Pumping 900 ft well off grid

WolfeWolfe Registered Users Posts: 12
Has anyone used this type of pump controler: Aeroviroment USPC 2000
Supposedly you can use ac or dc power with a conventional submersible pump.
My well is 900 ft. deep. I am off grid and have plenty of solar and wind power except to power my 1hp well pump. I have to start the generator and fill the cistern. I would like to pump with solar but have the generator option still for backup.
Thanks for any info on this product.
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Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,883 admin
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    I guess this is the unit that you are asking about...

    Here is the two page glossy (pdf)

    Say it will run a three phase or a three wire single phase pump.

    From some random web page-- the 2.2 kW version has an MSRP of $2,500. And the 5.5 kW version is $4,200 MSRP. Maybe something near 10% off of list?

    I could not find anyone who claimed to have used one except for some guy trying to run some 3 phase hydraulic pumps... Appears that the unit (at that time at least) was designed for Solar--It was not designed for battery or other power sources.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • WolfeWolfe Registered Users Posts: 12
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    I know 900 ft. is a long way to pump water, but has anyone got any suggestions on eliminating my need for a generator, or just use the generator and forget it.
  • RCinFLARCinFLA Solar Expert Posts: 1,280 ✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    A unit like that could only support a start current that feeds from original PV power. There is no surge power reserve to pull from.

    You need to get an idea of what the pump start current is. A lock rotor amperage would be an approximate starting point. Check motor info plate.

    I have a 5/8 hp well pump and it takes about 3 kW peak to startup.

    What is wattage of generator you are using to run pump?.

    A battery based inverter may be your most cost effective solution, using PV to keep battery charged. Putting enough PV's just to make startup surge is a lot of wasted PV capability (and cost).
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,503 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    For a 1 hp 240V pump, a 4KW pure sine inverter could be able to start it.

    You will need some beefy batteries to supply the start up surge, the flywheel in the genset helps start the pump, but an inverter will have to pull all the power from the batteries.

    A 6KW starting surge means:
    500A @ 12V (not feasable)
    250A @ 24V (possible)
    125A @ 48V piece of cake.

    4, 12V batteries could likely start it fine, with a good stout 48V inverter. Once started, you will need closed to 2,000W for it to run, a 1500W array could do that, and just drain your batteries a bit, and be able to recharge for the next start.

    Mike
    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 ,

  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    That device looks like a variable frequency drive (VFD) with added bits to allow you to connect high voltage solar panels. If you already have an inverter and PV panels, then you can just use an ordinary VFD instead and connect to a 3 phase pump.

    The VFD's tend to be cheaper if they don't have to transform voltages too, e.g. 230VAC single phase input into 230VAC 3-phase output.

    Generic 1phase to 3phase VFDs are about a 1/20th the price of the unit you mention: http://www.inverterdrive.com/group/AC-Inverter-Drives-230V/default.aspx?filter=Power|2.2kW
  • WolfeWolfe Registered Users Posts: 12
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    What I have now is 12 L16 batteries, 900 watts pv, 2 - 1000 watt wind generators, 2 - inverters linked together for 220 volt. (they are older models) My generator is a propane 18kw. I live in Colorado and my panels will produce about 3.8 to 4 kw on a good day. My wind generators do a great job because we are on top of a mountain and some time during almost every day the wind will blow.
    I was told when I bought the place that the generator had to run to pump the well. I have turned on the well without the generator and it will start. When I check the voltage when doing this it registers at about 215 volts. I am not much of an electrician. Maybe I have a system that will already run the well?
    Thanks for any help.
  • WolfeWolfe Registered Users Posts: 12
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    Forgot to add that it is a 24 volt system.
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    5 volt drop isn't so bad. If the pump starts and runs from the inverters, then what makes you think that it isn't working?
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    more like a 25 volts drop, we are 240, not 220 in the US
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid
    Wolfe wrote: »
    What I have now is 12 L16 batteries, 900 watts pv, 2 - 1000 watt wind generators, 2 - inverters linked together for 220 volt. (they are older models) My generator is a propane 18kw. I live in Colorado and my panels will produce about 3.8 to 4 kw on a good day. My wind generators do a great job because we are on top of a mountain and some time during almost every day the wind will blow.
    I was told when I bought the place that the generator had to run to pump the well. I have turned on the well without the generator and it will start. When I check the voltage when doing this it registers at about 215 volts. I am not much of an electrician. Maybe I have a system that will already run the well?
    Thanks for any help.

    It depends on how much amperage the pump draws when running, and now much it draws when starting (surge) vs. the ratings on your inverters for continuous and surge.

    If the inverters can handle the load, it then becomes a question of how long can your batteries supply that load before they are drained too far. Too far generally means below 50% charged - draining batteries below 50% is the certain way to shorten their life, and always keeping them above 80% charged is the first step to long life.

