Swimming Pools in France

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Testing swimpool pump

OK - dumb question - please be kind.

We have a large above-ground pool.   We have a Zeolite filled large filter and a powerful pump - both 3 or 4 years old.   We are in the process of opening the pool (late because summer has been late arriving this year). 

Everyone's nightmare - the pump won't start.   It just hums at us.   Pump has been disconnected from water hoses and 'looked at'.   The electrical connections seem clean;  the black capacitor seems brand-new.   The housing for the motor fan has been removed and sprayed with WD40.   OH plugs in the power, the fan starts to work - there's a dreadful screeching - and the fan stops working.   We can turn the fan by hand and it spins OK - but once power is applied it doesn't.  Pump is an Astral Senna  .75v  9 m/3 h for a pool 12ft x 24ft.

I know there's other parts of this pump where the water enters and gets pushed into the filter and out.   We don't want to touch this however.

What worries me is that this 'testing' of the motor was done without any water going through pump - have we totally damaged the pump?

Can you 'repair' and test a pump as a stand-alone without the water flow from hoses - ie test 'dry' - or have we now ruined pump ?

What could have caused original problem - and any ideas or help much appreciated (even if the only comment that can be made is 'dumbkopf'.. - don't mind !!!

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Re: Testing swimpool pump

Not a dumb question in my book, you should read some of the emails I get (snigger Big Smile [:D]).
The fan is on the same shaft as the pump impeller so if the fan is rotating so is the pump.  Ideally there should be water in the pump but a short burst of 30 seconds is ok, better if you can get a little water into the pump, it shouldn't soak you but it helps a bit.

The screaching sounds like the bearings, I had to repair one last year and I heard it purring for the first time last week.  Now sometimes the water gets passed the ceramic seals and then into the bearings so they would need replacing too.

The capacitor may look new but internally could have broken down, normally a cheap part so tend towards doing cheap bit's first.  Can you pop off the cover around the fan and freely rotate the pump by hand?

Passivpool Energy "A++" rated Swimming Pools, the lowest running costs in the Universe.
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Re: Testing swimpool pump

Hello Theiere - thank you for not laughing at me!

This pump is only 4 years old, and has been used for about 4 months max each year so if it is the bearings then it's a bit of shame.
OK - we'll try the capacitor first;   trouble is nearest pool shop (presumably that's the place to go) is over 30 minutes drive away - could we get capacitor from anywhere else ?

As for taking the cover off round the impeller housing (where the water enters the pump)  - this is where his cautious nature comes into play and he really doesn't want to delve too much into a bit of mechanical gear that he knows nothing about.   The fan at the end of the motor does move - freely - by hand;  it started moving - under power - once it had been spun - but within 10 seconds we then had this awful screeching noise from the motor, then motor stopped - and elec immediately turned off - with both of us wondering if we'd done further damage to poor pump.

If we were to take this pump to a pool shop - would they be able to test for us while we wait;  and could we rely on them to say that 'capacitor needs replacing' ?  

Thank you for sparing time to help a novice - very kind of you. 

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Re: Testing swimpool pump

   The fan at the end of the motor does move - freely - by hand;  it started moving - under power - once it had been spun - but within 10 seconds we then had this awful screeching noise from the motor, then motor stopped

Two things here
1. If the motor starts moving after spinning by hand then that points to a bad capacitor - no charge build up to "kick start" the motor.
2 If this is then followed by screeching and seizing then that points to seized bearing or something stuck in the impeller of the pump side.
I would err on the side of something in the impeller preventing rotation as a seized bearing would have meant difficulty in spinning the fan.
Have a go at taking the impeller casing off and looking inside, its not too daunting, really !
Most experience with pool shops is "buy a new pump" - easy for them and profitable - the way of the world now I'm afraid.

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Re: Testing swimpool pump

Same answers to halfblind on this. If you have to hand spin the fan to start then the capacitor isn't doing it's job. post up any information written on the capacitor
If it screeches then bearings or something in the impeller. The front of the impeller end comes off easily so give it a go and have a look, beyond that it gets trickier but one step at a time.

