When people think of pump controllers, their first consideration is that the purpose of a controller is to turn the pump on and off. While this is true, it is only part of the story.
The primary reason for using a pump controller is to minimize or prevent damage to the pump. Pumps are designed to work within specific parameters, and the pump controllers identify when things fall outside those parameters and signal the pump to change, usually to shut down.
Secondarily, pump controllers can minimize or prevent non-pump damage as well. With the monitoring sensors, a pump controller can “see” when something is wrong with the system.
While people talk about the pump controller, it is important to note that the controller is part of a system. Pump controllers rely on other parts of the system to work properly.
Before we focus on the pump controller to see how it can prevent more than pump failure or damage, it is helpful to list the components of a water pumping system.
Components of a pump system are
- Water source
- Water pump
- Hoses/ waterline
- Pressure sensors
- Pressure release tank
- Pump start relay
Protecting the pump with a pump controllerAs we mentioned, the most important use of the controller is to protect the pump. Pumps are a big investment and preventing damage and lengthening their life will pay dividends.
If the water source is disrupted, (blocked filter, dry supply tank, broke intake valve, etc.) absent a controller, the pump will continue running. Left running long enough, and there will be a catastrophic pump failure, damaged parts and likely a total loss.
As you monitor the pressure in the system, you may notice that the controller cycles the pump on and off; this can happen when there is more pressure in the system than the application requires. When the controller senses the pressure getting too high, it will turn off the pump. When the pressure returns to a safe range, it will turn on the pump.
The on-off switching is hard on the pump and will reduce its useful lifespan. By monitoring the controller, you can see this issue arise. There are special pressure tanks and cycle stop valves that can be added to the pump ecosystem to stabilize the pressure and reduce the burden on the pump.
Protecting the pumping system,With the appropriate pressure and flow sensors, the controller identifies the extreme changes in pressure or flow and shuts the pump down, preventing potential damage.
If the flow rate suddenly drops, this can be an indication that there is a blockage in the system. If the pumping continues, other parts of the system may be at risk as the pressure increases. The controller, through the sensors, sees this change in flow and pressure and shuts down the system before further damage occurs.
When properly configured, pump controllers can also identify conditions that indicate leaking or broken valves. If the flow rate increases too much, it is an indication that there is reduced resistance; this can be caused by a broken sprinkler head, valve stuck open, or system leak. Excessive water leaks can lead to wasted water (higher costs), and water damage to the irrigated areas.