115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

MaineCabinMaineCabin Solar Expert Posts: 29
Hi,
I recently bought a remote cabin. The previous owner used a generator to power everything including a deepwell 220v 1/2hp water pump. I would like to convert the cabin over to a smallish PV system w/batteries and a 115v inverter. The biggest load is the waterpump.

Should I purchace and install a 115v water pump or use the existing pump with a step-up transformer???

The well is a 120' deep - 6" drlled well with a standard 1/2hp pump set at 100' down. Total lift is about 110 feet.

What 115v pump would you recommend if I go that route? Recommendations on a transformer? Cost is an issue

Thanks for your help,
Rich
«1

Comments

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    If you do not have the make and model, pull the pump and find out what brand it is. Most 'good' well pumps (eg Goulds) have both 220 and 110 v motors and they can be interchanged, also it probably uses 2 @ 110 lines not 1 @ 220v

    cheers
    Eric

    ps what is the 'static' level of the water, the depth to the top of the water.
     
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  • MaineCabinMaineCabin Solar Expert Posts: 29
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?
    westbranch wrote: »
    If you do not have the make and model, pull the pump and find out what brand it is. Most 'good' well pumps (eg Goulds) have both 220 and 110 v motors and they can be interchanged, also it probably uses 2 @ 110 lines not 1 @ 220v

    cheers
    Eric

    ps what is the 'static' level of the water, the depth to the top of the water.

    The existing pump is a Goulds brand pump with a 1/2hp, 220v Frankin motor. Static level is +/-12 feet.

    I'm debating if I should install a new soft-start 115v water pump (or modify the existing pump to 115v) or install a 240 volt transformer and not touch the existing pump. What would make more sense? Recommendations on the inverter size?

    Thanks
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    If there is only 3 wire going to the pump. Then it is a 220V only pump. If there is 4 wires from a control box the in maybe able to convert to 115V, but doubt it.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    Franklin supplies the motors used on almost all deep well pumps, regardless of make. There are two general designs of motors, neither are voltage convertible without a transformer. Either design can be for either 115 volts, or 230 volts, depending on what voltage the motor was wound for. One design, the older one, uses 3 wires + ground = 4 wires, and does require a control/starter box. The second newer design uses only 2 wires + ground = 3 wires, and NO control box. Many years ago (some are still in use today) the control box type used no ground wire, so they only had 3 wires total. The ground wire is not to protect anyone who may be swimming at the 100 foot level in your well, rather it's for lightening protection. At least it helps. With the old design, if lightening wanted to get to the well water, it traveled down the power wires, blasted out through the windings and into the water, and that was the end of the motor. In the newer ones with ground wire, the easiest path is down the ground wire and onto the outer case of the motor, which is in direct contact with the water, sparing (hopefully) the motor windings. Re starting, generally the type with starter box (all of which have a starting capacitor) is easier to start on a limited power supply, then the 2 wire motors, although they may be getting hard to find now, as most installations don't care about starting load and the 2 wire motors are easier and simpler to wire in, so they have pretty much taken the market, at least here in Canada. As to "soft start" units, I would love to learn about them - - haven't seen one yet.
    By the way, if the water level in the well hangs around the 12 foot level, the pump, regardless of how far down it is, only has to work at lifting the water that last 12 feet (and overcome pipe friction), as gravity already has it to the static level of the well.
    Cheers
    Wayne
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    Forgot to mention, in cases where the water level was fairly close to the surface like your's is (if it tends to hang around there and not drop 40 feet or more) I have removed one or two if the several stacked impellers in the pump end of the assembly. This lowered the load on the motor without affecting volume of flow and I still had more than enough pressure. However, if the water drops badly at times, don't do this, as the pump likely won't produce enough pressure to push the water all the way to the surface (1 PSI for every 2 feet) and have enough left over to operate properly. Your pump probably produced about 105 PSI at the pump when it was new, although it could be higher. Some had more but thinner impellers to provide less flow, but higher pressure, others had fewer, but thicker impellers for higher flow rates in wells that weren't so deep, all with 1/2 HP motors.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,459 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?
    By the way, if the water level in the well hangs around the 12 foot level, the pump, regardless of how far down it is, only has to work at lifting the water that last 12 feet (and overcome pipe friction), as gravity already has it to the static level of the well.
    Cheers Wayne

    BUT, the pump still has a 100' long, slug of non-compressible water to start moving from a dead stop. That's a fair amount of mass, and may require a large inverter to get it moving.

