14 April, 2017

What's Wrong With My Solar Pump?

I had asked Doug and Twyla, our resident solar power experts if they could come over and take a look at why my solar pump had quit working.
Our ShurFlo 12VDC Pump

They did and provided several suggestions. They told me my solar panel creates about 20.5 VDC, so that's good, and that I definitely want to use the controller to limit the voltage to 12 VDC for the pump. A cursory examination couldn't find anything wrong with the pump other than that it wasn't working.

After their visit, I posted on Facebook looking for someone in the Corozal/Orange Walk area that did rewinding of electrical motors. Eric Burson, from Progresso, suggested I go to Albert's electrical shop, next door to Paso's Battery store, just off San Andres.

Broken Pump Switch Assembly
So, I did that. He called me that evening and said the switch assembly of the motor was broken. Next morning I went there and he showed what the problem was.

I came back home with the pump and proceeded to go through the material I had printed out about the pump.

Low and behold, there were five different service kits for the pump. Who knew? I assumed with something that small that I would just be replacing the whole thing.
Kits and Exploded View

The kits ranged from the switch front end to the diaphragm assemblies, the back end of that, and finally the motor itself.

Wow! So, I figured, based on what Albert showed me, that I needed at least the #1 service kit. Now to find someone who would sell it to me.

I went and looked at AltE.com's website - briefly, but saw nothing that mentioned parts, or the like. I then went to ShurFlo.com and found that they don't sell anything to consumers directly, but they did have a list of vendors. I copied down three of them.

The first one I called (on Skype, so it's really cheap to call), said they only dealt with agricultural pumps, 150 psi and up. I tried the next one - they only dealt with other vendors, sort of a wholesaler's wholesaler. I tried the third one. Nope, they only dealt with janitorial type stuff.

At the end of my rope, I called ShurFlo (that all three vendors had recommended I call). No. They very definitely don't deal with the public in any sort of retail fashion. They did suggest I see their list of vendors. I told them I had done that and all their vendors said to call them (I'm getting nowhere fast). ShurFlo had no other ideas.

Now, I really am at the end of my rope. In desperation, I called AltE to see if they had any ideas besides buying a new pump. I reached AltE's Customer Service. That was the wrong place. They transferred me to Technical Support.

I explained what pump I had and that I was trying to find someone to sell me a service kit for it. He said that they had a couple of kits for it on hand. So, we traded stock numbers and serial numbers for a while, and finally, we came up with a match. A service kit that covered the whole front end of the pump without the motor.
Pump Exploded View

I told him that would do, how much? I expected it to be about the same price as the whole pump was to start with, but happily found out it's only $25.00 US and change, plus $10 shipping to Florida to You Have Mail, who will ship it down here to Belize for me.

Ordering it was a piece of cake. It should be delivered to You Have Mail on Monday, and probably will be in my grubby mitts by Friday. Double wow!

So, hopefully, by next weekend I should be ready to set it all up again and try it out. I should have called AltE first, but strangely, they didn't have any info that I saw on their website about parts. Weird, huh?

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