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Thread: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttps://www.weldingweb.com/images/s

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    indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttps://www.weldingweb.com/images/s

    hey every 0ne. i have an electrical/electronic question. the power for my sump pump for my septic system has an electric box outside in a weather proof box. this box has a plug-in receptical fault ground for the pump to plug in. the power for box some times goes out or flashes and trips GF and pump doesn't work causing effluent to leak out and run on ground.

    i want to put a indicator light in the weatherproof box that is lighted all the time when power is present. i was planning to install a neon light thru side of box and plug into spare receptical and shine outside. does anyone know of a 120v indicator neon type light that would work for this. i know electric but don't know what is available.

    thanks, rob

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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    Find an Allen-Bradley panel indicator light. They have some meant for outdoor use. You will need to purchase at an electrical supply house. Not a box store item.
    You will also need to hole saw or punch a hole in your box to mount.

    Dan D.
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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    If you must have neon you may be able to find one of the old neon voltage testers and adapt it. If LED will do find something like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/PL1603G-ATI-...5Yva8e&vxp=mtr
    Digikey has neon panel lamps most you'll have to get creative to protect it from the weather.
    https://www.digikey.com/products/en/...dicator%20lamp
    ---Meltedmetal

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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    Neon light testers Ive seen can do about 35 volts to 600 volts so you should be good with any neon light you have. Another option would be an LED with a diode and resistor in series. The resistor should be around 6K ohms for a 20 mA LED and a 1 amp diode polarized with the LED. You should make it for out door use like mentioned by DanD78.

    The neon light idea does not need a resistor or diode and would be easiest IMO.

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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    Yah, I'd second the LED. Won't be as bright, but won't ever burn out either.

    No need for a 2nd diode, the LED is already a diode. As long as the led specs indicate 20mA +/- 30% and reverse blocking voltage of over 200 volts. If the blocking voltage is under 200, then yes, you need another (correctly rated) diode.

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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    hey guys, ithank you for your help. i ordered 3 orange waterproof 110v neon lights off of eBay and they are wired in parallel to make all three work best with no resister or diode if correct. thanks to everyone!!!

    rob

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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad86tsi View Post
    Yah, I'd second the LED. Won't be as bright, but won't ever burn out either.

    No need for a 2nd diode, the LED is already a diode. As long as the led specs indicate 20mA +/- 30% and reverse blocking voltage of over 200 volts. If the blocking voltage is under 200, then yes, you need another (correctly rated) diode.
    Chad, I was thinking the diode is to get half wave rectification to the LED. Without the rectumfrier, the LED (diode) would be getting reverse polarity every half cycle and probly shorten the life of LED.

    The neon is simplest. No resistor no polarization.

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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    An LED is just a diode in a clear package, with elements doped into the junction that cause it's waste energy to include visible light instead of just heat. It's still just as much a diode as any other diode. It will hold up just fine to reverse voltage. It's a nice idea, I get your purpose.

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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    As long as you aren't planning on wading in it I would get rid of the GFI. Pumps are notorious for tripping them.
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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    Since it's in a sealed box you are allowed to have a non gfi receptacle. That will fix your problem unless your pump is pulling too much amperage or you have a short/bad wire. Septic is what I do everyday. (This is for Florida, you will need to check to see if that's legal where you're located.)
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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    Fix the problem causing the GFCI to trip. If you don't have one, add an overfill alarm.

    I'm not aware of a rule requiring septic pumps to have GFCI protection. I've never installed a plug in septic pump.

    In many cases septic pump power is entirely underground, and sealed in a waterproof box in the stand pipe above the pump tank. As laymen should never be in this place, GFCI protectors are not needed. People qualified to be there know how to turn the power off before entering.

    An extra float operating at low voltage signals the alarm when the tank fills above the normal level.

    Willie
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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    The problem is the oil filled motors. Any leakage current trips the GFI. Fridges and engine block heaters are the same way
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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    Quote Originally Posted by farmshop View Post
    The problem is the oil filled motors. Any leakage current trips the GFI. Fridges and engine block heaters are the same way
    Is that what causes it? We install lots of septic systems and any time an electrician installs a gfi we know we will be back out soon because it's not working.
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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    Quote Originally Posted by SquirmyPug View Post
    Since it's in a sealed box you are allowed to have a non gfi receptacle. That will fix your problem unless your pump is pulling too much amperage or you have a short/bad wire. Septic is what I do everyday. (This is for Florida, you will need to check to see if that's legal where you're located.)
    Good call SquirmyPug. This makes sense twice. Those GFI's fail and why would you need one in a weather tight box?

    Duramax-rob, you probly should check the current draw and if you have to have a GFI, put one in the panel breaker type or use a 20 amp in the weather box IMO.

