thus reducing the pump from cycling too much.

    I am thinking about using a float switch (type and model suggestions please) to accomplish this. I need help in wire size (I am thinking 10/3 underground) because of the distance and the pump load is max at 8 amps. But that is a guess (wire size)!

    I am a little lost what to do at the tank. Some have suggested a relay and transformer and then the float switch (seems like a lot to me), others have suggested a/c to the float switch (seems more dangerous to me). I do know that I do not want batteries of any kind, no radio stuff either, just simple switch, on/off.

    As a bonus I need a fail safe (timer maybe) that would ensure if the switch died, the pump would not continue to pump forever. Remember no on will be able to monitor pump most of the time. Also the pump will not operate during winter, I will turn it off and winterize the system.

    Any help would be great
    JIM

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Welland, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    48

    Default

    Hi Jim

    I think as far as a design perspective you need to consider a few things...

    Do you want "passive" or "positive" control on the storage tank? In this instance when I refer to passive, this would be a sensor / switch arrangement that never actually makes contact with the water. Can be a level transducer, and air / pressure switch or any number of IR type transceivers. If you want "positive" control then you are looking at some thing that is in contact with the water such as a float switch, level probe, or some sort of mechanical float / lever.

    What is the material of the storage tank? Depending on the material some types of control will not work or are too difficult to install.

    Regardless of the voltage and amperage of the pump motor, you want separation of the control device and the pump; in other words you do not want the "switch" directly turning on and off the pump. You will want a relay / contactor of some sort. Suffice to say, this will prevent many potential problems down the road and can give you options for controlling the pump any number of ways without a scrapping the entire thing if you are not getting the results you want.

    As far as fail safe, one of the most common types I have seen is a flow switch in the "overflow" pipe. Usually this is connected to some sort of indicating device and the pump needs to be manually reset to ensure it simply does not cycle on and off with the flow switch. In addition there is usually and "extra low" level indicator on the tank as well for the same type of reason.

    Hopefully that will get you started.

    Cheers

    John
    John Kuehnl-Cadwell
    Master Electrician
    Datawise Solutions Inc
    www.datawisesolutions.ca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thanks John,
    I want a positive control with a float switch (or can I use two float switches for redundancy, I am trying to make sure the pump will not run for ever if a switch fails). I do not have an overflow pipe, if the tank fills too much it will just spill out the removable top. Do float switches fail open?

    Material of tank is Polyethylene and has flat removable top for access. Can you guide me with the parts and pieces I would need? My friend says to use a 12v float switch that goes through a transformer from the relay switch to the pump. Sounds complicated. Can you steer me in the right direction on the model types that you would use.

    Thanks
    Last edited by JIM4; 04-16-2015 at 10:52 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Welland Ontario
    Posts
    400

    Default

    There is all kinds of stuff out there to do what you need. Some it is is actual switches. Some of it is ultrasonic.

    https://www.google.ca/search?q=tank+...MoqHyASc04GIAw
    Operation Overlord.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Welland, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    48

    Default

    It sounds like a simple float switch will meet your needs. I would use a simple 120 / 220 volt float switch that will run a contactor and start the pump when needed.

    The other issue will be if the float calls for water but the well is dry... how do you deal with that?

    Cheers

    John
    John Kuehnl-Cadwell
    Master Electrician
    Datawise Solutions Inc
    www.datawisesolutions.ca

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