300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

sunenergysunenergy Registered Users Posts: 22
The plan is to dedicate the solar system to pumping water 4-5 hours per day 4 days of the week and ideally leaving the battery bank with a full charge for weekend use.

To protect the batteries from being excessively discharged I thought it might work to run the Flexcharge timer off the AUX OUT jacks of an Outback MX60 configured for Low Voltage Disconnect and have the timer connected to a single pole single throw 75 amp relay. The total lift for the Solar SlowPump would be 300 ft.

Nothing has been purchased yet but I'm getting close to pulling the trigger.

Think this would work?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

There will be fuses and breakers where appropriate. I hope it's alright to include images cropped from various sites in the diagram.
picture.php?albumid=51&pictureid=390

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,047 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    1) planned wire gauge for PV and Pump?

    2) distance of the wire to the pump ? (land, and down the well)

    3) need a fuse on the output of the battery, to blow below the safety margin of the wire, and to protect the pump (200W @ 12V = 15A ??)
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • sunenergysunenergy Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    Thanks for the reply.

    1) I plan to have two Kyocera KD210GX-LPU 26v 7.9 amp or similar panels in series. I have 450' feet of salvaged #4 buriable cable and if I'm reading the 48 volt 2% wire loss table correctly for 10 amps 182' is the maximum distance.

    2) The water is surface and gravity feeds into a tank within 10' of the proposed controller/battery bank location. The water will be gravity fed from the tank to the pump inlet.

    3) The 1308 SlowPump is rated to use 153 watts @ 12v PV direct for a 320' lift. Battery power will be 15% lower wattage (and water flow) so roughly 11 amps.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    Why such a laqrge control with only a small amount of PV?

    Also, are you going to run any other load on the battery? If not, perhaps you don't need the battery and controller either.
    Tony
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    Not sure that wiring will achieve quite what you have in mind. Let's check the form and function.

    The MX60's AUX function will go high under certain circumstances, such as when the batteries are in Float (fully charged). I don't know what the draw of the timer is, but the output of AUX is limited to 200 mA.

    Second, would you not want the timer running all the time? Is not the idea to have the pump function when two criteria are met: it is within the acceptable time frame (controlled by the timer) and the batteries are fully charged (controlled by the MX60). In which case the timer should run always, and it's "on" output be part of the function of controlling the pump relay along with the AUX high.

    I realize I may be misunderstanding the intent. :blush:
  • sunenergysunenergy Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    I may be approaching this backwards but my thinking was the timer which "draws only a few milliamps" would turn the pump on via the relay for +/- four hours per day. I would hope to get a handle on the timing of when the pump should run.

    If something caused the batteries to discharge lower than say 50% while unattended it would trigger the LVD and disconnect power to the timer which in turn would disconnect the pump relay. This timer feature: "Internal battery maintains clock and programmed memory for up to 3 months with no external power" would hopefully work to start the pump up when the batteries reached a high enough voltage again.

    If it were you working with more or less the same components what would be your approach to protecting the batteries and only have the pump run when the batteries are fully charged?
    Thanks for your help.


    This is the section from the MX60 manual that I was focusing on:
    • Low Batt Disconnect—activates/deactivates the AUX load(s) when a user-determined voltage and
    time levels are reached.

    Low Voltage Disconnect
    When the battery voltage falls below the disconnect
    volts, the AUX connected loads only are disconnected;
    the loads are On when the battery voltage rises above
    the reconnect volts. To adjust these set points

    AUX MODE
    Low Batt Disconnect
    On
    EXIT NEXT TIME VOLT
    DISCONNECT VOLTS
    <13.6
    BACK - + ReCon
    RE-CONNECT VOLTS
    >14.4
    BACK - + DisV
  • sunenergysunenergy Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?
    icarus wrote: »
    Why such a laqrge control with only a small amount of PV?

    Also, are you going to run any other load on the battery? If not, perhaps you don't need the battery and controller either.
    Tony
    This is a property I've owned for a long time and preparing to develop a new homesite on it. In the future the power will be used for a small cabin also. The MX60 seems like it would give a lot of flexibility for any future increases in the array and I figure I need an MPPT controller because of the long wire run.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,090 admin
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    For unattended operations--a Battery Monitor with programmable output set to, for example, turn off the pump at 50% state of charge and turn back on at 80% state of charge would be much more reliable than a voltage detector...

