Pumptec’s Extended Family

In our last post we discussed Pumptec and how it protects single-phase submersible systems from damage. The protection doesn’t stop there, however. Franklin offers two other members of the Pumptec family, specifically designed for Franklin single-phase motors.

QD Pumptec is very much like Pumptec in functionality and how it works, but in a smaller, unique package that quickly installs in a QD Control Box. Using power factor to monitor Franklin 230V submersible motors from ½ to 1 horsepower, QD Pumptec protects against the same adverse conditions as the original: overload, underload, high and low voltage, and rapid cycling. This specific product is often thought of as mini Pumptec because it is designed exclusively to fit inside Franklin QD control boxes.

Also offered in the Pumptec family is Pumptec-Plus. Sometimes called the “big brother,” Pumptec-Plus protects against those same five conditions, but it works with any 230 V single-phase motor ranging from ½ to 5 horsepower. Unlike its Pumptec companions, however, Pumptec-Plus monitors wattage rather than power factor. When watts run 25% higher or lower than operating load, Pumptec-Plus will remove power from the system. We can get a good idea of what our operating watts should be by turning to page 13 of our AIM Manual. Let’s say we are working with a ½ hp, 4-inch, three-wire motor. That motor should operate between a full load of 670 watts and a maximum load of 960 watts.

Since actual running wattage varies by motor, each Pumptec-Plus needs to be calibrated at installation. This calibration allows the Pumptec-Plus to tailor its performance to each specific system so that it can be used with any ½ to 5 hp, single-phase, 230 V motor—even those not manufactured by Franklin.

The system lights on the face of Pumptec-Plus are also an important feature; their color and state (steady vs. blinking) tell you exactly what’s going on with the system. Some installers actually keep a Pumptec-Plus with them as a diagnostic tool. If a problem turns out to be intermittent, they can install the Pumptec Plus and have the homeowner make note of what the lights are doing when the problem occurs.

No matter what type of system you are installing, it’s important to protect your investment. Taking the time to look into protection options can save time and money for you, as well as your customer, in the long run. For more information about how to protect your investment in the field or for troubleshooting help, contact our Technical Service Hotline at 800.348.2420 or hotline@fele.com.

Protect Your System 5 Ways

Last week, we reviewed “drought insurance” for submersible water systems using the Pumptec family of products. This week, we will look specifically at Pumptec and how it protects a system from damage in many other ways.

Pumptec is a microcomputer-based pump protection device that monitors load and supply voltage in single-phase systems. It protects against five conditions that can be dangerous to a motor: underload, overload, high voltage, low voltage, and rapid cycling.

Underload, also known as dry well, includes any condition that leads to the motor becoming “unloaded”. Besides a dry well, this could be an air- or gas-locked pump, failed impellers, a line blockage, or a check valve that is stuck closed. Any of these will cause the motor to unload. Once the unloading reaches a predetermined threshold, Pumptec will remove power from the motor.  Anytime an underload condition occurs, the load light will come on steady and stay on until the reset time is achieved. This reset time can be set from two minutes to four hours, or a manual reset can also be specified.

Overload is the very opposite of underload and can occur when the pump becomes clogged with sand or other debris. If this happens, Pumptec will cut power to the motor and the LOAD light will flash. Unlike an underload, there’s no reset time for an overload condition. Pumptec assumes that it warrants investigation and probably won’t restart. The unit must be manually reset by cycling power to the unit.

In both of these situations the system goes from pumping a normal amount of water to pumping very little or no water. To monitor these conditions, Pumptec uses a threshold point on the power factor curve. As we know from our previous AID, power factor is the relationship between voltage and current. Each motor rating has a unique power factor curve, and thus a unique trip point.

If a motor experiences a loss of water for any reason, the power factor of the motor begins to drop rapidly. When it gets too low (i.e. reaches the threshold), Pumptec shuts off the motor and allows the well to recover. After a predetermined timeout, the system will come back on; however, if the load does not reach or exceed the needed power factor, the system will shut off again. If power factor gets too high, Pumptec will also shut off the motor, but in this case, a manual restart is required. You can see how these power factor scenarios correlate to underload and overload conditions.

As we mentioned earlier, Pumptec not only protects against underload and overload but several other damaging conditions.