    Anyway that you can borrow a 5-10KW generator, and a kill-a-watt meter to see what the start draw is ?
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  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    But keep in mind that these pumps are not positive displacement pumps. They are centrifugal types, which means that a greater resistance to flow, results in a lighter load on the motor. Same as with the average vacuum cleaner in our homes, block off either the inlet, or the outlet, to stop the air flow and the motor speeds up, because of the lighter load.
    Same as with portable Wajax gas engine pumps used in fighting wild fires etc- - shut off the water flow at the nozzle, or outlet of the pump and unless there is someone right there to throttle back the engine, it will over-speed because of the reduction in load. Those pumps actually have a special automatic switch to kill the engine before it self destructs in such circumstances.
    A positive displacement pump however, will have a totally huge job getting such a slug of water moving. That would be a real serious problem. Block the outlet of a positive displacement pump and it will stall, just the opposite of the centrifugal types.
    Peace
    Wayne
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,459 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?
    But keep in mind that these pumps are not positive displacement pumps. They are centrifugal types

    I stand corrected.

    Sorry about that. I've always heard pumps are an incredibly large load, and many inverters choke on them.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
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  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    Just mulling over the use-factor of the cabin.. I would suggest that if you truly are using the cabin randomly and for short periods the likelihood of the static level dropping is small to nil...
    We live in a water starved area and it has taken 15 years to lower the static level by 80 feet, with full time living , u-ground sprinklers, garden, etc...

    Assuming you got the genset with the place the KISS solution is to use the gen to power the existing pump, pumping the water into a holding tank on a high spot or a tower or in the attic, and then use a small 12/24 v Shurflo or similar pump to pressurize the system like used in a camper. Gravity is cheap and effective.;)

    HTH
    Eric
     
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  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 957 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    Gravity is cheap and effective.;)

    HTH
    Eric[/QUOTE]

    Gravity is also reliable (unlike cloudy, still days and night-time).
    Ralph
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    eric,
    this is a side question. do you have a storage tank for your water? if not then maybe you or others can answer a simple question that comes to my mind. now the volume of the tank will likely keep it from freezing, but the small lines going to and from the tank with small and infrequent uses can freeze easily. how do you prevent that?
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?
    mike90045 wrote: »
    I've always heard pumps are an incredibly large load, and many inverters choke on them.
    =========================================
    Well, 1/2 HP pumps, like anything with a 1/2 HP induction motor are a huge load for most home solar systems, no doubt about it. I'd LOVE to see a 1/4 HP submersible pump. So what if the flow was only half that of the 1/2 HP units, have a little larger pressure tank and let the pump run a little longer. It would be WAY easier on inverters, batteries etc.
    Cheers
    Wayne
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    So is anyone running a 1/2 hp pump off of a 120vac inverter and step up transformer? A good friend of mine has my old Trace DR2412 and wants to run his 240vac well pump during an outage. He could shut off all the other loads while he pumped up his pressure tank.

    I also like the idea of a 1/4 hp motor, that should easily keep up with a shower head and with a pressure tank should be fine, unless of course it's a deep well.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • blwncrewchiefblwncrewchief Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    I'd take a guess that an inverter of 2k+ watts would start and run a 1/2 hp pump if not loaded with much else. Best numbers I can find are around 6amps 240v / 12 amps 120v. So around 1200-1600 watts running. Probably 3-4k watts surge on start up. As long as the inverter will handle it using a transformer such as a T240 should not be a problem. Using a 12v inverter you better have some nice, big, short cables and a decent size and well charged set of batteries.:roll: Somebody correct me if I'm wrong?