    The voltage drop isn't too bad. As Guppy says the US is nominally 240v, but 215 is still only about a 10% drop. The lower voltage however equates to a higher amperage, so if you pump draws say 15a at 240v, it would draw something like 16.5a at 215v so you need to take that into account when determining how long your batteries will last (and how much load will be on the inverters).

    So get the numbers for the pump, inverters and batteries, and you can then do the math to figure out if your system will run it, and if so, for how long.

    Once you know how much it will take to run the pump for however much time, you can figure out how much of that can be supplied by the solar (how much it will put into the batteries vs. how much you are taking out).
  • WolfeWolfe Registered Users Posts: 12
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    I will get all that info later this week when I am in Colorado.
    Is this correct.........If I pump water while my solar or wind is producing, I am not drawing on the batteries except for the start up surge?

    One more thing, my well only pumps about 3 gal per minute.

    Thanks
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid
    Wolfe wrote: »
    Is this correct.........If I pump water while my solar or wind is producing, I am not drawing on the batteries except for the start up surge?

    That's true IF the solar puts out more than the inverters are drawing. If you are drawing 20a and the solar only puts out 15a, then the extra 5a is coming out of the batteries.

    Vice versa - if the solar puts out 15a and the inverters are only drawing 10a, then 5a is available to go into the batteries.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,877 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    The reason you were told to run the generator while using the well is for pump longevity. It will cost quite a bit to replace that pump and running with a large voltage drop can be a problem! What you also need to do when you are there is find out if that voltage drop is also occurring with the generator. If so, then it is just wiring loss and not a big deal. If, however it is only occurring with the inverters and with similar wiring then keep in mind that the pump is absorbing that extra current. Not good but as DWH said it is acceptable at 10%.

    Not any loss at all with rainwater BTW!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,883 admin
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    Also monitor the power/current used by the well pump.

    If this is a centrifugal type pump, you can actually cut power use by placing a restriction valve in the well output water line and reducing the flow. Lower flow rate uses less power.

    If this is not a centrifugal pump but a positive displacement or other type, a restriction valve will increase pressure instead and cause an increase in power used (and possible damage).
    It is important to understand that a centrifugal pump is not limited to a single flow at a given speed. Its flow depends on the amount of resistance it encounters in the pipeline. To control the flow of a centrifugal pump it is normally necessary to restrict the discharge pipeline, usually with a valve, and thus set the flow at the desired rate. Note: Generally speaking, do not restrict a pump’s flow by putting a valve on the suction line. This can cause damage to the pump!
    ...
    End of Curve Horsepower
    When sizing a motor driver to fit an application it is necessary to consider whether the pump will ever be required to operate at a flow higher than the duty point. The motor will need to be sized accordingly. If the pump may flow out to the end of the curve (if someone opens the restriction valve all the way, for example) it is important that the motor does not become overloaded as a result. Therefore it is normal practice to size the motor not for the duty point, but for the end of curve (EOC) horsepower requirements.
    I don't know how much you would be able change current/power usage by the pump--but you may be able to use a restriction valve when operating off of solar/inverter to reduce power requirements and keep system size/cost a bit smaller.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • WolfeWolfe Registered Users Posts: 12
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    More info

    Goulds 60hz 1hp pump, 2 wire single phase
    Pump pulls 9 amps
    When running on the gernerator registers 239.4 volts
    When running off the inverters it will start and run but registers 199 volts and then moves up to 211 volts and stays in that range but seems to work ok.
    Is this hurting the pump?
    Two Trace V.2 Inverters in series for 240 volt
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid
    Wolfe wrote: »
    More info

    Goulds 60hz 1hp pump, 2 wire single phase
    Pump pulls 9 amps
    When running on the gernerator registers 239.4 volts
    When running off the inverters it will start and run but registers 199 volts and then moves up to 211 volts and stays in that range but seems to work ok.
    Is this hurting the pump?

    Yes.
    9 Amps @ 240 VAC = 2160 Watts.
    Running a motor in an "under Voltage" state repeatedly, even for a little while, will shorten its life.
    Two Trace V.2 Inverters in series for 240 volt

    Not familiar with that model. Specifications? If these are 2kW inverters they are not large enough to handle that pump draw. If they are MSW, likewise using more power than should be. Otherwise, your battery bank may not be able to deliver the necessary DC Voltage & Amperage to handle the AC demands. Wiring could be an issue that would cause this poor performance too.

    And for those keeping score at home, notice how 2160 Watts is not 1 electrical HP (746 Watts).
  • WolfeWolfe Registered Users Posts: 12
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    Can I rectify this with some type of controler or something else?
  • AntronXAntronX Solar Expert Posts: 462 ✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid
    ...notice how 2160 Watts is not 1 electrical HP (746 Watts).

