Problems with pool pump...

markc99

Active member
May 13, 2013
44
So yesterday, I went out to turn my Hayward Pump on. Shortly after I did so, I heard a pop, but the motor kept going. I went over to look at the motor and some smoke was coming out. I quickly turned off the motor and took a day to clear my head since I seem to be stuck in a rut of things breaking down on me lately.

Anyway, today, I took the cover off the back, and as expected, the wires looked a little charred, so maybe some water got in and it shorted out?

I cut the wires off, and pulled more cable through and replaced them. Put everything back together and the pump was working fine, however I did notice it would hum for a second or two before coming on. My pressure was high and water was above my skimmer, so I did a backwash, flipping the motor on and off again a couple times. While doing so, I noticed the hum before starting went from probably 1-2 seconds to 2-3 seconds.

Once I got the water level where I wanted it, I turned the motor off, grabbed my DE powder and got ready to fill 'er up again. This time, I turned the motor on, NOTHING. No humming...No joy.

Checked the breaker, everything was ok. Switched it off and on again, cause I'm in IT, and when you have problems you reboot.. :D

Still nothing. I can't get it to come back on. My initial googling makes me think it may be the short weakened the start capacitor and it finally gave up? Possible? The motor isn't very old, as I replaced it the end of 2 seasons ago.

Any ideas and help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Mark
 

Agent99

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 26, 2008
722
San Jose, CA
A pop is usually a sound a capacitor can make when it dies. The start capacitor produces a phase shift on the start winding so that the motor is pulled in a particular direction. Without a start cap and winding, the forces pulling a (stopped) motor CW or CCW would be the same and it just sits there. The start capacitor is part of the system that gets the motor going in the correct direction. You might get lucky and be able to replace the capacitor.
 

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
5,677
Longview, Texas
If you have an analog volt meter, you can easily test the cap. you can probably do it with a digital meter too, but its easier with analog.

Short the capactitor out first with a screw driver, then stick the meter leads on the cap posts. The needle should peg out, and then start slowly going back down.

If the needle doesnt peg out to max, then the cap is bad. (it will just barely jump).

there are some videos on YouTube if you need a visual.
 

Agent99

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 26, 2008
722
San Jose, CA
Not to go too off the Deep End here on electronics, but a capacitor is simply two conductors separated by a dielectric (could be air). When one applies a voltmeter across the two conductors, you are actually charging the capacitor and the flow of current is known as displacement current. However it isn't actually a current of moving charges but a time-varying electric field yet the end result is the same. The needle 'jumps' due to the field and once fully charged, the flow stop and the needle drops back down to zero. The size of the capacitor (in farads) will determine how long the needle will stay 'pegged out' before dropping back to its starting point.
 

markc99

Active member
May 13, 2013
44
Well, now I'm really lost. I got a new start capacitor, and changed it out. Still nothing. I took a volt meter to the pump and if I hold the leads to hot and neutral, I get nothing, but hot to ground, I'm seeing 120V, neutral to ground, 120V. Not really sure what to do next.
 

Agent99

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 26, 2008
722
San Jose, CA
Your pump is connected to 120 V or 240 V? The voltages you are reporting are...strange....

I want to make sure about the motor's voltage AND if you wired it back up correctly.

Measuring 120 V from neutral to ground is troublesome. In an ideal world, there would be 0 volts but in reality there is voltage drop along wires and such but I've seen as high as 30 V there and it is usually not a problem. However, 120 V is not right.
 

markc99

Active member
May 13, 2013
44
It's connected to 120V. I thought I followed the wiring diagram on the back of the unit, but if you are saying something is off, then maybe I made a mistake.

-Mark
 

danpik

TFP Guide
Jun 4, 2012
1,749
western NY
Is there an on/off switch on the motor?

If so did you get these readings with it on or off?

Are you getting the 120 on neutral/ground from the supply/source or is it on the motor end? (Neutral coming out of the motor)

The fact that you got no reading between the hot and neutral at least tells us that it is not connected to 240 volts.
 

markc99

Active member
May 13, 2013
44
Is there an on/off switch on the motor?

If so did you get these readings with it on or off?

Are you getting the 120 on neutral/ground from the supply/source or is it on the motor end? (Neutral coming out of the motor)

The fact that you got no reading between the hot and neutral at least tells us that it is not connected to 240 volts.
Yes, the power runs to a switch, which then runs to the motor. I got my readings with the motor powered on, to see if I was getting any power at all at the unit. I did so, off the screws under the cover on the back of the motor. So, power comes in from the switch, is screwed down inside the motor, and then goes to the capacitor and whatnot. I touched the multi-meter leads directly to the screws right off the power feed.
 

