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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My barns/farm are on one box, my house is on another. From my farm box I have a small, (newer) 20a breaker box that runs my well pump and 4 outlets, (seldom used except for my stocktank heater in the winter) like NOW...

My 20a breaker keeps tripping. I have unplugged everything, (except for the well pump) but thinking maybe one of my outlet boxes went bad, I have replaced 3, (the 4th is in my dog kennel building and is a GFI, also seldom used) until now. I moved my water tank to that GFI outlet, (thinking that may solve my problems) but still I have a frozen tank.

So at this point, I replaced the 2 main 100a fuses, as well as the 20a breaker, 3 of the 4 outlet boxes, and I'm using a new tank heater. I'm guessing it may be my 2 yr old underwater well pump, that I paid $300+ for at this point? Any thoughts on that....? Other options?
 

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agmantoo
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How many watts is the new tank heater? Do you know the horsepower of the pump? Is the heater 120 volts and is the pump 240 volts? The length of the wire runs and the gauge of the wires would also be a big help. Once this information is known someone here will calculate the 20 amp circuit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
the pump is run on 110 (it's like the only one Lowes sells) and the tank heater is 1500w the sinking metal one, good for use in a plastic tanks.

The pump has been in place without problems for about 2 years. And I've ran some fore of tank heater without problems for several years. (realizing different heaters draw differently) but still....

12 gpm @ 40 ft.
Stainless steel
115 volt - 2 wire motor
1-1/4" discharge
WAYNE RELIANTONE®
1/2 HP Submersible Deep Well Pump 2 Wire 115 Volt

Item #: 189222 Model: 57411-LWS1




002700104
SUBMERGIBLE SAFE IN PLASTIC 1500W
H-419
$49.99
1500 watt
 

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the pump is run on 110 (it's like the only one Lowes sells) and the tank heater is 1500w the sinking metal one, good for use in a plastic tanks.

The pump has been in place without problems for about 2 years. And I've ran some fore of tank heater without problems for several years. (realizing different heaters draw differently) but still....

12 gpm @ 40 ft.
Stainless steel
115 volt - 2 wire motor
1-1/4" discharge
WAYNE RELIANTONE®
1/2 HP Submersible Deep Well Pump 2 Wire 115 Volt

Item #: 189222 Model: 57411-LWS1




002700104
SUBMERGIBLE SAFE IN PLASTIC 1500W
H-419
$49.99
1500 watt
Ok, these two items are pulling about 10 amps if they are funtioning properly, so that shouldnt trip a 20 amp breaker. The pump will pull a bit more when it first starts, but still shouldnt be a problem. You may have to pull the pump, the feeder wire can easily get damaged below the water level as the pump kicks on and off there is a lot of torque, causeing the pipe to flex and bangs the wires against the side of the well. If that happens enough it can expose the wire to the water and leak current directly into the water. This would account for quite a bit of extra current draw when the pump kicks on possibly tripping the breaker. The way to check that is to put an ampmeter on the line to the pump and check to see how many amps it pulls when it comes on. If its drawing much more than 3 amps you have found your problem, its either the wire to, or the pump itself. :)
 

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Your 1500 watt heater draws 12.5 amps. The pump will draw around 3 amps but can spike much higher than that on startup, maybe 10-15 amps. Sounds like you have the circuit overloaded to me. Switch one of the items to a different circuit or split the circuit up into two seperate circuits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
okay, I guess I should add, that my pump only goes on when I plug it in, I never got around to adding that pressurized air tank, so I've just been plugging it in to fill my water tank, then unplugging it. (That was one of the outlets I changed out, so I mean, there really wouldn't be a draw on the circuit then would there? ...I never plugged it in) just tried to run the water tank de-icer/heater. And, if I recall, that's like the only thing drawing ANYTHING on that circuit, causing it it trip....? (That's gonna be my next question, how to rig up that pressurized tank...)

It's gotta be a problem with that newer pump, I'll be looking into that before I trade out electrical boxes, I lost my job the end of November, so if I can avoid blowing extra cash right now, that's a concern.

(However, I'm sure you've all heard about my lovely Governor, from the State of Illinois??? So maybe I'll get my job back shortly after the new year...) He is such a crooked schmuck...)
 

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agmantoo
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cfabe is correct in that the system would be too low to run both simultaneously. If the breaker is tripping on the heater alone then I need the answers to the rest of my questions. What is the length of the run from the house to the 20 amp breaker and what is the length of run from the breaker to the heater? Remember, I also need to know the gauge of the wire from the house to the breaker and from the breaker to the heater. Are these aluminum or copper wires? I await your reply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
sorry agman, I didn't catch the rest of your questions, I was concerned about getting you the specs on the pump & heater. (I'll go out now to measure the distance of runs, (but, that's never been the problem before, at that that I've noticed, could have been the problem all along, maybe, then.) While I'm out there, I'm gonna go ahead and unplug the pump, just to check it. Be back in a bit... thanks all
 

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Registered Doofus
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I had a tank heater that kept popping the breaker for me a few years ago. I replaced it with a new one which solved the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
geesh, looks like it's a black wire white wire issue, as in where they get hooked up into the recepticle at, I'm still not sure but gonna go take another look. Looking at the recepticle with the grounding hole to the bottom, which side does the hot black wire go to, upper or lower screw, then the series black wire goes on that same side, right? followed by the main line white wire goes where____? followed by the series white wire.

