Posted on by 0 comment(s)

Troubleshooting Water Wells: Always Check Your Voltage, Part 1

Recently a customer called suggesting his new constant pressure well pump control panel was DOA (dead on arrival).

We'll call this customer Tom.

Tom informed me that his panel was installed and the power was hot and he was not getting any power lights.

Tom: I have power going to the panel and I am not getting any lights.

Me: First things first, let’s check the voltage.

Tom: I checked the voltage; I am getting 120 on one leg and 118 on the other.

Me: Okay, let’s verify your dip switch settings and electrical connections making sure all connections are secure and the equipment is properly grounded.

Tom and I ran through his system settings; I left him to double check all his wiring connections.


I contacted the manufacturer Franklin Electric after we checked that everything was installed correctly. I ran through everything that we checked with Franklin's top tech wiz Wally; he knows everything about everything Franklin Electric has ever made. We spent about 20 minutes verifying that Tom and I had not missed anything. Wally and I concluded that the unit must be defective.

So, convinced the unit was defective I called Tom.

Tom: I checked everything and still no lights, what next?

Me: I'll get another unit over to you.

Tom: Sounds good, I'll call you next week once I get a chance to install it.

The following week, Tom calls.

Tom: I got the new unit installed; I have not flipped on the breaker yet. I wanted to call you first to run through the start up.

Me: Are all the wires landed in the right spot?

Tom: Yes

Me: Hit the switch!

Tom: Flipped the breaker, and...Nothing...

At that moment I was quite concerned that we missed something in the troubleshooting of the original unit. So Tom and I started running through the troubleshooting once again. Once again we started by checking the voltage. Equipped with my fine tooth comb, we commenced the troubleshooting.

Me: Tom, pull the incoming power and ground and check the voltage again.

Tom: Okay, voltage on black is 120. Voltage on white is.. ZERO.

Me: Tom, it’s your breaker.

Tom: I swear I checked that breaker was good.

This whole situation could have been avoided had the incoming voltage been properly verified. The reason that Tom was reading 120 and 118 originally was that he did not disconnect the incoming power to the box before checking. The voltage he was reading on the dead leg was the voltage feeding through the control with a 2 volt drop.

So be sure to check your power before you assume the equipment is faulty. Both Tom and myself learned a valuable lesson that day.


The system that Tom was installing was a Franklin Electric SubDrive QuickPak. With a SubDrive constant pressure controller, the well can supply constant city like water pressure. Constant pressure is also valuable for irrigation. It will keep sprinklers and showers from the wide range of pressure commonly found in a typical pressure switch operated well system.

If you find yourself interested in learning more about installing a constant pressure water well system or are looking to upgrade an existing well system email us.

You must be logged in to post comments.