High or low voltage can create a multitude of problems for a motor electrically. That’s where Pumptec comes in: to monitor the installation’s supply voltage. If voltage drops below or exceeds 10% of the rated voltage (either 115 or 230 volts), Pumptec will automatically shut down the system.  If the voltage is low, the voltage light will come on and remain steady; if the voltage is high the light will flash.

Rapid cycling is the final condition monitored by Pumptec. Characterized by too many starts in a given period of time, it is most often caused by a failed pressure tank or switch. Because rapid cycling can cause serious damage to an entire system, when it is detected, Pumptec will remove power from the motor until it is manually reset.

It is important to note that because Pumptec monitors power factor, which is a unique measurement for each motor design and rating, this protective device cannot work on just any motor. Pumptec is uniquely engineered and designed to work only with Franklin Electric submersible motors from 1/3 through 1.5 horsepower.

For more information about Pumptec please visit our website and be sure to stay tuned for next week when we will continue to explore the Pumptec family of products.

Drought Insurance

Even with reliable brands and installation, some conditions are simply out of our control. For instance, half of the U.S. is currently experiencing a drought and has been for some time. During drought conditions, water levels in a well may drop below pump intake, causing an underload situation. With the lack of snow during the past winter and little rain during the spring and summer, wells could experience this drop either temporarily or long term.

Without significant rainfall to recharge aquifers, many private well systems are susceptible to the adverse impact of dry well conditions. If a well goes dry, the underload condition it causes can destroy the pump and/or motor.

Monitoring and diagnosing load issues can save a pump from damage and potential system failure caused by drought. Investing in a protection device before trouble hits can save a lot of time and money for you and your customer in the long run by shutting down the system to prevent damage when a dry well occurs.

Pumptec, for example monitors motor load and power line conditions to provide protection specifically against dry well/underload, as well as for waterlogged tanks and abnormal voltage. Upon detecting a fault, it interrupts power to the motor to give the well a chance to recover.

Franklin Electric wants to help make guarding systems from dry well conditions as easy as possible and Pumptec products are an ideal way to ensure a long and reliable pump life. During a lack of precipitation like we are currently experiencing, wells are more prone to going dry, due to either a drop in the water table or the fact that the well is getting used more. Sometimes the best investment isn’t the product itself, but what you do to protect it. We encourage you to protect your investment and make sure that once you put a pump downhole, you won’t have to see it again.

For more information about Pumptec, please visit our website, or get more information on how to protect a submersible water system from adversity, contact our Hotline at 800.348.2420 or hotline@fele.com.

 

FranklinTECH goes on the road: Southeastern US

Throughout the year, Franklin holds all-day training seminars at our three FranklinTECH campuses and other selected locations across the country. These seminars focus on water system basics, the proper application of Franklin Electric submersible products, and troubleshooting. As always, these are provided at no cost to you, and lunch is even included.

As part of this training commitment, Franklin Electric is pleased to announce the following dates and locations for upcoming all-day seminars in the Southeast Region:

These seminars count toward Certified Contractor status for the 2013 Key Dealer program, and in most cases, qualify for Continuing Education credit as well.

You can also take advantage of the next session at our training center in Wilburton, Oklahoma on September 11- 12.

To register for a session, contact our Hotline at 800.348.2420 or hotline@fele.com. Space is limited and registrations are handled on a first come, first served basis, so get your spot reserved as soon as possible. We hope to see you soon at a FranklinTECH seminar this fall!

Column-by-Column: Greatest Hits

This week, as we wrap up our column-by-column series on single- and three-phase motor specifications, we’d like to touch on what you might call the “greatest hits” from the series. The specification tables on pages 13 – 14 (single-phase) and pages 22 – 28 (three-phase) are very complete, but in the field, there are only a few columns that are used day-to-day. This post will highlight these columns.

Keep in mind that much of the information specifically mentioned in this post concerns single-phase motors. However, as we know from our post Understanding Three-Phase Motors, although there are more three-phase tables, looking at the column headings you can see that it’s the same information.

