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Thread: Cheapest way to pump water from creek/cistern?

  1. #1

    Default Cheapest way to pump water from creek/cistern?

    Hello,

    I am trying to figure out how to pump water at my off grid site. I will eventually have PV power, but for now, just a HondaEU2000i generator.

    I need a way to pump water in two ways, now, before I have any PV power at my site.

    1) Pump water from my creek about, 100 feet length, and about 20 feet up into my cistern.

    2) Pump water from cistern when I need it into a garden hose to water plants or do whatever I need to with with running water from a hose.

    My first plan was to use a cheap trash pump to do I was going to use to do #1, and a jacuzzi pump attached to a small pressure tank, powered by my generator I was going to use to do #2. I was given two of these by my Dad, but unfortunately neither are in working order.

    I am looking for the CHEAPEST way to do both...do I need a new trash pump, and a new small pressure tank....or could one or the other do both???? I would like to get at least 10 gallons a minute for #1.

    Thank you in advance for any opinions, thoughts & suggestions. Much appreciated.


    AC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Willits, CA
    Posts
    5,714

    Default Re: Cheapest way to pump water from creek/cistern?

    A "trash pump" may be at it's max lift, for 20'. They are generally used to pump out a manhole, or sump pit, and not for moving water to elevation. You will have to shop around for a right sized pump, because, generally the more lift, the less flow, and using that same pump for less lift, may not give you more flow.
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-BigLug
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-NiFe

    Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph # 214505 ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV
    Powerfab poletop PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe battery | 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV | Midnight ePanel || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    pittsburgh, pa
    Posts
    10,282

    Default Re: Cheapest way to pump water from creek/cistern?

    to make matters worse is that once you get an ac pump or pumps that suffice for the application that going to pvs will mean firstly many of them(pvs) to do the job and secondly a loss due to the inverter creating the ac needed for the pump(s) unless you plan on changing out the pumps to all dc later and that's not cheap. starting with dc pumps may avoid the change-over later or inverter losses, but presents the problem of changing from ac to dc(power supply) for the pumps to operate from your generator now and it would be an expense too, but far cheaper than the prices for good inverters.
    what the cheapest way might be is hard to say with many variables and options out there to influence this. my initial gut reaction was any pump capable to a raise the water to that height that can fill a tank(even if a small flow rate) in the air above for storage. that stored water will have its own pressure through using gravity so an additional pump won't be needed.
    Last edited by niel; March 15th, 2009 at 18:14 PDT.
    NIEL

  4. #4

    Default Re: Cheapest way to pump water from creek/cistern?

    Hi,

    Thanks for the replies.

    My creek is probably around 20 feet in altitude from where the top of my cistern is.

    However, it's about 100 feet in length from the creek to my cistern.

    I have a trash pump I can't get working that says it will work with up to 90 feet of head....but does the "head" mean the actual height gained, or the total length of the pumping?

    Since I have a generator, for the quick and dirty pumping from the creek, I can use an AC pump for this, and this will be just an occasional thing, as I also rely on catchment. I have no problem cranking my genny now and then for this high power usage - no way will I ever attempt to run an AC pump of my future PV system.

    But I need a way to get a garden hose flow from the cistern right now, so I don't know if maybe I should go with a DC pump for this, as I will eventually have for everything once my PV system is up and running - I am rigging up a 1000 watt system, but it will be mid summer before this is up and running.

    Thanks again for any and all replies, I fully realize there are probably a "jillion" different ways to approach this.......AC

  5. #5

    Default Re: Cheapest way to pump water from creek/cistern?

    If you have good flow in the creek, and can run back up it a ways, you might look into archaic technology - a hydraulic ram - a water-powered water pump, no electricity required.

    Loaded with annoying ads, but seems to be a valid DIY...

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Hydraulic_Ram_Pump/

    Fewer ads:

    http://www.judyofthewoods.net/ram_pump.html

    I think this is the source of the design for the first link. Also no ads:

    http://www.clemson.edu/irrig/equip/ram.htm

    <edit>
    Reading up on the clemson design, I'd skip their inner tube if you will be drinking the water, and just buy a small bladder (captive air) tank instead. If your drinking water comes from elsewhere, the inner tube (not exactly food contact safe material) is less of an issue.

