Solar powered pump for rain barrels

Coventry, RI(Zone 6a)

Ladies & gentlemen: I need the expertise of you folks!!!! I have installed rain barrels at every down spout around the house. Some of these barrels can be set up to gravity feed soaker hoses for my gardens. But on the lower end of the house I would need a pump of some sort to adequately pump water uphill for soaker hoses. Being totally iliterate in this area, can I get by with a solar powered fountain pump or are there special pumps that serve this purpose?

Your help is greatly appreciated here. I have learned so much from you folks, thanks!!!!
Carol

Comer, GA(Zone 7b)

carbo, I think with solar panels and a good battery you could manufacture a pump using an RV pump

Coventry, RI(Zone 6a)

Well, fremar, I wish I had the expertise to assemble that but I don't! I'm the kind that needs to pay someone else to do it for me, unfortunately.

Nth Coast NSW, Australia

I run my home on solar, and I use a Johnson bilge pump to pressure showers, kitchen, garden hoses, etc- it's not quite town water pressure, but close enough. Over the twenty years I have had solar as the only power source I have also used FloJet, which I think are available in the US. Johnson are cheaper and parts are easier to get, I find.

Bethany, IL(Zone 5b)

Carbo:
Not sure how much "lower" one end of your house is? Would it be possible to allow that lower barrel to fill three quarters of the way then cascade out a pipe to feed the other barrel(s)? Might require raising the barrel onto a platform. [Keep in mind, one gallon weights 8.33 pounds---so 30 gallons weighs 250 lbs!] My 50 gal rain barrel feeds my cistern that way. A tap mounted near the bottom [NOT TOO FAR DOWN where there is mucky debris! It has a lower plug for cleaning.] allows me to get water for my watering can, while any excess spills over into the cistern via a gutter pipe mounted three quarters of the way up so any overage above approx 35 gallons runs into the cistern.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Recently I looked into a solar panel and a small submersible pump to allow me to pump water from the small pool in my spring uphill to a holding tank. I don't think the small solar powered fountain pumps would have enough oomph to pump water through a soaker hose.

I forget where all I looked, but you might start with RealGoods.com or do a google search for solar powered submersible pumps.

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

fourx, can you post pics of your solar setup?

Nth Coast NSW, Australia

Being down here the panels you see on the roof face North, and there is another one on the back porch roof out of sight.
Battery bank is just four marine batteries which get changed about every five years, and everything including lights is 12 volt, with a small inverter for laptops, etc.

Thumbnail by fourx
Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

Thanks, 4x. Obviously you are entirely off grid and a DC person! Edison would be proud.

Coventry, RI(Zone 6a)

Oh you have no idea how jealous I am that you all can handle this technology. I have alot more research to do before I totally understand how to hook up solar panels to marine batteries. Man do I miss my Dad! He could certainly help me with this. I did find a pump online from target that was only $10 but it was electrically powered. I would much rather go solar if possible. This is interesting and I'll just have to do more research. I am totaly technologically challenged! But thanks for your responses and help!!

Carol

Coventry, RI(Zone 6a)

fourx: Your idea of a bilge pump might be all I need to pump enough water through soaker hoses. Do you have a website you can suggest to help educate me on this? Extremely technologically challenged!!!!

Thanks, Carol

Cleveland, GA(Zone 7a)

Carol, this is a great thread, thanks for starting it. I have been thinking about a solar pump for my rain barrel, too! I am also looking into a windmill to pump the water from a pasture pond to the garden. I never dreamed there was so much technology to pumps!

Nth Coast NSW, Australia

Oh, Carol, I am but a fool- now where have I heard that before..? -when it comes to things technological. I am techno - challenged to the tips of my gumleaf-scented brain. Just go to a sailboat equipment place or a pump supplier like I do and they will arrange to hook the pump up for a small fee or often for nothing.
No stress and safer in the long run, I think.