    The newer Xantrex units have a programmable output, as do a couple from Victron Energy (another brand recommended by a couple posters here too).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    I think we need to know the function of the water pump. Is it for irrigation or fire suppression? Or will it be storing water up in a reservoir or pressure tank?

    If the latter, there really is no need for a timer at all: the MX 60's AUX function can be programmed to go high when Float is reached, and that could activate the pump relay. If the batteries are not otherwise used, their daily Bulk/Absorb times should be very short and most of the day will be spent in Float: no drain on the batteries, all power supplied by panels. When daylight wains the charge drops out of Float and the pump shuts down. There should also be a level or pressure switch to over-ride pump function when the tank is full.

    If you need the timer for irrigation purposes, wire the power directly from the battery. Its specs say it won't draw much. The battery back-up may maintain programming, but that does not necessarily mean the timer will continue to function. Also, in any case, something has to power the common connection on the timer or else no power goes out the normally open connection when it turns on. I would run the (+) output of AUX there, and wire the (-) AUX directly to the relay. In other words, always run the timer and when the right conditions are present (sufficient Voltage (Float mode) according to the MX and correct time according to the timer) the pump will come on.
  • sunenergysunenergy Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    Cariboocoot,

    I plan to pump 150-200 gallons per day to a holding tank approximately 1/4 mile away and 300' lift. The upper holding tank feeds my current cabin site with gravity flow water.

    I want to control how much is pumped to prevent unnecessary wear and tear and the pump. Since the destination tank is so far away there isn't a practical way to electronically signal to stop pumping.

    You have a very good suggestion on doing this without a timer "the MX 60's AUX function can be programmed to go high when Float is reached, and that could activate the pump relay" but I don't see a cost effective way to turn the pump off when enough water has been pumped.

    Back to the timer scenario is this diagram what you have in mind?

    picture.php?albumid=51&pictureid=391
  • sunenergysunenergy Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?
    BB. wrote: »
    For unattended operations--a Battery Monitor with programmable output set to, for example, turn off the pump at 50% state of charge and turn back on at 80% state of charge would be much more reliable than a voltage detector...

    The newer Xantrex units have a programmable output, as do a couple from Victron Energy (another brand recommended by a couple posters here too).

    -Bill
    A battery monitor is on my shopping list, the Trimetric 2020, but I don't know if it has the function you describe. This is an interesting solution I'll kick around.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,090 admin
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    There may be other brands/models with aux outputs--but those are the only ones I am aware of.

    I think Trimetric and a few others have RS 232 data output that could, in theory, be tied to a Stamp or equivalent micro controller and you could roll your own pump (and even generator) controller (i.e., start genset at 70% state of charge, turn off genset at 85% state of charge).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    Yes, that schematic would work.

    But I have to ask: if you have no way to stop the pump when the holding tank is full, what happens then? Overflow outlet?
  • sunenergysunenergy Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?
    Yes, that schematic would work.

    But I have to ask: if you have no way to stop the pump when the holding tank is full, what happens then? Overflow outlet?
    Yes the tank will just overflow onto the forest floor. With the SlowPump pumping less than 1 gallon per minute no harm done and the nearby trees are probably happier. Currently the tank is gravity fed by a spring and overflows but the spring flow is spotty in the summer and one accidental draining of the tank can be difficult to recover from. The water is needed for domestic use and in case of fire.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?
    sunenergy wrote: »
    Yes the tank will just overflow onto the forest floor. With the SlowPump pumping less than 1 gallon per minute no harm done and the nearby trees are probably happier. Currently the tank is gravity fed by a spring and overflows but the spring flow is spotty in the summer and one accidental draining of the tank can be difficult to recover from. The water is needed for domestic use and in case of fire.

    It's just that if you pump your tank full by Tuesday afternoon, with no method of shutting down the pump by volume achieved, your pump will run the rest of the week. That's potentially 1000 gallons of water pumped for nothing.

