Head Scratcher Fixed! Captain Obvious stupid solution.

Mark87Mark87 Registered Users Posts: 3
edited May 11 in Solar Water Pumping #1
Thanks NAWS for this forum! I have a solar, direct panel to controller to pump system that is controlled by a float switch. Specific hardware Solarjack SDS-D-228 Pump, 2 Unisolar 64 watt X 24 volt panels, and a PCA-10-30B Controller.......yeah it's  old. Friday last it quit.
OK, 20 years old,  on 2nd pump about 7 years, I got my money's worth.

Being in a closely related business field, a quick diagnostic reviewed the controller was no longer stepping down panel voltage it was supplying ~40 VDC. OK, is the pump shot?  A quick ohm reading showed it within the published specs. (1.5 ohms). Brought  a lab bench power supply out to the well and connected to the pump, runs like a champ pulling 1.25 amps @ 26 VDC.  Tempted up a 24VDC  battery charger and manually made things work while waiting for a new PCA-30-M1D controller. NAWS got it to me in great time, Its installed, 29 VDC out, annnnnnnnd nothing. Rechecked all connections, reconnected with lab power supply and same results as last time. It purrs like a kitten and pumps water.  

I do some pretty complex control diagnostics, but not solar. Am I missing something obvious? 
Edit for correct panel voltage. And more info. I happen to have a brand new SDS-D-228 motor. Dug it out and put it on the bench power supply and it starts at about 1.1 amps 26 volts. Turning the amperage down it shuts off at about . 8 amps. Hooked it up directly to the wiring of the controller and again nothing. I'm  getting about 29.9 volts at that point but obviously not enough amperage. We have had some electrical storms here last week........thinking that the panels and charge controller were taken out. 
Thanks in advance!
Edit fixed 
A compromised  feed line from the controller to the well head. It was the last thing I would suspect as it is a very robust install and I had a voltage signal right? 
Wrong. I took my aforementioned spare motor, hooked some test leads to it and connected to the pump controller......couldn't spin fast enough even with it being cloudy. Ran a temporary line from the controller above ground and voila, I got my water back.  The guess is a prairie dog has developed a taste for PVC conduit and wire. It must be chewed through to the point where the wire allows a voltage signal but no current. Life is good again.

Lesson learned. A bit of humble pie for someone that makes their living diagnosing complex control issues. 

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,968 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I got bit by a similar problem troubleshooting a 1980s vintage diesel generator.  Voltage what and where it should be, continuity good, but no joy. 

    After too many days of chasing down old schematics and crawling around the guts of the control box with a multimeter, I finally found a fuse holder (with a perfectly good fuse) that tested fine except when carrying meaningful current.

    Lesson learned.  From now on, a battery and light bulb or whatever to load the circuit instead of relying on voltage and continuity alone. 

    If there was nothing left to learn, even the hard way, life would be kind of boring?
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Mark87Mark87 Registered Users Posts: 3
    LOL........major frustration but the "found it" feeling is great. 
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,518 admin
    Mark, glad you found the solution "quickly".

    Anyway, I hope you stick around and tell us a bit more about your well setup. It didn't happen without pictures  :disappointed:

    We get lots of questions about well and solar power, but documented installations (and results over time) are not that common.

    Take care,
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,405 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 12 #5
    +1 on BB's comment. Our Campo owners are spending over a thousand dollars a year on gas to run the well pump and want to change over to PV direct pumping. All info is really appreciated.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • Mark87Mark87 Registered Users Posts: 3
    My set up is pretty old school, so to speak. I speced and installed it in 1999. I live in a very hi alpine environment and am blessed with a well sunk into 140' of solid granite that produces super clean (<50ppm dissolved solids) very tasty water in low quantities. The well level also is artisional for part of the year, and about 3' below ground level on the driest year even though water was hit at ~130feet. 
    A simple system. 24 volt solarjack pump sunk in about 60' , with two 64 watt unsolar panels (that are still going strong after 20 years),that fills a 1000 gallon cistern in my Mechanical room. The house domestic water supply is pressurized by a 1/2 hp jet pump and a 60 gallon pressure tank to reduce cycling. This set up has a minimal effect on the house pv system since I'm  not using the main system to lift the water and have plenty of reserve for less than sunny times. 
    Nearest power line is 10 miles distant. When I get to land of bandwidth I'll see of I can get some anticlimactic pictures to load. My company does a lot of HVAC design and living off grid for a few decades really makes me look at efficiency more than my peers. Just got my first winter in for an indoor heating system for our 1500 foot shop I designed . From a power usage standpoint I (amp hour logger) I can detect almost no additional power usage. There are some very cool off the shelf pumps on the market now! 


  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,142 ✭✭✭✭
    Mark87 said: There are some very cool off the shelf pumps on the market now!

    Mark can you suggest some brands to research?   One of my SWMBO tasks this year is to give her hot and cold running water...
    thanks.
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,518 admin
    Mark,

    You are more than welcome to post brand and models of pumps, or even links. 

    Our goal here is to distribute useful and accurate information.

    Bill "moderator" B.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,405 ✭✭✭✭
    Please do post these pumps. My Campo owner here in Baja is looking to install a PV direct system. 

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,665 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Grundfos solar direct over 20 years. Deep wells over 500 feet. Meaningful amounts of water. A great company.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,405 ✭✭✭✭
     Thanks Dave,
     The well here isn't deep, unfortunately it's brackish water. I'm curious how much water could be pumped over the course of a good sunny day? I hear them pumping every day with their gas powered pump and it seems like it runs for at least a couple hours every day. This Campo has over 50 homes in it, although at any given time I doubt there's more than a dozen occupied dwellings. They can always supplement with the gas powered pump but the cost of gas is getting to be a problem for them.

     Wondering if this needs to be split into it's own thread?
     My apologies to the OP for the unintentional hijack.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,518 admin
    LH2,

    As you go into details... I would suggest you start a new discussion for this application.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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