Coventry, RI(Zone 6a)

Oh man, fourx...here I had conjured up this image of a technological genius as far as I'm concerned to go total solar!!!!! But you got it from a marine place??? :) See it only goes to show that you can learn something new every day. I live on the east coast so there are quite a few marine places around here to go and pick some brains. This is a great help!!!

See hmstyl: you and I can just follow the lead of fourx and we, too, can get our rain barrels to pump all over the place!! Keep me posted as to what you find out and I'll do the same.

Man, this project only makes me miss my Dad even more. He was a boater so he could definitely helped me out there. WOW...I just remembered...my kid brother is boater in Florida, he can help me. The problem there though is that baby brother doesn't shut up long enough for me to get a word in edgewise!!! Guess I'll have to suck it up and deal if I'm gonna pick his brain. Luckily, the kid is quite intelligent and resourseful.

Well, I better get back to work here. Have a great day everyone!
Carol

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Carol, try googling on bilge pumps etc to get some general ideas about the components, then go chat with the folks at your nearest marine supply store.
http://www.boatus.com/boattech/casey/14.htm

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Carol, a handyman once said a great thing to me: "Something makes it work, something makes it NOT work."

That gives me the courage to tackle unknown tasks. After all, if something else can invent the technology, surely I'm smart enough to figure it out?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Considering some of the dummies that have tried to work for me as various skilled labor (elec, plumbing, etc) I can agree. IF THEY CAN LEARN IT, so can I!!!

Nth Coast NSW, Australia

Yeah, it's hooking up a black wire to a black wire, and a red wire to a red wire ( here, colours may be different, of course) not really hard. If you can do it yourself, do it.
Darius, I find almost all of the building tradespeople I have dealt with on the very few occasions I have had to employ them have had the brainpower of a concrete block, the honesty of a Stalin, the energy and pace of a Sloth on Rhyhypnol and the charm and personal interaction skills of a Jahovaha's Witness on steroids...almost everything they did I had to redo to get it right.

Raleigh, NC

It is funny you started this thread. i am currently building a solar/DC system to pump a 525 gallon rain barrel into my garden for irrigation. It will be automatic as well. I have done a lot of research and i think i may have it up and running soon. i'll keep you posted. I joined this forum just to reply to this thread!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Welcome worthc, and we await your input!!

Lakeland, FL(Zone 9b)

i use a Regular Eltric pump for my pond but i use solar power to run the pump i have 4 12 volt deep cycly batterys hook up paul

Lakeland, FL(Zone 9b)

http://www.rain.org/~philfear/how2solar.html

Raleigh, NC

i should have the system up and running in about two weeks if all goes well. i'll post when i get it going and tell everyone how it is working and how to do it. if it doesn't work, i'll post why it doesn't.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

It will be great to hear about your experienese worthc. Looking forward to your posts.

Raleigh, NC

My 525 gallon cistern is now full after two nice rains. Everything is coming together. I should have it going this weekend. Stay tuned.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Wow! That's terrific news.
How long through the season do you think the water in your cistern will carry you? (how's that for awkward grammar?)

Raleigh, NC

Well, i fugure i will use 50 gallons every 3 days. If no rain that will be 10 waterings. We get around 3/4" of rain a week, sometimes more with storms. So, i should be fine. This is a major experiment for me with solar panels, pumps, timers, etc so who knows how well it will work. I think it will though. it is finding the time to put everything togther that is been the holdup.

Cleveland, GA(Zone 7a)

cool! You lucky guy getting all that rain! It has taken me over a month to get about 30 gallons! I can't wait to hear about your solar pump and how it is working. I am waiting with worms on my tongue! (baited breath)

Vegas,NV Filbert, SC(Zone 7b)

I have been watching this thread to see how your progess has been going worthc. Glad that things are up and running. Hope that no issues pop up......