Passivpool Energy "A++" rated Swimming Pools, the lowest running costs in the Universe.
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Re: Testing swimpool pump

Thank you both - it's so nice to have helpful experts on here - superb.

Here's a link to the exact pump we have - (hope mods allow this- please -
http://www.poolpartsonline.com/p-59806-astral-sena-pump-parts-spa-parts-pool-parts.aspx   (USA site - haven't found French one)

The details on the black capacitor are as follows - hope he's copied them correctly - it's an Astral Sena Pump -
On one side is written -  SO7103
and -
20uu +/- 5%SH
400u - 10000  H\CL.B
450v +/- 3000 H\CL.C
500v +/-  120 + 20 2/0
1000h/cc D
-25/85/21 PO#
AI CE EN 60047

On top plate - Single phase induction motor
Model - YY7122
2780  r/min
F 450 V
S1 IP55
Ins F
50 Hz
230 v

Where would I obtain such a capacitor - haven't found any French pool site yet that seems to offer such detailed replacement parts - any suggestions as to where I could try ?

This will give you a smile -
I went to ask OH if he'd take the cover off the electrical gubbins for me so we could get these details.   I went into the living room and he was watching the tv - there was some sort of game with lots of men racing round after a ball - he certainly did not appreciate me disturbing him;  I decided discretion was the best part of whatever - and disappeared for a an hour or so.    What was going on ?  (!!!)   Talk about living dangerously - that's one of my nine lives lost tonight !!
Oh well - Chessie

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Re: Testing swimpool pump

Hi, the capacitance of the capacitor is measured in microFarads - the symbol is a "u" with a tail on the first part of the "u" followed by a capital F (called a "mu" in latin I think). I cant see this in any of your list. As regards a replacement any decent electrical repair shop should be able to supply if they repair electrical motors ( washing machines, dishwashers etc). Take out the capacitor and take it along - it could be a 20 microFarad, 450 Volt.
As regards to the state of the bearing then try and turn the motor by the fan, if it moves easily then the bearings OK if not then trouble. It will more than likely be the seal assembly, no.20 in your parts list which has failed and you will need to disassemble the pump to get at the seal. They can be a pain to get out. Have a look at a blocked impeller first.

I believe that there is something going on which involves men and boys running around, chasing a ball, falling over, acting spoilt etc and its in the southern hemisphere along with the much more important games involving the oval ball, but that takes place on another continent and with much less media coverage.
Have courage only 30 more days to go !

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Re: Testing swimpool pump

Hello halfblind - thanks for your very informative reply. 

Couldn't work out symbols so I wrote '20uu' with plus/minus 5% SH  - or could that have been an FH?  (worse than computer code !!)  I couldn't put the 'tail' on - but I think this- the 20uu(tail) is what you are referring to for the MicroFarads (as in Faraday I presume ?)

Have discovered, via personal recs, that there is an excellent electrical repair shop locally - with good reputation and who does definitely repair swimpool pumps;  had considered taking the whole assembly along to him - but your idea is probably a lot better;  can I be absolutely clear - the capacitor can be removed quite easily, and it is the black stubby round 'thing' - looks a Roman Candle firework (oh the good old days);  rather than the whole black box itself with the other bits of wiring that sits on top of the motor  - don't need to take whole black box just the black round container type thing.  (Sorry for technology but I'm sure you can understand that I'm having difficulty with all these terms !!).   I'm of the 'pick it up and shake it' school - which never really seems to work - you'd think I'd know better by now. 

As for the men (more like little boys) running around - silly little prima donnas;  give me the real men with 'the thighs' chasing oval balls - although it doesn't take long for 'the thighs' to become mud covered - then I lose interest...!!!

If the pool pump were working I could have sanctuary - as it is, it isn't, so I don't - life gets complicated.

Fingers crossed it is just the capacitor - thanks for good advice.

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