    P.S. I would only recommend running a standard pump off an inverter as back up or ocassional use. Normally something like the Grundfoss SQFlex pumps would be the way to go but are not cheap.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    Almost two years ago at the camp, I was running a 1/2 HP 115 volt submersible on a 1500 watt MSW It was the 3 wire + Gnd = 4 wire pump with control box. The inverter was dedicated to the pump and wired so the pressure switch controlled the inverter. There was also a 3 second delay relay to switch power to the pump only after the inverter had started up and stabilized it's operation. I found it very reliable and since the controls etc were all in an outbuilding, I installed a wee buzzer in the camp so I could hear when the pump was running and for how long. Also installed a small switch in the camp so I could prevent the inverter coming on when I wasn't "home". With a load that big, a broken pipe wouldn't take long to drain the battery pack. Oh yeah, just remembered, it used to kick out the inverter quite a lot, until I realized what was going on. The start capacitor would often hold a charge and when the relay clicked in, there was a chance the polarity of charge in the capacitor at that instant, would cause a spike in current, kicking out the inverter. Cured that with a 1 K resistor across the cap, to discharge it between starts.
    Tried a 2 wire unit (+ ground) with a transformer (on this same 1500 watt inverter), but it always killed the inverter before it came up to speed. The advantage of the 3 wire motors in this case is the starting capacitor in the control box. The 2 wire motors don't have that, unless they somehow crammed it inside the motor, but regardless, the 2 wire units are harder to start. A friend of mine has a 2 wire model and has had a lot of problems getting reliable starts too, and he had a 2500 watt inverter.
  • mikeomikeo Solar Expert Posts: 386 ✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    I run my 1/2 HP 220 volt well pump from my SW4024 inverter along with the rest of my house by stepping the voltage up through a 120 to 240 volt 5kw transformer that I bought on EBAY for $35 plus $60 dollars shipping. This transformer has two 120 volt windings on both primary and secondary side. I paralleled the primary and seriesed the secondary and took the center tap to neutral of my distribution panel. I only use this mode when the grid is down to power my Fridge, Freezer, well pump and lights. I shut off heavy loads like hot water and furnace. The lights dim a bit when the pump first kicks on but usually the pump only runs for a minute or so. The old GE transformer get quite warm after a few days, I figure it looses around 90 watts so I have switches on both primary and secondary sides to take it off the grid and inverter sides when not needed. If it were a full time powering of the pump, I would use one of the autotransformers designed for this application as they are more efficient. I hope this helps.
    Mike

    15 assorted solar panels 115-125 watts
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  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?
    niel wrote: »
    eric,
    this is a side question. do you have a storage tank for your water? if not then maybe you or others can answer a simple question that comes to my mind. now the volume of the tank will likely keep it from freezing, but the small lines going to and from the tank with small and infrequent uses can freeze easily. how do you prevent that?

    Niel,

    I'll take a stab at your question... If you follow this thread you will see what I have done. Much of this is duplicated in a thread about water line freeze protection as well,

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=1831

    Tony.

    PS Had the first shower with this system last night. -26c howling wind and snow, hot shower whoo-hoo!. Beats carrying buckets to the stove!
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    thanks tony as i had forgotten about that thread. anybody else do anything differently?
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    Niel, sorry about the delay, didn't tag this string to let me know about updates...

    The simplest system, unless you go to the lengths that Tony did (which I really like,self draining) is to have drain valves that you open when vacating the cabin so the tank and lines drain, being careful to not have any dips in the lines when installing... Copper is best here (straight) though the newer plastics may be tougher and more forgiving to small spots that freeze solid. As long as there is mostly air (space) in the line you usually don't get a break... It can take a bit of thinking to ensure it will all work.


    In reviewing the OP I am betting that the previous owner had some way of draining the system if it was already infrequently used. Probably a pit-less adapter on the drilled well casing, with underground plastic pipe. should be 8 feet or so down so it is below the frost line.

    the hardest part to drain is the pressure tank as it is usually at the lowest point of your system, it fills with water first, before the lines in the house...

    Cheers
    Eric
     
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  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    Never underestimate the value of simple manual boiler valves (taps) at every low point. The trick is remembering where they are and to open them when you expect a freeze.

    I recommend Pex tubing for most applications. It can take a freeze (repeated freezes) without damage as long as you are more than 6" from a fitting. What it can't take is exposure to UV or it breaks down quickly.

    On our other summer only bush cabin(s) we have gravity feed water pumped to a tank from the lake. Low point drains and it works great. The one place people often forget to drain is the valve bodies of sink and shower valves, as well as toilet valves.

    I just built the 12vdc system so that I could keep water running after Sept 15th and before June 1st. My only complaint with the system is the the pump is very slow. I have enough volume in the tank for 2 good showers, but it takes 45 minutes to refill. I don't really care, but I might put a voltage doubler on the pump.

