The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

220 volt pump wiring junction box

joining 12 gauge wire together with a junction box

We've been having some trouble with our creek pump and the first place we decided to upgrade was the quality of the wiring.

You can get a 250 foot roll of outdoor grade 12 gauge 2 wire for around 138 dollars. Our stretch is just over 300 feet, which required the above 4 dollar junction box.

The plan will be to silicone up the ends and mount it on a tree above the point where the flood waters usually get.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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You stated in the blog that the pump was just over 300 feet. I have been told that when you run over 250 feet you need to upgrade to a larger size wire to compensate for the voltage drop over that distance. If you are having a voltage drop that can cause the motor to run hotter and burn up faster. Hope this helps
Comment by Barry Wed Aug 3 23:08:25 2011
That's precisely whey we were upgrading. For a 3/4 HP pump, you need 12 gauge wire if you're going over 300 feet. (Below 300 feet, you can use 14 gauge wire.) Of course, when we downgraded back down to to the 1/2 HP pump, the heavier wire was overkill, but it won't hurt!
Comment by anna Thu Aug 4 07:22:10 2011
I have bought solar pumps, one submersible (SunPumps) and one above-water (Dankoff Slowpump). The gets round some of the wiring/placement problems.
Comment by Mark Mon Aug 8 02:10:51 2011
Hmm, we'll have to look into solar pumps next time. My gut says they wouldn't be heavy duty enough to pump water 300 feet horizontally and up about twenty feet in elevation while having enough pressure left to run high level sprinklers, but I'd be glad to be proven wrong!
Comment by anna Mon Aug 8 08:33:34 2011

The name solar pump is somewhat of a misnomer, since it is generally a electrical pump powered by a PV panel.

As for their power, I see no reason why it couldn't be as powerful as a grid-powered electric pump. Provided you have enough PV panels installed to provide the power.

Using solar panels with a MPP tracker and an inverter you should even be able to power your current pump with "solar power". But I'm pretty sure that the required PV panels and the regulator/invertor would cost significantly more than the pump!

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Aug 8 12:16:18 2011
I'm glad you chimed in. I was assuming the previous commenter meant some sort of pump that had the solar panel built in, so I assumed the panel would have to be small and the pump puny. The type of array we'd need to power a pump like ours is way out of our price range (plus, under the trees where it floods frequently is a terrible spot for a solar setup.) Guess I won't look into solar pumps after all....
Comment by anna Mon Aug 8 14:23:14 2011

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