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Old 07-05-2012, 08:12 PM   #1
BillT
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Default Generator on my Well Pump

I have plans on getting a WaterBoy Well Bucket soon, for if and when I might need it someday. I really would like a Hand Pump system with a Foot Valve, but I don't want to disturb my existing well with the electrical pump. I would really like to have an alternative well for a hand pump, but those plans are on temporary hold right now.

But this damaging Wind Storm we recently had has me thinking again about having a Gasoline Powered Generator to use when the power goes out. But with my limited electrical skills, I am not sure how to hook it up properly to switch from household current to generator current. I probably will go with a professional electrician when I'm ready to go with it, but in the meantime, I'm trying learn all I can about it. Anyone out there have one on their well?

Any info would be appreciated.

Bill



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Old 07-05-2012, 09:03 PM   #2
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First, do you know what size / make / model of well pump you are trying to power? How deep is the pump?

Second - and this is really easy - once you get a generator big enough to run your pump, and you know what size plug is on the generator (for example, NEMA L20-16)... all you have to do is make sure you have the same plug on your well pump. If the power goes out, unplug your pump, power up the generator, and plug the well pump into it.



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Old 07-05-2012, 10:04 PM   #3
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My well pump is on a separate breaker box from the house, so I had an electrician wire a plug in box to that breaker box to receive the plug that runs from my generator. Works just fine. I have to be sure the main house is switched off, but that's okay cause the freezers are also on the well pump breaker box, so I can run the well and keep the freezers frozen at the same time.

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Old 07-05-2012, 11:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LincTex View Post
First, do you know what size / make / model of well pump you are trying to power? How deep is the pump?

Second - and this is really easy - once you get a generator big enough to run your pump, and you know what size plug is on the generator (for example, NEMA L20-16)... all you have to do is make sure you have the same plug on your well pump. If the power goes out, unplug your pump, power up the generator, and plug the well pump into it.
Appreciate the replies.

Since I first posted, I did some research on my pump:

-Jacuzzi Pump
-Volts 230
-Amps 5.0
-HP 1/2

My Well is 165 Ft Deep.

The well is out in the field a ways from the house. My pump is directly wired in from the house. I will go ahead and put in a plug and receptacle in the present set up.

I searched around a little for a new generator. I'll post one that I found. Let me know if you all think if this one would be big enough.

Thanks

Bill
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:14 PM   #5
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This is the Generator I found online. Let me know if you all think if this is big enough to power my 1/2 HP Motor:

http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/electrical/generators/portable/3500-watts-65hp-generator?utm_source=shopping&utm_medium=shp&utm_c ampaign=Portable-Generators-shop&infoParam.campaignId=WP

Thanks

Bill

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Old 07-06-2012, 01:28 AM   #6
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BTW, I got faked out. I thought the one I posted above was a Coleman, but after some quick researching, I'm not even sure they make Coleman's anymore.

What would be a good American brand to consider?

Bill

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Old 07-06-2012, 12:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
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This is the Generator I found online. Let me know if you all think if this is big enough to power my 1/2 HP Motor
It is too small, honestly. 240 x 5 amps = 1200 watts but only IF "already running" and under no heavy load! I honestly don't think that 3500 watt gen will handle the starting loads, which will most likely be in the 7000-8000 watt range (for a moment) as the pump is coming up to operating speed. A really good "start capacitor" will alleviate this demand to a degree.... otherwise you would need a 15,000 watt generator to get the pump started (for a split second, at least). There should be one mounted near the well head, that is replaceable without pulling the pump, and will look similar to the ones used on large central A/C units.

I would write to the company and ask what is the minimum size generator they would recommend, and I am willing to bet they something close to 8000 watts peak/6500 running will be close.


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What would be a good American brand to consider?
I don't know... I was in Tractor Supply the other day and even the GENERAC gens are now Chinese, with Generac paint and decals!!! The larger XG series generators are still made in the USA, but the smaller GP "portable series" are apparently now Chinese. No matter what, they are no longer the company they once were and I would avoid their newer stuff, but would INSTANTLY buy and older 70's or 80's era Generac.

