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Thread: Issue with AC and DC Pumps off Solar Electrical system

  1. #1
    rowellc Guest

    Default Issue with AC and DC Pumps off Solar Electrical system

    Hi:

    I have had issues with my water system ever since I installed solar. Electricity is fine and all radios, tv's, lights all are working.

    I had a shurflo DC pump which I bought from New England Solar in Mass. My plumber installed it but it kept coming on every other minute or so every time
    we turned on the water. I have two 900 gallon water wells on a hill which flow
    down hill to the place I have. I have a basement and had gravity feed so I thought
    no issue, just install the Shurflo DC pump. with my Rinnai Gas water heater and should have no issues. The pump kept coming on every other minute, so my plumber suggested I get a new Jet pump instead. I called New England Solar and
    they said no problem your Inverter should be able to handle it without any issues.
    Sure enough the AC jet pump comes on every other minute just like the DC pump.
    It loses its prime and my plumber is perplexed. So now I have a jet pump which loses it prime.

    Here is what my plumber is saying (the loser!!!!!!)
    The symptom that the pump is showing is similar to a tank with more pressure than the switch calls for. I checked the tank pressure yesterday because it should be 2 pounds lower than the cut-in pressure of the pump. The pressure is 18 pounds so that is not the problem Ė you might want to tell the next plumber that. When I turned on the power the pump was primed. You get water and pressure in the house but the pump continually turns on and off. I was going to bring in another plumber today but then saw your email last night. Itís understandable that you want the problem solved quickly and you are right to get another plumber. Iím sure heíll be able to work it out for you. Please send me your mailing address so I can bill you for the last few hours.

    Any of you SOLAR GURU'S have an idea what may be going on?
    I have an Inverter and it appears to work correctly. 6 Trojan 105 batteries.
    It sounds like the Plumber just does not know what he is doing. I just can not
    tell what the issue is? ANY IDEAS or any SOLUTIONS WOULD BE GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED.

    Charles Rowell

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Willits, CA
    Posts
    5,692

    Default Re: Issue with AC and DC Pumps off Solar Electrical system

    Maybe try setting the water pressure switch to a wider setting,
    On at 18 psi, Off at 50 psi.

    Also check for a waterlogged pressure tank, and an oversized pump. 18 psi seem a bit low. Oversize pump fills the tank too fast. waterlogged tank has very little airspace to store pressure.
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-BigLug
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-NiFe

    Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph # 214505 ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV
    Powerfab poletop PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe battery | 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV | Midnight ePanel || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    pittsburgh, pa
    Posts
    10,278

    Default Re: Issue with AC and DC Pumps off Solar Electrical system

    now i can't say i may know the answer to your problem, but i'm having difficulty knowing if the pump is feeding these tanks or is it to pressurize your home lines. if it is feeding the tanks to pressurize your home lines then that isn't good in my opinion. clarify it for these guys that have more knowledge and experience with pumps than i do.
    NIEL

  4. #4
    rowellc Guest

    Cool Re: Issue with AC and DC Pumps off Solar Electrical system

    Quote Originally Posted by niel View Post
    now i can't say i may know the answer to your problem, but i'm having difficulty knowing if the pump is feeding these tanks or is it to pressurize your home lines. if it is feeding the tanks to pressurize your home lines then that isn't good in my opinion. clarify it for these guys that have more knowledge and experience with pumps than i do.
    I have a TRACE DR2412 2400 WATTS 12 Volt system.
    These TRACE INVERTERS are fully capable of powering an alterative energy household. THE DR2412 can be used for a deep well pump. It will run a correctly
    chosen submersible pump or jetpump or DC pump. I have 6 TROJAN 105 batteries
    about two years old. Everything is charging correctly. Output voltage 12O VAC
    280 Amps Input. Waveform Modified Sine Wave. So I had a DC pump coming on
    every other minute and now a AC jetpump coming on every other minute. I think
    the Plumber is the issue. Could this be a Solar Power electrical system issue?

    What I have are two wells each store 900 gallons of water. They are built up on a Spring on a hill that is about 8 feet above where my basement is. I have attached a water line to both of these two wells and the water flows down to the
    house about 800 feet or so at which point it enters to basement where a jetpump
    and tank reside. I have gravity feed from both of these wells but not enough water pressure to run up to the first floor of the house, which is why I need a shurflo pump or jetpump to pump the water up 10 feet to the first floor.

    I am trying to get the jetpump to fill up the water tank which is about 8 to 10 gallons without coming on all the time which it does every time I turn the water on. The pump and tank are brand new so I doubt the new tank is water logged.

    I just can not tell if it is the solar power system causing this issue or is it the pressure in the water tank or lack thereof... As both the DC pump (Shurflo) and the new AC Jetpump are having the same issues, it is either the Solar Power, or the other common denomimator is the Plumber. I have gotten rid of the Plumber
    and am getting another Plumber but what about the Solar. Both runs are coming
    on ok.

    I kind of think it may be because my plumber does not know how to configure a jetpump or a DC pump for that matter, but I was just wondering if anyone has had a similar issue with their solar power system as well. I have 6 trojan batteries
    and an Inverter. New England Solar felt it could easily run either pump. So I am at a loss to explain what is going on.

