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Old 11-29-2015, 05:47 PM   #1
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Deep Well Pump Generator Power

Hello,

I am working on clearing a piece of property we bought last year. The property has a cased drill hole that is 230' deep and has 65' of standing water. Eventually this well will provide power to the house we are planning to build but initially I would like to be able to power it using a generator.

I have checked on a deep well pump and will need to have 1 HP to be able to pump water to the house location, overcoming some addition elevation and pipe loss. One that I am considering pulls 9.8 amps. I plan on installing a 2 wire pump, I'll go ahead and use 10/2 wire WG.

How can I use a portable generator to power the deep well pump, initially to do a pump test to confirm water quantity and quality. What size generator should I rent/buy to do this test.

Most decent size generator have a 120/240 volt plug. My initial thought is to wire the pump through a separate small breaker box with a disconnect and then running power from the generator into the box.

Any suggestions or comments. Has anyone done something similar.
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Old 11-29-2015, 06:43 PM   #2
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If you are running 2 wire then is that 110vac? Seems 3 wire 220vac would draw half the current or amperage.
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Old 11-29-2015, 07:07 PM   #3
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Deep Well Pump Generator Power

Our well pump is 240v. I see very few 120v pumps. We have a Honda EU7000i generator for backup power. It runs the well pump, oil boiler electrical stuff, 2 refrigerators, and some lighting, with no difficulty.



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Old 11-29-2015, 07:27 PM   #4
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They make both 2 wire and 3 wire 240 volt pumps. The 2 wire has the starting capacitor built into the pump motor. With the 2 wire you don't need a control box but eventually once I get a pressure tank installed with pressure switch it will start the pump as needed to fill up the tank.

They do make 120 volt pumps but usually for shallower wells because of the voltage drop and usually limited to lower HP pumps.

So my question is
What size generator, which Slowmachine has answered.

How to run power to the pump since there isn't a neutral wire.
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Old 11-29-2015, 07:32 PM   #5
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I would go with at least a 3000w. I would go with a 5 to 7kw if possible because you are going to want to run other stuff. Just make sure it has a 240 v output. Some generators in that size range only do 120. The Honda 7000 mentioned above are great. I have 3 for service truck power and they are quiet, have clean power and are very dependable. I run my home off one when we loose power. Well, lights electronics etc. If you're only using for the well pump about any brand will work fine for a pump motor.


As for the wiring you need the 2 hot and a ground only. No neutral. running through a small panel box like you described will work fine.
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Old 11-30-2015, 09:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksmith View Post
If you are running 2 wire then is that 110vac? Seems 3 wire 220vac would draw half the current or amperage.
You are 100% mistaken..

The leads to the pump can be two wire or two wire plus ground but for a fact the pump IS grounded so only 2 wire is used. Voltage does not matter, be it a 12 volt pump like on your motor home (It has 2 wires) a 120 volt pump like the original well on my dad's farm (2 wire) or a 240 volt pump like the new well on my dad's farm, the leads to the pump are all 2 wire, 3-wire (2 hots and a safety ground) went to the control box. but only 2 to the pump.

Voltage does not determine the number of wires.

To the Original Poster.
A "rule of thumb" is 1HP needs 1KW, in reality 1HP is less than that but this takes into account losses in the system.

Finding a portable 120/240 volt generator LESS than 1,000 watts.. I do not think will happen... Smallest is I think 3,000 watts.

now the pump does need a bit more for starting.. Perhaps Not sure how much but a 2-3KW (3500 watt Contractor's) model or Honda EU-3000i) should do the job. IF you go with the honda though get a "try before final" agreement.. It might, or might not work.


Final note: Some pump motors the start cap is in the control box, These need more wires in the cable between control box and motor.. All depends on where they put the blang cap.
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Old 11-30-2015, 10:04 AM   #7
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Don't know much about this fancy electrical jargon, however this I do know.
We had a deep well pump set up to water our horses. 300 ft discharge.
The pump ran on 120 volts. Yes as stated quite rare but available.
I ran the pump with my portable 3500 watt Honda generator.

