Plumbing Forum - Professional & DIY Plumbing Forum > General Plumbing Discussion > Septic Tanks > Pump will not turn on in auto mode




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Old 04-21-2013, 02:07 PM   #1
ukrkoz
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Default Pump will not turn on in auto mode

Hi all

I have been struggling with my septic for years. Floats and most of parts inside the control box replaced. Floats replaced several times. I have to mend it basically either every year or every 2 years.
5 days ago alarm came up again.

This is what I have:




I have 3 chamber septic, with 1 or 2 (not sure) hp ($850) thump pump. OK, I have Goulds pump. We had it replaced around 2007, total was $850. It's either 1/2 or 3/4 HP pump.
2 floats, one to turn pump on and one for alarm. Alarm float is Junior, effluent level float is Super Single pump switch from Rhombus.

pretty simple control box. I can NOT tell if the lights on timer are on during the day. I looked at them at night, no lights on timer. Both solenoid and timer replaced 2 years ago

Symptoms:

5 days ago alarm came up
I turned pump by manual switch, and pump works.
I routinely assumed, it's a bad float again. I had them replaced several times already.
Yesterday, I switched level float with alarm float.
To my surprise, level float works for alarm.
What was alarm float, Junior, does not turn pump on, when used as a level float. I know there is a minute or so delay, but I had float up in my hand for good 3 minutes, and pump does not come up.

Conclusion:
pump works
both floats work?
relay works, as I can turn pump manually, and relay kicks in and buzzes.

What is wrong then?

All fuses are good. There is really nothing else there to go wrong. Besides timer. Question is - if what was used as level float, works as alarm float, does it mean that float is good? As as far as I understand, load on alarm and level floats are different.
I am very tight on schedule to buy parts, as local store is opened only when I am at work. I have window to do it this coming Wednesday, and will pump septic manually. But I need to know, what to buy. I was also told that system should work with timer completely removed.

Thank you



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Old 04-23-2013, 01:28 AM   #2
ukrkoz
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No one? Is it really that hard?



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Old 04-23-2013, 03:38 AM   #3
waterwelldude
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Hi and welcome..

There are only 6 things that would stop the pump from working.
Wire
Timer
Float
Voltage
Relay
The pump it self.

You know the pump works.
Its getting voltage, because the pump does run.
The wire is good, cause the pump runs.

That leaves the relay or the timer.
The timer can be by-passed. It is just a switch that is built in to the control circit just like the float.
The relay that controls the power going to the pump is working or the pump would not run when you picked up the float by hand.
It would seem to me that the timer is not telling the relay to engage.
Check to see if the timer is getting the voltage it needs to run. If it is, the timer is bad or there is a bad connection in the control loop.
The timer and float have to send power to the relay at the same time for the pump to come on.

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Old 04-23-2013, 03:30 PM   #4
ukrkoz
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Excellent, thank you.

Pump will not turn on from the float.
Pump turns on from the manual switch in the fuse box. in the right hand side.

Following the logic. relay works; pump works; float that was set for level, works as alarm float; float that worked as larm float, does not turn pump on.

That leaves us with timer, right? Timer has 2 tiny LEDs on it, in the upper left corner of it.
ARE THOSE LEDS SUPPOSED TO BE ON, WHEN TIMER IS PLUGGED, OR ONLY WHEN TIMER ACTUALLY DOES SOMETHING? I checked in the dark, and there is no lights on timer. Timer was replaced 2 years ago, along with relay.

How do I bypass timer? I do not have OFF float. How do I check for voltage to timer?

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Old 04-24-2013, 02:21 AM   #5
waterwelldude
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Ok lets start with this.
The way it should be wired.
1. The main power comes from the breaker to the relay/contactor.
2. The power goes from the contactor to the pump.

The timer is a low amp switch. That means you cant run the pump itself through it. It does have a small set of contactors inside it. When the timer calls for the pump, it sends voltage to the contactor causing the coil inside to pull the contacts together and send power to the pump. The timer should have more wires on it than it does.
Maybe there are some wires that you cant see? There should be at least three.

From looking at the picture, it looks like the timer is already bypassed.
Inside the tank with the pump, there should be a float that will let power go to the pump. If there is not, the is nothing to turn the pump off if the tank was to run out of water.

1. Power to the pump from the relay

2. The timer tells the pump when it can run.

3. The float lets the pump run when there is water to be pumped, (if the timer says it can)
There should be two floats in the pump tank. one to run the pump,, and one for the high water alarm.

The manual switch should only bypass the timer.
Everything keeps pointing at the timer as your problem.

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Old 04-24-2013, 02:08 PM   #6
ukrkoz
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Thank you.
I have a very friendly septic technician who, unfortunately, hurt his back at work, and can not come to the site. But he was very helpful over the phone. And I really appreciate this.
He told me that if my level float works as alarm float, then it should work as switch for the pump also.
Timer only sets pump run time and delay, before the pump kicks in, after level float closes the circuit. In my case - it's 2 minute delay and 1.5 minute run time. He said that on that Omron timer, LEDs will light only when timer is activated.
According to the guy, it is simple electrical contact issue. Be it known, that my junction box in the tank well is basically fallen apart. It is not water tight, condensate everywhere inside, and I am headed to parts store next to buy a new one. He said that most likely, when I switched level float with alarm float, I restored electrical contact to the level float and it started working as it should.
Junior float will not turn my pump on, does not have enough power.
Plan is to replace junction box inside, replace winged wire caps with new ones - ones I have now are all rusted inside, and ensure good electrical contacts everywhere. I'll buy extra float just as a backup.
Thank you for your insight.
Have a great day.



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