    Icarus
  • MaineCabinMaineCabin Solar Expert Posts: 29
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    Thanks for everyones advice and comments.....I've decided to install a Grundfos 5SQ05-180 115volt pump and get rid of my 220v pump. I just think it will be better in the long-run not dealing with an inverter. I'm hoping to run this new pump on a Xantrex DR1512 inverter? Think this will be big enough?

    ps. the previous owner did install boiler drains throughout the camp so it can be properly drained down during the winter.

    Thanks,
    Rich
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,459 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?
    MaineCabin wrote: »
    I just think it will be better in the long-run

    not dealing with an **inverter**.

    I'm hoping to run this new pump on a Xantrex DR1512 inverter?


    Huh ? You mean a 120 - 240 step-up transformer ? Unless the new pump you are looking at is less than half the power of the existing pump, you are gaining nothing. it's much easier to pass 240V around than 120V.
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  • mikeomikeo Solar Expert Posts: 386 ✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    How deep is the well that you are pumping from? This could determine weather you need a 120 or 240 volt well pump. The Grundfos you mentioned is a 1/2 hp 120 volt pump, thus twice the current over the feed wire as the 240 volt 1/2 hp pump currently in place. Try this link for sizing an inverter http://www.affordable-solar.com/inverter.sizing.pumps.htm
  • MaineCabinMaineCabin Solar Expert Posts: 29
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?
    mike90045 wrote: »
    Huh ? You mean a 120 - 240 step-up transformer ? Unless the new pump you are looking at is less than half the power of the existing pump, you are gaining nothing. it's much easier to pass 240V around than 120V.

    This is what I thought I'd be gaining with a 115v pump:

    1. I could install a smaller inverter due to the soft-start funtion of the pump...my current pump bogs down my 3500 Honda generator and dims the lights when it starts up.

    2. One less piece of equipment (a transformer) to potentially fail of malfuntion in some way.

    Am I wrong?
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,459 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    You need to explore the "Soft-Start" function of the pump.
    The lower the voltage, the higher the amperage, for the same amount of work. The lower voltage has added losses from wire resistance. 100' of wire down a well is nothing to sneeze at.

    A Transformer is a pretty reliable piece of gear, if it's sized properly. It should have at LEAST a 50 year lifetime. There is little to go wrong, no moving parts, nothing wears. It's just layers of enamel wire on a Iron Core. Transformers are fairly efficient - >90%. If overloaded, they cook themselves to death.

    To power a well pump, I would switch the feed to the transformer (the sinewave inverter) so the transformer is not ON all the time. I don't know if others agree with my view.
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    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
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  • blwncrewchiefblwncrewchief Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    From what I can find it sounds like you are on the right track. Info on Grundfos SQ pumps:

    "The SQ series pump features a permanent magnet motor controlled by an electronic frequency converter developed by Grundfos. It starts slowly, without surge, so it can be run on a much smaller inverter or generator than any conventional AC submersible pump. It is a high efficiency pump and motor with built-in dry-run protection.

    This is the ideal pump to use if you are pumping from a well and into a pressure tank, especially for solar-powered homes. They work on modified sine wave or sinewave inverters."
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,459 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?
    "The SQ series pump features a permanent magnet motor controlled by an electronic frequency converter developed by Grundfos. It starts slowly, without surge, so it can be run on a much smaller inverter or generator than any conventional AC submersible pump. It is a high efficiency pump and motor with built-in dry-run protection.

    This is the ideal pump to use if you are pumping from a well and into a pressure tank, especially for solar-powered homes. They work on modified sine wave or sinewave inverters."


    I stand (sit) corrected.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?
    "The SQ series pump features a permanent magnet motor controlled by an electronic frequency converter developed by Grundfos. It starts slowly, without surge, so it can be run on a much smaller inverter or generator than any conventional AC submersible pump. It is a high efficiency pump and motor with built-in dry-run protection. They work on modified sine wave or sinewave inverters."
    ========================================
    Very interesting info. Thanks.
    By the way, roughly what price?
    Cheers
    Wayne
  • MaineCabinMaineCabin Solar Expert Posts: 29
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?
    ========================================
    Very interesting info. Thanks.
    By the way, roughly what price?
    Cheers
    Wayne

    The best price I've found is $625 USD.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: 115v pump or 220v pump w/transformer?

    Thanks, looks like a good price for that quality.
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