Your coach has a generator I presume? Run it off that to do your tests.
You don't need a disconnect or breaker box as your coach already has it.
If its two wire, just pull up the coach and plug in to the outside outlet.
No need to get complicated over a test.
The 120 out let is 15 amp protected just like your house.
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Old 11-30-2015, 10:28 AM   #8
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I think 3,000 watts is the minimum I would suggest. I would suggest larger as there will be a lot of tools you will want to use before you have temporary power installed for building the house.
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Old 11-30-2015, 11:51 AM   #9
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thousands of ranchers, farmers & remote homesteaders do what you describe; as well as every well driller who has to do the initial well test without any installed power source.

1) for 240 volt 1 HP pumps, I would use 3000 w, or larger if you want to power other loads at the same time.
2) yes, use a small beaker box between the well and genny; and make up a pigtail extension cable to go from the genny to the well brkr box, using a plug end matching the genny cord/socket
3) depending on your state and the legal status of this old well, you may be required to have a state certified well installer inspect, test & re-certify the well. At least in most of the western states, all wells, even low use residential wells, are permitted & regulated by the state.
4) 2 of my 3 properties have deep wells that ran off generators for the first few yrs while I was building.

PS: here is a YouTube video showing a cowboy ranch hand powering up an old well
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacwjames View Post
Hello,

How can I use a portable generator to power the deep well pump, initially to do a pump test to confirm water quantity and quality. What size generator should I rent/buy to do this test.

Most decent size generator have a 120/240 volt plug. My initial thought is to wire the pump through a separate small breaker box with a disconnect and then running power from the generator into the box.

Any suggestions or comments. Has anyone done something similar.
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Old 11-30-2015, 03:09 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies. I'm starting to pin down how I'm going to do this.

The locations of the cased hole prevents me from trying to use my coach generator, there is not an established road within 500 ft. If I could have used my coach I would have tried a 120 volt pump as a test and then kept it as a backup.

Long term, I will have to run 240 Volt to the well I'll just go ahead and invest in a pump that will work long term.

I did watch several videos showing how to set & pull pumps and have done enough research to be able to tackle doing this myself. I'll keep my eye open for a good used generator but when the time comes if I haven't found one I'll buy one that could be used long term as a backup power supply. I'll go with at least a 6KW to play it safe.

Thanks for the replies.
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Old 11-30-2015, 06:54 PM   #11
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What's more is many coach generators (IE: MINE) do not do 240 volt, they do 120 twice, but it does not add to 240.. Others it does.. But my ONAN RV generator does not.

IF it's that far out in the sticks the 3500 Watt Contractor's job from pep Boys, Horrible Freight, Tractor Supply or big box store of your choice is the way to go.
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Old 12-01-2015, 08:23 PM   #12
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I'm looking at options on generators, if I'm going to buy one I'll go with a bigger one to have as a backup for the house in the future. Last year the area had a pretty good ice storm and most of the houses were out of electric for several days.

Understand that my 7.5 Onan doesn't make a 240 circuit but doesn't really matter as I can't get any where close to the well head to use it anyway.
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Old 12-25-2015, 12:39 PM   #13
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Our well pump is inverter of some sort and uses very little power. Everything is contained inside the well casing so no pressure tank, swith etc outside of casing. I ran it off my Honda EU6500 before we had power and the generator wouldnt even come off idle there was so little draw.
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Old 12-26-2015, 10:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I did watch several videos showing how to set & pull ..

230' of pipe is extremely heavy, one slip up and things can get pretty expensive. Honestly if I were you I would hire someone to install a 240v pump and be done with it. I can't see how putting in a 120v pump is going to save you money over the long term.

You also state you cannot drive your rv to it. So how did the drill rig get there to make the hole?
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