The first column on our most used list is Maximum Load, which has two parts, Amps and Watts. Amps in this context is often referred to as service factor amps or max amps. Maximum Amps is important because it tells us how hard the motor is working. The more water we’re moving, the more current we will need. This translates into where you’re operating on the pump curve. It can also be very helpful in troubleshooting issues and tell us if we’re overloading the motor.

The maximum power in watts value doesn’t play into troubleshooting; generally, we don’t measure watts in the field directly. Watts are important to know when calculating the cost to operate a submersible system. For more on that topic take a look at the Franklin in the Field post Deal of a Lifetime.

Moving along in our recap, next comes Winding Resistance in Ohms. Always remember that winding resistance is a power-off check. Power must be disconnected and locked out.

All single-phase motors (2- and 3-wire) have two windings: a start winding and a run winding. However, on 2-wire motors we don’t have access to the start winding; therefore, in the AIM Manual, only the winding resistance for the run winding is listed. In the case of a 3-wire motor, winding resistance is listed and can be measured for both the start and run windings.

Three-phase motors, on the other hand, have three identical windings, and therefore current and resistance measurements are the same. That is why in the AIM Manual, under three-phase motors, we only need one line of information.

Regardless of motor type, what does winding resistance tell us? It tells us the electrical condition of the motor and other conductors, such as the drop cable and splices. When troubleshooting and measuring winding resistance, we’ll generally get one of three readings: zero, infinity, or close to the table value. If the reading is zero, the winding (or some other part of the conductor) has shorted. A reading of infinity indicates the winding is open. In either of these cases, the motor or other failed conductor will need to be replaced or corrected.

Continuing on in our column-by-column review, we reach Locked Rotor Amps. Sometimes abbreviated as LRA, Locked Rotor Amps is exactly what the name implies: the amount of amps drawn if the rotor is locked and can’t move while electrical power is applied. These amperages generally run about five times higher than maximum running amps.

One example of LRA is a bound pump; however, LRA also occur at the moment of start up. Every time a motor is started, it pulls Locked Rotor Amps for a split second. Even though this start up amperage occurs for only a short time, it could be enough to trip the system. Knowing the value of Locked Rotor Amps can be an important aspect on some installations, especially in terms of making sure the system has appropriate electrical service.

Locked Rotor Amps is also important in the aspect of sizing reduced voltage starters (RVS). To specify a reduced voltage starter we need information located in our next column, KVA Code.

The KVA Code lets us know which reduced voltage starter is needed for a specific motor. This code defines a group of motors based on a combination of their voltage, locked rotor amps, and horsepower. An RVS allows a system to ramp up to full voltage instead of applying power to the motor all at once, thereby reducing the amount of in-rush current.

KVA Code wraps up page 13 for single-phase motors, but we don’t want to forget about single-phase fuse sizing, located on page 14 of the AIM Manual.

Remember that fuses and circuit breakers are not overloads. Overloads protect a motor and are found in either the motor or the control box. Fuses and circuit breakers primarily only protect the electrical system. That is, they protect the wiring by tripping or blowing due to excessive current.

Although fuses and circuit breakers have the same function, they operate differently. A fuse is a type of low resistance resistor that acts as a sacrificial link to provide over-current protection. A circuit breaker is a mechanical over-current protection device, using an electromagnet to literally flip a switch off and cut power. Circuit breakers can be reset, whereas fuses must be replaced.

 

On page 14 one of the first things we come to under amperage of fuses or circuit breakers is Maximum Per NEC and Typical Submersible. Franklin Electric recommended fuses are found under the Typical Submersible column and fall within the requirements of the US National Electric Code (NEC). These fuses and circuit breaker amps are calculated specifically for typical Franklin Electric submersible motor performance. Electrical codes require that fuse or circuit breaker protection be provided as part of an installation, and it’s critical these components be sized correctly.

The Franklin AIM Manual offers a wealth of information on all aspects of motor specifications, but there are a few key sections of information that are used more frequently. In the day-to-day of a water systems professional, the above mentioned topics are what you are going to see the most. While some of the information may be available on a motor nameplate, once it’s in the ground the AIM Manual keeps it readily available for reference.

For more in-depth and specific information on the above topics, please take a look at their individual posts within the column-by-column series, and, as always, if you have further questions or need help with troubleshooting, please call our Technical Service Hotline at 800.348.2420 or email at hotline@fele.com.