    Charles Rowell
    Last edited by rowellc; June 19th, 2010 at 16:31 PDT.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Willits, CA
    Posts
    5,692

    Default Re: Issue with AC and DC Pumps off Solar Electrical system

    A 10 gallon pressure tank is WAY TOO SMALL. Those small tanks need a special pump to run them. Standard size tank is about 30 gallon, and up. I think your pump is way too big, and fills the tank too quickly. And small tank empties too fast, and pump comes back on.
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-BigLug
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-NiFe

    Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph # 214505 ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV
    Powerfab poletop PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe battery | 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV | Midnight ePanel || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT

  6. #6

    Default Re: Issue with AC and DC Pumps off Solar Electrical system

    Get yourself a new plumber. Or better yet, become your own plumber.

    Pumps turn on because the pressure switch turns them on. They don't care what the source of power is. The power source might cause them to turn off due to insufficient power, however. So if the pump comes on, the power drops to inadequate, the pump shuts down, the power level comes back up, the cycle repeats.

    I don't think this is your problem, as one way or another the pump will eventually fill the pressure tank and then that must be drawn down below the 'on' pressure before the pump activates again, regardless of power.

    So what does the pressure gauge read? Tell me there's a pressure gauge! You should be able to get distinct results by watching the gauge and opening a tap: pressure drops below 20 psi, pump comes on. Close tap: pressure builds to 50 psi, pump turns off. If it behaves other than this (pressure settings might be different but 20 to 50 is pretty much a normal operating range) please report the results back.

    One other thing: put a tire gauge on the bladder of your pressure tank. It should be set 2 psi below the pump's 'on' pressure.
    1220 Watts of PV, OB MX60, 232 Amp hrs, OB 3524, Honda eu2000.

    Ohm's Law: Amps = Volts / Ohms
    Power Formula: Watts = Volts * Amps

  7. #7

    Default Re: Issue with AC and DC Pumps off Solar Electrical system

    Quote Originally Posted by mike90045 View Post
    A 10 gallon pressure tank is WAY TOO SMALL. Those small tanks need a special pump to run them. Standard size tank is about 30 gallon, and up. I think your pump is way too big, and fills the tank too quickly. And small tank empties too fast, and pump comes back on.
    I missed that tank size info. Mike is 100% correct about this. At least 20 gallon! Bigger is better for pressure tanks; reduces pump cycling.
    1220 Watts of PV, OB MX60, 232 Amp hrs, OB 3524, Honda eu2000.

    Ohm's Law: Amps = Volts / Ohms
    Power Formula: Watts = Volts * Amps

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Quetico, Ontario
    Posts
    5,025

    Default Re: Issue with AC and DC Pumps off Solar Electrical system

    Your problem is most certainly in the plumbing, not the power system. As has been suggested, be your own plumber or find one who knows something other than conventional well pump systems.

    If you have gravity feed into the house, you should only need a tiny little pump to pressurize your P-tank system. I second (or treble) the note about not enough tank. Tiny tanks lead to rapid cycling. Also, pumps generally like to "push" water better than "pull" water.

    If I understand you basic system correctly (which I may not) you have gavity to the house. I would plumb the intake to the pump (making sure that line from the gravity tanks is big enough, given the distance, at least 3/4" and ideally 1 or 1 1/2 if it is a long run with lots of elbow or other restrictions). I would then run it into at least a 50 gal P-tank. (A 50 gal tank will deliver ~30 gallons of water) I would set the tank 20-40 or perhaps 30-50 psi. The extra pressure won't make any difference in the "feel" or volume of water, nor will it deliver much more water without the pump cycling, and it takes significantly more power to pump that last 10 psi.

    Tony

    PS I personally would only install a bladder tank. They never get water logged, you never introduce air to the water system. To use any other type of tank is like trying to drive the Indy in a Model A.

    PPS Your demand water heater will perform much better once you get the water pressure stabilized.

    PPPS If you have gravity feed, I think the ac jet pump is way more pump than you need, and it therefore may not be a very efficient installation. I have run single cabin systems on tiny little shurflo pressure pumps, that draw as little as ~5 amps, drawing water out of the lake, lifting it ~15' and pumping it into 20-30 psi.

    I'll stop now.
    t
    Please note, being a moderator does not add any weight to my opinions 300 watts Siemens/BP panels,plus a Sun 90,, making ~400. ~30 amps into Rogue MPT-3024, 450 ah of Trojan T-105, Morningstar ts300 inverter, a Tri-Metric meter.a collection of antique generators, plus 2 Honda eu-1000i's (also a BS2512 IX controller) and assorted other stuff!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Issue with AC and DC Pumps off Solar Electrical system

    A big pressure storage tank is better all round for pump , Batts & inverter (1 long pump run as opposed to lots of little ones) But from your description I would have a look at your plumbers use and placement of non return valves (and are they the correct way round)

    Tim

  10. #10
    rowellc Guest

    Thumbs up Re: Issue with AC and DC Pumps off Solar Electrical system

    Quote Originally Posted by blackswan555 View Post
    A big pressure storage tank is better all round for pump , Batts & inverter (1 long pump run as opposed to lots of little ones) But from your description I would have a look at your plumbers use and placement of non return valves (and are they the correct way round)

    Tim
    Appreciate the info. I am not a Plumber but what is a non return valve?

    Charles

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