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Thread: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

  1. #1
    Junior Member allwet's Avatar
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    Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    My motor wont start. When it tries, it hums and eventually shuts off. I had a similar problem at the beginning of the season and ended up changing the run capacitor and the problem was solved. Pump/motor is a 1 1/2 StaRite. Motor is actually a A.O Smith. Motor seems to run hot. Couple questions... how long should a pump motor last? I run it 24/7 - April to October. How do you test a run capacitor? Any other troubleshooting ideas?
    18,500 IG FG with Spa(spillover)
    Gas Heater - Sta-Rite 300 Cartridge Filter - Polaris 280
    BBB - most of the time.

  2. #2
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    Welcome to TFP!!

    With the motor off (!) open the pump, remove the basket and reach into the back and try to turn the impeller, if it will turn the pump will probably work.

    If it turns but continues to hum, gently tap the motor with a hammer handle and see if it doesn't free up.

    Good luck with this, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

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  3. #3
    Junior Member allwet's Avatar
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    I think I'll have to open the pump up. I think there is plate that prevents reaching the impeller. Where do I hammer "tap" the motor? Side?
    18,500 IG FG with Spa(spillover)
    Gas Heater - Sta-Rite 300 Cartridge Filter - Polaris 280
    BBB - most of the time.

  4. #4
    Junior Member allwet's Avatar
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    Waste, you were right, I could reach the impeller. I was able to move the impeller but no luck. Tapped the casing a few times with a hammer... no change. Flipped the power on and off a few times but it just hummed. The motor has two capacitors, could they be the problem? Would a faulty run capacitor cause the motor to overheat under load?
    18,500 IG FG with Spa(spillover)
    Gas Heater - Sta-Rite 300 Cartridge Filter - Polaris 280
    BBB - most of the time.

  5. #5
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    Try tapping it a little harder with the motor on and humming - I'm thinking it's more probably the starter switch and the tapping will free the switch - though I can't discount the capacitors (I'm not all that good with the capacitor side of the pumps - in fact I'm not real great with how motors work, but know a few tricks when they won't work) If a couple good rap with the hammer get the motor to start, I'll tell you how to clean the connection which is most probably just a little corroded.
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  6. #6
    Junior Member allwet's Avatar
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    There are some spring loaded switches on the back of the motor (under cover). Here's some more info... If I spin the impeller by hand and hit the on switch while there is good rotation ... the motor kicks in and runs great. So I think the motor is good... it's determining what is keeping it from making that first rotation.
    18,500 IG FG with Spa(spillover)
    Gas Heater - Sta-Rite 300 Cartridge Filter - Polaris 280
    BBB - most of the time.

  7. #7
    Junior Member allwet's Avatar
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    Gave it some good whacks while humming... no luck.
    18,500 IG FG with Spa(spillover)
    Gas Heater - Sta-Rite 300 Cartridge Filter - Polaris 280
    BBB - most of the time.

  8. #8
    Senior Member launboy's Avatar
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    Since it will keep running when you start it spinning then I have to be believe it's the starting capacitor if it has one. I saw a video on Youtube one time that had a table saw that would only humm when the switch was flipped, but if the guy turned the blade and flipped the switch when it was spinning it would work. If your motor has a starting capacitor you might want to check it. I don't know how to do that though...

    HTH,
    Adam
    18' x 42" Intex Easyset Pool, with 16' x 52" deep end in the middle. Approx. 5500 Gal.
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  9. #9
    Junior Member allwet's Avatar
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    FIXED! $10 "run" capacitor (top of motor) did the job. Not sure why last capacitor only lasted 6 weeks. It had a slight bulge. I will have to check with an electrician. Thanks for everyone's suggestions/help. Enjoy your pool!
    18,500 IG FG with Spa(spillover)
    Gas Heater - Sta-Rite 300 Cartridge Filter - Polaris 280
    BBB - most of the time.

  10. #10
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    I figured I would piggyback on a previous topic, as I am at wits end, having looked for advice on PoolForum as well. My Hayward SuperPump has been working fine, although the motor has had problems 'kicking over' since installing a new dual speed new motor last year. I put the pump on a timer last summer with alternating off-on cycles of about 4 hours, but there were times I noticed that the pump was not running when it should've. I put it down to wet weather possibly affecting some connections, as the pump would always eventually come on.

    Upon opening the pool this summer, I had to resort to using the 2x4 method, as well as cleaning the contacts occasionally. Then there was a lightning storm this week that knocked out power for a bit while the motor was running. Now the pump hums, but won't start for the last 2 days. I replaced the capacitor, just in case, but the electric supply guy thought the current capacitor looked ok. I've also looked at the connections and haven't noticed any burnt or obvious issues.

    Before unhooking the motor and bringing to the shop, is there anything else I could check? Replace the Hi-Lo switch? A safe way to test the voltage?
    20 x 40 Inground vinyl pool (24000 gal)
    Hayward SuperPump with dual speed AO Smith STS1152R Motor

  11. #11
    Senior Member Heckpools's Avatar
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    Quote Originally Posted by njpool644
    I figured I would piggyback on a previous topic, as I am at wits end, having looked for advice on PoolForum as well. My Hayward SuperPump has been working fine, although the motor has had problems 'kicking over' since installing a new dual speed new motor last year. I put the pump on a timer last summer with alternating off-on cycles of about 4 hours, but there were times I noticed that the pump was not running when it should've. I put it down to wet weather possibly affecting some connections, as the pump would always eventually come on.