Agent99

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 26, 2008
722
San Jose, CA
So your switch is not ON the motor...it is in a electrical box. It is like an ordinary light switch?

Can you take some pics of your setup and of the motor how you wired it?
 

markc99

Active member
May 13, 2013
44
So your switch is not ON the motor...it is in a electrical box. It is like an ordinary light switch?

Can you take some pics of your setup and of the motor how you wired it?
Yes, I can. I'm at work now, so I'll post some later today.

Thanks for helping me out with this.
 

Agent99

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 26, 2008
722
San Jose, CA
Well all that looks okay to my eye...hard to mess that up with only 3 connections for power. I'll assume you hooked up the capacitor correctly.

But a 120 V reading from neutral to ground (green/bare) is not right. Are you SURE that is what you're reading? Assuming the pump is wired correctly, you need to backtrack to the switch...check things there...then the sub-panel/breaker box...check things there.

Are you getting ANYTHING when you turn power on? A hum...something?

Understand that way back at your Main Panel for your house that the white neutral and all the green/bare wires are tied/shorted/connected together. In any sub-panel wired off your main panel, the white and green/bare are separated.
 

markc99

Active member
May 13, 2013
44
Well all that looks okay to my eye...hard to mess that up with only 3 connections for power. I'll assume you hooked up the capacitor correctly.

But a 120 V reading from neutral to ground (green/bare) is not right. Are you SURE that is what you're reading? Assuming the pump is wired correctly, you need to backtrack to the switch...check things there...then the sub-panel/breaker box...check things there.
I loosened the capacitor and took one cable off at a time, and put it on the same lead on the new one. Thinking that should work.

Are you getting ANYTHING when you turn power on? A hum...something?
Nothing. No hum, nothing.

Understand that way back at your Main Panel for your house that the white neutral and all the green/bare wires are tied/shorted/connected together. In any sub-panel wired off your main panel, the white and green/bare are separated.
I'll take the switch apart and check things in there, but I don't understand how this pump has run this way for a long time with no issues. Then one day, pop, smoke, a little bit of service left, and now it's stone dead.

Could it be that maybe I nicked a wire while I was re-wiring it, and perhaps the hot is making contact with the ground? That grey outdoor cable is a pain in the arse to strip without nicking the insulation.
 

Agent99

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 26, 2008
722
San Jose, CA
It almost sounds like you popped a breaker but you measured voltage at the back of the motor so that ain't it. At this point, who knows what the pop was really from!! :)

If you shorted black to white or ground (or the case of the motor), it would pop your breaker and you shouldn't read diddley-squat at the motor.

Divide and conquer...divide and conquer...work backwards from the motor. Double check your voltage readings. You should have 120 V between black and white. You should have 120 V between black and ground/bare/green (all this with the switch ON, of course, but check to make sure you have 0 V everywhere with the switch off, too). You should have much much less than 120 V between neutral and ground/bare/green...should be under 10 V but could be as high as 30 V.

Yeah, that grey "okay for direct burial" is thick and not fun to work with!!

I'm beginning to suspect something in the switch assuming all is fine with the motor....
 

markc99

Active member
May 13, 2013
44
I'm beginning to suspect something in the switch assuming all is fine with the motor....
Well, what do you know, I haven't confirmed yet, (have to go buy parts) but I took apart the switch and it was a mess in there. A black with green tape around it and a white with green tape. Two white tied together as you would expect, but the wire nut had melted.

So yeah, I cut it all out and I'm replacing the whole switch and cover. Probably drop a junction box there, and extend the wire up the fence and put the switch higher up, maybe even throw in a light.

I'll let you know how I make out.
 

markc99

Active member
May 13, 2013
44
I ripped out all the switch components, box, switch cover, etc. Cut the wires a little shorter and put all new components back on, and everything is working swimmingly. The switch box had a bunch of earwigs inside, and the wirenut on the neutral had actually melted a little. Not good. I also took this opportunity to fix some lazy previous homeowner jobs and run conduit to the switch. Ain't nothing getting in that box this time. :)

Thanks so much for all your help Agent99! Now to turn this pond that has developed in the last week back into a pool!

-Mark
 

markc99

Active member
May 13, 2013
44
Awesome-sauce!! Glad to hear you're ship-shape on the electronics now!

Now to SLAMing! LOL
Man, I'll tell you. If it's not one thing, it's another. The motor ran just fine for about 2 hours. Got chlorine in and turned it off to bump it. Turned it on, and it was more noisy then normal. If I let it run, it would run about 10 seconds then pop the breaker. I took the basket out and the impeller is free to turn. I turned it on after that and now it's just humming. It won't kick on.

It has a brand new start capacitor, so I feel like that isn't the issue. Now what the heck?

-Mark