Raleigh, NC

I got my 40 watt solar panel up last night. I checked it around 11 am and it was charging my 12v battery nicely. I've got all my componets hooked up as well. I am awaiting my irrigation supplies from CA. It doesn;t look like they will be in until early next week which is too bad. However, i can still handwater my garden using the water i have gathered thus far. The plants seem to love the rain water. One note for anyone getting a clear cistern or rainbarrel is to paint it dark so light can't activate the phetoplankton and consuming all the oxygen in the water. I thought i had my 525 gallon tank shaded well enough, but the water is foul smelling due to the decompostion process. I am testing it this evening to see how much oxygen left is in the water. Hopefully there is a decent amount and i won't have to reoxygenate it or worse let it go and hope for more rain. stay tuned.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Great tip about painting the tanks dark. Hadn't considered that.

Where'd you get the panel? Cost? Deep cycle battery? Pump?

Raleigh, NC

I'll post the list of materials needed to replicate what i did once I try it out. Right now the irrigation part is still theory. I should have the first test run late next week. I don't want to lead anyone down the wrong path.

I got the 40 watt Sunwize OEM panel at affordablesolar.com for $299. The battery is a MK 31ah gell cell from scsolar.com for $65. Two good companies for customer service. I'll wait on revealing the pump and other components until i know it works.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Thanks. Keep us posted.

Longview, WA(Zone 8b)

Hi folks,
Just today I told a young man in the shop where I am attempting to get a 1930 Chrysler to run, that the difference between a bad welder and a good one is practice. I guess that goes for just about anything else.
I sure enjoy reading the posts on this site. I have fumble fingers, too many slipped wrenches and hammers over the years to be able to type fast enough to keep up with the posts when I want to comment. But as I just mentioned above I guess the difference between a slow typist and a fast one is practice.

On to pumps. If you have a really long way to lift the water look into a ram pump. It doesn't use any electricity and can be built with PVC pipe. It lift a little water really high.
It spills about 50% of the water to pump 50% up the hill.

If you build a really large catch basin on the upper side of your house and plan to catch the rain water on that side of the house you wouldn't need to pump the water up hill.
I will research some areas and get back to you.

God Bless.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Welcome lonejack! I would add an amedment to your comment - "the difference between a bad welder and a good one is practice AND attitude".

A welder who cares about the quality of his/her work will do a better job with a little less experience than one with a lot of experience and a sloppy work ethic.

Rocky Mount, VA(Zone 7a)

GM - it would seem too me that would be true of any craftsman.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

So true, Dyson, so true.

Raleigh, NC

I recieved my irrigation supplies in from CA last night. If i don;t get it together this week it will be this weekend and i'll report Monday. I ran a test with a conventional soaker hose and it worked great. This should be a successful experiment. stay tuned!

Raleigh, NC

It works. It works great. Of course once i got everything together we had a 3 inches of rain in 30 minutes Saturday so i have to go back and fine tune and make sure i am watering each plant enough.

So here is what i did.

I have a Sunwize 40 watt PV panel. this is hooked to a Morningstar 15 amp charge controller with a meter to tell me how much charge is in my MK 31 amp hour battery and to control how it is charged. this meter also tells me how many amps my pump uses, and how much solar power in amps i am producing.

The pump i got was a Jabsco par-max 1.9 boat pressure pump. It is averaging 2.1 amps per hour. It gets up to 25 psi and then cuts off automatically. lucky for me the water leaving the system keeps the pump running and it doesn;t sut off. The pump is the kind used to run showers and sinks on nice boats. the pump is hooked up to a Flexcharge 12v digital timer, which is hooked up to the battery/charge controller.

I used 1/2 poly tubing with adjustable drip emmiters on each plant.

So everything worked. I will be happy to elaborate more and help out if someone wants to replicate the system.

Coventry, RI(Zone 6a)

worthc: Congratulations!!! I can see alot of research and planning went into that. Maybe you can create your own website showing specific directions and where and how to order the parts. You can then charge for an "ebook" and make yourself enough money to garden until the day you die!!!

I would like to replicate your system to be able to pump water out of our rain barrels to soaker hoses. We're already on a waterban because the water tower that our water supply comes from is under repair. So for now, I've been hand watering out of the rain barrels. Arms are getting pretty tired!!! Would really like to have detailed instructions. Techno-dummy over here!!!!

Again, congratulations!
Carol

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