I have one outlet that is out by it's self, I think i remember the black wire goes on the upper right screw and the white wire goes on the bottom left screw, is that right?

I seem to be suffering from a lack of memory... I used to re-do the recepticles in my house but forgot, it's been a while.... thanks
 

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Could there be a short in your tank heater somewhere?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
well here's the scoop. I did get enough of my system working to get water from the farm well into the livestock tank, and I got electric to both the well, (to run a heat lamp) AND replaced the GFI outlet in my dog kennel building where I'm running the electric for the stocktank heater. (It's a brand new one with built in thermostat, so that's a good deal)

I still never could fix the outlet by my other water spigot, it trips the breaker every time. I replaced the outlet, (think I wired it right, but it still don't work) so I just left it out of the run. I can live without if for the time, but it would be nice to figure out.

But for now, I have a working well, and my livestock tank is close enough to my house that if I wind up in trouble with it, I can always run a hose from my house. And, the electric seems to be working from the kennel to keep the tank heater going, so I'm good... thanks all for your help. It was wuite a day...
 

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On wiring receptacles:
First thing, if it costs less than a dollar, don't buy it in the first place, ask for a commercial receptacle, you spend a little more but get more metal where it counts. I really like the newer generation gfi recepts, 'cause they have a tiny led to let you know the status. With any gfi recep, you can troubleshoot them by pushing in the test button-if nothing happens, either the line to the device is dead or the device is dead. If you know the circuit is hot, then it's the device that is kaput.

Looking at your regular receptacle, the white (neutral) wires always go to the silver screws and the black (hot) wires go th the brass colored screws. The wide or t shaped slot is the neutral side, viewed from the front of the receptacle.

A little known trick, only works in low light though: you can determine which wire of several is hot with a standard neon two lead tester by holding one lead in your fingers and touching the other lead to the suspect wires; don't do this in a commercial setting or on a wet graveled roof in tennis shoes, though...
 

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Everyone has given all great advice but I would like to add my two cents worth also...Just remember that any circuit breaker will continously run only 80% of the rating on the breaker. Which means that a 20Amp breaker will on hold 16Amps. I would also go through and diconnect each wire, cut the bare copper wire potion and re-strip the insulation and reterminate the wire. A loose or corroded connection can generate heat which means it is using more power.
 

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As for your question on how to wire a receptacle - The hot (black) wire goes on the side with the shorter prong hole. The white wire goes on the other side. Ground onto the screw on the bracket near the end. Another thing, it's a better practice to pigtail your connections in a box where you have power coming in on one cable and going out on the other. That is, use a wire nut to connect the two blacks from the cable to a short pigtail that goes to the receptacle. Do the same for the white and ground. The wire nuts give you a much better connection than the side screws on the outlet, and in fact I bet you are using 15A receptacles on a 20A circuit and I don't think that little copper tab on the side of the receptacle is designed to carry 20A. The real reason that there are two screws on a duplex receptacle is so you can install it with one side switched and one side constant to power up a lamp or something. Also, never use the push-in connections on the back of a receptacle, they get loose over time and burn out.
 

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nema is 80% rated, so yes the breaker will do a "slow trip" at 80% of rated breaker. breakers that have had a hard life (lots of trips)tend to trip at less than 80%. black wire is supply goes to brass or the darker of the two line screws, the silver or cad plated is the return or white wire. the green screw is the ground (which terminates in the breaker box in a grounded buss,,,,usually) an ampmeter sure would help
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hey every body,

Thanks again for all of your help & ideas.

I got up this morning and my stocktank was not frozen over from a tripped breaker...! Now, I really need to figure out how to install a pressurized tank, so I can just turn on the water at the spigot, rather than go plug in the pump by the well every time. I figure while I'm laid off, I better get as much working right around here as I can afford.

Here is an old pump I have that froze when the power went out. I'm hoping there's a way I can at least use this pumps tank to pressurize my current under water pump. I mean, the bladder and gauge is still good anyway. Anyone got any ideas? I'm going to look up in my Country Wisdon Book, and Basic Country Skills book.


 

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still back on the subject of the tripping breaker..... is the wire above or below ground? I bought a place that the previous owner had run romex under ground and the vermin had chewed through the wire [they never considered using underground wire or conduit] and that caused the tripping of a breaker for me....

your pressure tank should be able to be plumbed in as long as you put in a pressure relay and away you would go..... you still have to keep the pressure tank from freezing too though, but you knew that already.... build a well house and use a heat lamp on a thermal switch and plumb an indoor outdoor thermometer in using the outside wire to the inside of the well house so ou dont have to open the door to see if the heat lamp is doing its job.

William
Idaho
 
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