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Thread: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

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    Question 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    I stumbled upon this site while searching on the web...looks like a ton of great information is available! But, I couldn't find anything on my particular problem. I have an in ground pool with a Hayward Northstar 2-speed pump that is about 12 years old. Lately, it will only operate in low speed. Is it time to replace the pump (it was working great just a few weeks ago), or could it be something simple like a capacitor? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    I don't think it's a cap. Usually second speed doesn't use a second cap in my exp. could be in switch or loose wiring

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    Spec,

    Welcome to TFP... A Great resource for all your pool questions...

    While it could be the pump itself, my first thought is the switch that selects between High speed and Low speed.

    Is it a simple toggle switch or is it switched by some form of automation?

    Thanks for posting,

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimrahbe View Post
    Spec,

    Welcome to TFP... A Great resource for all your pool questions...

    While it could be the pump itself, my first thought is the switch that selects between High speed and Low speed.

    Is it a simple toggle switch or is it switched by some form of automation?

    Thanks for posting,

    Jim R.
    It's automated with an indoor control panel and an outdoor switch panel that I can use to override the control panel. I can't turn it on the high speed from either location.

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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    When you tell it to switch to high speed, does it turn off low speed?
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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
    When you tell it to switch to high speed, does it turn off low speed?
    When it's running in low speed and I manually switch it to high, it stops momentarily, sounds like it is trying to start in high, but then continues to run in low speed.

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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    I've been busy with other, more pressing items on my honey-do list, but the weather is warming up quickly so I'm hoping to get this fixed soon. After a little more research, I've found that the motor I have is a Permanent Split Capacitor type. As such, can the capacitor be bad for high speed only? Any other suggestions? Here's the label on the motor:
    20170311_091510.jpg

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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    The capacitor is only used in high speed. You can try a new capacitor, but I suspect that the switch is the issue.

    Try bypassing the switch if you feel comfortable doing that.
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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
    The capacitor is only used in high speed. You can try a new capacitor, but I suspect that the switch is the issue.

    Try bypassing the switch if you feel comfortable doing that.
    Thanks for the reply and recommendation.

    I would be willing (and probably able) to try bypassing the switch if I knew the process. Could you could steer me in the direction of some DIY instructions on how to do so? But, with the motor being 12+ years old, could it be time to replace the motor anyway? What is the expected life of a pool pump motor?

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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    12 years is good for a motor. However, we don't know that the motor is bad. It might be the switch. Can you post some pictures of the control panel?

    How comfortable are you with working with electricity?
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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
    The capacitor is only used in high speed. You can try a new capacitor, but I suspect that the switch is the issue.

    Try bypassing the switch if you feel comfortable doing that.
    I agree the switch is a likely culprit. However, a single phase motor requires a phase shift to start. The most common way to do this is a capacitor. Many turn off the capacitor once running, but the permanent split capacitor does continue e during operation. Fast or slow doesn't matter, it must hav a cap to start
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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    Thanks for the reply, James. I'll post some pics this evening. I'm comfortable in working with electricity, as long as I have the correct procedure to follow.

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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    If the switch was working properly, the pump would go from low to off if the high speed had a problem. However, the pump goes from low to hum and back to low.

    In my opinion, that points to a switch that's trying to change but not making it.
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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
    12 years is good for a motor. However, we don't know that the motor is bad. It might be the switch. Can you post some pictures of the control panel?

    How comfortable are you with working with electricity?
    Here are a couple of pics of the control panel and the schematic on the inside of the door:
    20170315_174417.jpg 20170315_175258.jpg

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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    The Aqualink rs uses a regular relay and a two speed relay. The regular relay connects one leg of 240 to the pump and connects the other leg to the input of the two speed relay.

    The two speed relay switches power to the high speed terminal at the pump or the low speed terminal.

    I suspect that the relay is stuck and not able to switch from low to high. The circuit board sends 24 volts dc to switch from high to low. High speed is the default so it should happen with no power. If it wouldn't switch from high to low, it might be that the relay coil wasn't being energized with 24 vdc.

    With no power, the relay should default to high speed. Maybe 24 volts is constantly being sent and not allowing the relay to switch.

    Check for 24 VDC at the two speed relay (small control wires at the top). There should be no power when high speed is selected and 24 VDC when low speed is selected.

    Then, turn off power at the breakers and connect power directly to high speed by bypassing the relay. Then turn on power and see if the high speed works.

    The schematic shows the filter pump relay. It does not show the two speed relay. The two speed relay should be connected to AUX2.

    The filter pump relay has two low voltage wires at the top that get 24 VDC, which power an electromagnet that pulls the contacts closed. The bottom 4 connections are high voltage.

    Two wires from the breaker go to contacts 1 and 3. When the switch closes, 1 connects to 2 and 3 connects to 4. Terminal 2 should go to the pump “Common” terminal.

    Terminal 4 of the filter pump relay should go to the “Common” terminal of the two speed relay. The two speed relay has 3 total terminals labeled “Common”, “Normally Closed”, and “Normally Open”. The “Normally Closed” terminal should go to the pump High speed terminal. The “Normally Open” terminal should go to the pump Low speed terminal.

    When the two speed relay is not receiving 24 VDC, the relay should be connecting the “Common” and “Normally Closed” terminals, which sends power to high speed. When the two speed relay is receiving 24 VDC, the relay should be connecting the “Common” and the “Normally Open” terminals, which sends power to low speed.

    If you post pictures with the control panel access cover off, I can give more specific instructions.
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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    Wow, James, that's a ton of good information! I'll pull the access cover off tomorrow and post the pics. Thanks for the help!

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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    Here's a pic of the panel with the access cover removed:

    20170316_172826.jpg

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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    The relay to the right is the two speed relay. It switches one leg from high to low.

    There should be a red wire going from terminal 2 or 4 on the filter pump relay to the "Common" terminal on the two speed relay. (Looks like it's connected to the #2 terminal).

    There should be a red wire going from the NC terminal on the two speed pump relay to the pump high terminal.

    There should be a black wire from the NO terminal of the two speed relay to pump low terminal.

    Turn off power at breakers, disconnect the red wire from the "Common" terminal and the red wire from the NC terminal on the two speed relay and connect them together.

    Make sure that they are secure and not touching anything else. Then power up to see if high speed works.

    The small coil wires for the two speed relay should be connected to aux2 and the #2 dip switch should be set to "on".

    When the pump should be on high speed, the coil wires should not be powered and common should be continuous with NC.

    When the pump should be on low speed, the coil wires should be receiving 24 VDC and Common should be continuous with NO.
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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    Thanks for the clear instructions, James. I probably won't be able to test it until the weekend, but will post the results of the tests once I've done them. Thanks again for the help!

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    Re: 2-Speed Northstar pump only works in low speed

    UPDATE: When I connected the two red wires together and turned the power back on, the pump worked in high speed! Then, I tested the relay as mentioned above, and everything seemed to be correct. So, I turned the power off again and connected everything as it was originally and tried the controls. The system runs as it used to in both high speed and low speed! This is excellent, but I really didn't do anything other than disconnect the wires, test the relay, and reconnect everything back as it was. Is it possible that the relay was "stuck" and became "unstuck" with what I did? Should I order a replacement relay to be safe?

    James, I truly appreciate the excellent advice, clear test recommendations & procedures, and the spot-on diagnosis! If it weren't for the information that I learned from this site, I would have probably purchased a new motor, only to find it didn't fix the issue. Now, I can run the old motor for a little longer (hopefully a lot longer!) Thank you!!

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