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#1 philips100 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2012 - 10:42 PM

The first part of this past summer was pretty dry and damaged a lot of gardens. I have a rain barrel system that helped my garden through the dry spell.

A friend was not able to produce any tomatoes and their other crops did not do well. They have a stream on the property and I ask if they had ever thought about using a ram pump. They had never heard of ram pump and ask if I would build one for them.

For those that don't know, a ram pump uses the flow of water in a "drive pipe" and check valves to create a "water hammer" to pump water. It uses no other energy to operate. I first built up a small dam to help with the fall but found I would have to dig a deep hole for the pump for it to work. I decided to look at seeing if a ram could work underwater. Everything that I have read said that they won't operate underwater. I played around with the pump at my place by putting a stand pipe on the impulse valve to simulate being underwater. I found that if I have enough head pressure, the pump will work.

This is a video of the pump in the stream. I plan to let it run all winter and then we will run a hose to a 275 gallon storage tank above the garden. I have calculated that we will get about 140 gallons/day. The garden is less than a 1/2 acre so that should be plenty of water.


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#2 HowardsMF155 ONLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2012 - 11:26 PM

I don't know all the particulars, but my Dad often used to talk about getting water from the ram pump up to the house he grew up in. I always thought that was a very neat way to pump water. I regret now that I never asked him to show me where it was sited.
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#3 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted November 18, 2012 - 07:27 AM

Nice job. What plans did you use?
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#4 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted November 18, 2012 - 08:05 AM

My Dad tells of having water at the house way before electric came thru, via Ram Pump. He said that during the summer, you could hear 2 or 3 ram pumps at night.

His Uncle's was in use until the 60's. Even after they got the deep well and electric pump, he continued to use it for watering cows, garden,etc.

All theirs looked like cast iron lightbulbs. Neat design, using available stuff. :thumbs:
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#5 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted November 18, 2012 - 08:51 AM

That's cool. I Googled it and found this write up. Looks simple and could be a pretty neat pump for a pond/waterfall in the yard.
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#6 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted November 18, 2012 - 08:58 AM

The hydraulic ram pumps were popular from the 1800s on. You did your neighbor a great favor by introducing them (and the people they show it to) to the pump. Some of the old water and wind power techniques are still the best. There's an old one on Ebay at http://www.ebay.com/...=item2325279d8f.
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#7 philips100 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 18, 2012 - 11:07 AM

I first viewed Engineer775's four part video on Youtube on building ram pumps and read through Clemson University's information

http://www.clemson.e...g/equip/ram.htm

I did not use any specific plans but followed the accepted guidelines for building the pump. I wanted to keep cost down and used parts that are readily available off the shelf. Some folks are designing and building their own valves which may work better than what is available from the store. The only part that I modified was a foot valve that i am using as a strainer at the beginning of the drive pipe.

Posted Image


I took the guts out of the foot valve and am using it to keep leaves and other things out of the pump.

The only moving parts are the flapper style check valve and the poppet style check valve.

There is a small innertube in the pressure chamber and I mounted the pump onto a patio stone with U-bolts.

So far, total cost has been less than $150. That is including 40' of 3/4" drive pipe. All parts except the valves are SCH 40 PVC. In the spring, we will run lawn irrigation hose up to the garden, about 180'. I have seen 2" cast iron pumps cost as much as $1250.

If you want to build a pump that is larger than 1 1/2", You should look at using steel parts or going to SCH 80 or higher PVC because the water hammer affect will eventually start breaking parts.

My monthly water utility bill is less than $30. My friend is on a different water utility and their bill is around $100/month! Watering the garden raises their bill another $20-$30/month. This project will pay for itself quickly.
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#8 philips100 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 18, 2012 - 11:16 AM

I read a story about some hikers in the California mountains that heard a clack-clack sound in the forest. they followed the sound and came to a spot where the sound was coming from. They started digging through leaves and brush and found a box which they lifted out of the ground to find an old ram pump setting, working along. There were no houses or farms around for miles and they estimated the pump had been there operating for close to one hundred years.
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#9 philips100 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 18, 2012 - 11:24 AM

I had a fellow come buy to pick up his chainsaw that I had rebuilt for him. We talked about the pump and he wants me to look at his property to see if we can get water up to his house for his yard and garden. I think people are starting to look more seriously at water conservation.
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#10 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted November 18, 2012 - 05:14 PM

I don't quite understand how a ram pump works. Is it anything like the so called water monitors used in California years ago for gold mining?

#11 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted November 18, 2012 - 05:57 PM

LD, if you read thru the article that Kenny found it explains better than this, but the force of the water sets up an oscillation circuit with the spring and the trapped air column. Think pogo stick, only that every time you bounce, a small percentage of the water is pumped up the hose.

#12 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted November 19, 2012 - 11:26 AM

This sounds very interesting and I'll look into it further tonight. Ubfortunately I doubt the waterway on my property moves enough volume to use it for my garden?

#13 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted November 19, 2012 - 05:05 PM

This sounds very interesting and I'll look into it further tonight. Ubfortunately I doubt the waterway on my property moves enough volume to use it for my garden?


It doesn't take a ton of water, just need to keep the pipe full. it seems drop is more of the issue

#14 philips100 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 19, 2012 - 09:28 PM

You are right, the fall and keeping the drive pump full is what is important.

To find how much you can pump per day, use this formula: V*F/E*K=D*T

Where:
V=Volume Gallons/min from drive pipe
F= Fall Height (ft) of source above pump
E= Elevation (ft) of delivery pipe
K=Efficiency (coefficient of friction in pipe) (0.60)
D=Delivered, Gallons/min
T= Time (1 day in minutes)

So, the formula would be: V*F/E*0.6=D*1440

The pipe collecting the water is your drive pipe. The pipe after the pump is your delivery pipe. The delivery pipe should be half the size of the drive pipe.

I have about a 2' fall. I built up a weir to be able to get that. You could go with smaller pipe if you are not able to get much of a drop.

To find the minimum length of the drive pipe: L = 150 * (inlet pipe size)

To find the maximum length of drive pipe: L = 1000 * (inlet pipe size)

L is in inches. convert it to feet.


To find the length needed for your application:

If Fall < 15' long then F *6' = length of drive pipe
If Fall >15' < 25' long then F *4' = length of drive pipe
If Fall >25' < 50' long then F *3' = length of drive pipe

If the length of drive pipe is larger than L, you will need to install a standpipe before you reach maximum length. Then from the standpipe back to the source you should increase that section of pipe up at one size.
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#15 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted November 19, 2012 - 09:41 PM

I actually followed some of that.

What does the standpipe do in the system? Is it a buffer And is it a trapped air column? Is there a formula for the size of stand pipe?




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