    What you do when it freezes needs to be thought out...
    Last edited by Ecnerwal; March 15th, 2009 at 20:23 PDT.
    Offgrid non-system consisting of Kohler and Northern Lights generators plus years of fiddling with what panels - inverters - batteries to buy when I finally pry my wallet open and get going on that. Likewise a radiant floor which has air in the tubes, waiting for me to sort out the solar and connection to the cooling systems of the Kohler and Nothern Lights (which might as well provide heat while they are burning fuel to make electricity). In progress, very slowly in progress - but not in debt.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Willits, CA
    Posts
    5,714

    Default Re: Cheapest way to pump water from creek/cistern?

    When you say "trash pump" are you speaking of a pump designed to pump water with debris in it, or a pump you got out of a dumpster ? Debris water pumps are seldom designed to pump much of a head, and 90' is a LOT. The long 100' distance run will only slow the pump down a little, elevation is the killer. Are you priming it ? They will suck water, but seldom enough air to start the water flow.
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-BigLug
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-NiFe

    Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph # 214505 ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV
    Powerfab poletop PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe battery | 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV | Midnight ePanel || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Willits, CA
    Posts
    5,714

    Default Re: Cheapest way to pump water from creek/cistern?

    ram pumps:


    http://www.theramcompany.com/history.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2kv8BUVy6E&NR=1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLl_IVSW-08

    http://virtual.clemson.edu/groups/irrig/Equip/ram.htm

    http://www.greenandcarter.com/main/products.htm :
    Every pump is guaranteed forever. Most RAMs, installed prior to 1800, are still working as well as the day they were installed, and we still maintain a stock of all parts on the shelf.
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-BigLug
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-NiFe

    Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph # 214505 ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV
    Powerfab poletop PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe battery | 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV | Midnight ePanel || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT

  8. #8
    stefan Guest

    Default Re: Cheapest way to pump water from creek/cistern?

    you will get also interesting information at www.meribah-ram-pump.com
    there you will find out also how to build a fitting ram pump.......

  9. #9
    Carolinajim Guest

    Default Re: Cheapest way to pump water from creek/cistern?

    OGMM,

    I just installed a solar DC pump to pump well water from my shallow well at a depth of about 12'.

    How far do you have to draw the water or how close can you mount your pump to the cistern?

    Drawing from 12 ft yields about 2 gpm with my system however when I prime the pump from the barrel I use as a resevoir the gpm is near pump capacity of 4 gpm.

    I will do an experiment in the next few days that will be like this. I will hang a 100' hose about 20' in a tree and I will let you know what happens.

    I've been thinking of building an elevated tank, not 20', but some elevation for a drip irrigation system.

    Anyway, this sounds like fun....

    Scratch the tree....I'll hook the hose up to my tractor FEL forks and get the hose end way up in the air...can't wait to see what happens!

    I put my pump together for about $300 (solar panels, pump and plumbing parts). I copied my Dad's design. He's been using this rig all summer to pump groundwater to water his garden...thousands of gallons. Beats hand pumping for sure.

    Here is a link to a very short non commercial flash video which shows pump components and the pump in action. Will be checking back in in the next few days with the results of the experiment.

    http://www.redbayfarm.com/files/solarwaterpump.swf

  10. #10
    Carolinajim Guest

    Default Re: Cheapest way to pump water from creek/cistern?

    OK, scratch the tractor...I was going to do a job but didn't have time. So I went to the shed and got my 12' pruning pole and attached the 100hose that I use to fill my little dragonfly pond.

    I'm 6'3" and can reach at least 8ft. So, raising the pruning pole with the hose attached gets pretty close to 20'.

    Here are the results. Drawing water from a depth of 12 ft I was elevate the hose end and have water flow to about 12 ft.

    However, Drawing water directly from my barrel I was able to raise the hose end to my full reach holding the pruning pole...very close to if not over 20'. The water flowed at at least 2 gpm...I was taking a shower.

    Conclusion.

    Place pump as near water source as possible to pump water up 20'. Using a solar pump like this with a float switch in the cistern would probably allow pretty good operation of your water system.

    The flow out of the cistern to achieve 10 gpm is beyond the capability of this pump. However, another solar system pumping water up to an elevated tank might be able to give good water pressure.

    When I was in Saudi Arabia we had rooftop resevoirs into which water was pumped. The resevoir was about 10 ft in elevation and water pressure was very good. I'm sure that there is a formula for the elevation and volume required to achieve 10 gpm.

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