    Okay, let's go "Rube Goldberg" with this: run the overflow pipe back down to the bottom of the hill and attach a microhydro turbine to it. Use the energy to charge more batteries or preheat water! :p

    More sensible: level valve at tank shuts off flow from pipe. Pressure builds in pipe from pump. Switch at pump detects increased pressure, turns off pump.
  • sunenergysunenergy Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?
    It's just that if you pump your tank full by Tuesday afternoon, with no method of shutting down the pump by volume achieved, your pump will run the rest of the week. That's potentially 1000 gallons of water pumped for nothing.

    Okay, let's go "Rube Goldberg" with this: run the overflow pipe back down to the bottom of the hill and attach a microhydro turbine to it. Use the energy to charge more batteries or preheat water! :p

    More sensible: level valve at tank shuts off flow from pipe. Pressure builds in pipe from pump. Switch at pump detects increased pressure, turns off pump.
    Your ahead of me on this. I was just giving a more careful reading to the SlowPump manual and came across this. Number 3 looks like the way to go:

    REMOTE FLOAT CONTROL when tank is a LONG DISTANCE from pump may be done in
    three ways:
    (1) Small wire buried from tank/float switch to pump actuates a relay at the pump.
    (2) Very small wire from sensor in tank actuates "Water Level Sensor" option in your pump
    controller (LCB). This is for non-battery systems only.
    (3) Float valve in tank restricts flow. Pressure builds up and actuates pressure switch at
    pump. Small captive-air pressure tank is necessary at pump to prevent "switch chatter".
    Contact your dealer or the factory for further advice.
    Funny you mention the hydro because that is something I'm keeping in mind as I lay the pipe to the upper tank. In the winter I can send the plentiful water from the upper spring back down the 3/4" pvc pipe to a micro turbine. At least 300' of head.
  • bmetbmet Solar Expert Posts: 630 ✭✭
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    Would a mechanical float switch be useful here? If you are trying to interrupt power instead of flooding the landscape.....


    sunenergy wrote: »
    Yes the tank will just overflow onto the forest floor. With the SlowPump pumping less than 1 gallon per minute no harm done and the nearby trees are probably happier. Currently the tank is gravity fed by a spring and overflows but the spring flow is spotty in the summer and one accidental draining of the tank can be difficult to recover from. The water is needed for domestic use and in case of fire.
  • sunenergysunenergy Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?
    bmet wrote: »
    Would a mechanical float switch be useful here? If you are trying to interrupt power instead of flooding the landscape.....
    A float switch may be the most ideal solution. And it's more like watering the trees than flooding the landscape:-) Judging from the size of the firs near the water sources they like loads of water.
  • tmarchtmarch Solar Expert Posts: 143 ✭✭
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    Is the property subject to freezing temperatures? If so the overflow would create a ice problem, not to mention the pipe freezing with that flow and the distance.
  • sunenergysunenergy Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?
    tmarch wrote: »
    Is the property subject to freezing temperatures? If so the overflow would create a ice problem, not to mention the pipe freezing with that flow and the distance.
    Good question. Temperatures may hit 20 F but very rarely any lower. But the pipe would likely be empty by winter when water pumping is no longer needed. Unless I use it to send water back down to a micro hydro system in which case the water would be flowing and unlikely to freeze at 20 F degrees.

    This last winter the weather turned colder a little quicker than usual and I had neglected to shut the water off to a travel trailer. Popped a fitting emptying 1500 gallons of water into the trailer. Didn't do the floors any good.
  • tmarchtmarch Solar Expert Posts: 143 ✭✭
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    That wouldn't be so bad, but you will want to also bring the pump indoors to keep it from freezing, or fill it with antifreeze.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    Auto magic drain back systems are fairly easy to engineer and build.

    Also, why would you "pay" to pump wAter out of the well, only to have it spill off in waste? Seems like designing and building a system that provides the water you need, with out waste might be a good goal.

    Going back to the beginning, what are you going to use the water for, how much volume per minute and per day?

    Tony
  • sunenergysunenergy Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?
    icarus wrote: »
    Auto magic drain back systems are fairly easy to engineer and build.

