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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Before everyone starts getting getting on my case, I was never given any instruction or prints on how to wire this together


I was wondering if anyone has experience with these float switches that control a solenoid to feed a fire pumphouse water tank (200k gallons )


I do not need any critique on my style or workmanship. I’m just looking for answers to help me understand why I can’t get this to operate correctly. TY
 

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Do you have a control panel everything wires into? Are the alarms just lights, annunciation elsewhere, PLC or SCADA alarm?
Being it's a fire pump, I'm be looking for more info, long before I mention how I'd wire it. The left low and the right high are your "stop/starts" for your valve, and the other two sets of contacts are alarms..
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Do you have a control panel everything wires into? Are the alarms just lights, annunciation elsewhere, PLC or SCADA alarm?
Being it's a fire pump, I'm be looking for more info, long before I mention how I'd wire it. The left low and the right high are your "stop/starts" for your valve, and the other two sets of contacts are alarms..
Yes , there is a fire pump engine controller

I’m more interested in gettin the solenoid to work correctly , and less worry about monitoring fire alarm later

can’t I just control water level with just one switch ?

do I need a “latch” on/off contactor ?

or, is it more of And/ Or control wiring ?
 

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I do not need any critique on my style or workmanship. I’m just looking for answers to help me understand why I can’t get this to operate correctly. TY
Can you share a little more about what you have done and what did not happen?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Can you share a little more about what you have done and what did not happen?
Can you share a little more about what you have done and what did not happen?
basically , I can’t seem to get the float switches to operate correctly Meaning , I can’t get them to switch on/off or activate ?

theyre stiff as a board. Meaning , The lever does not move between “high and low “ micro switches. We tried all day emptying and adding water to the tank
 

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Yes , there is a fire pump engine controller

I’m more interested in gettin the solenoid to work correctly , and less worry about monitoring fire alarm later

can’t I just control water level with just one switch ?

do I need a “latch” on/off contactor ?

or, is it more of And/ Or control wiring ?
No you can't use one switch. The tank would only fill for the 3" or so that the float travels. Two switches is pretty basic control and allows some volume in the tank.
I'm guessing controller will latch the low level switch.
Think of it if it initially as the tank is empty, so it has a low level and is not above the high level. As water enters the tank, the low level alarm clears. Water continues to fill and the low fill for the valve is satisfied, but the high is not satisfied so it continues to fill. When the first high level trips, the valve closes. If the valve sticks and the tank continues to fill, the high alarm is reached and annunciates an alarm.

As for the solenoid, air supply in 2, out to the valve on 1, and vent 3.
 

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basically , I can’t seem to get the float switches to operate correctly Meaning , I can’t get them to switch on/off or activate ?

theyre stiff as a board. Meaning , The lever does not move between “high and low “ micro switches. We tried all day emptying and adding water to the tank
Does the pivot arm on the switch move?
 

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Looking at the floats with low and high water, I don't think they changed. Like glen alluded to, make sure the float arms move. Then I would just use an ohm meter to see if the floats have a change of state with high and low water.

These floats wire to the controller or directly to the solenoid valves?
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
The float arms don’t move. I believe they should be more bouyant ?

is it possible , they silicone the **** out of them to make them stuck ?

I believe one float switch controls solenoid. I don’t see why I need two micro switches , “high and low” , because I can control solenoid with just one switch.

the other float switch I think is designed to monitor control panel. More or less , be monitored by FA system , which means I would need a relay module
 

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The float arms don’t move. I believe they should be more bouyant ?

is it possible , they silicone the **** out of them to make them stuck ?
Anything is possible. You might have to call the float manufacturer (if this can't be dumped in someone else's lap, like whoever supplied the floats).

Do you have the float instructions? I wonder if there is a shipping screw that prevents the float from moving and it needs to be removed after installation?
 

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Okay, looking a little closer at the original pictures, I see that the float is supposed to move up/down and operates a switch mechanically in both the up and down position (two different switches). You should be able to tie a string to the float and pull it up to operate the switches. If it won't move, that's the place to start.

So there are 4 wires from each float control box going to the control panel?
 
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The float arms don’t move. I believe they should be more bouyant ?

is it possible , they silicone the **** out of them to make them stuck ?
Have you tried lightly turning the pivot arm with a pair of needle nose? Since it is about 0.5 ounces of weight for an inch of water, it should take minimal effort to get it to move. They do physically rise and fall with level? That is, they are restricted inside the tank? Usually you can feel the buoyancy of a float with your finger when you try and test them.
 

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Do you know what NFPA stands for? Before you decide you know more about how a water tank for fire protection should be wired, you might want to educate yourself.

See the note on the for the various float levels?

NFPA 72, 17.16.3.1 & 17.16.3.3

17.17.3.2.1


Actions for Section
The off-normal signal shall be initiated when the water level falls 3 in. (76 mm) or rises 3 in. (76 mm).
17.17.3.3


Actions for Section
A supervisory signal–initiating device for other than pressure tanks shall initiate a low water level signal when the water level falls 12 in. (300 mm).

These are not suggestions by some engineer some place. These are codes to operate a non pressurized fire protection tank. No different than the codes used to install electrical apparatus we call the NEC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So basically , I’m screwed

sorry for my ignorance , but can I find these codes in 2017 NEC book ?
 

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Looking at the float pictures and understanding how little it moves during operation, I now think the floats work.

Looking at the float drawing and the inside tank pictures, it appears there are not enough conductors going to the float switch box.

ETA: Is that a resistor shown jumped between where the conductors land on the switch? I guess that would be to monitor the circuit is operational?
 
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