I also noticed they had a water pump with a 550 series Briggs and Stratton engine... made in China. Kohler Command started making their engines in China two years ago, and now B&S, too?!?!?!?

Onan-Cummins portable gensets are also now Chinese i think John Deere are also.

I do know that the higher priced gensets made in China are built to a much higher specification... the rubber hoses in the Harbor Freight ones (and all the o-rings, even the gas cap) won't last even one year.... but, the same Chinese genset from Onan-Cummins and John Deere have much higher quality rubber items in the fuel system, and will last far longer.

I did see that several Home Depot/Lowe's generators have either Yamaha or Subaru/Robin engines on them, and they would be the best bet. Even though made in China, the spec on these engines is very high and they are made to last. I don't know if I could trust any of the newer "American" brand generators.

An older (more than 10 years) Coleman with a Honda engine would be an excellent choice.

If you want old school and American made, there are some older 1800 RPM Onan gensets that are 5KW and would handle that well pump easily. i don't know if the 4KW ones would for sure, but I doubt they would have a problem, since the older Onan gensets were way underrated. The 4KW generators will put out more than 4KW when pushed hard, and not complain about it at all. These older generators are all cast iron and copper and are HEAVY HEAVY HEAVY, but will last a lifetime (seriously) and do use quite a bit of fuel. The older Generac, Hobart and Kohler units also fall into this category. All are over 20 years old by now, but seriously worth refurbishing.

If money is no object, buy an older Terex/Ameda/Ingersoll light tower with a Kubota D905 engine in it. These are rated at 6000 or 6500 watts but will exceed that for quite a while, like the old Onans will. They are also VERY fuel miserly... and we have some at work that are nearly 20 years old and have close to 20,000 hours on them. I see these used in the $2500 range.

Do not accidentally buy an older military unit if it is three-phase, unless it is 60Hz, crazy cheap and big enough to run what you want off of one phase only. If it is 400Hz, it is for aircraft it can't be made to work at all.
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:25 PM   #8
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One other thing... pretty much any "home use" generator will be 3600 RPM. The Tecumseh powered ones were the worst... most failed at right around 200 hours of use. They are probably worse than even the new Chinese units. The older single cylinder Briggs ones lasted a little longer, maybe 400-500 hours. The older 16 HP opposed twin Generacs will last 1000 hours easily.

Any 1800 RPM generator will run 10 times longer - 2000 hours isn't uncommon on older cast-iron Onan and Kohler if maintained right. A diesel Kubota 1800 RPM engine will run 20,000 hours.

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Old 07-06-2012, 03:11 PM   #9
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"I would write to the company and ask what is the minimum size generator they would recommend,..."

Spot on. And remember, this is for just the pump. Your fridge/freezer, air conditioning, air compressor etc also have high amperage starting requirements. I can run my place on a 7,000 watt gennie I bought back in the 90's by manually load shedding. I control when things can start to avoid conflict. For instance when the well pump is energized I cut power to all refrigeration. On engines, I have really liked the Vanguard series. My genny has a 14hp V-twin Vanguard with overhead valves & pressure lube. Very quiet (for it's size) and reliable. Much better than the B&S I/C engines for noise, fuel burn & longevity.

I don't really trust any of the new stuff, it is all imported. My friend bought a $250 genny from Horrible Fright for tuna fishing. It quit on the first overnight trip. They replaced it & the second one did the same. He through it away & bought a Honda. Not just a Honda engine, but a real Honda gennie. Very expensive, but quiet & dependable.

I was looking real hard at a 50 year old industrial gennie to permanently install here. 12 cylinder diesel, 400kw 3 ph, and it had less than 1,000 hours. The reason I didn't jump on it was it would be a fuel hog & running it long term with light loads would be detrimental. If I could find the the same deal on one a quarter that size I wouldn't hesitate.

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Old 07-06-2012, 04:17 PM   #10
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Appreciate the replies. Was that 12 Cylinder Diesel Engine a Detroit by chance?

BTW, I see some 3 and 4 Cylinder old Detroit Gen Sets out there now and then.

Bill




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