We bought a 1hp shallow well jet pump (Everbilt) a couple months ago to move water from a cistern to use in various places on the farm.

It stopped working all of a sudden a week ago. Test meter says ~123v going into the motor, even when I take the cover off and probe the inner wiring.

Tested the start capacitor and it rises and falls as I should expect. Shaft turns. There was no hum, click, noise, or anything when we apply power to the motor. So I figured it was a crap motor.

Went to another hardware store, got a different brand (Zoeller). Spent an hour removing the old motor and replacing with new and I got the EXACT same result. 120+v into the motor, but no sound, hum, clicks....nothing. I test the capacitor on this one, too.

I'm thinking that there's a slight chance I got a bum motor a second time. So I plugged in a 3/4hp portable irrigation pump we already had to the same electrical source and it works. I try the Zoeller motor on a different breaker at the post, still doesn't work.

So I order ANOTHER 1hp motor (Red Lion) and the first thing I try is wiring it up to see if it runs. Same result! There's power going into the motor, but NOTHING HAPPENS. Still no hums, clicks, no smoke, nothing. I have other items like heat lamps and lights plugged into this building and they all work; even if I have them on this circuit.

I've never seen anything like this. An AC motor is fairly simple. Yet 3 pumps (2 of which brand new) not working even the power is obviously there. Esp when I plug in another motor (which is a cheap harbor freight one; these others are more expensive) and it works just fine. I switched them all to 115 instead of 230...it's the first thing I do.

What else am I missing or am I so unlucky that I just bought 3 bad motors from 3 brands in a row?


1 Answer 1


Since you are measuring voltage it is a real possibility you have an open neutral, yes you can have an open neutral and measure 120v +- this is quite common in circuits that use backstabs an easy test put a table lamp on the circuit if no light measure the voltage 120v open neutral if you read zero volts it’s an open hot. And you were reading a phantom voltage to know which wire to trace it helps to put a load on the circuit verify the hot measurement under load.

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