I've been cycling my Hayward 1.5 hp inground pump by hand to save on electricity costs. A few days ago I went to turn it on, and it would not start, but would just give 60 Hz hum. The rotor turned freely, so I decided to change the start capacitor. After changing the capacitor, the motor started briefly but didn't reach full speed, and shortly after returned to 60 Hz hum with no rotation. The motor itself then started to smoke. The motor had been running for no longer than 10 seconds when that happened. I thought that was strange, but decided that the motor had just finally decided to short out in the armature.
I replaced the Hayward with a no-name 1.5 hp pump. It was labeled as a White River 1.5 hp inground pump, but I can find no documentation or support for it anywhere. Anyway, upon installation, the pump sounded terrible, did not seem to reach full speed, did not prime, and threw the breaker within 5 seconds or so of starting. I reset the breaker, checked everything over again, and tried again. This time it started to smoke before it threw the breaker, again within 5 seconds.
Two pumps having problems and smoking motors on the same system? The first pump had operated for years without a problem, and I'm sure that I wired the new one correctly. I thought there must be a system problem, so I checked for obstructions in the piping. Everything looks clear. I checked the supply voltage. 230 V, 60 Hz as it should be. Both pumps were configured for 230 V operation. The system is set on a 20 A 230 V breaker, with about 6 feet of lead from the pump to the breaker.
Any idea what could cause two pumps to fail? Am I just unlucky? Anything else to try before I set up a new pump and blow that one too? Any other ideas?
Thanks in advance.