    Also, why would you "pay" to pump wAter out of the well, only to have it spill off in waste? Seems like designing and building a system that provides the water you need, with out waste might be a good goal.

    Going back to the beginning, what are you going to use the water for, how much volume per minute and per day?

    Tony
    The initial plan using a timer would have me adjust the timer after making observations of how much water needed to be pumped to keep all storage tanks full. By fine tuning the timer I hoped to minimize waste.

    But using the timer may now be a moot point since the option was initially brought up by Cariboocoot of using a float valve in the destination tank which would cause the pump to stop running. The SlowPump supports this method.

    The water is for domestic use, garden and storage for potential fire suppression. It looks like I should be able to pump 50 gallons per hour so shooting for 200 gallons per day not that I need that much now but getting ready for future development. If I did pump excess water there are neighbors that would gladly take any overflow.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    (Pardon the typo, that should read automatic drain back system, not auto magic, but that is kind of a cool idea!)

    Now I got it,
    200 gpd is pretty easy to achieve, at 1 gpm that is ~ 3 hours.

    Back to a previous point. If it were me, and this is the only issue right now, I would dispense with the batteries and the controller and use the PV to pump directly. If you eventually build a bigger/different/more involved system, you can start with fresh hardware and fresh batteries. Once again, it seems the MX 60 is over kill at this point, and any batteries will not mesh well with new ones in a few months.

    Given the advance in technology, a couple of years may reveal a new crop of hardware, making the hardware choice better or cheaper etc. (Just my opinion)

    Tony
  • sunenergysunenergy Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    Tony you make good points and you're correct it looks like overkill at this point.

    Maybe a bit of background would be helpful. This is a property I've owned for more than 25 years and most of that time using a single 12 volt battery, propane lamps and fridge. The battery I currently charge with a Honda 650 watt generator or haul back to town to charge.

    Now that I'm getting closer to retiring from full time work and the kids are about moved out (I think :-)) I want to build a new place with more creature comforts like being able to walk through a door and turn on a light switch, having a decent screen to watch movies on and maybe go all out and have a lighted indoor bathroom instead of a lantern hanging in an outhouse.

    Pumping water now will help justify moving forward with setting up the solar system and having convenient power available while I'm building a shop/temp cabin. If in the future I find that I need the majority of the watts for my cabin's use I could pick up another PV panel and run the SlowPump solar direct at that time. Not to mention this is fun stuff at least until it's time to get the check book out.

    I was going to get 4 - Trojan T105REs but after reading through many threads on this fine forum I kept coming across posts about the ideal charge rate and determined my proposed 400+ watt array would charge the batteries at less than ideal rate. So it looks like I'll stick with the 2 - T105s for now and take a chance that I may need to replace them if I do find a need for more storage.

    Thanks for your input.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,047 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?

    The spillage water from tank will not provide more than a minute of water to run the turbine. Save your $$. don't bother.

    but do direct the overflow away from the tank, you don't want to soften the ground under the tank and have the tank sink into mud.

    And how will the stored water be treated safe ? Water just sitting, grows stuff. You may want to look into a slow sand filter or something.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?
    mike90045 wrote: »
    Water just sitting, grows stuff.
    While VERY true, the statement conjures up some awesome mental imagery:p
  • sunenergysunenergy Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: 300 ft lift with 12v Solar SlowPump - How's this look?
    mike90045 wrote: »
    The spillage water from tank will not provide more than a minute of water to run the turbine. Save your $$. don't bother.

    but do direct the overflow away from the tank, you don't want to soften the ground under the tank and have the tank sink into mud.

    And how will the stored water be treated safe ? Water just sitting, grows stuff. You may want to look into a slow sand filter or something.
    The property has two main springs, the lower one that flows year round and the upper seasonal one 350-400 ft higher in elevation.

    If you're referring to my previous comment about micro hydro I would take the 3/4" line that fills the upper tank in the summer and divert water from the upper seasonal spring back down the pipe in the winter.The upper spring cranks out 100 gallons/minute easily in the winter but dries to a trickle in the summer.

    We use treated water for drinking, cooking etc
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