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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    So with oil filled motors, are we talking about submersibles? My system's pump out uses a 1/2 hp Monarch style centrifugal pump in the basement so the motor isn't oil filled, it's just an open air cooled with shaft drive into the pump. Mine uses a sealed ( I think it was made by Pil?) control in the tank with a switch right at the plugin that the motor plugs into. The plugin itself is dedicated (only the pump on the circuit) but is not GFI protected. In the last 36 yrs I've only changed the Pil control once, and the pump once. I've never had a problem with the breaker kicking off, so if I was going to run a light, it would be on a 2nd Pil control and another circuit as a high level indicator. Your version only tells you when the power goes off, mine would warn of high levels regardless of the problem.
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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    Yes most submersible pump are oil filled to help cool the motor. Pedestal style open motors are air cooled.
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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    Any connections in a sewerage application should be sealed using something like heat shrink tubing, using hardwired connections instead of plugs and outlets to reduce corrosion issues. The problem is the hydrogen sulfide gas found in septic tanks and pump chambers is highly corrosive. I've seen the wire "springs" inside wire nuts disintegrated in less than 3 years; the yokes of outlets nearly missing, high resistance found at side mount screws and wires pulled from stab connections. I've seen two cases the gases travel through the conduit back to the panel and cause significant rusting of breakers and connections. It surprises me electricians don't recognize that they should treat this a hazardous environment and at least half *** seal the conduit with foam, putty, chewing, something. IMO, a good installation is a ventilated control panel/box on a pedestal (post) - assuming an outside pump chamber-and sealed conduits; the high level annunciator/lights have a mount... the downside is some find it to be an eyesore and it could be vandalized.
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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    i fixed the problem two ways. first was to to replace the gfi on the post by the septic tank with a regular duplex receptical and ran the circuit inside to a dry location in the house. then i ran load side of the gfi to the pump.

    next i made a neon light that plugs into the receptacle outside and every thin works great and have not had any problems since.

    i guess the gfi aren't made to be outside where there are extreme temperature ranges.

    thanks to ALL. rob

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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
    Fix the problem causing the GFCI to trip. If you don't have one, add an overfill alarm.

    I'm not aware of a rule requiring septic pumps to have GFCI protection. I've never installed a plug in septic pump.

    In many cases septic pump power is entirely underground, and sealed in a waterproof box in the stand pipe above the pump tank. As laymen should never be in this place, GFCI protectors are not needed. People qualified to be there know how to turn the power off before entering.

    An extra float operating at low voltage signals the alarm when the tank fills above the normal level.

    Willie
    I assume since this is an outside receptacle that anyone can plug in a cord, it requires a GFI. It doesn't know it is only going to be used for a pump.
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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    yes i did use a gfi on the inside to protect that circuit to the pump outlet. that way if i have to use the other side of the receptacle outside, it is protected also. early 80s in hvac school, instructor had us make our own gfi. we took a relay and a momentary switch with duplex receptacle and wired the relay so that the receptacle was hot after using momentary switch to ground the replay and energize in relay. when the ground drops out the receptacle would also.

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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    If the pump is on a dedicated circuit move that GFI to a GFI breaker in the breaker box. I've had no end of trouble with a GFI outlet in a "weather proof" enclosure.
    In my case, the outlet in question was an exterior one that also fed the bathroom above it and every time it would rain it would trip.
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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    GFCI protectors work equally well whether they are supplied by Equipment Ground Conductor or not. In fact NEC approves them as a substitute for two wire receptacles when no grounding conductor is available. I have never used a cord, and plug connected septic pump, so no GFCI is required.

    That said, if your GFCI is tripping it may be a precursor to system failure. I would prefer to fix the problem in good weather, when no crisis is occurring.

    I'm an electrician. I've repaired ten times as many septic pumps as I have installed. I worked on two systems today. There's always a neighbor's brother in law's cousin's uncle who will install a septic pump for a case of beer. People are always very proud of beating the system, and finding a cheap way to install. When that system needs repair, the installer is no longer available.

    It is possible to install in a manner that will be VERY dependable. This way also allows for repair without exposure to sewage. I urge you to seek out a pro who can fix it, and you will get many years before it wears out.
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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    I assume since this is an outside receptacle that anyone can plug in a cord, it requires a GFI. It doesn't know it is only going to be used for a pump.
    That's not what we've been told by inspectors and electricians. We were told that if it's a circuit for just the pump and alarm then if it's in a sealed box gfi isn't required. We have had NEW pumps/alarms on brand new circuits trip the gfi after only a week of use. That's not good for my customers and it's not good for me because I have to go back to the job and reset a gfi then tell the customer to put a standard receptacle in. This has happened many many many times.
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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    i think the problem was the gfi outlet was subject to the extreme weather conditions mainly moisture. the outlet was corroded. moving the receptacle inside made the difference i think. essentially its on a hard wired extension cord gfi protected.

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    Re: indicator light for septic effluent water electrichttp://www.weldingweb.com/image

    Quote Originally Posted by SquirmyPug View Post
    That's not what we've been told by inspectors and electricians. We were told that if it's a circuit for just the pump and alarm then if it's in a sealed box gfi isn't required. We have had NEW pumps/alarms on brand new circuits trip the gfi after only a week of use. That's not good for my customers and it's not good for me because I have to go back to the job and reset a gfi then tell the customer to put a standard receptacle in. This has happened many many many times.
    Could you plug a second load in? It needs GFCI. If it couldn't have a different load, then it doesn't need GFCI. Normally, Septic pumps don't need GFCI. Nonetheless, a GFCI tripping tells me power is leaking to earth. You have a problem. Disconnecting the device making you aware of it will only defer the failure.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

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