Remote pump control

We are often asked if our cellular and radio products can be used for remote pump control.

Inevitably the answer is yes, they can. The SMS Lite and WP2P are frequently used to remotely start, stop, and monitor pumps faults.

Pump control and pump controllers is a specialist area and there are many different types and techniques used. Pump control can include simply turning a small pump on and off, to more advanced controls for pump speed, output pressure and flow. Your electrician or system integrator needs to be consulted as they are likely to be involved.

Typical examples of our wireless and cellular pump control implementations include:

Irrigation Pump Control

This is usually the remote control of high power 415V 3 phase AC pumps. The pumps are often switched in a sequence to provide water to different centre pivot irrigators at different times.

The pump shed is often in a remote area of the farm and using WP2P radio remote control prevents the farmer having to drive to the pump shed.

Booster Pump Control (Flood Mitigation)

Often used to switch on a booster pump before the water level or stream flow reaches a dangerous level. The booster pumps are large and expensive to run, so it is important to only use when necessary.

Systems have been used which combine a WP2P radio link and a SMS Lite to give 4G text alerts.

Pump Fault Indication

Typical examples are monitoring the phase failure and sending the “pump fault” output from the pump controller as an SMS alarm. SMS alarms can also be sent from a low pressure signal, which would indicate a pump fault or potential leak. Using the pulse output feature of the SMS Lite is also a great way or performing a fault reset remotely.

Bilge Pump Monitoring

This popular SMS Lite application sends SMS alerts when a water level is detected in a boat and it provides on/off control of the DC powered bilge pump. The SMS Lite can use it’s spare I/O for boat security system or power supply monitoring etc.

Sump Monitoring

Similar to the bilge pump application but usually for buildings close to the water table. A recent example was the sump of a hotel elevator shaft which was close to the water table. The SMS Lite was used to text maintenance staff during weather events so the booster pumps can be operated to prevent spillage.

Bore Pump Monitoring

Used to provide confirmation that the bore pump is running and get warnings if the pump stops.

This project used our powerful SMS Controller to meet the project requirements.

It was in a rural location and remote control was crucial to prevent extensive travel time for the owners.

Considerations for Pump Control Projects

Important considerations for the remote switching of your pump include:

Controller Outputs – Does the pump controller have relay outputs that can be connected to the SMS Lite or WP2P?

These are often provided for pump running, pump fault, high temperature, mains fail etc. Some controllers may have only a single output relay but its function can be selected.

Controller Inputs – Does the pump controller have auxiliary switch inputs for remote start requests?

Generally, if the controller has a digital panel this is likely and they are often found on an internal terminal strip. If the controller is an analogue type with knobs and switches, it is unlikely to support remote starts. Check with the controller manufacturer.

Relay Contacts – Our relay outputs are low power DC contacts that will need interface relays or contactors to operate high current and AC mains powered pumps.

Click here for more detail on interface relays.

Cellular coverage – Is there 4G network coverage at the pump location? Remote rural areas and hilly terrain often have limited reception and this may prevent the cellular SMS Lite option being considered. Check how many bars are shown on your phone to give an initial indication.

Line of Sight and range – If using WP2P radio systems, is there clear line of site between the pump and control? Click here for more detail. The wireless repeater can also be used to extend range.

Setpoint Changes – You will need the Analogue I/O version of the WP2P if a 4-20mA signal is needed for setpoint, flow or pressure indication.

Our powerful DATRAN SCADA system is also used by many local councils for the monitoring of their reticulated infrastructure. These systems include remote pump control of water, wastewater and storm water systems and uses the DATRAN XL4 Plus RTU.

These projects are different to the WP2P and SMS Lite projects. The XL4 Plus RTU is typically interfaced to the pump controller by an Ethernet or serial Modbus connection. The pump controller is usually an industrial PLC which is used to control the entire water treatment plant.

Please contact us to discuss remote pump control options.