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Wily Widget

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Well Pump Motor Indicator

One of Wily’s neighbors stopped by and described a problem he was having with his water well pump.  The guy really needed Wily’s help.  He wanted a simple way to indicate when the submersible pump motor was turned on and running, so the neighbor could do some troubleshooting.  The water well head and electrical connections were located some distance from the back of the neighbor’s house, inside a small shed.  What the neighbor wanted to do was turn on a small light whenever the pump turned on. 

He wanted the light to be bright enough so it would be visible from the house.  He was not sure, but the neighbor thought that the pump motor was turned on and off by switches deep down the well.  Therefore, there was not a simple switched voltage to tap into at ground level in the shed. How could he turn on a light when the pump was running?  Wily thought about it for a few seconds and then told the neighbor that he thought he had a solution.


The pump motor was about a horse power in size and was powered by 240vac. Wily did a quick mental calculation and figured that the AC current must be about 6 Amps. There may not be a switched voltage in the shed but the AC current feeding power to the motor would sure be detectable.  In fact, with the right part, Wily thought he could take advantage of the 6 Amps of AC current flowing.

Wily looked though his box of assorted current transformers and found just what he needed.  It was a part made by Triad.  The device was small enough to fit in the pump’s electrical junction box and had a nice plastic clip-on assembly, so Wily would not have to disconnect any wires.  Wily had used this part in other applications so he knew that with 6 Amps of AC current, the transformer would produce enough voltage to power a green LED directly with good intensity and without any other power supply.  Wily also looked around in his box of assorted panel lights and came up with a nice weather tight lamp holder.  With a quality green LED installed in the holder, the lamp should be bright enough to be seen from the house. 

Wily wired up the circuit shown below and made sure that the circuit worked.  He then drilled a hole in the shed, above the access door and mounted the lamp assembly in the hole.  He then soldered the diode and resistor to the lamp holder before running some wires to the current transformer.  When everything was wired up, the light turned on every time the pump motor clicked into operation.
Water Well Shed

Submersible Pump System

Current Transformer       Panel Mounted Lamp Holder


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