Solar Water Pump (for fountain)

latefordinner_txJuly 15, 2007

Googling has left me worn out. Anyone have success with solar pumps for small applications? Which ones? I've got 4 ft. of head pressure and 80 gph application. Need a submersible that works in not so clean water. My a/c version is sitting in a filter box underwater and has been running non-stop for over two years now. THATS MY PROBLEM! We've cut our average energy bill down by almost 40% so far, and this little bugger has got to go!

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Thanks, Gary. I've looked at your links and have made a call to the March Pump rep here in Houston. The specs look right; let us see if the price does! Lelia

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 5:05PM
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I have a question related to this, as we have been looking far and wide, too.

We want a solar pump that will lift water from a base through the middle of an urn that is 4ft tall, where it wll flow down to the base again. The lift-hose would be about 1/2 in or 3/4 in diamter. What specs do we need to look for?

Also, are there any kind of battery charging systems available whereby the solar cell would charge the battery for use at night, for 2-3 hours at a time? I would mount the panel in a place beside the fence that gets 8 hours sun a day, then bury the cable to the pump 8 feet away in the courtyard.

How big a panel does one typically need for such an application? Any links to DIY or assembly kits and/or advice would be welcome!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 5:50PM
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Hi dallasbill,

For your pump specs, you need the head (height) you need to pump to and the flow rate at that head.
The head is the vertical distance from the surface of the water in the basin that the pump is in to the top of the urn -- sounds like around 4 ft in your case.
To get an idea of the flow rate you need, I would take a garden hose, place it in the urn as you would the pump output hose, and adjust the garden hose flow until you get the flow you want. Then measure the garden hose flow rate by timing how long it takes to fill something like a gallon jug -- if it takes 30 seconds to fill the gallon jug, then you want a pump that will pump about 2 gallons/minute (gpm) with a 4 ft head.

As far as sizing the PV panel, its best to pick the pump first, and then get a battery and PV panel that match the demand of the pump. For example, if you get a pump that draws 1.2 amp at 12 volts, thats (1.2)(12) or 14 watts.
Maybe something like a 15 or 20 watt panel.

You can add a battery for night use. You will need a small charge controller between the PV panel and the battery to keep the panel from overcharging the battery.
You might look at some of the small systems they sell for RV battery charging as one possibility.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 11:10AM
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Thanks so much, Gary! That really helps. Your site has some great pump info, too!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 11:33AM
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Also, FWIW, I found this site last night. They have a good selection of panels/pumps/batteries.

Here is a link that might be useful: Silicon Solar

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 11:40AM
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