    That Amp value looks like something thats written on the motor, not actual measured current. Or the pump is working at more than 1 HP. 746 / 2160 = 35% efficiency. It should be in 85% range.
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    Voltage drop is often the result of too small of a wire.

    Does the generator supply the pump through the same wires as the inverters? If so, then the problem may be the inverters. If the same wire is used, then obviously that wire is sufficient size to carry the load without excessive voltage drop (it does when the generator is supplying the load)

    If not (maybe the generator is closer to the pump than the inverters) then it could be that the wire from the inverters to the pump is too small.

    I tried to pull up the info on the Gould's pumps, but that info is all in .pdf and for some reason the pdfs never finshed downloading - probably an internet issue.

    I would call Gould's, give them the exact part/model number of the pump and ask them what the voltage ratings are for the pump motor.

    "Trace V.2" doesn't tell us anything really. That apparently means it's a "version 2" of whatever inverter you have. So maybe you have a TR 2412 V.2 - that's the second version of the 2412. What is the actual model number of the inverters?

    Looking at these specs for the TR series:

    http://partsonsale.com/trinverterchargers.pdf

    It does say that they are 120v inverters and can be connected to provide 240v.

    They also have transfer switches. If the generator is connected to the inverter's transfer switch, that would indicate that the wire itself is big enough to carry the load without excessive voltage drop, AND that the generator is putting out full 240v (under load), but the inverters aren't.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,503 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid
    Wolfe wrote: »
    Can I rectify this with some type of controler or something else?

    Maybe Several things are likely happening.

    You pump needs a huge surge of power to start up, for about the first 5 seconds. figure at least 5x the run power.

    It also has whats called "Power Factor" where the inductance in the windings is not balanced by anything, and so power is wasted as heat in the supply wires. Going to a larger gauge wire will not solve this. Sometimes, if you can get detail info about the electric motor, you can add a "Run Capacitor" at the pump control box, unless you have a solid state control box. (a run cap fouls up the solid state control box sensors) Assume .6 PF unless you have a cap to bring it up to .8 or so.

    And the plain ohmic resistance in the power supply lines feeding the motor, measured from the source, to control box, to the well, down the well. Frankly, I have no idea what kind of wire would not pull itself apart hanging 900' down a well.

    Mike B.
    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 ,

  • WolfeWolfe Registered Users Posts: 12
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    No, that is the actual measured amps...............9 to 9.3. This is what it showed for both the generator and the pv. And it didn't spike when started.
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid
    Wolfe wrote: »
    No, that is the actual measured amps...............9 to 9.3. This is what it showed for both the generator and the pv. And it didn't spike when started.

    That depends on the meter - most meters aren't quick enough to catch a spike. The ones that are can measure what is called, "inrush".
  • AntronXAntronX Solar Expert Posts: 462 ✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    I am not an expert in underground pumps, but if you are not getting a spike during startup then your pump is stuck in perpetual startup mode, or there is not enough voltage at the motor to syncronize rotor with rotating magnetic field. Also, are you measuring peak Amps or RMS Amps?
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    Yea, Mike has a good point.

    The inverters are probably modified square wave (MSW) and the generator is almost certainly pure sine wave (PSW).

    All other things being equal, it could well be a power factor problem.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid
    AntronX wrote: »
    I am not an expert in underground pumps, but if you are not getting a spike during startup then your pump is stuck in perpetual startup mode, or there is not enough voltage at the motor to syncronize rotor with rotating magnetic field. Also, are you measuring peak Amps or RMS Amps?

    Pump stuck in start-up mode is possible; the switches on many a motor have been known to weld themselves shut. This often happens if the pump doesn't spin up to speed fast enough, due to low Voltage. The higher, sustained current will weld the contacts.

    Eventually the pump will burn itself up, even with temp protection. How long has the pump been installed? This is looking very bad.
  • WolfeWolfe Registered Users Posts: 12
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    The pump has been in the hole since 1993.
    The Trace inverters are modified sinewave.
  • WolfeWolfe Registered Users Posts: 12
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    correction.......modified square wave
    the generator is new and is a 18kw Kolher I believe
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid
    Wolfe wrote: »
    The Trace inverters are modified sinewave.

    That is probably the biggest problem.
    AC induction motors do not run well on MSW.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid
    Wolfe wrote: »
    correction.......modified square wave
    the generator is new and is a 18kw Kolher I believe

    Yes, we know what you mean. :D Thanks for using the right term!

    On MSW a motor could use 20% more power than it normally would. Add to that the typical 0.6 PF as Mike mentioned ... PROBLEM! :cry:

    That 18kW Kohler wouldn't even 'blip' running that pump.
  • WolfeWolfe Registered Users Posts: 12
    Re: Pumping 900 ft well off grid

    Do I just need to forget about running the well off the inverters and stick to the generator, or is there a solution? What would be the best solution, and then also what would be the cheapest solution?
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