    Upon opening the pool this summer, I had to resort to using the 2x4 method, as well as cleaning the contacts occasionally. Then there was a lightning storm this week that knocked out power for a bit while the motor was running. Now the pump hums, but won't start for the last 2 days. I replaced the capacitor, just in case, but the electric supply guy thought the current capacitor looked ok. I've also looked at the connections and haven't noticed any burnt or obvious issues.

    Before unhooking the motor and bringing to the shop, is there anything else I could check? Replace the Hi-Lo switch? A safe way to test the voltage?
    Can you spin the impeller with your hand?
    [center:3gj9kdnn]Matt Heck
    "HECK OF A POOL SERVICE LLC"
    Serving Ocean co. NJ
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    Should've mentioned I've also spun the impeller
    20 x 40 Inground vinyl pool (24000 gal)
    Hayward SuperPump with dual speed AO Smith STS1152R Motor

  13. #13
    Senior Member Heckpools's Avatar
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    Like the guy above, did you spin the empeller and then turn on the power real quick while it was spinning to see if it turned on?
    [center:3gj9kdnn]Matt Heck
    "HECK OF A POOL SERVICE LLC"
    Serving Ocean co. NJ
    COMPANY INFO BELOW
    http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=en ... 2995187987[/center:3gj9kdnn]

  14. #14
    Senior Member Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    You might want to connect a voltmeter to the motor wires (at the motor) so that you can watch it HANDSFREE while the power is switched on. That will tell you if you are seeing full voltage at the motor while it's under load. If it reads low, your problem is upstream, like wiring, switches, connections, etc. If it's OK, then it's a motor issue.

    Make sure that you connect the meter so that it cannot short out or touch anything, and set it down somewhere that you can watch it safely while the power switch gets thrown and the motor tries to start. Then, after you're done, make sure the power is back off when you disconnect it.
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    Quote Originally Posted by Ohm_Boy
    You might want to connect a voltmeter to the motor wires (at the motor) so that you can watch it HANDSFREE while the power is switched on. That will tell you if you are seeing full voltage at the motor while it's under load. If it reads low, your problem is upstream, like wiring, switches, connections, etc. If it's OK, then it's a motor issue.

    Make sure that you connect the meter so that it cannot short out or touch anything, and set it down somewhere that you can watch it safely while the power switch gets thrown and the motor tries to start. Then, after you're done, make sure the power is back off when you disconnect it.
    With a Hi-Lo switch, I assume I'll only concentrate on the 'Lo' contacts, since I normally start at that level? It could be problematic since my multimeter does not have clip contacts. I figure I'll find a way to do so before bringing in the motor.
    20 x 40 Inground vinyl pool (24000 gal)
    Hayward SuperPump with dual speed AO Smith STS1152R Motor

  16. #16
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    So, I have a similar problem. My AO Smith 1 HP motor hums, then shuts down. I've removed the motor from the Haywood pump and am able to turn the impeller by hand. I also wrapped on the side of the motor with the switch turned on (humming), but it did not engage. I then gave the impeller a little boost by turning it with the switch on and the motor engaged. Since the capacitor is the starting mechanism for the motor, I must assume the capacitor is no longer pushing the appropriate amount of "whatever a capacitor pushes, whether volts or amps" to get the motor running. A previous poster indicated doing an electrical test. I have one of those darn gizmos that tests ohms and amps but what settings would I use to determine if I am getting the proper electrical current? Off to get a new capacitor (I think this happened several years ago and I replaced the capacitor to fix the problem). Any help is thankful.

  17. #17
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    Quote Originally Posted by dougvidak
    So, I have a similar problem. My AO Smith 1 HP motor hums, then shuts down. I've removed the motor from the Haywood pump and am able to turn the impeller by hand. I also wrapped on the side of the motor with the switch turned on (humming), but it did not engage. I then gave the impeller a little boost by turning it with the switch on and the motor engaged. Since the capacitor is the starting mechanism for the motor, I must assume the capacitor is no longer pushing the appropriate amount of "whatever a capacitor pushes, whether volts or amps" to get the motor running. A previous poster indicated doing an electrical test. I have one of those darn gizmos that tests ohms and amps but what settings would I use to determine if I am getting the proper electrical current? Off to get a new capacitor (I think this happened several years ago and I replaced the capacitor to fix the problem). Any help is thankful.
    Sounds like the cap. You can measure the cap with an ohmmeter. A steady value usually indicates a bad cap. You'll generally see a moving number on a good cap.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
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  18. #18
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    Hooray for the capacitor. Working fine now. Oh, by the way, I unwrapped the side of my motor and instead rapped it with a hammer. Maybe that is why it was so hot (get it, hardyharhar). I found out the new capacitors are slightly larger in size and would not fit in the existing cover. Because I didn't take the cover with me when I went to first Granger's (then to a local machine shop), I was hesitant to buy the capacitor because I feared it would not fit under the cover. I then returned with my cap to the local machine shop (a lot closer to the house than Grangers) and sure enough, the capacitor would not fit, even if I huffed and puffed and held my breath in. I then went to one of the local pool shops and though I spent $40 (compared to Granger's $11), and also though the capacitor was longer, it wasn't wider, but it did take a bit of compromise to get the capacitor to fit under the cover; using a hammer and punch, I was able to push out the indents slightly allowing the capacitor to slide right in.

  19. #19
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    In my case (2 speed hayward hot tub motor). Sometimes the motor runs fine, other times it will turn slowly for 10-15 seconds then kick off for a period then try again and may do this for hours at a time. I have already replaced the start capacitor. Any suggestions for my next step? . . .

  20. #20
    Mod Squad Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Help. Motor just hums... won't start

    Can you turn the shaft by hand? If so, does the action feel smooth, or is it difficult to turn?
    TFP Moderator33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1.5HP PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater
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